****** warning: long post ******
So many good things have happened this past week. I have been too busy to sit down and write!
The day of my PET CT, a good friend, BW, who I do not get to see that often, came to spend the day with me. The intake nurse was a real character; she explained everything in great detail and added a lot of humor to the day. My friend brought lots of great games for us to play, but we did not get a chance to play any of them. We were too busy talking... and sewing. Together we sewed up two major items of clothing for my daughters. After I finished at the hospital, my friend accompanied me (i.e. chauffeured me around town) on a myriad of errands. It was so great to accomplish so much in one day!
Oh yeah, did I mention that when she arrived, she brought three containers of food for my family! She stuck them in the fridge as a matter of course. (get it? as a matter of course?? -- good thing I amuse myself!)
I was tired from all the running around and I knew I had a big day the next day. Thursday, my youngest daughter's school would be celebrating Yom Yerushalayim, including the "mayatzim" (madrichei yerushalayim tzeirim -- your Jerusalem tour guides) project. My daughter, along with a team of her 6th grade classmates, would be guiding us on a three hour tour of Ir David (The City of David). Then, following a communal meal (falafel), we would watch performances of all the younger grades. Even before I had cancer, this event would leave me both energized (it's such a great program!) and exhausted (it is so tiring!!)!
I planned to rest all Wednesday night and Thursday morning, so I would have enough stamina to get through the big day.
Wednesday night, I had difficulty falling asleep. My stomach had been bothering since the morning, and it was still churning. For the first time since I began treatment, I had non-stop diarrhea. All day, I took pills (Imodium) to stop the diarrhea. They did not work. I passed the 6 pill mark, when I was supposed to call my doctor (he was out of the country)… and then the 8 pill mark, when I was supposed to go to the hospital. I never want to go to the hospital in the middle of the night; but that night would have totally messed me up for the next day! I needed to sleep.
I was not dehydrated. I had been diligently drinking all day. I even drank a milkshake, to get in some calories and free radicals (salts and sugars). I felt fine. My stomach just would not cooperate.
At around midnight, I called my neighbor, who is also an oncologist (I actually have two neighbors/friends who are top-notch oncologists). I knew if I called the "on-call," I would be instructed to go straight to the hospital. I really felt that was unnecessary, but I did not want to be irresponsible. So I consulted with my neighbor/friend/local oncologist, who I hoped would give me an answer that was not "by the book." He confirmed that I could stay home and, if need be, I could go to the hospital in the morning, get an IV, and rest there (an option far better than going in the middle of the night!). Neither option turned out to be necessary. I had one more episode, after which I was finally able to fall asleep.
It was not until the next day, when I was feeling a lot better, that I learned that my friend's intention was that I would go straight to the hospital if I had another episode. Thankfully, all's well that ends well. I was fine the next day and able to rest in my own home, and gather strength for that afternoon's event.
However, my restless stomach from the day before made me nervous. I knew there would be no bathrooms once we started the tour, so I popped two pills, "just to be safe," as we left the house. I am happy to report that I had no problems that day. Thank God!!
That afternoon, we arrived right on time! As soon as we got there, I could feel the excitement in the air. The sixth graders were all in their mayatzim shirts, with voice amplifiers, guiding and directing the parents.
My daughter did such a great job leading our tour group!! Who would have imagined that just a few years ago, this girl barely spoke above a whisper? Here she was, full of confidence, reciting her script loudly and clearly. It was definitely one of those proud parenting moments.
I was impressed by her entire team. Not just by their excellent presentations, but by the way they worked together, in harmony, making sure everyone had what they needed, stood where they were supposed to, and did not forget what to say. They did a fantastic job!
My son was in his element as well. He and another boy from his class had spent several days making sure that their classmates would attend. They succeeded in gathering almost all the kids from their class and they had a grand old time together. My son almost blew us off to hang out with his friends, but my eldest convinced him to stay with our group. I was glad he chose to stay with us. I enjoy his company (and his help carrying my bag!).
Before the performances, the parents' committee thank the teacher who teaches the kids about Jerusalem from the time they begin school, culminating in this final project. I was honored to present her with flowers and a class shirt. It felt fitting to end our tenure at the school this way.
This year is the last year that I will have a child in this school. This was the last time I would attend the Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) celebrations. Next year, all my children would go on their own, with their classmates. They would not need me for this anymore. I looked around me, trying to soak it all in.
The shows ended and all the bogrim (graduates) were invited to join the current students on stage, for the "school song." There they were, all three of my "babies," on stage, embraced by friends and community. My youngest daughter had a huge smile on her face; she knew her class did a great job and the hardest part of 6th grade was over. My son, surrounded by all his old friends, also had a huge smile on his face as he waved an Israeli flag high over the heads of his classmates. And my eldest, who also reunited with her classmates, was so free and childlike, dancing with her friends and laughing. They were home.
The evening ended relatively early. As the energy slowly dissipated, we made our way home and into bed.
The next day, our youngest two slept in, our eldest went to school, Moshe went to this course he is taking at Ir David, and I went to our friends' daughter's Bat Mitzvah celebration at Nalaga'at, in Jaffa Port. All the waiters and servers were deaf. In the middle, they gave a brief "lesson" in sign language. It was really fun and very interesting.
That Shabbat, we hosted two girls from Mitzpah Yericho, as part of Shabbat Yerushalayim. All the youth groups in Jerusalem host kids from other branches, who do not live in Jerusalem. During the day, after lunch, they all walk to the Kotel where they meet all the other religious kids from the country!! It is a HUGE "happening!"
The walk takes about an hour and a half from where we live, but the kids never miss it! There are buses after Shabbat, to take them home.
We hosted dinner in the evening. Lunch, the kids ate with their youth group and we ate with good friends of ours. We were three families at lunch, but since most of our kids were with their youth groups, it was actually a very small meal. We were three "grown ups" (who are all pretty childlike) and five kids (out of 9). It was fun!
After lunch, I collapsed into bed and slept for hours! I needed that!
Sunday and Monday were rather mundane. I had a great experience teaching swimming, but I'll post about that separately. And, here we are, Tuesday, ever Chag HaShavuot.
Chag Sameach!! (Happy Holiday!)
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,
Rav Chaim Kanievsky on the hetter mechira
2 hours ago