Brain Tumor Sorrow

collection of poems
by Rony Kess-El, Kiryat Haim, Israel
Dedicated to Dr. Gil Lederman

1. There is a light in the area

There is a light in the area
A hope of criteria,
Which walks along as a friend
With junk food eating not being the end,
With every swallow of a mash
And avocado is in a crash,
Its oil is pernicious
To me it is predacious.
There is a light in the area
A new criteria.


2.  Tumor, Dear Tumor

Tumor, dear Tumor living in my ear
You entered and grew, so much to interfere.
Settled in my mind almost decades of years,
You are my second occupant.

Tumor, dear Tumor ringing in my ear
Day by day I keep you living,
Aware of your presence,
And you give me presents
With your slow growth, one mm per year,
By wasting my hearing, increasing my bad feeling.

Tumor, dear tumor creeper in my ear
I absolutely command you to stop growing!
If you don’t want to leave me – live with me.
But don’t grow, do shrink.
As my soul and body were shrinking,
The moment your appearance was blinking.

I am going to fight against you -
If you are being cruel to me.
Do not disturb with your medical plots,
Leave me to live.

And if it is God’s will
Let it be in good friendship.


3.  I Will Meet all Physicians

I will meet all physicians in the world
That should listen to me, and understand
That cutting my living body
Is unfathomable and far beyond my thoughts.

I am going to explain to all of them:
Being a cripple
Is unrealistic from my point of view.

I will do all I can to fight against my tumor
In unconventional way.
Only my brave soul
Will shoot out my inspiring thoughts away.


4Before My First MRI

Before my first MRI.
It might be a mistake,
And this nightmare will vanish,
And I will continue to live once again
Without my little lump that jumps
And oppresses and chokes my blood chords.

My sad soul that tries to overcome,
Flies as an arrow
And survives from my agony and sorrow.
This nightmare refuses to stop!

"Help me!"
My silent shout to God split out
Mixing with my confidence to succeed.


5.  Dr. Lederman

Dr. Lederman asks me in his warm charming voice:
"Do you like Falafel?"
And I answer with a question:

"Can you treat me?"
"Of course, you are a classical case,
When are you coming?"

I prayed to my Jewish New Yorker savior.
I don’t pray on graves of holy men,
But I believe in those who live as pure Tzadikim,
And this gives subsistence to my arising soul.

In one telephone call I was reborn,
A new sense entered my life.
I will be radiated with deadly radiation
Which will become the source of my salvation.

3.7.98 after midnight

6.  Radiation of Hope

Radiation of hope will be flowing,
There, in Dr. Lederman’s clinic in Staten Island.
The tumor will be destroyed,
Will be going to hell, cell by cell.

I will be happier the further it is shrinking,
My face will shine with light of hope,
My body will bless the sweet radiation
Which will be aimed on the object’s top.

Our good relationship will be finished
And a new period of tracking
Is born as my bounds are breaking.


7.  I Begin the War

The moment I will climb up the plane
I will begin the war to save my health –
I will fight against him till his death.
He will be conquered
Even though he is my head’s tenant
And his discovery changed my life,
My thought processes.

Even if I get support and concern till the end
From my best friends,
Even if my loving wife loves me more
I will kill him
And light my life with joy and happiness
After being situated in the shade of darkness.


8.  What am I Doing Here?
In USA, one day before the first radiation)

In Staten Island Hotel I count the hours.
Every minute with attention
Waiting eagerly for the Radiation.
All events are passing by my busy brain,

All of a sudden I ask: what am I doing here?
Why Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey?
Why listen to noisy Broadway, Fifth Avenue?
Who has disturbed my life’s routine
And all my theory disproved within?

There is no peace in my life’s convoluted course
And good that riches me all over
Will be immediately "never".
What am I doing here?

I have been with my wife, enjoy all attractions fleeting,
Detect after my way
And I question myself:
What if I am mistaken?

I am sure the answers will come
Together with bright radiation
Piercing my brain.
In Staten Island Hotel I count the hours again and again..


9.  Wedding Bed
(Two hours before the first radiation)

As a bridegroom being led to the ceremony
With great honor I am led to the Radiation Room, not far.

No wedding march fanfare,
No dancing or wedding fare,
No throngs of guests, no reception,
No presents, no felicitation –

But pressing buttons on the computer.
Make the happy bridegroom brighter,
Dr. Lederman’s hands and his staff’s head
Will make me happy a lot
Singing and telling my plot
Waiting for the magic moment in my wedding bed.


10.  The First Shot
(One hour before the first Radiation)

After the helmet’s adaptation
And the CAT scan
I am ready and steady to begin.

The first shot will leave its source
And high feeling over my thin body courses.
Physicians are involved and wishing me success.
Hebrew is spoken here and there to explain the process.

Dr. Lederman teaches precisely
All the elements of his blessed treatment.
So familiar on the walls:
Pictures of Jerusalem and of Israeli faces.

I am ready to begin:
Slip on my helmet
Pray to God and beloved friends
Go to fight, my tumor to rend.


11.  Solo Radiated

Radiated first time,
Covered with halo
Solo with Lederman’s experienced hands.
The computer will measure amounts and angles
And I am deeply in meditation.

"Answer all my pleas",
I ask myself and my encouraged area
I pray to God with all my senses
Thinking back on all my cases
That covered me last months;

My dear wife is waiting outside,
My sister is sending energy so tide,
My daughter broadcast me transmission love.

For them and for everyone concerned
I accept submission to radiation
Delivered to my head roped motionless
And feeling pure regard with happiness.


12.  Life Renewed

Very early in the morning in Staten Island
Noisy busy life
With endless queues on Verezano Bridge
Reminding that the world follows its usual motion
And my life is an exception.

Those many people are running to their jobs
Sailing to Manhattan by ferry,
And they are in such hurry.
TV channels showing their pictures are sunken
Hotel’s visitors are sleepy drunken
After a late night partying.

The spring sun is shining,
Its warm rays emanating

Upon nice gardens that are not hiding.
But me alone is Dr. Lederman radiating
And I am not waiting in a queue
To get radiation and my life renew.


13.  Calm

Calm in the Staten Island’s apartment
The Hospital is not far from us
And I sit after radiation in the living room
Watching the 80 channels in the gloom,
Listening to the rain's drum outside
And Esthy is sitting so idyllic beside.

Everything so peaceful, calm;
And I hope for life without harm.
It will continue to be so
If peace will not disturb tumor cells to finish their life.

Calm life to those who want to live,
Certain death to the tumor, with no sense of humor.


14.  Staten Island University Hospital

Hospital sign seen from our window.
The sign that popped up first in the Internet
And shined during restless insomnia nights,
Is now so real and so close.

Unbelievable, the ad on the screen
Grasped me here, to Staten Island,
Looking a certain way for a treatment.

Staten Island Hospital
475 Seaviews from our window
Is a desired dream:

In my nightmares blinked a gleam of hope
The same as the light on the sign
On Staten Island Hospital front wall.


15.  Radiation Memory

During the devoted treatment

I have almost forgotten
But the treatment’s side effects
Remind me of the reason I am here.

My stomach’s reversal
And my endless sickness
Demand immediately their income
For the good care and the nice share
From Hospital’s staff.

I take Travamine and try to forget,
But my brain likes to show
It is not ordinary to get
And Radiation memories are hard to forget.


16.  Goodbye to the Tumor

Shabbat meal in Dr. Lederman’s house
"Shalom* to you peace Angels"…

Peace to the angel that invites us
Into his warm and Jewish house.
Candle lights, Kidush, the boiling soup
And Shabbat atmosphere

Warm and light our bodies.
In the Holy sensation of the Shabbat melodies

I feel Dr. Lederman is quite determined
To destroy the tumor.
And he does not say "Shalom" only to the Shabbat
It's also "Goodbye" to the tumor.

* "Shalom" means "Greetings" in Hebrew, both "Hello" and "Goodbye".

17.  Alone in the Single Room

S-76.5 Q-92 M-85.5

Those mantra numbers passing in my brain
During the helmet’s measuring.

Suddenly, every tenth of millimeter
Is of great importance
The distance between the tumor
And the brain stem.

Suddenly, noisy knocks
Have full meaning
In the brightening single room.

Measuring and numbering again,
Small correction and everything is ready.

The staff is going out
And I denizen solely chained.
Linac equipment aimed at my head
Come and back, come and back

And radiation’s sound is in the background.
The tumor is radiated in three positions –
one minute, no more.

A bridge to life quality from sadness
With a lasting determination.


18.  Bridge of Hope

After the sickness
Walking together along the sea, viewing Brooklyn.
Verezano Bridge tensing in the cold wind
The bridge connecting victory and fear.

I hear victory fanfare
Near my brain stem,
Shaking and trembling all tumor’s cells
That finished playing their role.

Bridge of hope from the "Linac" to my brain,
Mixing with the blowing of cold wind,
And the huffing of the morning joggers
And the piping of sea gulls.

And Esthy collecting shells on the beach
As I breathe free again
After my sickness.


19.  One More Shot

One more shot and all is finished.

Listening again to the radiation chirp
Changes of directions
Once again fastening the helmet,
Knocking on the channels
And measure’s confirmation:
"All in order!"

My mood level is high
With every encouraging phone call
It is new feeling at all.

One more shot
And the question "Why am I here?"
Will be finally answered.

New York sun on my face so near
Radiating its rays bright and clear.


20.  The End?

The end?
This is the beginning of the way,
Of enduring expectation
For the tumor’s shrinking.

This is a way of life
Waiting for the next MRI,
The terrible stress of the unexpected,
Of symptoms so suspected.

This is a limited way of life
With understanding all is changeable
And I try to imagine my sane future.

The end?
This is the beginning of life value senses,
Recognizing greatness as aim of duty
And avoiding the stupidity.

Knowing I will continue to hold somehow
The conducting baton and violin bow,
Hearing the sound of music I most love
Touching my soul as an out right solution.

My melody is not stopped,
On my heart it lay,
I have no choice
I must continue to play!


21. The anniversary of my trip

It's the anniversary of my trip to Staten Island,
When opposite me on a stand,
And not above my treatment bed,
With his sounding and trusting voice,
Dr. Lederman lectures to the physicians
Who are sitting frozen.

On the anniversary of the radiation ringing
There, in Staten Island –
Here, in Kfar Saba Hospital, the mobiles* are singing.

Lederman does not check the helmet’s status,
Or confirm measurements, or signal to start the treatment –
But the pictures on the slides blink in the darkness
Dancing and jumping in front of my eyes,
With proof that I’ve chosen the right way.
In attendance the astonished faces.

For the anniversary day,
Dr. Lederman gave me a present,
Packed with confidence and beautiful hope.


* "Mobile" = European term for "cellular telephone"

Last Edited: Friday, November 01, 2002