When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 42 while nursing my baby, I thought, I'm going to die. I had buried two other friends to the disease. Was there any other trajectory?
The pathology report on the lymph nodes scooped out of my armpit confirmed that the cancer had NOT spread. Though blessed, I lumbered around, all dark and down, in my apartment in Jerusalem. While my lumpectomy scars were still healing, I gritted my teeth and walked my fingers up the wall, stretching the scar tissue under my armpit.
Then, on a rainy Wednesday in January some four and a half years ago, I took a break from my exercises to check my email. There, I found a query that radiated a glint of light.
"Do you want to join an Israeli-Palestinian breast cancer support group?"
Walking into the first meeting, I wondered, Was something good going to come out of cancer?
The answer turned out to be No. Something wonderful was going to come out of cancer: friendship that grew to love, between me and Ibtisam Erekat, a bold, captivating Muslim Palestinian woman from Abu Dis, whose home was about fifteen miles away from mine.