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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Women Reading Torah for Women

Years ago, when someone from my Women's Tefillah Group asked me if my eldest would layn (read) Torah at her Bat Mitzvah, I responded, "ask her."

I knew that the desire to learn to read Torah had to come from my daughter and not from me.

To my surprise, and pleasure, my eldest chose to read.  She was so excited!  She had six grammar lessons before she even began learning the trope (cantilation) and, she looked forward to every lesson!  In the end, she read six out of seven aliyot.  I read the fourth aliyah, which she did not learn.  It was a great way for me to be involved in her Bat Mitzvah.

When my youngest daughter also expressed interest in layning her parsha, I felt so happy and proud.

I would have liked to teach her, but from my experiences with my eldest and my middle, I already knew that I just did not have the energy, or the discipline, to teach my youngest properly.  My good friend, IS, who taught me to layn back when we were still in college, taught my daughter.

When my daughter discovered how challenging learning to layn is, she expressed doubt that she would be able to learn at all, much less learn the entire Torah reading.

We assured her that whatever she did would be good enough.

A few weeks ago, I realized that she had really mastered the skill of learning to layn, and suggested to her that she probably could learn the entire parsha.  She did not reject the idea, but doubted she could do it.

I will never forget the moment when she came to tell me, with her eyes shining bright and a huge smile on her face, that she knew it all!

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

With love and optimism,

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Medical Update -- Doxil, Weight Loss and Herceptin

Started Doxil today.

We have not received approval yet, but are optimistic that our supplemental insurance will cover the treatments.

Meanwhile, a few of our many angels covered the cost of today's treatment.

So we wrote a check to the hospital and I received my first treatment.

At one point, I felt a tightness in my chest and midsection.  The nurse slowed down the pace of the IV. The pain lessened, though I still felt a tightness in my chest, in the area of my sternum.

The pressure did not increase when the nurse raised the rate again, but I still feel the tightness in my chest now (almost 7 hours later).

My next dose of Doxil is in a month.

My oncologist advised me not to expect to feel a difference in pain until then.  I hope he is wrong.

Lately, I have had to take half a Percocet at night, in order to alleviate the pain enough for me to fall asleep.  I wake up in the morning, earlier than I want, from pain.  I do not want to take a whole pill, because I do not want to be a zombie in the morning!  I am back to taking pain killers (2 Optalgin & 2 Algolysin) as soon as I get up, and every four hours thereafter. 

My appetite has not yet returned fully.  I only have a few more kilos left to lose (4.7 to be exact).  When I get down to 70 kilos, I will have to do something to make sure that I do not lose too much weight.  I always said:  If I have to eat a high calorie diet, I will just eat ice cream all day.  I might need to stock up soon....

I also need to do some sort of exercise.  I know I do not move enough during the day.  I lost all this weight, yet I still feel like I have to drag myself to go anywhere.

Good news for today:  My health fund approved coverage of Herceptin!

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

With love and optimism,

Monday, June 28, 2010

One Proud, and Exhausted, Mama!

I have so much to share, but no energy to write!

I really could sleep all day!!  But who has the time???

This morning, I had to make calls and write a letter about my new medications (which my health fund has not yet approved); now I have to go teach swimming (which is tiring, but also work I love); after that, I will go to my youngest daughter's end of the year play (in which she has a major role).

This is the last in a series of public roles that my daughter has been in during these past four or five weeks.

She has been a shining star throughout!

Did I mention that she delivered her drasha like a pro?

I am one proud mama!!

I do not know how she keeps on going.  I am ready to drop!

If I don't fall asleep during her show tonight, it will be a miracle!!

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

With love and optimism,

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Proud Parenting Moment -- She Read the WHOLE THING!

Today, my youngest daughter read the entire parsha for Shirat Sarah, our women's Tefillah (prayer) group.

She did a fantastic job!

I am so proud.

I wanted to write more, but my right hip and leg are spazzing out.  I am in so much pain, even after taking pain killers.  I just cannot write more right now.

I am so grateful to God for keeping my pain down to a minimum during Shabbat.  I was really able to enjoy our simcha.

I'll write more another time. (b'li neder)

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

With love and optimism,

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Medical Update (Doxil + Herceptin)

Between trying to manage my health and trying to plan a simcha (celebration), we are all at our wits end!

We have had lengthy discussions with three oncologists regarding my upcoming treatment.

My main oncologist recommends Doxil.*

The oncologist with whom we had a phone consultation made several recommendations, all involving Herceptin.

And our semi-local "second opinion" oncologist (who is in the Tel Aviv area), with whom Moshe always insists we meet before beginning any new treatment, agreed that I should switch to Doxil + Herceptin. 

She also said that, according to the current (and new) laws, both should be covered by our health fund.

We are not finding the health fund so forthcoming.  We are challenging the health fun.  At the same time, we are applying to our supplemental insurance for coverage of the Doxil.  The supplemental insurance won't cover Herceptin, because I took that drug before I signed up for coverage.

Meanwhile, my markers are shooting through the roof, but we know there is progression, so no one is getting all excited about that.... except Moshe and me.  And I am so scared about what has been going on inside my body since my last tests showed progression. 

We just cannot play this waiting game.  So, we are looking into funding the first few treatments on our own (with help, of course).

Once we get approved for funding, we should be reimbursed.... ("should" being the operative word)

Meanwhile, I am in pain, and sometimes the pain can get quite serious.

Like now, when my hip hurts so much that I cannot sit, or lie, comfortably, and my thigh muscle is having some sort of electric spasm!

My head is exploding with all the things I have to do tomorrow!!!

Our daughter's Bat Mitzvah is THIS SHABBAT!!

She will be reading ALL of Parhsat Balak at our women's Tefillah group! 

I am so proud of her!!!

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

With love and optimism,

* Doxil was developed in Israel, by Prof. Alberto (Avraham) Gabizon, who is currently the head of oncology at Sha'are Zedek.  (See # 69 and # 70 in this list of Gabizon's professional publications)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Crossing the Line -- Becoming Israeli

This summer, I will have been living in Israel for 21 years.  Add to that the year I spent in Israel after high school, and that makes 22 years of living in Israel.

I am 44.  As of next year, I will have spent more of my life in Israel, than in the US.

This year, at Shavua HaSefer (book week), because of another purchase we made, we had the opportunity to purchase the Even-Shoshan Dictionary at an incredible price.  Due to the internet, there is less of a need for reference books.  Still, living in Israel and possessing only English-Hebrew dictionaries felt... wrong.

How could I be living here for over 20 years and not own a proper Hebrew dictionary?

The Even-Shoshan Dictionary is THE dictionary to get.  It contains far more than mere definitions of words. It contains definitions of phrases and references to where particular words or phrases appear in Tanach and Israeli literature.  It is SO DAMN COOL!!

And I got one!

I have wanted one for years, but they were so expensive.  The set usually costs over 700 NIS.  Recently it sold, on sale, for around 420 NIS.  I got it for 250 NIS!! 

In my mind, owning an Even-Shoshan Dictionary is quintessentially Israeli.

I felt so proud, like I had finally crossed the line from being a new immigrant to being Israeli. 

I do not own an Oxford dictionary, but I own the Even-Shoshan Dictionary.

As often happens, as soon as I made the purchase, I started having doubts.  What if my kids, for whom I really got it, never use it?  What if I got a good deal, but still wasted the money?  What if it just sits on my shelf, gathering dust?

Well, today, I used it, myself, a lot!

It is a bit of a long story (i.e. the topic for another post), but I proofread the text for Tefillat HaDerech and discovered that it was very important to me that the text be grammatically correct, down to every dagesh and every comma.

I got totally into the details. 

I pulled out the dictionary.

Wow.  Just wow.

Not only could I ensure grammatical accuracy, I caught several textual references that I otherwise would not have known.

This is the coolest dictionary.  I had so much fun looking up the exact spelling of particular words, that you might think I am normally this pedantic about grammar.  I am not.

But if I am putting something in print, I want it to be right.

I bought the dictionary less than a month ago, and I used it already.

I am so happy we got it.

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

With love and optimism,

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Power of Good Marketing

No one in my family eats sweet noodle kugel.

Never mind that sweet noodle kugel is a staple in most Ashkenazi homes.  It just does not appeal to the members of my family.

Last week, someone brought over noodles with cottage cheese.  I thought she had made a modified mac and cheese dish, until she mentioned that she "only put a little bit of sugar in it."

If my kids identified the dish as "noodle kugel," I knew no one would eat it.  So, I labeled it "maccaroni and cheese." 

Everyone in our home eats mac and cheese.

Despite the lable, I did not know if my kids would eat the dish.

They did.

When my son took a second portion, he commented "I'm glad it's not sweet; I don't like sweet pasta."

My marketing plan worked.
The next week, someone else made us maccaroni and cheese.

I took a few bites -- this was the real thing!

The mac and cheese tasted amazing, but I could not eat more than a very small portion.

I considered saving a piece for myself to eat later, then decided I did not need to put any aside.  The mac and cheese filled such a big tray....

Big mistake.

That mac and cheese disappeared so fast!

The next day, when I went to to take some, it was already gone!

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

With love and optimism,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Dress -- Part II

This Sunday, one of the topics covered in my shiur (Torah study class) was the prohibition of ta'avot (desires).

I publicly declared that I was in the midst of a major struggle with my ta'avot, regarding The Dress.

Since the previous Wednesday, I could not stop thinking about The Dress. 

I kept thinking of ways to justify the expense:
  • I have not bought myself a new dress in at least ten years. 
  • The price per year is reasonable when it is divided by ten!
  • Though the dress is elegant, it is simple enough so that I can wear it to other smachot (celebrations)
  • I would also wear the dress on chagim (holidays), including Rosh HaShannah. 
But, these calculations would be irrelevant if I gained back the weight I lost.  And, if they put me back on steroids, I could gain that weight back fairly quickly. 

On the other hand, I really do not want to regain that weight. So, it does not make sense to make a decision based on a possibility that I am hoping will not happen.

I decided to ask the store to hold the dress for me, for a day.

When I called the store, the saleslady told me they sold the dress!

My heart plummeted!!

I asked if they could get another dress.

The store owner made a few calls.  Her supplier had another dress in my size and would deliver it to her store.

Then I learned that all the stores at the mall were having a three day stock sale.  On Wednesday, after we left the store, my friend went back and told them about my "situation;" the store owner offered to sell The Dress to me for 1,600 NIS. With the stock sale, The Dress would be 1,326 NIS -- still way beyond my budget, but significantly cheaper than 2,000 NIS!

Meanwhile, the store had the same dress in bordeaux (maroon). I asked a friend, who is a seamstress, to come look at the dress and tell me if she could copy it.  My friend was fairly confident that she could make a similar dress.  Clearly, her dress would not be exactly the same, but it would be close.  We even went to a fabric store and found the same fabric.

I should have felt relieved but, instead, I felt anxious. 

What if she put in all the work and her dress did not meet my expectations?  What if it was not as comfortable?  Or not as pretty?

I needed to decide, because the stock sale ended today.

Yesterday (Tuesday), I spent all afternoon looking for a dress.  I found nothing that fit right.  My body is shaped funny because of the hernia (I actually have two abdominal hernias.  Lucky me.).  So, I really need something that is cut right for me.

I consulted my husband, my mother, my father, and several select friends. 

I wondered if I was crazy for even considering The Dress.

I learned that in Tel Aviv, similar dresses can cost twice as much, or more!  So, what? 

Almost everyone encouraged me to get the dress.  Still, I hesitated. 

I felt torn by my natural frugality versus my extreme desire for The Dress.

Today, on my way home from Beit Natan's Spring Retreat, as I rushed home for a scheduled phone consultation with an oncologist in the US, I did it.

I stopped at the mall, went to the store and paid for the dress (so I could get it at the stock sale price).  I had no time to think, because I needed to get home for the consultation.

I made one more quick stop at the photo shop to get an album for my daughter's Bat Mitzvah.  Because of the stock sale, it cost half the price.

I was in and out of the mall in less than 15 minutes!

I did not have time to think about my decision.

I arrived home just in time to place the call.

Deliberating over The Dress was difficult enough.

Deliberating over my next treatment makes my head spin!

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

With love and optimism,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Last night, I collapsed into bed at 8:15 pm.  By 8:30 pm I was fast asleep!

I do not remember the last time I went to be that early without being sick!

Unfortunately, I then woke up at 4:00 am!!  I managed to fall back asleep, but kept waking up from the pain.

Finally, at 7:00, I got up to help my son.

Before I did anything, I popped some pain killers.

I gotta' start the new treatment soon, whatever it is.  I am in too much pain!

I am not convinced that is what is wearing me down, but it sure does not help!

It is still early (for me), but I can already feel myself crashing.... 

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

With love and optimism,

Monday, June 14, 2010

Vegetarian Pregnancy Problem -- What to do When Your Fetus Craves Meat?

I was a strict vegetarian for years.  You know, the crazy kind of vegetarian that only religious Jews can be.

"What, that chicken touched this potato?  Of course, I cannot eat the potato!"

Well, all that changed when I was pregnant...

In the middle of my first pregnancy, Moshe and I were visiting friends for Shabbat.  They served a very simple lunch, including a platter of Israeli cold cuts.

Now, I love deli meat (especially corned beef and pastrami).  But, let's face it, the deli meat in Israel is lousy.

The quality of the meat did not deter me.  I sat at the table and salivated.  I felt as if the earth was about to open up and swallow me (note the Korach connection to last week's parsha) and the only thing that could save me was to eat the cold cuts.

But I was a vegetarian!!

Now, I was not really a fanatical vegetarian.  I did not believe that meat eaters were morally inferior.  I simply believed that refraining from killing animals was a preferable way to live. I always claimed that if I craved meat, it would be a sign that my body needed the meat.

For years, eating meat was a non-issue.

Then, there I was, craving deli meats.

For an hour, I asked Moshe what I should do.  I just wanted him to tell me: "It is okay for you to eat the meat."

God bless my husband, he never tells me what to do.

Always sensitive, he tells me, instead: "It is your choice. Whatever you decide is okay."


For an hour (an hour!), I suffered.

Then, I succumbed.

I swore my husband and my friends to secrecy; then I gobbled up the entire plate of cold cuts!

I thought my cravings for chicken would go away after I gave birth, but they did not.  Apparently, nursing had the same physical/nutritional effect on my body as being pregnant.  I needed meat.

Finally, I decided.  If I could face my vegan friend and admit that I was no longer vegetarian, I could cross over to "the dark side."

My friend, who is an ideological vegan, was so supportive.  I will forever be grateful to her for not judging me.

It took years for the cravings to end.

It took chemo to make chicken unappealing.

I am not likely to become vegetarian again.  I still like good deli and a good all-beef hot dog!  But I would rather drink a glass of milk than have a piece of chicken.

Meanwhile, it is part of our family lore, that it is my eldest daughter's fault that I am no longer vegetarian.

All the above is to explain why I was so touched when my eldest daughter called me over yesterday, to "come watch this (episode of Friends), it is all about us!"

The B-plot of the episode is about Phoebe, a strict vegetarian, who is pregnant and.... craves meat. 

We watched together and just laughed!!

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

With love and optimism,

Sunday, June 13, 2010

2 Busy 2 Post

Sorry to have disappeared.

Nothing is wrong.

Between real life, Bat Mitzvah planning, and trying to figure out my next treatments, I just have not had time to post!

Will try to post a few short posts in the next few days.

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

With love and optimism,

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Dress

Yesterday, my friend CV offered to help me look for a new dress for my daughter's Bat Mitzvah.

I was not going to get anything new, but my MIL suggested I get something new and offered to contribute towards a new dress.  So, I figured, I should at least look around....

I found the most beautiful dress!  It was perfect: beautiful, soft, flowy, fancy, elegant, stylish and unique; cut in a way that flattered even my mishapen body!  The dress was even in my colors: different shades of tourquiose and black. 

This dress was everything I could have wanted..... and completely out of my price range!

My jaw fell to the floor when I saw the price tag.  Even with an additional discount, the price was not just out of the ballpark, it was out of my league!!

Do people really spend 2,000 NIS for a dress????

I would never dream of spending that much money on an article of clothing!!!

The only problem is that now that I have seen the perfect dress, everything else will pale in comparison....


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

With love and optimism,

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Where is Your "Happy Place"?

A few nights ago, my eldest and I spent some great time together.

Somehow, we got to talking about our "Happy Places."

I was pleased to discover that she has such a place.

Everyone has their own "Happy Place," where they can escape within their own mind.  Not everyone knows how to find it.

My Happy Place is sitting on a small hill, under a willow tree, overlooking a lake, with a small forest off to the left.  There is a building to the right that resembles my Jr. High -- it is a long, flat, red brick building.  Unlike Jr. High, which I hated, this building represents peacefullness and stability...

Sometimes I am alone in my "Happy Place." Sometimes my husband is with me. Sometimes I am sitting with a friend, whose arm is draped comfortably around my shouder.  Every once in a while, I sit there, surrounded by my kids, who are also sitting peacefully. 

My Happy Place is a quiet place, where we sit, in silence, and just "be there," enjoying the moment.

(Thanks to my daughter for inspiring this post)

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

With love and optimism,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Mother's Worst Nightmare

"It can always be worse" is my motto.

We need to keep life's challenges in perspective.

Recognizing that most situations could be worse helps us to appreciate our situation, even if our situation is not all that great.

Then there are mornings like today, when you hear about something so awful that it really is a mother's worst nightmare.

I was still in bed when my eldest daughter called.

She heard something really awful and did not know how to process her feelings.

The news reported that a 16 year old girl and a 20 year old boy were found, dead, in Nachlaot, apparently from a drug overdose.  The girl is someone my daughter has known since she was a baby.  They were in playgroup and, later, in kindergarten together.  Most of the girls in my daughter's High School were in Elementary School and/or Jr. High School with this girl.  All the mothers know this girl's mother.

My daughter told me: "the first thing I did was verify that the information is true; the next thing I did was to call you."

We spoke for a few minutes.  Then my daughter needed to go to class. 

They are addressing this incident in her school. 

Everyone is in shock.

I tried to find information on the internet.  The news reports do not mention the name of the girl or her family.

Once again I am struck by the irony of the adage "no news is good news." 

This is the second time that I learned details of a tragedy even before all the information was released to the public. 

I am still stunned.

How can I expect my 16 year old to process this nightmare when I am having such a difficult time processing it?

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

With love and optimism,

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bat Mitzvah Invitations

I wanted so much to send out invitations (via email) a month in advance.

It did not happen.

The radiosurgery just messed me up.

I finally got all the details (date/place/time) worked out and the invitation is ready, but I still have to put together the list of emails, which just takes time....

The Bat Mitzvah is 18 days away and I still have not sent out a single invitation!

My daughter will, BE"H, be reading Parshat Balak and sharing her drasha at Shirat Sarah, my women's tefillah group, which meets at Pardes.

Davening will start at 9:15, Torah reading at 9:45 (approx.), followed by her drashaKiddush will be around 11:20.

מי שבא ברוך הבא

(Israeli expression:  Whoever comes is welcome!)

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

With love and optimism,

Sunday, June 6, 2010

In a Good Place

I think I am in a good place. 

I am tired (very tired), yet I feel good (most of the time).

I am not thrilled about my recent diagnosis, but it is manageable.  So, we will manage it.

I have to focus on the Bat Mitzvah, 'cause even with help, there is a lot to do.

We have not even sent out invitations yet and the Bat Mitzvah is in less than 20 days!

We have not even made an invitation list!!

I am going to have to buckle down tomorrow morning and get out invitations -- at least some of them!

For our son's Bar Mitzvah, we were still calling people the night before the simcha!

My daughter has learned her first five aliyot well and is almost done learning the sixth.  She learns well, so I hope she will have no problem learning the seventh.  I am so proud of her.

She is busy learning with her Abba (father), preparing for her drasha (d'var Torah; mini-Bible-study-speech).  She loves learning with her Abba and is excited about the things they are learning.  I look forward to hearing what she has to say!

Meanwhile, Moshe is also researching the new drug that my doctor is recommending and also checking out if there are other options.

Life is never dull!!

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

With love and optimism,

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tummy Turnarounds -- more information than you want to know

I was so grateful to be off the meds, if only to get my stomach back.

Well, the upset stomach took a few days to resolve itself, but now we are firmly on the other side.

I have major constipation.

Life is so unfair!

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

With love and optimism,

Friday, June 4, 2010


On Friday, almost out of nowhere, I got really angry at my kids and started snapping at them.

Moshe gently questioned me, "Why are you yelling at the kids?"

All I could answer was, "I am mad."

I sat sulking for a few moments. 

Then, I pondered Moshe's query.  "Why am I so mad?"

I could not avoid the obvious explanation that I felt displaced anger.

If I am being completely honest, I have to admit that I am mad at God. 

I am mad that He gave me cancer.  I am mad that He made things worse (even though things will get better again, BE"H). I am mad that He is making me deal with cancer, now, before my daughter's Bat Mitzvah, when I have lots of other things to worry about....  I am mad.

I trust God.  I have not lost faith.  But I am mad at God.

Once I realized where my anger came from, I had to stop snapping at my kids.  Fair is fair; if I am mad at God and I want to yell, I should yell at God.  But I did not want to yell at God.

Instead, very politely, I explained to God just why I was so mad at Him.

I allowed myself to feel angry.

It is OK to get mad at God.  We do not have to like everything God does or agree with everything in His plan. 

I accept that God has His reasons.

I just don't like them, whatever they are.

I do not want to have cancer.

I want God to make the cancer go away!

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

With love and optimism,

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Riding the Rollercoaster -- Medical Update (2010, June)

Given my rising markers, the increase in pain, the brain mets, and everything else, what I am about to write should come as no surprise....

There has been progression of disease, not just in my brain.

There are new tumors in my skeleton and, once again, I have tumors in my liver.

The good news is that the tumers in my liver are small and pose no imminent threat; my liver is functioning normally.

I need to change treatments.

My oncologist is considering switching my treatment to Doxil.  We want to consult with the oncologist who we see for second opinions; she is currently in the US, participating in a major breast cancer conference. 

During our last visit with her, she mentioned that we should contact her when we are finished with the Xeloda and Tykerb (read: when those drugs stop working), because there might be some research at her hospital that is relevant for me.

Meanwhile, I need to be off everything for a week or two to "clean out" my system.

They sent me upstairs to do an "Echo," to make sure the previous chemotherapies have not damaged my heart.  Thank God, my heart is functioning well.

So, now, we just need to figure out which drugs to take next and begin our next round.

*** deep breath ***

I am OK.

This morning, this news made my head spin.

I feel OK now.

I still need a good cry, but that will come.

I do not want this, but I am strong.

We have been on this ride before.

It is scary.

We can handle it.

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

With love and optimism,

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What A Long Strange Day It's Been....

I cannot remember how I started my day.... 

Oh yeah, a friend came over to do some "shopping" (I'll post more about that later....).  She left with a suitcase full of clothes for her younger boys.  YAY!!

My son got a late start (no great surprise there -- he was exhausted from yesterday's tiyul).  I got a little annoyed about how late he actually got up, but I managed to let my frustration go. I even made him lunch, so he left feeling good that his mother "took care of him."  It is such a funny stage -- he wants to be independent, but he also wants to be pampered.  Finding the right balance is.... challenging!

An hour later, another friend came over to treat me to shiatsu.*  What a pleasure!  I have been feeing overwhelmed and stressed for several days.  I felt so relaxed when she finished treating me!

Then I met with my "narrative therapist."  We have met several times already and I am still not sure exactly what "narrative therapy" is, but I find the sessions with her insightful.  (And she comes to my home, so it could not be easier!)  She asks probing questions that make me think.  My purpose in meeting with her, is to use our meetings to reach my concrete goal of getting my house in order (primarily decluttering, but also organizing....).  Today we mainly "caught up," after not meeting for several weeks.  She also helped me to refocus on my ultimate goal.

In the middle of our session, I got hungry.  That has not happened for the longest time!!

I actually ate some real food and enjoyed it.  I had a small piece of eggplant parmesan, a small slice of carrot cake, and a tall glass of milk.  I was still hungry afterwards, so I ate some honey roasted peanuts.  Not bad for someone who has not had an appetite for 10 months! 

A few hours later, I ate an early dinner with my two younger kids.  I had a bowl of soup and corn on the cob, with butter and salt.  What a simple pleasure to sit and eat with my kids!

I really enjoyed spending the time together.

Unfortunately, I am now paying the piper....  My stomach is grumbling and acting up again.

Perhaps I should have eaten toast with jam, but that is so boring!!   I wanted yummy food.

It was a very surrealistic day, slow, kind of wierd feelings. 

My daughter had her Kfitz Kfotz gymnastics presentation this evening.  This year, they did a local presentation, which I really appreciated.  It was much easier for me to attend a shorter program that was close to home.

When we arrived home, my son was already in bed, and on his way to never-never-land.  Before I left, we discussed what time he should eat supper and go to bed, given how tired he was this morning.  I am pleased that he demonstrated responsibility and made sure to go to bed on time.  I am proud of him.

My daughter also had a few thoughts to share about her day.  She raised several issues that were disturbing her, primarily about certain dynamics at her school.  I tried to guide her a bit, but mostly I just listened.  I am glad she feels she can talk to me.

Today is my eldest's birthday.  She was not home all day.  I missed her.  My youngest was especially disappointed that her sister would not be around to celebrate her birthday.  My youngest is always very diligent about making something nice for our birthdays.  She clearly felt disappointed that her sister would not be receiving her gifts on her actual birthday. My youngest and I sang Happy Birthday to my eldest over the phone. We will celebrate more with her over Shabbat.

My kids are all growing up so fast....

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

With love and optimism,

* In addition to practicing Shiatsu professionally, Idit volunteers her services to me and to the Yuri Stern Foundation.

Idit has a wonderful, warm, and relaxing treatment room in her home.
For regular treatments or to treat yourself to something special:
Idit Amir
Idit Amir amir.idit@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Feeling Way Better Today!!

Wow, did I have a bad day yesterday!  Thank you all for your support and empathy!

This morning, I woke up feeling so much better!!  (Not perfect, but WAY better!!)

I made it to my art class at Ma'agan-Tishkofet, and had the added benefit of taking my daughter to school on the way.  There was a cancellation at the The Yuri Shtern Holistic Center, so I got the massage I "missed" last week.  I left feeling relaxed and energized.

I ran around doing all sorts of small errands from my unending list of "things to do." 

I had time, so on one of my stops, I spent an hour (maybe even more), hanging out with a friend (listening to some of her issues, sharing, supporting, drinking ice coffeee -- you know, the things friends do....).

I picked up my aunt (She's really Moshe's aunt. -- I do not actually have any aunts.  Lucky for me, Moshe has such a wonderful family, I inherited" all his fantastic aunts! and uncles!), who graciously accompanied me on a longer errand, to pick up my chemotherapy.  Then we went to town and ate ice cream and waffles -- YUMM!!

Truth be told, neither of us could finish our order!  (I always take my LO's for the next day!)

Then we went back to her place and I got to see my uncle and their grandson, who came to visit.  I hung out with them for a long time.  They are such wonderful people.

I totally forgot that I had a PTA meeting tonight!  OOPS!!!

On my way home, I picked up my son, who just returned from his sayarut (scouts) tiyul (hike).  They slept out last night, then had a long hike in this heat wave -- boy, did he stink!!  As soon as we walked in the door, he put his clothes in the machine and his body in the shower!!

I thought he would go to sleep as soon as he got out of the shower, but on the tiyul he had figured out all this number theory stuff, and he wanted to share it.  I did not have the head for it, but Moshe listened.. Moshe was so impressed that he forced me to listen too.  Our son understands high level math on such an intuitive level!

I feel like I have really dropped the ball regarding my son's education.  To my chagrin, we have been so busy with my health issues that academia fell by the wayside for most of this year. 

I really try not to feel guilty about things that are in the past and/or are beyond my control.

Sometimes, it is hard not to feel remorse about how cancer has, and is, affecting our family....

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

With love and optimism,