Friday, December 16, 2011

The World Eating Tour and Chance Encounters

"Um, excuse me," she began, "but aren't you Yarden Frankl?"

Looking around the table at us and our forming giggles, Yarden turned to the eager young girl.

"Yeah..."

"Oh my gosh!" She exclaimed. "I just knew it. And you're Stella," she said, pointing to the other end of the table. "I'm writing an article about the two of you. Tonight!"

And so began our dinner a few nights ago at an out-of-the-way eatery called Pechanka which is nestled in the hills about 20 minutes from our home.

We were out to dinner with the Frankls and another couple on our World Eating Tour for Stella. See, with Stella's stomach surgery scheduled for January 1, we've all (Stella included) made it our mission to help her to enjoy food, and lots of food, before the surgery date arrives.

And with her brief introduction, Rosie pulled up a chair and proceeded to interview Yarden.


And as I overheard what Yarden was saying, I couldn't help but revel at where we have arrived.

Just a month ago, Yarden's story would have been tinged with sadness, with a desperate hope for a miracle, with struggle.

That night, however, as we giggled and teased, we listened to Yarden's story with awe. He explained to Rosie how Stella was diagnosed six months ago with inoperable, late stage stomach cancer. How they had struggled, how he decided to make a fundraising bike ride, and how they kept hoping for good news.

And then, recently, the amazing news arrived that Stella's cancer had receded enough for surgery.

And the atmosphere at the table was celebratory, light, lively.

Rosie listened in awe. She said she was so inspired by Stella, by Yarden's bike ride, by the entire story.

And as she went back to her table, we couldn't help but shake our heads. Stella's story - their miracle - is resonating near and far.

When she finished her meal and was ready to leave the restaurant, Rosie thanked the Frankls again for their time. And then, as she started to walk away, she turned back with open arms and said,

"Just one more thing. Can I hug you Stella? I have to hug you."

And she ran back over to envelope Stella in a big hug and to wish her good luck with the upcoming surgery.

And I looked at Stella, beaming across the table, shook my head and thanked Hashem for bringing us to this miraculous point in the cancer journey.

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