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Friday, November 9, 2007


I was off this Tuesday, and looked forward to a week with a little extra energy.

I took advantage of my "free day" and went with my kids to get innoculated with the flu vaccine. Then I treated them to falafel in the shuk, so the experience wouldn't be all bad.

After that, we went to a "lail shimurim" (night-watch) -- a Jewish tradition, in some communities, of gathering children to say "sh'ma" over a newborn son, on the night before the "brit milah" (ritual circumcision). A's teacher, R, just gave birth to a son, and invited the whole class for the "lail shimurim". R had also taught MD for two years and I knew she would be happy to see him as well. So I just brought all the kids over. R was so happy to see us, it was so nice.

(Interesting Aside: MD is named for our friend, Danny Frei, who was murdered by an Arab terrorist 12 years ago. Danny Frei had lived on a small yishuv, just outside of Jerusalem, called Michmas (or Michmash). R grew up on Michmas and, when she was a young girl, she used to babysit for Danny's baby daughter.)

So, despite the flu shot, Tuesday was a nice day.

The next day, Wednesday, I awoke feeling very tired and worn down.

I didn't think the feeling could still be an after-effect of chemo, nor did it feel like the flu (no fever or aches in my joints). Though I didn't remember feeling ill after previous flu shots, intellectually I knew that I was probably feeling ill effects from the vaccine. But I also had my doubts.

I wondered if the tired feeling was psychological. Maybe I was starting to succumb to feelings of exhaustion and they were taking me over. Maybe I was at risk of letting the heaviness of my situation weigh me down. Maybe I needed to push myself harder.

So, though I felt like I had no energy and just wanted to stay in bed, I went to OT as usual. When she saw me, my OT said I looked pale. I mentioned that I wasn't feeling well. But I still wondered if maybe I was just being lazy.

Afterwards, while waiting for my mom to pick me up, I popped over to a friend's home for a quick visit. My friend commented that I looked great. (I wasn't feeling so great). Who was right, my OT or my friend? Was I really run down or was I just indulgent?

A friend of mine, from my neighborhood, was marrying off her first child that night. Her son is Hareidi, so the seating would be separate (men and women in different sections). Moshe wouldn't know anyone there (not even my friend), so we agreed that there was no need for him to attend. But that meant that I had to drive. I am so tired at night, driving is difficult. Luckily, I drove another friend from the neighborhood and her company helped me stay awake and alert. Nonetheless, I came home early from the wedding and went straight to bed.

Thursday morning I woke feeling even worse than Wednesday. I'm pretty sure that I had fever. I still wondered if the tiredness was all in my head, but I felt so miserable that I didn't care. I went back to sleep and slept until noon.

Then the fever broke. I woke up feeling great. I didn't feel sick at all. I even felt energetic.

I had been a "wet rag" just a few hours earlier and now I was up and ready to go!

Clearly, that icky feeling had, indeed, been a reaction to the flu shot.

How could I have been filled with so much self-doubt?

It is so hard to judge how much to "give in" to the feeling of tiredness and how much to keep pushing forward.

If I wasn't on chemo, I would have assessed the situation at face value, assumed I was reacting with a mild flu, and slept a few days. No problem.

It is so hard to evaluate what I am feeling physically and what I am feeling emotionally.

And it's hard to "slow down" when you don't want to miss out on anything!

I get tired just thinking about it all!


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

With love and optimism,

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