OK, SO THIS IS THE STORY…
Four years ago, the doc discovered a “tiny something” in my kidney. Tiny, but he was certain that it was malignant. It was so tiny that no action was indicated except “wait and see” in the hope that it was going to stay there and do no harm.
Months went by, and the tumor grew slightly larger each time. Recently, though, something hit the button and the malignancy had grown significantly, and it was in a particularly vulnerable spot.
So, my doc in Greenville shuttled me off to his mentor at Emory in Atlanta – incredible credentials and references. He studied the films and the reports, and he pronounced the iffy prognosis:
Yes, the kidney must be removed in its entirely, and the sooner the better. The growth is enmeshed in veins and nerves, very dangerous to play with. Thus, out comes the whole thing. Fortunately, the surgery can be performed laparoscopically, two relatively small incisions. No chemo nor radiation are indicated. All goes well and I will be in hospital for two days and then recovering at Chanie’s for 2+ weeks.
There is definitely a downside. I am not a well man. I am a walking pharmacopoeia with doctors’ appointments out the wazoo. This could bode of all kinds of bad stuff: kidney failure, dialysis, infection, and even a visit from the malach ha-moves on the table or during recovery.
The doc tells me that it is my choice, not his, and I have naturally chosen the affirmative: an iffy procedure versus a nearly certain death as the tumor grows and metastasizes.
The operation is set for July 10, at Emory.
Afraid of dying? Honestly, I am entire over with that, or at least until the surgery draws near. I guess that I will have more to say on that topic, or maybe not. Suffice to say that the Eibershter has been abundantly kind to me, Linda, all the kids and grandkiddies. I am certainly unworthy of His kindness, but I have arrived at the conclusion that He is boundlessly benevolent, so whom shall I fear?
A time comes when even the gravest situations can be met philosophically and without fear.
So now I chant the final verse of Adon Olam with a little more kavvanah:
בְּיָדוֹ אַפְקִיד רוּחִי בְּעֵת אִישָׁן וְאָעִירָה
עִם רוּחִי גְוִיָּתִי אֲדֹנָי לִי וְלֹא אִירָא
Into His hand I commit my spirit ,
When I sleep, and I awake
And with my spirit, my body
The Lord is with me, I will not fear
Wiludjanski-Wilson is a retired rabbi who writes from Greenville, SC.