My grandmother was a fortune-teller, my mother was a stand-up comic and my father was a song-and-dance man. The way I tell it, I grew up in a circus and ran off to join an orphanage. I learned, early in life, that one has to have a sense of humour. So I guess it would come as no surprise that when I found out I had been accepted into the Lung Transplant Program due to emphysema, one of the first things I did was re-write the lyrics to the song "Matchmaker" from "Fiddler on the Roof"…

Matchmaker, matchmaker
make me a match,
find me a find,
catch me a catch
I need two lungs
much better than mine
so make me a perfect match...

One thing for sure, this journey has changed meI give you that removing diseased lungs and physically replacing them with someone else's healthy ones is not really a laughing matter. Mind you, I did whistle that tune for the first few weeks of waiting. Not a bad idea, given that whistling happens to be a great tool in emptying the lungs of trapped air, which seems to be my main problem. Anyway, getting back to this transplant issue, it's a pretty amazing prospect. It's a big thing. It's so big that on most days, I can't really get my head around it. One thing I do know. If G‑d has given man the ability to save lives with such radical and delicate surgery, I am in good hands.

When I approach this challenge from that angle, it actually gives me room to laugh and cry and be calm and afraid and everything in between… simply because I know that anything is possible. G‑d listens and sometimes, when I find myself waiting for that call to come, that the hospital has found a donor for me, I remember that we are on G‑d's schedule. I think I am learning to respect that and openly embrace it. One thing for sure, this journey has changed me.

With that said, it's not just my life that has changed. My husband, my children, my friends - they also have to deal with getting their heads around this. I have to deal with them getting their heads around this. The ups and downs and lateral moves we all employ to help us all keep an even keel for this awesome second-chance of life, is quite the dance. Well, show-business does run in the family, after all.

I am happy to say that it has brought out the very best in us. My 21-year old son displays his affection openly and with a tremendous sense of humour and kindness; my 20-year old daughter encourages me with her exhilarating spirit and zest for life, and my husband of 24 years is my voice of reason when I look at him and say, "Do I realllllllly need to do this?" Yup, I think so, sweetheart. He has also morphed into a cook, chauffeur and cleaning lady. There are some upsides to all of this.

In case you haven't noticed, there is no linear or chronological order in what I am writing. I mean, I could say, in the first month I felt a certain way, by the third month of waiting I felt different, but it really doesn't work that way. I go through any combination of feelings and have all kinds of thoughts at any given time. Well, now I am in my ninth month and the last time I said that, I had a baby. This time I am praying for twins. Now, that's funny.

Deep-down inside, I feel perfectly fineEveryone is different. Everyone has their journey to follow. As for my fellow patients on the waiting list, every three months we all file in to the hospital for a check up. Blood tests, x-rays, pulmonary function tests, and the meeting with the surgeon. We all sit in the waiting room. We're all waiting. We are waiting to see the doctor, to make sure our systems are still strong enough to undergo the surgery, to re-claim our lives. I usually see worry and apprehension. My husband is not comfortable in that waiting room. I think it scares him. Everyone looks so sick.

I don't though. I look perfectly well. Ask anyone who knows me. Maybe it's because I feel well, inside. Deep-down inside, I feel perfectly fine. I know that beyond my fears and tears and dreams and desires and hopes and nightmares, that Someone wrote the book on all this a very long time ago… in a galaxy far, far away... as they say.

I have the Torah. I have Tehillim, the book of Psalms; I have access to online audio lectures on Tanya. I have so much. I have so many tools for life from beginning to end. Everything happens for a reason and everyone has a purpose. Whether we learn this early in life or later on, in sickness or in health, we do learn.

So I wait and I read and I pray and I cry and I even dance a little in the kitchen. I have a 100-foot hose that is connected to an oxygen concentrator and I use it as a lifeline that gets me upstairs and downstairs to my piano, to my bedroom, for my bath and to my bed.

I know I have the edge, an advantageI keep the books I need in almost every room and I am not complaining. I have nothing to complain or worry about. I know I have the edge, an advantage… They once asked Golda Meir if Israel had a secret weapon. She said, "Yes. No alternative."

I think I know what that feels like.

“… My doctors
I hope they're not golfing
My beeper, yes, the battery’s charged
My blood type, it's pretty common
So maybe your job
won't be that hard!

Matchmaker, matchmaker
I'll bring my chest
I'm full of faith
You bring the rest!

Matchmaker, matchmaker
what more can I say.....?
But find me a find
look in Your book
don't take too much time
get me off this hook
and let me get on...
with my life!"

Enough said. I'll keep you posted.

Editor's Note: Melody Masha is currently #11 on the transplant list...