An affirmation of life

Eilit Fisher wrote her book on her battle with breast cancer,'High on Life,' to make things easier for women in similar situations.

Breast cancer awareness  (photo credit: Thinkstock)
Breast cancer awareness
(photo credit: Thinkstock)
International Women’s Month is a good time to give serious consideration to what should receive daily attention: the illness that affects so many women today -- breast cancer. Eilit Fisher, 37 from Hod Hasharon, has a full and vigorous lifestyle on both a professional and personal level. In the past two years she had to cope with the disease, recovered from it after a series of painful treatments, produced a film and wrote a book to help other women .who have to deal with similar a condition.
 Fisher, who calls herself a born optimist, loves life. She is well organized and a good planner. She is married to Eran and is mother to Barak, 7, and Ofek, 5. In a personal interview, she recounts her ways of dealing with the illness and the process of recovery she went through. She and her husband work together in the field of productions and event planning in a company called Rosh Hutsot, which develops artistic content.
"I’ve been working in the field for many years,” says Fisher. “I’ve always strived to create a happy atmosphere. I also love to learn. I don’t think there’s any workshop that I haven’t attended in Israel -- bridging, forum, coaching"
 How did you discover you were ill?
 When I was 35, I detected a lump on my breast and went to the gynecologist, which is a common mistake that many women make. He assumed it was an irritation related to my bra and sent me home. Ten months later, my mother-in-law told me that my father-in-law had an appointment with a surgeon, and I made an appointment too.
The surgeon told me that I had three lumps and referred me at once to have an ultrasound and a mammogram. My husband was abroad, and I received the results in the middle of a workday during a meeting. The doctor called, but I waited until the end of the meeting before I got back to him. He told me to come see him at the clinic.
The doctor said I had cancer and that I needed to undergo genetic examinations, treatments, chemotherapy and radiation. I sat in front of him, wrote everything down, and at some point I looked behind me to see if there was someone else in the room and asked if he was talking to me...
How did you tell your family and friends?
That evening, after the kids went to bed, I told my mother and mother-in- law, and they launched a hotline to find doctors. As Eran was still abroad, I told him the next day on the phone. I said I wanted him to stay there and complete his trip, and I spent the next 10 days going to see different doctors.
When Eran came back, my mission really began. My husband is my stabilizing force, as I grew up in a family of divorced parents and didn’t have the example of a good, healthy relationship. Marrying him was an amendment, coming full circle. In the first week, I decided to make a movie about the illness, hold a thank-you party when I recovered and write a book.
What does the book consist of?
 The biggest difficulty I experienced was feeling like an octopus. Things changed in so many different areas – health funds, marriage, kids, work, doctors, psychologists, nutrition, intimacy… I had to deal with my self-image as a woman, in addition to the physical ordeal.
I decided to gather these details from all my different experiences and publish the first oncology guide. It is a small colorful pocketbook, which is as delightful as a world travel guide. The book includes guidelines such as how to obtain a disability tag, what are the side effects, what patients should have at home and how to take care of the kids.
In English the book is called High on Life and is very successful. My e-mail address and phone number are included in the I book so I can help other women deal with their crisis.
What message do you want to convey?
The journey itself was hard. I experienced severe side effects. I suffered a lot from pain in my bones and wanted to focus all my energy on recovery. My main message is that I treated my illness like a production – as you would organize a bar mitzva, a wedding or a project at work.
That’s how I viewed my disease, and I believe this is one of the ways of dealing with a crisis. I assigned tasks and conducted the orchestra. I told every person what they needed to do. It was clear to me that if I acted like a victim, I would kill everyone around me, and I didn’t want to wear out those who helped me. My message is that people need to administer their illness, says Fisher.
More details
Fisher’s book High on Life can be obtained at Steimatzky stores, at Tzomet Sfarim or directly from Fisher.
During her illness and recuperation, she and her husband produced a moving documentary. It can be viewed online here.
Fisher is currently working on a lecture based on the principles of her book, with the purpose of answering the needs of those dealing with a crisis, whatever its .nature may be