Latest update: May 30th, 2012
Readers weigh in on “A Well-Meaning Outsider” (Chronicles 01-06-2012)
Regarding the person who wrote to give quite a detailed account of what a family who almost lost a child is going through, I’d like to first commend you on your response. People indeed fail to realize that they form opinions with precious little knowledge of what is actually going on, and this can often cause harm or discomfort to the ones being talked about, ostracized and often maligned.
As for this poor child’s current status, it may not at all be reflective of what her future holds. True, only G-d knows, but many families who thought the worst have actually seen miracles take place before their eyes.
Generally speaking, the younger the victim, the better the chance for recovery. Brain cells regenerate to a great degree, and a baby’s brain is in the process of its biggest growth spurt of its life. And, truly, no one can fathom the power of prayer.
The physical body is amazingly adept at healing itself, but in order to have the best possible chance to mend, its immune system needs to be in top form. To that end, alternative medicine can by all means play a major role.
There is, for example, a non-invasive treatment called NSRT (neurological stress reduction therapy), known to increase the body’s circulation, reduce inflammation and stimulate cellular growth and repair, thereby giving the patient’s own system the optimum chance to heal itself. This is basically accomplished via a procedure utilizing low-level laser therapy. (I am familiar with people who have gained enormous benefit from such treatment, where their own health issues are concerned.)
So, yes, the parents seem to be doing the right thing by pursuing, as Outsider put it, “therapeutic treatments … prescribed by alternative/unconventional medicine mavens.” And as you said in your response, Rachel, the naysayers would be much better off replacing their criticisms and negativism with support for the family in every way they have at their disposal.
Also a well-meaning outsider
Thank you for your constructive feedback, your positive outlook, and for taking the trouble to convey your thoughts to this column.
The story of the child who sustained brain-injury as a result of prolonged oxygen deprivation inspired me to write to you about a teenaged young adult who has just recently discovered she suffers from a potentially serious illness. I should add that she is currently symptom free.
This lovely young lady (not yet seventeen) is active and talented and would no doubt make someone an excellent wife. Out of the blue, however, indications that something was amiss led to extensive medical evaluation and, subsequently, to a positive diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
To be honest, I am not at all well-versed on the subject, but my understanding is that severity and symptoms vary from one afflicted person to another, depending on many factors, such as age, treatment regimen, the tolerance to it, etc. Aside from worrying for her future welfare, this girl’s parents have the burden of fretting about their daughter’s soon-upcoming shidduch prospects. Those close to the family (who are in on this otherwise guarded secret from the public) have differing opinions as to whether a shadchan should be at all informed.
While this girl’s mother is already wondering what her future son-in-law’s imperfections will consist of, some pessimistic family members can’t see her landing any match at all with her current prognosis. This comes across to me as eerily similar to the circumstance of the meddling relatives of the baby girl in your previous column.
I was just curious to know how you view this very painful development.
A caring close one
Throughout our lives, we are faced with trials and challenges that we meet to the best of our ability. When it comes to the formidable matter of shidduchim, we must bear in mind that Hashem is the ultimate Matchmaker. In point of fact, many will testify to His clear orchestration of events. So, most importantly, this young lady and her parents should not give up on beseeching the heavens for His help in sending the right zivug at the right time.
When the shadchanim start calling, the proper procedure would be for the parents to consult with daas Torah (rabbinical counsel) about how and when to disclose their daughter’s health issue.
That said, the decision to reveal this sort of personal information to a shadchan is a risky one (that may be akin to broadcasting the word on a loudspeaker) and would undoubtedly shrink the list of this girl’s viable shidduch candidates. In time, when a shidduch prospect will look promising, the boy’s family can be discreetly informed of the facts (which will have to be divulged in any event).
Shidduchim disintegrating as a result of such communication should be accepted with strong faith in Hashem and belief that they were not meant to be. Needless to say, the bar of expectations (usually set by the parents) can be lowered a notch. For instance, dashing good looks, affluence and yichus can be considered as non-essentials to the happiness and fulfillment of a marriage. That these parents – or any, for that matter – should not compromise on fundamental quality traits goes without saying.
At her tender age, this girl certainly has time yet to settle down and should not be made to rush headlong into settling for an inferior shidduch. In the meanwhile the world of research is hard at work round the clock in search of a lasting cure for MS, and effective medications are already available to allay its symptoms.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Let us pray that, with G-d’s help, a complete eradication of the disease is around the corner.
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About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.
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