May 2018


Ronna Edelstein ~

Announce to friends that you have cancer, and they will probably react with sympathy and compassion. Tell them that you’ve broken your leg, and they’ll offer to get your groceries and drive you to medical appointments.

Share that you suffer from depression–and the sound of silence will fill your head.

Depression has been my companion for as long as I can remember. My maternal grandmother, who immigrated to this country from Romania, spent her days struggling to raise four children in a land whose customs and language she never learned. Her husband, my grandfather, rarely stayed home; when not traveling to eke out a living as a peddler, he would socialize with his cronies at a park or synagogue. In his later years, twice widowed and living in a nursing home, he set fire to his own leg as an expression of his inner unhappiness.

Encounters: “You know…sometimes I don’t remember that I have it.”

Should I talk about the bad stories or the good stories?

Okay, the bad part is hearing that something’s wrong with you. That burns me.

I don’t want doctors bothering me–just leave me alone. I don’t know why I’m afraid of doctors. Sometimes I just don’t like to hear them talk. I just found myself going more to the doctor after I was diagnosed. Before, I didn’t have to go to the doctor. I was healthy.

encounters feet

Encounters: “…you have to start all over again in the American system.”

I’m originally from Guyana. It’s a little country in South America, between Brazil and Venezuela. I’m from British Guyana, and we’re the only English-speaking country in that hemisphere. My whole family came from there together–my wife, my daughter and I. My daughter was around eight years old at the time. She loves it here now. She says she doesn’t want to go back. We came as legal residents, but now I’m a citizen.

See What’s Left

The other day I asked my husband, “How many times a day do you worry about your body or your health?” His reply, “one or two,” shocked me. My answer: At least fifty.

Pain: A Source of Worry

Ten years ago, I had my first jaw surgery; this past December I had my fifth. The latest surgery also came with radiation to–hopefully–prevent heterotopic bone from regrowing over the prosthetic device in my jaw and from causing me 24/7 pain. And worry.

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