5:00 in the morning, I woke up coughing my head off. Finally, I got out of bed to take some cough syrup and suck on a heavy duty cough drop. For lack of anything better to do, I surfed the web while waiting for the cough syrup to kick in.
For those of you who don't know me so well, I am definitely a night owl. I NEVER get up that early in the morning!! In fact, I often sleep 'till 9:00, and that has nothing to do with chemo!
By the time I was ready to go back to bed, the kids were up and the house was rocking!! I lay down in bed and waited for the quiet.... then.... ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz
At around 10:00, someone called (the nerve!!) and that was it, I was up.
Then, the big question: do I teach swimming today??
I did not feel well, but I hate cancelling class. And I already cancelled swimming for next week (I am going away, on the Beit Natan winter retreat)
I kept putting off the decision, thinking that maybe I'd feel better in a few hours. Meanwhile, I spent the time taking care of paperwork that had been piling up. (there is still a lot more to go, but I did enought to feel productive!). Luckily, I could do most of the work sitting down.
I finally decided to consult my GP. He is always advising me not to go in the water when I am sick (and I almost always badger him with questions until he cedes that it is probably ok if I do it anyway).
Wouldn't you know it? When my doctor called me back, he said it was ok for me to go in the water! He said it sounded like I have sinusitis that is getting better by itself. While there is a chance that going in the water can make it worse, if that happens, he'll just treat it with antibiotics. He told me that it might take another week before I feel better and suggested that I do not limit my activities.
What a dilemma!!
By the time I decided that I should follow my instincts and cancel class anyway, it was too late. Trying to do the juggling to cancel class was more difficult than just showing up and teaching! So, I went.
Like always, once I got in the water and started teaching, I felt better! But, I must admit that after 45 minutes in the water, I started to get a bit chilled. And by the time I was done with my third class, I was downright cold!
I took a quick break, and stood under a steaming shower for 3 minutes. I would have loved to stay longer, but I did not want to keep my kids waiting (especially since I did not want to stay too late).
Today, thank God, I brought a robe to wear so I would not get chilled when I got out of the pool to teach my advanced swimmers.
I was also really disciplined and talked really quietly during all my classes, so as not to strain my voice even further. (I have a voice again, but it still hurts a bit when I talk)
Unfortunately, my kids were less than cooperative today, and I did not have the patience to deal with them. Why is it that it is harder to teach my own kids than anyone else's?!? When I tell other kids to do things, they do it. Today, my kids argued with every single instruction! (ok, not all my kids, and not with every instruction, but you get the idea!)
After swimming, I raced home, to get ready for a Bat Mitzvah.
We ended up arriving almost an hour and a half late. The Bat Mitzvah was in The Gush, in Alon Shvut. We have known the parents, S&DK for many years. Over the years, we have stayed in touch, often meeting at political demonstrations and Manhigut Yehudit conferences. It was a very moving to be a part of their simcha (celebration). Besides shared political convictions, we share a more difficult experience.
After I was diagnosed this time, I decided that I would daven (pray) for other cancer patients. For many months, I davenned for DK's father, z"l, who passed away just over a year ago.
Sharing an illness creates strong bonds. To some degree, it gives you a glimpse into the depths of another person's soul. There are feelings we all experience, that are an inevitable part of dealing with a terminal disease.
Though I do not talk about it often, death is a shadow that is ever-present in my life.
I like the new terminology, that cancer is a "chronic" disease. But, let's be honest, it doesn't get better. (at least, not yet... not until we get that miracle)
But tonight was not a sad night. Tonight was a joyous celebration of life and coming of age.
May we all merit to share many more happy occasions together!!
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,