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The Real Me: Surgery or Summer Camp?

Ruchy Bromberg

Everyone has something they find challenging or difficult. Today we meet brave Moshe, who’s a real trooper

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

D ear Diary,

I cannot believe that I am in eighth grade already. It’s hard work, but not too bad. Something happened to me this past summer when I least expected it…

I guess I should go back to the beginning. When I was born, my parents were so happy. Everything was just fine. My mother took me for my regular checkups. In Israel, we go to a place called tipat chalav. There are nurses and doctors there who check to make sure each child is developing the way they are supposed to. When I was about two or three, they told my mother that I should go to a special children’s hospital to have a more thorough checkup. I was young, so I really don’t remember any of this.

My parents drove me to Schneider’s Children’s Hospital in Petach Tikvah. There they explained that I have something called NF1 (see right-hand side for explanation) — growths inside my body that have to be checked twice a year to make sure they’re not dangerous or don’t get bigger. I really don’t feel them and you cannot see them.

The doctors keep an eye to make sure that everything is okay. It really isn’t fun for me to schlep to the hospital and see all these different specialists. But I guess I have to do what I have to do.

To check my tumor, I have to fast for about five hours and then get tested by a machine called an MRI. The machine takes pictures of the inside of my head and spine. I have to lie down and put my head between something that holds my head straight. They put something special on me to cover my legs so that only the part of the body getting checked is exposed. Until age 11 I had the MRIs done while I was asleep. They put me to sleep by putting on a mask and an hour later I would wake up. Sometimes I didn’t feel so well after and would throw up. I’m not scared of getting an MRI; I guess because I did it for so many years.

This past summer I went for my usual twice a year checkup and I thought everything was okay. I did the exam and felt fine.

The next day, I woke up early. I was excited to start a three-week summer camp for the first time. The camp was right next to a beach and I watched the sunset every day. It was so beautiful. The boys came from all different places and it was nice to make new friends.

After camp was over, I returned home, planning to have an early night after not getting much sleep in camp. I was pretty exhausted. My parents told me to come sit with them. I didn’t think anything of it. They then told me that the last MRI showed that the growth in my neck had grown and the doctors were worried about it. I was going to need an operation to remove the growth. They didn’t know much more. I was surprised. I didn’t see it coming at all.

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