When the doctor uttered the infamous word “relapse,” I felt my world go black. We were back to where we had started. My five-year-old son had finally been in remission for several months, but the cancer was now back with a vengeance, wreaking havoc on his already frail body. The temporary feeling of relief and return to a somewhat normal routine was gone, and I was plunged back into a world in which chemo and radiation took the place of putting my child on the school bus and learning alef-beis with him. It was Adar when we received the news, and I couldn’t ignore the bitter irony. Although Adar is a time to rejoice, my world had just caved in.
But despite the emotional and physical toll that this new development took on me, I had no choice but to continue accepting orders for the small baking business I run from my house. Luckily, baking had always been my passion, and even as a young child, whenever I needed an outlet for my emotions I would go into the kitchen and bake up a storm. After I got married I turned my passion into a small home business, making custom-made confections for simchos and other occasions. Purim is usually my busiest season, when people send me their ideas and I bring them to life in three dimensions. Baking helped keep me busy and away from focusing on my son’s prognosis and the long road of treatment that lay ahead of us. Besides, we really needed the money very badly. Despite our family’s medical insurance, having a sick child drains your bank account, whether it’s for extra cleaning help or for ordering supper when I just couldn’t make it myself. As I turned on the mixer to start my very first Purim order, I turned to Hashem and said, “Hashem, please help me make at least $1,500 or more this season.”
I took orders from my son’s bedside and did the baking between visits to the hospital. After spending a day watching my son go through chemo, it was therapeutic to pipe colorful clowns on cupcakes and dip pretzels into hot chocolate. When the customers came to pick up their orders and thanked me profusely, I would ask them to please daven for my son. At that point, we had added on a name, and I begged everyone to have him in mind. With everything that was going on, I didn’t have time to accept as many orders as usual. So when I was done with my Purim baking, all I had made was $700.