Cancer support with fun and love

Feelings are real. When a family is hit with a diagnosis of the dreaded disease, chemotherapy is vital to bring about a cure. But what about the anguish? The confusion? The terror? What about the relationships…parent to child…husband to wife…the family unit…? What about the spirit that normally supports us all but now seems to have collapsed in a heap of bewilderment and fear?

Who is going to embrace the family, hug them tight? Who is going to understand the inner workings of each one and provide professional support in a warm, loving environment? 

Over and over again, the staff at Ezer Mizion’s Oranit, Guest Home for Cancer Patients and their Families, hear the words: We never could have made it through without you.

Like Neta, mother of 5. She thought it was a minor problem but the tests showed otherwise. Colon cancer. “The tremendous sensitivity of the professional staff who understood what I was feeling even more than I understood myself made it a haven for me. My security blanket. I would attend as many classes as I liked – Pilates Therapy, Art Therapy. I was also able to gain support from all the other ‘classmates’ who shared the same nightmare.

Best of all, I was able to bring my kids. No longer were they estranged from Mommy’s world. They now became part of it, able to pour out their own feelings under the guidance of the professionals. At the art room, they could express themselves with the caring, always-present therapist to help them along. They knew they’re not alone in a horrific bad dream.

“Fun and joy was the goal, always with a therapeutic approach. Performances for the holidays. The most indulgent day camp in the world, which my kids will never forget. A trip to Italy for the recuperating mommies, dreamy beyond imagination. Summer camp for the whole family where deteriorating bonds are fortified.

“And then the oh-so-desperately longed-for cure. It was over. I was healthy. So why didn’t I – no, we – gratefully jump back into normal life? .Because feelings are indeed real. And having lived in a world ruled by a monster named Cancer, it was so hard to simply go back. My friends didn’t understand. Even we hardly understood. But Ezer Mizion did. For another year and a half, Ezer Mizion held our hand until we could walk it alone.”

Neta is not a solitary case. More than 100 patients are currently in Oranit. Daniel is a chronic cancer patient. Meira, his wife, was the first to join and bring the kids. Daniel wanted no part of it. Therapy? That’s a label .I may have cancer but I’m not a cancer patient. I’m me – Daniel. But he couldn’t help noticing how Oranit had changed his family until the day came when he made the call, “When can I come?” Now he not only receives support but can give to others. And that restores confidence. “Oranit has been accompanying us for four years. Today, Daniel is in follow-up. Seventy percent of the tumor remains in his head but Daniel is functioning amazingly as an Abba and a husband.”

Even the staff needs emotional support when they do the seemingly impossible. Like calling in the children for what appears to be a routine session but isn’t. They hear words that cannot be said but they must. The children must be prepared. Their father will soon die.  

And it’s not easy to provide therapy for a patient who begs for tools to improve his relationship with his wife. It was a beautiful session, a meaningful one…but his last. 

Our hearts bleed for each family but we are ever so grateful to be there for them enfolding them in encouragement and validation, a blanket of love for those so very vulnerable souls.