I am a woman. I am a proud Jewish woman. In every group of people there seems to be a genetic disposition to be the carrier of some gene or another that can be fatal. Breast cancer chose to make the Jewish woman its popular choice. But don't get me wrong- breast cancer doesn't discriminate. It will go after any woman of any ethnic background- it is just that Jewish women are more likely to experience it.

Each year when it comes time for me to go for my mammogram, I try to put it off. It is just so much easier to not deal with the unknown- and I have a ton of other appointments I should handle. You know, like getting the oil changed, the yearly visit with the accountant and keeping up with the household chores. Nu, so who am I fooling?

Both my mother and aunt had had breast cancer This year was no different than any other year. I mean- why should it have been? I was late for my yearly mammogram, but at least this time I felt I would be able to explain to the technician my excellent excuse. No- I mean reason. I had had surgery and... and this made me three months late. Okay- not even I believed it. Well it is true I had surgery, but being three months late, ah this is another story. The kind of story in Yiddish we refer to as a bubbe mase, a little white lie. You know- a stretch of the imagination.

I had been having pain in my left breast, so I made sure to tell the receptionist when I scheduled my appointment for the mammogram. The agonizing day came. I call it agonizing because both my mother and aunt had breast cancer. Both had to have mastectomies and were heroes. They were breast cancer survivors.

On the mammogram the radiologist found something. Unfortunately my previous films had been moved to another building, which meant I had to wait a couple of weeks until they could be retrieved for comparison, and they could see if there was really something wrong as the radiologist suspected.

I needed to occupy my mind while waiting for the results. Here was the perfect opportunity to get away. My girlfriend happily agreed to take me to New Jersey for my birthday. We were off to Atlantic City to hit the boardwalk- and in the freezing winter no less. What an amazing friend she is, because I am wheelchair bound for the most part so she was the one who had to push me all over in the wheelchair, but she was only too happy to do so saying, "You would do the same for me if you could." She was right. I would without a doubt.

I needed to occupy my mind while waiting for the results I was drawn there. I felt I had a destiny, Divine providence? When my girlfriend pushed me to the end of the peer and the wheelchair could not move in the sand, I said, "Let me hold onto you. I want to walk out to the ocean and touch the water." She said, "But it's too far." I knew different. I told her. "G‑d will help me." And I prayed to Him. He heard my prayer. My wish was granted. I walked onto the beach, stopping a couple of times to rest. Before I knew it the waves were washing onto my tennis shoes. My feet were wet, but it didn't matter. I had made it. I bent down to touch the ocean water. I tried to cup the water in the palm of my hand, but it slowly dripped through my fingers. I can't begin to express the immense inner peace I felt staring out at the endless body of water, the enchanting seagulls flying overhead and others taking a quick dip in the cold water. And as I stood still I tried to imagine the strength and courage Moses had as he led his people to freedom.

Water is pure. Water is cleansing. Upon rising in the morning we wash our hands with water to purify them to serve G‑d throughout the day. Living waters, i.e. waters straight from a natural source, have a special ability to purify.

Strange as it may sound I felt blessings were being bestowed upon me from touching the ocean water. How? I'm not sure. I can tell you I was overcome with a heartfelt sense of peace and joy within, and all at the same time.

I finally got the call. It was an hour before Shabbat so surely I would get good news – right? Wrong? There was a spot. I needed to come back in for a different type of mammogram, a magnifying mammogram. I made my appointment for first thing Monday morning.

The weekend was quite long, needless to say. Monday morning came and I got up in plenty of time so I wouldn't be late. I took my shower and for once I wanted to do a self-exam, but I couldn't. Why? I think I have been afraid since I was a little girl when Mama, of blessed memory, had breast cancer and than my aunt unfortunately got it too. So maybe somehow I developed this fear that if I do my monthly exam – I, too, may find a lump, G‑d forbid. But I need to check. I need to do my exam. I owe this to myself. And what about taking the test to find out if I am a carrier of the breast cancer gene? I ask myself, if it is positive what will this change?

I went to my appointment. The technician took three magnifying mammograms and the spot was nowhere to be found. The technician and the radiologist were baffled and gave up. They said, "You're fine, Ms. Brown. Come back in one year."

I remembered walking out to the ocean.