AFTER PASSOVER

SLEEP>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

That is all I could do for the entire day after the kids moved out and on.  I was so fortunate to have the energy while everyone was here and now it is time to recoup.  I was able to attend part of a second night seder but I am staying in or near my bed for today.  Thanks for all the phone calls and e-mails.  I love hearing from each of you.     SLEEEP>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

THE ULTIMATE GIFT

Due to the after Chemo steroids I not was not only able to stay up all day, but I am also up all night too!  

Last night, as I sat down to the dinner table surrounded by my four children and their significant others, all I could do was weep tears of joy.  I looked in each of their beautiful faces, appreciated each of their personalities, how they came dressed (from Rea’s hair scarf and modest dress to Josh and Aaron in their shorts and Birkenstocks and Shira in her jeans)  and was so grateful to have them all seated at a table together.  Even the new baby was kicking while we sang and enjoyed each another.  I am so fortunate that I am not one of those people who when their life is threatened thinks I should have spent more time with my family.  My family has  been and is my life.  I am tempted to say the special Hebrew Prayer called SHEHECHEYANU which thanks God for bringing me to this moment constantly.

I was fortunate to have a few hours with Katherine alone to just talk, Rea and Shuie did the shopping and they climbed into my bed also for a schmooze.  Jan teased us that there was no room for him and Katherine even offered to polish his nails pink if he joined us. LOL.  Aaron and Stephanie found a new venue for the wedding, and Shira and Leo arrived just in time for dinner bearing gifts to remind me of the beach and dazzling smiles.

But the ultimate pleasure was to listen to them discussing the sex of this new baby and the pros and cons of what they think it should be.  Shira and Katherine were down right unhappy that they were not informed once Rea and Shuie knew.  They examined the sonogram pictures and all have decided that the baby has Rea’s turned up nose.  And so as the evening wore on, Rea and Shuie informed all of us that the baby is a boy and the kids were all so excited to be in on the news.  Rea explained the gift of a first born male, circumcision celebrations and an added pidyon ha ben party when the baby is 30 days old ( a special buy back  from God).   Please God, we shall all be healthy and have that little boy share these wonderful family occasions with us.

Tonight will be the first seder that does not start until 8:20 PM.  Hope I can get some sleep during the day today so I will be able to be there with them again.  Passover is a celebration of new beginnings.  The perfect time to wish new beginnings to all of you.  That health and serenity come your way.  That you find those little miracles each day that bring meaning to your life.  That you appreciate each and every day and smile.  PRAY HARD for me as I Pray for you and with a complete circle we have to succeed.

Love to all 

The Day After #2

This has been a fantastic day.  This is the longest I have been able to stay awake.  Last night, we were informed that The caterer’s for Aaron’s wedding filed Chapter 11 and they will have to find a new place for the wedding.  OK. Katherine’s plane arrived 5 hour late but safely. OK.  The kids have taken over the kitchen and seem to be doing alright in there, and if not…it’s OK. Friends have sent in so much food that there is very little preparation to do and we are so blessed.  I am appreciating each and every moment that I have with my family and taking everything as it comes.  A great way to live. Why did I have to get sick in order to learn the most important lesson of all:  I don’t always have to be the giver, the caretaker, the responsible scheduler……That others can and want to give and take care of me if I let them.  What a gift and it’s OK.

 

 

 

 

Chemo #2 Jan’s Perspective

First off, we have been watching the hit count on Debbi’s Journey. During the tension filled days before we found out that the bone scans were clear, almost 170 people per day were reading the blog. Now that things are somewhat routine we are down to about 75 per day. Definitely we are looking forward to retiring the blog as soon as we can. 

Today, Debbi handled the chemo like a champ. Started off by having the port accessed & blood drawn. While we were waiting to see Dr. Bajorin, the lab processed the blood and had the report ready for the Dr. just as he came into see us. All seems progressing as it should. He reviewed Debbi’s account of her response to the first chemo and said all is going as expected. 

Back down to the first floor, Eydie hooked up the Zofran (for nausea), then the JellyBean (as Debbi calls the Gemcitabene), the Mannitol, and now the Cisplatin is almost finished. Soon the rest of the saline solution will be complete and we will be on our way home. Things sure seem to go more smoothly when you know the routine… And once again, all the staff here at Sloan Kettering have been wonderful, going well beyond the scope of their employment to try to know and bring comfort to their patients and also those accompanying the patients.

Debbi has always been super-sensitive to cold and all the room temperature liquid going straight to her kishkes only exacerbates the situation. Technology to the rescue, we bought Debbi an electric blanket with a good temperature control. Took us a bit to figure out how to keep the plastic drip tube for the chemo from getting twisted in the wires of the electric blanket but once we came up with a system, it became routine as the medication makes you visit the bathroom frequently. 

Just finishing up now. Hope to even be able to go out together later today to do some last minute shopping for Passover. Thanks again to all for their prayers and good wishes.

 

GOOD MORNING CHEMO#2

At 7:30am we will be off to Sloan Kettering again for Chemo Treatment #2.  I am so hoping it is similar to last time.  Not so bad receiving and just some side effects after.  I really didn’t sleep very well last night wondering if this is really going to work and if I will have a life after all is said and done.  This is a place I try to avoid because then the questions begin to arise again.  So for right now, I am going to take today, do what is expected and try to keep ahead of the side effects.  I am certain that Jan will add to the blog as the day progresses since he is the details man and will record just what is really happening while I get the luxury of just zoning out.  PRAY HARD PLEASE.  Today we especially need the energy and strength of the universe and all of you to make this work.  Love you all.

MUCH BETTER DAY

After a very relaxed sleep last night, I woke up feeling a little better and decided to take the medications before the symptoms arose and voila…so far a much better day.  I made a list of some small foods that I normally don’t eat but that I thought would be enticing to at least eat something.  So at 7:00AM I was downstairs in Jubilee, our neighborhood grocery, making my purchases.  It was a little nerve wracking shopping alone since I felt very weak and was having hot flashes but I breathed my way through, dragged the bags upstairs, unpacked refrigerated stuff and laid down.  Ok, not a lot accomplished but more than yesterday.  

It is too quiet around here (talk to me next Sunday after the 8 kids leave) and I miss my colleagues at work. Actually I miss the routine of going to work.  One of my children turns 5 on Thursday and he is very disappointed that I will not be at his party.  I am also.  I love watching my children celebrate their new “grown up” status either a birthday, loosing a tooth, or a new sibling. They are so proud of themselves and their self-confidence exudes.

Trying to get  my head centered for the next treatment on Thursday.  I know Jan will be with me the whole time and I now know the process so maybe the angst will be less.  Time to meditate and pray on that one.

 

FIRST DAY HOME ALONE

It is quite lonely here without my family but I am feeling quite tired and very nauseated so am trying to sleep, do little things, eat a little, and sleep some more.  The doctors told me that this would happen.  But it’s not bad.  Just very difficult for someone with my usual energy level to accept and I am very distracted. There is so much I want to do in my head and so little my body feels like doing.

But for today, I have the sunshine, a wonderful place to rest, and adoring family and the most amazing people out there praying and supporting me.  What more is there?  Hugs to all.  Thinking about each and every one of you all day long.

 

STATUS QUO

Three days after the first chemo treatment and I am still feeling pretty OK. I must admit that I am more tired, a little more achy, and my energy level has dropped.  

I was fortunate to have Rea and Shuie bring our Granddaughters Simi and Huvi for a Dora pancake breakfast and after an hour I felt my energy level drop quite a bit.  But it was worth it.  I am hoping I’ll be able to go back to teaching after the Passover Vacation and at least be there for my children to snuggle them, play quietly, read to them, and listen to their stories.  I fear that I will not have the energy to be their dancing, singing, playing teacher but at least they will have some continuity of their caretaker. There are only 8+ weeks of school left  and I want to make the most impact that I can during that time.

Jan and I spent the day walking a little and doing small errands and I so love having him by my side and enjoying the fresh air.  I am a little nervous about going out alone because not that I get dizzy but sometimes a little off balance.  The good thing about NY, if I can’t make it to where I need to be, I hail a cab!  

Jan talked to our “engineer” Dr. Michael today and discussed the spot on my scapula that we were so concerned about.  It continually showed up on the PT Scans and MRIs but after the biopsy it did not show up again on the bone scans.  WHY? Michael smiled and said, “God touched her with his hand”.  Thank you all so very much for your continual prayers.  They are obviously helping.  They do not have to be formal, or of any religious orientation, just a spiritual thank you will suffice.  Love you all.

 

DAY #2 POST CHEMO

I woke up feeling quite spry this morning but a as the day is wearing down, so am I.  Jan and I took a short walk out to the pier on the Hudson outside our apartment and I was getting tired by the time we came back. We passed the playground and last weekend, I couldn’t look at the place where I have played with my nieces, Abigail and Claire and my grandchildren, Simi and Huvie without angst and tears.  Today, Jan and I went in to sit and watch the children and case out the strollers to see what would be good for our new grandbaby.  I sat down next to a mother and explained we were about to become grandparents and seeing Jan’s kepah said, “Mazel Tov!”.  We began to discuss pros and cons of strollers and then children in general.  She is debating about having a third and I told her about having my 4 ducklings in 4 1/2 years and how grateful I am that it happened that way. (Just that morning I asked jan what he thought # 5 would have been like). 

She went on to tell me that when she was 3 months pregnant with her first child her husband was diagnosed with Hodgekin’s Lymphoma.  It was the worst 6 months of her life but he in great now.  I told her I had just been diagnosed and had my first chemo Thursday.  I was meant to sit on that bench with that young woman and her babies today.  We hugged, kissed, and wished each other well.

Nap time. Hope you are all well and enjoying this wonderful weekend.  

GOOD MORNING WITH A SIGH

And the miracles keep happening. The first 1/2 round of chemo is behind me, I ate breakfast, took my meds,and am ready to appreciate the new day with a very deep sigh.

One of the miracles from yesterday.  I decided to call one of my favorite people from the neighborhood in North Caldwell where we all built houses together and raised our kids.  When she answered, she had just heard the news about my health and was about to call me. We shared so many wonderful things and it warmed my heart.  Her husband, Dr. Michael Rothkopf, a brilliant man, is a physician who works nutritionally with cancer patients!  I forgot that because he was my friend not a job. Michael called last night and for almost an hour discussed what my needs will be nutritionally during the chemo process and for the future.  He made many, many supplimental suggestions but highly approved of the eating pattern I have adopted over the past 6 years.  This is great news.

To my lunch table colleagues: As you watched the stuff in my bowl (brown rice, vegies, and minimal protein), and I watched your delicious Friday specialty lunches and the good stuff usually in the teacher’s room, I am now happy that I only absorbed the aromas of your cuisine by breathing in deeply and “suffered” with mine. LOL 🙂

The power of all of you pulled me through another day.  Jan tells me that 167 people hit this blog Wednesday!  What does that tell all of us?  DON’T GO IT ALONE, the more we work together, the more energy we have to accomplish anything!  Love you all.