Who Am I?

My Twitter profile (@knotellin) puts it like this:

Medicine and psych, Middle East and politics, words and languages, religion and spirituality, wrapping thread around air. Also, I have stage IV breast cancer.

I am a woman in my late fifties living in Jerusalem, on the border between the East (Arab) and West (Jewish) parts of this city holy to three religions. I am both spiritual and religious and I try to live my beliefs more than I talk about them.

I have been a writer, an editor, an interpreter and a translator. I’ve been a house cleaner, an academic, an archivist, and an advanced practice nurse. I make bobbin lace, tat, knit, crochet and embroider, but I’m really bad at plain sewing.

I love absurdities and humor and I am essentially a happy, positive person. I try to be kind to everyone, and I’m slowly getting better at it.

And yes, I am living with metastatic breast cancer, a fact that has so many more implications than “merely” the fact that I will probably die much, much sooner than I had expected.

This blog is about all of these things.

22 thoughts on “Who Am I?

  1. Thank you for sharing. It’s important to share our experiences…the good, the bad, and the ugly…all of them…so that we may learn from one another. You are a wonderful teacher, even if you might not have set out to be one. Blessings!

  2. You are also a friend and companoin who transcends distance if not time. I can speak only for myself; but I bear witness as well of others touched by you. At a time when life shifted greatly for me, you shared presence and wisdom which greatly helpted. I believe that “Who Am I?” is a question answered both by my vision of myselff and the perception of those around me. That “Who do you say that I am” asked elsewhere provides some model. Thanks for your sharing of both your roles and your self, especially in this phase of your journey.

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  4. I’ve just discovered your blog and am very glad I did. Breast cancer has been the bane of my family for generations and now it’s my turn to deal with it. I’m sorry this disease is what connected us but thank you for your blog and insights.

  5. I’m not sure that I can anything that won’t sound like a platitude, and from reading a few of you posts I suspect that you probably won’t appreciate them. For what it’s worth I will say that professionally speaking I am one of pharmacy crew who manufacture chemotherapy (i don’t know if that’s how it works in your part of the world). I have made oceans of Taxols, Taxoteres, doxorubicins, epirubicins and the list goes on.

    From my position I am personally unsure if I would even have chemo if I needed it, I think fighting cancer takes more courage than I possess, for what its worth (from a complete stranger on the internet) I admire anyone who refuses to give in.

    • Maybrick, thank you so much for commenting.

      The chemo was awfully hard… but I’m still living with–ALIVE with–stage IV cancer almost a decade later. It’s only recently that my quality of life has started to suffer signficantly. Was it worth it? A resounding yes.

      So many thanks to you and everyone else who works in the production of these life-saving poisons. 😉

      Your photos are wonderful! Just followed your blog.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I know it’s hard. I’ve been there myself and I couldn’t share either for quite a while. I think I just wanted it to go away. Eventually, I shared my story and it brought back so many feelings. Maybe it helped someone and if so, it was worth it. You are such an inspiration! Thanks for writing! I am so sorry for the way you were treated! It was WRONG and inexcusable.

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Marcy. I’m glad to meet you, but so sorry that you’re a member of this club, too. I just followed your blog. Looking forward to getting to know you better!

  7. I just found your blog. Amazing and sad how this unwanted sisterhood of cancer can connect so many of us across oceans from one another, both literally and in our various outlooks and beliefs. Thank you for sharing your experiences. It gives hope to those of us who are new to this journey. A year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer stage 3. Now, because it is in my spine, it is stage 4.

    • Hello, Elizabeth. Like you, I was diagnosed at stage 3 and about a year later I was stage 4. That was eight years ago. I’m sorry you’re a member of the club, but very glad to meet you. Please read and comment and feel free to contact me directly, too. Warm, gentle hugs to you.

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