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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Chemo Day -- Tuesday is Wednesday - this week only

I can not remember when I felt as tired as I felt today!

The LLL retreat was Monday and Tuesday, so I pushed chemo off until Wednesday.

My chemo date was able to be flexible, but my other arrangements were not.

I have everything set up for Tuesdays: CK, whose daughter is in A's class, picks up our kids and brings them home. My afternoon schedule is clear, so I can come home from chemo and sleep. Friends cook us dinner, so I do not need to prepare anything. (Friends make us dinner on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If you want to be on the rotation, please let me know.)

But Wednesdays are different. I have OT (occupational therapy) in the afternoon. And, though AJ picks up the kids from school and bring them where they need to go, I have to pick them up from there and bring them home. This Wednesday, even that arrangement was changed, because my son's activity was cancelled and my daughter's gymnastics group was having an early rehearsal for the end-of-year performances. And, of course, the rehearsal was at some place that I had never been before!

So, I was exhausted when I came home from chemo, but I did not have time to take a nap. I actually cancelled OT (good for me!). Then I called my back-up to pick up the kids (I was still hoping that I would be able to fit in that nap....), but I only got her voice mail. When she called back, it was already late and it was simpler to pick up the kids myself, since I needed to bring A to her rehearsal.

By the time I got home, there was less than an hour before I had to leave again, to go to my book club. I knew that if I went to sleep, I would never wake up to go. I did not want to miss the meeting because we were discussing our book list for the next year and because I read this month's book! I was quite interested in discussing the book!

After book club, I came home, exhausted, and went straight to bed. ("do not pass go; do not stay up and blog; go directly to sleep!")

This morning, my friend LJ came to help me tidy-up. She tries to come once a week. It is thanks to her that my household does not descend down to the depths of disaster. (She is aided in her mission by Moshe's niece, who also comes once a week, and two of Moshe's cousins, who also come once a week, usually on Tuesdays. The cousins, who are spending the year in seminary, are returning to the US in less than a month!)

LJ is absolutely amazing, and her help gives me hope that one day I will emerge from this mess that I have created. Today we (read: she) cleaned out the entrance of our apartment. My challenge, now, is not to place more junk on all the newly cleared surfaces.

I took LJ home afterwards, and then went on to Physical Therapy at the Maccabi building on Agrippas. Parking there is always a challenge, so when I saw someone pulling out, I just parked and walked the rest of the way, in the hot sun. (my handy-dandy handicapped parking permit does not help when there is no where to park!)

When I got to the PT department, I discovered that the secretaries had made my appointment for the 27th -- the Tuesday when I was out of town on the retreat! I was absolutely frustrated! I was so tired, and I had pushed myself to get there (and I had clearly recorded the appointment in my calendar).

To leave the building, I had to pass by the office of my gynecologist, with whom I had an appointment for the following week. Incredibly, there was no one waiting for her. So I took a chance, and waited for the patient who was with her to leave. Fortune (read: God) smiled down on me and the doctor was willing to see me. She sent me for an ultrasound to check something out, so I got that out of the way as well. (I have to have my ovaries checked every six months, so I had an ultrasound scheduled for next week as well.)

The ultrasound technician, J, was very quiet. But she was quite serious about what she was doing. When something looked suspicious, she called in a doctor for a second opinion. And, when he sent me to do a pregnancy test, she asked me to come back and let her know the results.

Thank God, the result was negative. The nurse seemed perplexed that I was relieved, until I explained that I am receiving chemotherapy and pregnancy is contraindicated. (As my doctor likes to say: "chemo is detrimental to a fetus and no chemo is detrimental to you")

When I told the technician the results, she was concerned and asked what I was doing to follow up on the strange growth. I told her that the doctor was sending me for blood tests and we would know more when we got the results. Again, she asked me to let her know.

I was surprised, and touched, by her attentiveness and concern. Earlier, when the issue of my cancer came up, the first response of this young, very secular looking technician, was to say "God be with you."

The doctor who came in to look at the ultrasound seemed confident that the growth is not cancer. But I admit that unexpected growths make me nervous.

A year ago, I had a similar growth, which turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy. Perhaps another time I will post about that discovery, and the rollercoaster ride that rapidly took us to the highs of discovering we are pregnant, and then, just as rapidly, to the lows of having a miscarriage.

By the time I left, I was physically and emotionally drained. I had no idea how I was going to manage to teach my swimming classes.

I picked up my son, who went home from school with a friend, since I was stuck at the doctor's doing all these tests. Then we drove to the pool.

We sat together, for a few moments, drinking hot chocolate and talking. Spending that time alone with my son gave me a boost of energy.

For whatever reason, several kids were absent today. So my classes were smaller, and a bit easier to teach. I totally got into the teaching, and, by my second class, did not feel at all sick or tired.

When I finished teaching, I felt great.

Not long afterwards, the tiredness crept back up on me.

But I still could not go to sleep, because we had an appointment with a Sofer Stam (scribe) to check out a Megillah (scroll of the book of Esther) that we are considering purchasing. (more on that another time) It turns out that the Sofer, who lives a few blocks from us, is the brother of the husband of one of Moshe's cousins. His brother is married to Moshe's sister's husband's sister. Got that?? And, as if that isn't enough, his daughter teaches literature at the high school where Y is going next year.

What a crazy day!

But, I made it through the day.

I even managed to post this blog.

Now, I am going to sleep!

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

With love and optimism,


Rahel Jaskow said...

RivkA, what a day! I send you a big hug.

Leora said...

RivkA, you have a lot of inner strength. It's hard enough to manage one's complicated life, but I cannot imagine doing that with the complications of chemo. Shabbat Shalom.

mrg & grm said...

By the time I got to the end, I couldn't figure out whose cousin's best friend's father's mother-in-law was related to whom! gadzooks!
I know what it's like when you're in the middle of all this and appt.s are cancelled. Feh! Glad you got the u/s though.

Baila said...

Amazing. You are blessed, to be able to do all that you do, and to have so much support.

RivkA with a capital A said...

Rahel, Leora, mrg, baila -- THANKS!