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Thursday, June 18, 2009

The BEST mood!

What can I say? Chemo was so much fun today!!

First of all, I started off the day in a GREAT mood.

I went to sleep late and woke up early, yet I was still full of energy! My guess is that I was feeling the after-effects of the laughter workshop!

When I arrived at chemo, I saw RE, who I have not seen for a long time (she's my friend, who runs the hadracha (informal education) center at Tel Shilo). We both changed chemo days and now we do not overlap at all. So it was great to see her and have a chance to catch up!

As we were talking, my oncologist snagged me to come into his office. I got nervous, because we were not scheduled to meet today, but he just wanted to take two minutes to share the results of my MRI. Everything is stable, Baruch HaShem!! (Thank God)

When I went to stake out a chair in the day room, several people greeted me enthusiastically. What a great feeling!! I spent a few minutes chatting with each one, and then went to open my port.

Once again, the nurse drew blood easily. What a bracha! (blessing) For almost a full year, it took almost 15-20 minutes to draw blood from my port -- and that is when the port worked! Almost 50% of the time (maybe more), I had to get blood drawn from a vein because the port only worked "one way" -- you could put stuff in, but you could not get anything out! Something shifted during these last two months and the port has been working as it should!! Chasdei HaShem! (God is good!! -- ok, that is not an exact translation, but you get the idea)

After that, I had a wonderful foot massage to relieve some of the pressure in my feet and legs from swelling caused by the chemo. (Thanks to the Yuri Stern Foundation)

After my massage, I sat for a few minutes with N, another friend from chemo who I have not seen in a long time.

Then today's chemo date arrived! I have not seen my friend HND for a long time! Our schedules just don't match up! But she is about to move up north and we both really wanted a chance to hang out before her move. As always, our conversation covered a broad range of topics and was really interesting!

In the middle of the day, when the ward was starting to empty out, one of the nurses, who is a real character, sat down on one of the chairs for "story hour." Yesterday, a patient gave her a printout of one of those cute anecdotes circulating the internet these days (The Story of the Ceramic Tea Cup and its Maker) and she decided to share it with us, translated into Hebrew, of course.

Just as she began the tale, the couple who comes each week to deliver food from Ezer MiZion arrived.

How can I describe this couple? First, you need to know that the "typical" volunteers for Ezer MiZion are gentle Hareidi (ultra-Orthodox) women in their late fifties, or older, who speak softly and tend to be very demure. Not this couple. They are probably in their forties, but maybe in their early fifties -- I used to be good at estimating ages, but not any more. It does not matter; their age is irrelevant. They are certainly young at heart!

What sets these volunteers apart is the husband, who has a booming personality!! He is tall, wears a large white kippah typical of hippie dati leumi (national religious) types, and his presence just fills the room with joy!! (He makes me look quiet!!) Both the husband and the wife have large, warm smiles, and they take a bit of time to talk and joke with the patients. Just writing about them makes me smile!!

Today, they mentioned that they are going on vacation for a month. They will be spending a week in Orlando. Disneyworld and Universal Studios are my favorite places in the world!!! I could spend a month in those parks and not get tired of the rides!! Not to mention all the REALLY NICE people who work there!!! So, I spent some time with them describing the different parks and rides, and sharing tips for how to maximize their time. It was nice to be able to give back something to these special people who brighten up my day each week. (At least, I hope my suggestions were helpful. We'll find out when they return.)

I admit I am a bit jealous. I REALLY want to go to Orlando with my kids now, while they are still young enough to enjoy vacationing with their parents. (and while my health is still good enough that I can go on ALL the rides!!)

After the couple left, the nurse continued with her "story hour."

The whole thing was just so funny!!

After chemo, on our way out, we met S&AG, who were hanging out in the coffee shop. We hung out with them for a while, catching up. AG is always involved in really cool and unusual projects. S&AG were advisors when I was in NCSY. I was a S "groupie" -- I always attended any session she led. She was, and is, a fantastic educator and role model! I wonder if she knows how much I admired her. (if she reads this post, she will know now!)

When we left the hospital, I was not tired, so I accompanied my friend on an errand and then she came over for a quick cup of coffee.

Not long after she left, my kids came home. They were all excited about having sold almost everything they brought to the shuk kach-ten ("give and take" market) -- the kids bring things to barter and "sell" for special school made money. My kids had a table together and cooperated so that they could each get what they wanted.

I find it fascinating to see what interests my kids from year to year. Sometimes they just get junk that they tire of in a few days, but sometimes they get things they really want. For example, my son got a fun baseball cap that he likes, and that he can use for tiyulim (hikes). This year he lost several hats we had that he liked, so I am pleased that he found a hat that suits him. Hopefully he will keep this one for a while. (I am not holding my breath)

My daughter waited patiently for her turn to share her treasures. She watched as my son slowly took out eat item and showed off his finds. Then she did the same, slowly exhibiting each item, saving her favorites for last.

By the time they were done, so was I. It was a long day.

But both kids still needed more attention. My son was in one of those moods where he was still hungry but would not finish the food he had. And my daughter wanted me to sit with her and fix all the typos in her English project.

I would have been happy to hand over the reins to Moshe, but he went to Shavua HaSefer (The Book Festival) again, for the third time.

I could not even turn to my eldest for help, since she is away for the night. Her school decided to have an overnight tiyul (trip) for the last two days of school.

In the end, I just sent my kids to get ready for bed. My son grumbled the whole time about being hungry but when I went in to talk with him about what happened he was already asleep! My daughter also would have been happy to play around for longer, but it was 8:30 and time for bed!

As soon as the house quieted down, my good mood returned.

I planned to go out tonight to celebrate a friend's birthday. If Moshe were home, I probably would have gone, especially if we would have gone together (read: if he drove). But by the time the kids were in bed and asleep, I realized it was too much! I might have been able to drive there, but I did not want to drive home late at night.

I had a great day, but my energy has finally waned. I am tired. The good kind of tired. The way you feel after a really great day.

Isn't it funny? Today was a chemo day, but it was a really great day.

Fancy that!

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

With love and optimism,


Anonymous said...

Very uplifting post. And I read it from beginning to end. It's wonderful to hear of all those upbeat people who spread happiness in the chemo room (including you of course!) It makes such a difference.


Lynne said...

You are amazing - I love you!!!!