Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Reuven - the Year in Review

As the year 5770 draws to a close, I reflect on the many blessings God has granted my family and me this year - and every year. One of my greatest blessings is my grandson Reuven.

No, his stage 4 cancer (Ewing’s Sarcoma) has not yet been cured. He is still undergoing chemotherapy. And a new growth has appeared on the bone of his upper leg - the Femur. This has weakened it - and it fractured. He is currently in a cast. A big one. It covers the entire leg and reaches up to his waist covering his hips. That has pretty much immobilized him. He needs a wheelchair to get around. (picture above taken pre-cast.)

As for the cancer - doctors are not discouraged and continue to administer chemotherapy. It has been effective at keeping the tumors from growing, or reduced them. And the chemo even eliminated a growth discovered in his liver. It is gone. But the one in his leg – though contained – is still there and as I said it caused the break.

He was supposed to start school this week. But his cast and relative immobility make that too difficult. So he is staying home along with his two brothers – the 2 year old twins.

Why is any of this a blessing?

One would think that with all he has - and is - going through, that Reuven would be pretty angry or depressed. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is as even tempered as ever, has an easy going manner - and an easy smile that lights up the room. I find it hard to think of him not smiling when I’m not around him! He has a maturity well beyond his years.

It’s hard. But we are not discouraged by his cancer. We still have hope – as do the doctors. We have hope and faith in God - that He will continue to keep Reuven alive and free of pain. That is currently the case. We continue to pray to the True Healer for a complete recovery. No one has given up. Not us. Not his doctors.

My family and I continue to be grateful to all our friends and the tens of thousands of people who know of Reuven and continue to pray for his health – and in other ways contribute to his welfare.

Reuven and his family (his mother is my daughter, Tovi) have moved back to Chicago from St. Louis. My son in law was offered and accepted the position of Vice Principal at his (and my daughter’s) alma mater, Arie Crown Hebrew Day School. They now live right next door to us. This makes it very convenient in that we can help them out at a moment’s notice.

At this point I wish to express my eternal gratitude to the warm and caring people of St. Louis. The doctors and nurses there are some of the finest people I have ever met. The Jewish community there has become almost like family to my daughter. The kindness and compassion is unlike anything I could have ever imagined. Their move away from St. Louis was a near traumatic experience – for my daughter, her family and reciprocally for the entire Jewish community there.

There are many people to thank in St. Louis for all they have done – too many list. I will only mention one name, Rabbi Menachem Greenblatt. He is the Rabbi of the St. Louis Agudah Shul and the head of the St. Louis Kollel. He was my son in law’s boss.

Rabbi Greenblatt is one of the St. Louis Jewish community’s finest leaders and has built an enviable Kehilla there. He is in fact a role model for rabbinic leadership. One must experience St. Louis to know what I mean. He is truly a great man. It is his Kehilla that in the main responded so beautifully to us.

As we are about to enter the new year of 5771 - I would like to extend my best wishes to all.

May God continue to show us His great blessings and may He inscribe us all in the Book of Life! ...and for a year of peace, health, and happiness.

And please keep Reuven Ben Tova Chaya in your prayers.

K’siva V’Chasima Tova