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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Chemo Day: Kids' Day at the Chemo Ward

"no rest for the weary"
(my mom always says this, so it seems like it must be a quote from somewhere)

Radiation ends and chemo resumes.... no breaks for the holidays....

At least, not for Chol HaMoed... (the Oncology Day Ward is closed on Chag & Erev Chag)

Tuesday was a marathon day for me: all three drugs (bone drug, vanilla-bean, and Herceptin) plus hydro-cortizone (to prevent/minimize an allergic reaction to the Herceptin).

I knew I would be there for a long time...

A few weeks ago, the social worker in the Oncology Day Ward suggested that it might be helpful to my children to see what chemo day is like. Chemo day on Chol HaMoed seemed like the right time... the kids wouldn't miss school and they could come for just part of the morning.

We had planned Tuesday to be a "down-time" day, so I figured that someone would bring the kids home and someone else would hang out with me for the day. After all, my home is filled with family members...

But, since we did double-duty at Ir David the previous day, we didn't go to the Southern Wall Excavations as planned. So I suggested that the family go to the Southern Wall Excavations Tuesday instead. I didn't mind missing this, as I've been there many times.

Moshe worried about leaving me alone for chemo, but I assured him that I would be able to entertain myself. I'd bring a good book, watch some TV, chat with other patients.... I'd be fine.

However, when Y heard that I wasn't going to be going to the Southern Wall Excavations, she announced that she didn't want to go either (she's also been there many times). After some discussion, Y chose to spend the day with me. We both appreciated the opportunity to have time together.

So, I packed my bag for the day and included games, snacks and treats for all. I wanted it to be a positive experience (as much as possible).

When we got there, the kids prompty began playing cards. When something interesting finally happened, it was hard to get them to stop playing and pay attention. During the few times that I wanted them to see something, they were barely interested. Part of me was happy that they weren't phased by what was going on, but the other part was hurt that they barely seemed to care...

Of course, whenever I pulled out snacks, they all put away their game....

What can I say? Despite all attempts to raise angels, I have normal, healthy kids. (ThankGod)

I am just grateful that they enjoy each others' company so much and are so happy playing together.

The doctor, though busy as usual, was very friendly when he passed by and noticed my kids. He asked each to introduce him/herself. Later, I discovered that MD would have like to ask the doctor some questions. It hadn't occured to me that my kids would actually have questions for the doctor. Next time, I will have to arrange for them to have a real meeting with the doctor. Live and learn...

Over a few hours, the kids got to see each stage until I was all set up on a comfy-chair with my IV. Then there was nothing else to see, so Moshe took MD and A home to go touring with the family.

As soon as everyone left, Y and I set up backgammon and began to play. We played for a while, until my friend K came by. Then Y pulled out her book to read, while K and I chatted. When K left, Y had enough backgammon, so we played Scrabble. Somewhere in the middle, we ate Greek salads for lunch. Our lunch options were limited since there was no Succah. Luckily, we both love salads.

The Herceptin went slowly, since I still have a reaction to it, but we finished just before 4:00. Luckily, another woman with whom I have become friendly, was ready to leave at the same time. So we got a ride to the train station with her and her husband.

Maybe tomorrow I'll tell you about the train ride.....

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,

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