Sunday, December 30, 2012

Going Away

it is 4:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  i went to town, but  didn't get anything done.  it was a waste of my energy.  now when the nurse asks me, on a scale of 1 to 10, how tired am i, i can answer 9, easily.  i am really not feeling good.  i did go to bed last night at 4:00 a.m.  i am ashamed to admit that i watched hours of violent movies.  i saw 'midnite express' and 'scarface', but i can't recall what i watched after that.

i woke up in a panic.  i called the hospital to confirm my appointments for chemo and radiation tomorrow and then i broke down and started crying.  i am really scared.  i  don't have any energy to pack.  i don't know what i'm doing.  the house is in order, at least.  the bedroom is still cluttered up wtih clothes strewn all over the bed.  i meant to put everything away.  it didn't happen.

i read different sites of what to eat on chemo.  apparently, i've been feeding the cancer cells with all of my cravings for cake, chocolate, icecream and pizza.  and here, i thought,  it was zelda who wanted the comfort food.  who knew????

i am tired of thinking about all of this.  i want to call it a night.  i need to cut my hair before i leave.  i need to pack.  i need to put away my clothes.  i need to cook and eat some salmon.  i am already feeling queezie.  i  managed to buy a hard covered note book for my journal..  i have my meds, my organic toiletries, and i want to make some oatmeal to bring with me.  i read that it is good to eat a small meal before chemo and another, before radiation.

i bought a small alarm clock, in case i sleep too late in the morning.  i haven't been getting up at 5:00 a.m. lately.  i usually pop up at around 7:00 a.m.  i haven't a clue  what to wear tomorrow.  i read that loose clothes are the best.  i also read that some people gain weight on this treatment.  can you imagine doing all of this and also getting fat???

i still need to take down all the mezzuzahs in the home.  i am beat.  can't do anything.  am trying to just breathe.  i want to cry.  i am so out of my league here.  i don't want to say anything negative.  i'm willing myself to feel well.  i better get up and eat something or cook something.  the house is already cold.  why am i nauseous??  i hope it isn't a virus or reaction to the shabbat food.  i am having a hard time.  when was the laat time i packed to leave my house?  would you believe it was 13 years ago?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Dancing Til The End

it is 9:30 a.m. in the holy city of zefat.  last night i went to a wedding.  i was trying to convince myself that i was too tired to go.  i was back in 'invalid' mode.  i got a late start to town and i called a taxi.  i picked up the rest of the meds for nausea and went over to the health food store.  it's funny, that all the meds list nausea as common side effects of the meds.  catch 22 or western medicine?

i bought a natural toothepaste, deoderant, and liquid soap.. no more aluminum for me, right now.  i was tired after a short time.  and i was ravenous.  i stopped in a little pizza store at the end of town.  no one was there.  i sat down and devoured a lovely slice of pizza.  it tasted like ambrosia.  i waited a moment and ordered one more slice.  i couldn't finish it but i was happy.  i have never eaten 'junk food'  and pizza was never something  that agreed with me.  suddenly, my body wants icecream, crembos, pizza, shwarma and i don't gain weight.

maybe this disease agrees with me.  i am being ridiculous, i know.  i saw a young lady in town wearing a purim wig.  she worked at the toy store.   i was so delighted to see her.  purim is my favorite time of the year.      i got such a rush of happiness.  i wanted to say that purim is a state of mind.  and everday can be purim.

i got to the wedding and couldn't wait to see the yeshiva guys.  they have never seen me all dolled up.  they have never seen me with hair.  they have seen me in kerchiefs with a little grey hair showing, and without makeup.  they freaked out.  it was just like purim for me.  heads turned.  the rabbi looked in shock.  his mouth was wide open.  it was so much fun.  and then all the ladies came running over to tell me how great i looked.  i hugged and kissed and hugged some more.  i was surrounded by great ladies.  half of the table were cancer survivors or patients like myself.  we all gave each other blessings for good health.

i decided that i couldn't dance.  after all, i have cancer, right?  then i saw a very lovely lady who i've known for a while.  she has had MS for years.  i recently  saw her riding in a motorized cart.  there she was, standing and walking on her own.  i ran over to hug her.  she told me, that as of late, she has been feeling well.  i decided right then and there, that if she could walk, i could dance.  and i ran over to dance with the bride.  i then started a wild dance in a corner with a few of the over 60's club.

we all went insane.  we were rocking and rolling.  the younger girls with hypo energy , came running over to rock with us.  we were being caught on video.  we were the hit of the wedding.    we were on fire.  my farhead was soaked with sweat.  i learned yesterday, that you can be happy and have cancer.  i learned that zelda is still here.  i realized that the doctors have only seen scared little zelda.  they didn't meet zelda, the dancing queen.  they don't know me.  i am loved.  i have a good life.  i am fun to be around. i am a survivor.

i got to speak with several of the guys from the yeshiva.  i gave them hell for smoking.  i also gave them tons of brachas.  one of the younger ones, who has made me his surrogate mom, yelled out ' i love you'.  i smiled and told him 'right back at you'.  i caught another guy staring at me. this one is the 'tough' guy.  i turned my head , caught his eye and smiled back at him.  it was a intimate and lovely moment.  i will treasure all these moments forever.

i am going to my son's for shabbat meals.  this is my farewell shabbat.  i hope my grandchildren are well.  doesn't matter.  everything is good.  i finally get it.  love is all you need.    shabbat shalom.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

They Don't Get It

it's nearly 10:00 a.m. in the holy city of zefat.  my son just called to ask what i had in the house to make him a breakfast.  it took all of my energy just now to heat up a glass of warm milk for myself.  what do i have in the house?.  let's see.  i bought a bag of rolls yesterday, a bag of milk and a bag of dog food.  i bought a shwarma for dinner and i had a roll with avocado.  i also ate 2 israeli crembos, a poor man's mallomar.  i  never eat these.  i am starving.

i do not have the energy to cook.  my son asked if i could make shabbat meals for them.  are you kidding?  he doesn't get it.  i launched into a rant.  a quiet one, but nevertheless, a rant.  i told him that i am in no shape to cook, receive guests, or be a guest.  i cannot babysit anymore.  i cannot worry about his overdraft anymore.  i cannot have them live here now.  he wants to move back home.  his rav thinks that would be a tremendous chessed on my part.  does his rabbi know what cancer treatment is??  does his rabbi know how tired i will be?.  or how tired i already feel?

does his rabbi know that i already blew my savings and inheritance the first year they moved in?  does the rabbi know how much noise they made and how they disrespected me?  Does the rabbi know that i raised their first child and gave up my yoga and exercise regiment?  does he know how the kids used huge amounts of water and electricity and refused to pay for i?  does he know that the kids left my house wothout letting me know and that they didn't speak to me for 3 months?  does he even know that i was kept from seeing my grandchildren during that period?  does he know that none of their problems is really my problem?

i must maintain my stance.  these kids do not know how to budget.  they do not listen or take advise.  i cannot afford to bail them out.  giving them money that i can't afford to give away, only goes into their black hole.  i am broke and am out of work.  i am relying right now on the kindness of my siblings.  i can't afford to share it with my son.  that sounds awful but it's the truth.  i am in no condition right now to make any major decisions.  is their rabbi going to co- sign on their lease?  will he reimburse me when they don't pay the electric bill?

everything these kids have , i bought them.  stove, refrigerator, beds, closets, table and chairs, couches, candlesticks, kiddush cup, even silverware.  i wanted them to start off right.  the other parents gave nothing.  they had nothing and gave nothing.  i gave whatever i had.  i didn't save a penny for my future. i still have the house and will probably have to sell it.  but right now i can't think about all of this.  i have to remain calm.  i cannot leave the quiet zone.  i start chemo on monday.

i just got a a call from one of the sephardi clan.  i actually like this lady.  she has been sick for a while.  she always smiles and you would never know that she isn't well.  she is one of these fanatic sephardi returnees to religion.  i respect her beliefs.  she is amazing!

now i have blown the entire morning.  i got to get to town now.  to be continued...........

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It's On

it is 6:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  i called the radiology department at the hospital today to inquire about a date for the treatment.      they told me that no date had been given and that it was usually a 2-3 week wait after the simulation process.  about  half an hour later, someone called  my sister to say that  the chemotherapy  treatment would begin on monday.   was that a coincidence or what?????

i had just told my sister that i didn't mind a week off but she wanted my treatment to start immediately.  i managed to catch up on all the laundry yesterday.  i put away a couple of chanukiahs and washed the dairy dishes this morning.  i  had a rendezvous with a potential suitor at 11:00 a.m.  we drank hot chocolate and talked.  we ordered a sundae glass of whipped cream but hardly touched it. unfortunately, we talked so long,  that i missed getting to the health care office.  all in all, i think is was worth it.

i bought a cheap new cellphone because the ringer on the old one was broken.  that explains all the missed calls, i had all summer long.  i filled up the card so i will have plenty of conversations, while i'm away.  i managed to bring in the denim skirt for repair, so i will have a confortable skirt for tel aviv.  i bought an adorable alarm clock for only 8 shekels in a junk store.   i also bought a bottle of  good vodka and a few bags of cookies and nash for the yeshiva guys.  i went to bid them a farewell.  i gave out brachas and had a little vodka on an empty stomach.  that's the best way to drink vodka.  they didn't replace me.  they are giving the guys catered food packages.  it broke my heart.

by 3:00 p.m. i was tired.  i couldn't hang out anymore.  i needed to get home.  i stopped off to buy a turkey meat sandwich.  i was ravenous.  i couldn't wait to eat it.  i schlepped my tired body to the super to buy dog food.  i returned home to be attacked by my two very hungry dogs.  the three of us ate the shwarma together.  i had most of it.  i was still hungry after the sandwich.  i ate about 3 tangerines from the tree.  i have an abundance of citrus fruits this year.  i wish i had the strength to cut a lot of fruit to send to the yeshiva.  i just don't.  who knows? maybe tomorrow.

i still need to go to the health food store.  i want to buy non metal shampoo, toothepaste, soap and deoderant.  i need to stop by the health care clinic to get more forms and then buy more meds.  i saw the gardener this morning and paid him for the next two months.  i want to leave zefat with a clean account.  when i got to the super they greeted me with a bounced check.  i was just at the bank this week trying to clear up everything before i left.  they didn't mention a word about the check.  i wonder how many more they bounced.  the gardener. told me about a new cancer therapy where the person is put into starvation mode for 60 days.  after a while the body starts eating it's own cells, and preferably the mutated cancerous ones.

i wished him luck but i could never do anything like that.  i enjoy eating too much at this point.  i may not be feeling like that in a short while.  we shall wait and see.  i think my sister spoke with the nurse and let her know that we finally got a starting date.  she insisted that i call the social worker so that she could process the paperwork for the hostel.  i didn't fall into that trap.  the social worker told me, natter of factly, yesterday that it was not her job.  i refuse, from now on, to have any expectations of things happening as according to plan or schedule..  i won't waste any more of my precious energy worrying about the bureacracy any more.

"i don't care anymore what they say cause its my life" is my new montra.  i've decided to  visualize my tumor shrinking during radiation.  i've decided that ' i will survive' is my other montra.  zelda is in the house.  zelda is back.  long live zelda!!!!  zelda will journal and blog and participate, and be a light to less fortunates.  zelda will do okay.

zelda asks everyone to pray for her recovery or do an act of kindness every day for someone.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Staying In

it's 11:15 the holy city of zefat.  the weather was nasty this morning so i decided to stay in.  i got settled back into bed and decided to watch some t.v.   i pressed the wrong button and there went my watching t.v.  my son was already on the road so he couldn't jump over to assist me.  what a boob i am.

i took it as a heavenly design for me to get off my behind and function.  i went downstairs to do some laundry.  there is a t.v. downstairs but i don't know how to work it either.  i washed a load of wet bath towels that had been on my balcony for quite some time.  they came out quite smelly.  i had to wash them again.  i had a power outage and lost all electricity for a while.  i sat outside on my porch and consumed a pint of choclate almond icecream.  i  tried to have some last night but it nauseated me.

somehow, i'm not concerned about by weight right now.  i am actually, back to my weight that i was 4 years ago, after dieting very strictly for my son's wedding.  i figure that the chemo will take care of the rest of the weight loss for me.  unless, i prove, to be the only one in history, who gains on chemo.  wouldn't that be a joke!.  i honestly don't give a hoot how i look, anymore.  sometimes i add a bit of gold under my eyes to look a bit more life like. i noticed yesterday that my face looked okay.  i suddenly wasn't so swollen  under my eyes.  the bags were beginning to look like steamer trunks.

i have so much to accomplish this week.  finishing the laundry,  putting away all the dishes and pots, doing the floors, and organizing my hospital papers, are just among some of the .herculean jobs to get done.  my mind is racing.  in my mind, i can do it all today.  it's almost like starting pesach clean up.

i did start putting away all of my clean clothes and rearranging my drawers.  i got bored.  i wanted to go out and go over to the large pharmacy and shop for things.  i realized that maybe i should buy an organic deoderant now.  that's something to do tomorrow in town.

the student of the social worker called me again this morning.  i became instantly enraged.  she wanted me to take care of having the medical carrier fax the hostel when i got my date.  she wanted me to arrange everything and left me the phone numbers.  i was told specifically, by both the family doctor and head of radiology that i didn't and shouldn't deal with the bureacracy anymore.  i told the student the same and she spoke to the social worker.

the social worker called me and once again, in her ever so soft and sweet voice, let me know that she wasn't taking care of any of this.   once again, she invited me to call her whenever i wanted.  she's lucky that  i didn't raise my voice or call her the 'b' word.  i wonder how high my usually low, blood pressure rose.   screw everyone!!!!!

the house is ice cold again and i still have lots to do.  i can't get the t.v. to work anyway, so i guess i should persevere to finish a project.  it's  back to the laundry room for me.  i must have over 30 sheets that the grandson pished through in the last few months.  i sure hope that the towels smell better. my dryer doesn't seem to help with israeli towels.  i've always hung them out in the sun.  ain't no sun right now.  we are going to be using the dryer all day long today.  the electric company is going to do well by zelda this month.  that's the story.

does my blog need a warning?  like:   'reading this blog can cause double vision, swelled heads and agita".

Monday, December 24, 2012

More Things To Do

it's 9:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat. i just got back from visiting a neighbor.  i had borrowed a bottle of canola oil and a cup of salt recently, and i wanted to return them before i go to tel aviv.  she made a point of telling me that salt must be returned. i think it's a sephardi thing.  i remember that another sephardi neighbor told me once, the same thing about eggs.  i do try to return everything that i borrow, when i remember.  before rosh hashana,. i remembered that i still owed another sephardi neighbor 20 shekels for a cab . i went running over to repay her.  she didn't want to take the money.  i had to beg her to take the money so i could go into rosh hashana without debts.  i  guess that is another sephardi thing not taking money..

the weather was nice today so i ventured out to do some of my errands.  as soon as i got to the bus stop, i realized that i had left my cell phone at home.  buying a card for the phone was on the top of my list.  i also  forgot to take my denim skirt that needs a new zipper.  i debated whether i should return home or not, but i simply, didn't have the energy to run back home.

i had to concentrate and remember which bus stop to get off at.  my body still thinks it's going to the yeshiva to cook.  i walked up to the main post office to get the $ that my sister sent  me through western union.  i waited a very long time.  there weren't that many people there but each person was taking a long time.  i got the money and thought about going to the old age center to say hi but i still had so many things to do.  i went straight to the bank in town to get my new bank card.  i had chosen my parent's old address in brooklyn as my secret code.  they had already selected a code for me.  bummer!

i took the stairs and went down to the doctor's office.  there was no one there.  i thought i had a good chance of getting the prescriptions for the anti nausea meds in record time.  the doctor was on a break.  suddenly, a lady sat across from me and started coughing up a storm in my direction.  she didn't make an effort to cover her mouth either.  she told me how sick she was and i immediately,  jumped up from my chair and ran into the nurses' station in sheer panic.

i requested that the nurse bring the forms into the doctor while i wait in the nurses' room.  i figured that the really sick patients wouldn't come to see the  nurses.  i think i sat there for nearly 2 hours.  i could hear the woman coughing out in the corridor for a long time.  the nurse offered me a tea and i started crying.  i told her that i couldn't seem to get a handle on my feelings.  she suggested that i see the social worker.  that was actually, on my list of things to do.  i was going to 'crash' the social workers' office without an appointment.  the nurse went in ahead of me and the social worker refused to see one more patient.  i got an appointment for next week.

i then got 4 out of  5 prescriptions and went over to the pharmacy to buy them.  i have to wait until tomorrow to get the consent form for the 5th medicine.  that's the one that 'tricks ' your brain into not knowing that you're nauseous.  i hope i won't be forced to take this medicine before my chemo.  i don't want any part of it.  the pharmacy didn't have the 4th medicine.  he had to order it.  i thought about going to visit the yeshiva but i felt too weepy.  it was now 1:00 p.m. and i knew the stores would be closing until 4:00 p.m.

i decided to go home.  i felt i had done enough for today.  i was tired and feeling crampy.  i was also starving.       i had skipped breakfast.  i decided to go to my good pal's house for lunch.  sure enough, they were just sitting down to eat.  she quickly made up a plate for me.  she suddenly got up and went over to her state of the art keyboard and started giving me a concert.  she played and sang for 4 hours.  i ended up joining her for some oldies.  i felt like i was on a cruise ship.  i actually got up to dance for her disco finale.  i was so relaxed.  i didn't get to do laundry but i didn't care, either.   it never made it on to the 'list', anyway.

so tomorow, if the weather is nice, and i have some energy,  i will go to town again to complete more items on my list.  by the way, my granddaughter's virus hit everyone except for me.  thank goodness my immune system is still working.  i explained to my son, that during treatment, i will not be visiting the kids.  it breaks my heart but my immune system will be very compromised and i can't risk getting viruses.

i called the hostel yesterday and they can supply kosher mehaderan food for me.  i don't have to schlepp a pot and burner and worry about cooking warm food.  i tried to speak to the social worker from the hospital but she blew me off.  sound familiar??  not only didn't she return my phone message, she had a student call me.  it took me a while to realize that i wasn't talking to a professional.  i told the student that i wasn't her homework and that i did not appreciate being passed off to a student.  i asked her to pass on the message to the social worker.  the social worker did call me back but gave me a second of her time.  she was ever so soft spoken on the phone, and told me to feel free to call again.  i give up!

my homeopath feels certain that she can help me through the side effects.  i have been so utterly brainwashed by the doctors and nurses against alternative meds for the side effects, that i nearly refused her help.  hopefully, i 'll get to see her before i start the treatment.  i was an advocate for my parents for years.  we managed to bring homeopathic medicine into the ICU for dad.  we told the sephardi nurses it was blessed water from a sephardi tsadick.  they gave him the pneumonia medicine every day,  he actually, survived 2 bouts of a hospital bug before he died.  i have to stand up for zelda now.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Things To Do

it's 9:30 a.m. in the holy city of zefat.  today is a fast day.  i am exhausted.  i stayed up until  2:30 a.m. to watch the talent portion of the X- factor.  it is sunny but cold outside.  i don't have the strength to go outside. i have a lot of things to take care of this week.

i called the nurse in the oncology ward to find out if she got to speak to the social worker on thursday, to get me into the hostel.  she won't be in until after 2:00 p.m. today.  i tried calling the social worker directly.  i left a message.  i am feeling a bit agitated already.  i am trying to stay calm.  i don't have the strength to raise my voice.  i am fasting.  i want comfort food.  i want a hot drink.  i want to have energy to move.  i have none.

my son just stopped by.  apparently, one of the shabbat guests caught this virus, that they claimed didn't effect adults.  he is now throwing up.  my son also feels like crap.  i feel like my number is up. i feel like a time bomb.  i am terrified at the thought of getting sick before i start the chemo and radiation.  i have to start dealing with all of this on my own.  the kids are too ignorant to understand what is going on.  my throat is scratchy and i coughed a lot last night.

i have to go to town to get 4 prescriptions of meds to fight nausea and a consent form to buy the fifth one.  that's 5 meds for nausea and 5 stages of grief.  originally, they said that the tumor was 5 centimeters.  what's up with all the fives, anyway?????  i  need to buy the 5 meds before i get to the treatment..  i also need to go to the post office to pick up the money that my sister sent.  i then need to go to the money changer and get shekels.  my sister also wired money directly into my bank account. this will probably  end up biting me in the behind because you  are not allowed to show foreign currency when you are in the social system.  my poor behind has already been tatooed and will be the focus of the radiation.

i am trying so hard not to get emotional.. i am beginning to feel panic.  i am also feeling awful.  i have a bit of nausea.  maybe this is a good chance to practice how to vomit.  i am struggling with finding the good in every scenario.  i am angry inside my gut.  i am screaming inside my throat.  i am going to start crying now.  it's not because i'm  feeling why me?  it's more like i'm thinking how am i going to cope with all of this.

i need to clean my house and get all my papers in order.  i need to buy toiletries and socks, and underware and more pads.  i need to buy boots.  i can't even stand up today.  i need to do a huge amount of laundry.  i don't feel well.  i just paid part of my enormous water bill by phone.  one less office to visit .  i need to buy a card for my cellphone.  this all involves going to town.  i can't make it today.  i can't will my body to move.  i am cold and sick.  i am feeling depressed.

do i call a rabbi and use the 'c' card and break the fast?  or do i call the doctor and ask if i am allowed to fast?  that both requires energy.  i don't feel well enough to talk to anyone.  i am waiting for the social worker to call me back.. why does everyone leave us poor cancer people hanging all the time??  this makes me mad and i feel the rage coming closer to the surface.  i wonder how high my usually, low blood pressure is rising.  i am becoming a real character.

my friend in new york has adopted a more extreme approach to life.  her theme song is an old hard rock song by phil collins called  'i don't care anymore'.  i am guilt ridden by the fact that for the past two months, i did nothing healthy.  i ate what i felt like and didn't do any walking.  i had fried donuts everyday and ate bad chanukah milk chocolates. i didn't eat any greens and i drank hot milk at night.  i want to eat better during the tratment but i read such conflicting info.  one page from the mayo clinic lists fruits that are great anti-oxidents.  another page warns against eating said fruits.   another page said that jst one bite of lettuce could be fatal.  what's a cancer patient to do???

i thought about visiting an holistic nutritionist here in zefat but  i've been warned that she is fanatical.  i don't think i can be fanatical right now.  i feel that it's a bit late for drastic food changes.  yesterday, i had store bought applesauce for breakfast.  it was so soothing.  i also have been eating a lot of white challah with goat butter.  i've kind of let my body decide what it wants to eat.  everyone and his mother is doing an elimination diet right now.  i think the chemo and radiation will do that for me with a lot of bad side effects to boot.

i feel like the bubble girl right now.  don't touch me and don't breathe on me.  i am losing my mind completely.  i have the social worker and the nurse on my mind.  i can't think about anything nice.  the list of things to do is getting bigger.  it's beginning to choke me.  my niece and sisters want to shop for me.  my sister doesn't like my bras.  in normal times, bra shopping is traumatic, but now????  i wouldn't survive it.  where are all the volunteers to take care of my dogs???? why should i care how i look during radiation and chemo?  i just keep on remembering how mortified i was lying on the scanner for 25 minutes with my very white, flabby and dimpled exposed .behind sticking out??  is there nothing sacred anymore????

at least, i quit my job.  don't have to worry about that anymore.  i thought  that i'd have some energy to go over today to introduce the new cook.  i even imagined that i'd be up to spice shopping to restock the cupboards.  sheer fantasy on my part.  i can't even stand up and go into the bedroom to put away all my clothes.  my mind is racing towards purim and pesach.  i don't have a clue what will be.  i got to take it one day at a time.  today is a write off completely.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Five Stages Of Grief

it's 8:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  the minute shabbat ended i turned on the boob tube to see who won the x-factor.  it was a no brainer, i guess.  i started feeling depressed today.  after i did my blog on friday, i started reading about the radiation treatment.  it was a big mistake.  as i read about chronic side effects and  the chances of the treatment causing more cancer,  i got angry.  i have to admit it wasn't towards G-d.  i think it was directed at the doctors and nurses.  i realize though,  they are just messengers of G-d.   i have to turn my head around.

i am a loose cannon.  one minute i'm laughing and the next i'm crying.  i  seem to have panic moments.  not the real deal of an actual panic attack, where your chest contracts and you can't breath.  it's more like i keep on thinking about  the what ifs.  i am torturing myself and i seem to enjoy torturimg my  family.  i am not a tsadick.  i am a witch.  i can't seem to settle down.  i feel like an invalid already.  i saw an old lady in a wheelchair back in october, while i was at the zefat hospital.  i didn't see any family around her.  it was like seeing my future.  i was terrified of becoming that lady.  since then, i see an old lady alone in a wheelchair wherever i am.  in every hospital i see her.  i am haunted by her.  i get freaked out every time.

i went out this morning to the end of the street.  i haven't walked with the dogs in weeks.  it wasn't really cold and it wasn't pouring.  we have been blessed with downpours lately.  as i walked the empty street, i revelled at the fog.  i have always enjoyed a good walk in the fog.  i walked normally.  i wasn't in any discomfort and i didn't drag my leg.  lately i've had a lot of pressure in the groin area and have felt a weakness and strain in my leg.  i actually enjoyed the moment.  i was at peace.  i dreaded seeing a neighbor, but they were all holed up in their warm homes.  the men were at shul.  i  didn't want the moment to end.  i sat outside for a while drinking a cup of tea.

i no longer drink coffee.  the smell nauseates me.  i've  made several cups only to throw them in the sink.  i've made the very, trendy move to drink green tea.  i like spearment.  you don't get a high like form caffeine, but it's soothing.  i enjoy tea.  i never trusted tea drinkers.  my ex- husband was a tea drinker.  need i say more? i've always kept a fair variety of teas in the home, as part of my being a good hostess, but i never drank any.

i got back home after my stroll and decided that i needed to sleep.  i didn't have any shabbat food or rolls but i didn't care. i didn't feel like eating.  i wanted to sleep.  i decided to pray.  i haven't been able to utter a holy word since i got my diagnosis.  i finished praying and decided to stay in.  i was supposed to go to my son's for lunch.  i also had a standing invite at my friends' on the next block.  i decided that i didn't want to see people.  i wanted to sleep the day away.  i was having some quality time with the pooches.

just as i was getting nice and cozy in bed, my son and his friend came over.  they wanted me to join them for lunch.  i really didn't want to go.  i got dressed but i put on too many layers because my bedroom was like an ice box.  i kept a heater on next to the t.v. couch all shabbat long.  this is not the time to be miserable and cold.   as soon as i got to my son's home,  i was miserable.  my grandson was making too much noise and my grandaughter had a virus.  another toddler was there and was coughing up a storm.  i went into panic mode.   i made a big fuss about not wanting to catch anything.  then i felt like an old fool.  it's hard to be gay when you're hurting and frightened.  i find it hard to be around gorgeous young things, too.

last night i walked through the freezing cold to go out for the evening meal.  it was only about a 7 minute walk but i was miserable.  it was cold at my son's place and i was very uncomfortable.  my grandson was acting up and hit me in the face with one of his toys.  i was beside myself.   my granddaughter was puking all over herself and i was not a happy camper.  the food was really great and i ate up a storm, actually.  afterwards, all i kept thinking about was all the side effects of the treatment.  i started crying.  the young lady guest told me how beautiful i looked in the wedding pix.  i felt the need to explain that once i was beautiful.  and even though it was only 4 years ago,  i experienced bells palsey, right after the wedding..  tell me, who would really want me at their dinner table?

the kids wanted me to sleep over but i bolted out the door and ran home in the freezing cold.  i think i begged my son, in case of my demise, to let my sister have any furniture that she wanted.   i got the house and all the 'antique' furnishings.  i've been paying through the nose,  to insure these nearly broken down antiques, ever since.  i am out of control.  i told my son that it is not his job to make me happy.  i need to find my own happiness in spite of this disease thing.  i have to come to terms with it and find a way to love it  and accept it.  i can't lose patience with the rest of the world who aren't sick.  living at the hostel is my best shot.

i need to be with people in my 'c' club.  i need to join group sessions.  i need to find a way to love myself.  this is an impotant life lesson.  i hope i'll enjoy being in tel aviv and feast on the atmosphere.  maybe if i'll have enough energy i'll be able to take walks on the beach.  my family sent me a bit of money to hold off the creditors for now.  i might get some assistance from the state, once i start the chemo.  then i'll be a bonafide invalid.  i'm praying that i will eventually regain my strength after they destroy my immune system. .i  guess that's why they call it the 5 stages of grief.  but do i have to have all five at the same time?

i called my son up on purpose to tell him who won the x factor.  that was tonight's spiteful moment.  to continued.....................

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Cancer Club

hi everyone!  it's nearly 10:00 a.m. in the holy city of zefat.  i know it's been a really long time since i posted.  since the holidays, i have been running to gyn doctors, doing ultrasounds, taking biopsies, doing ct and pet scans,  and finally last week was diagnosed with cervical cancer.  i will be leaving my home for 8 weeks to undergo radiation and chemotherapy at a top notch hospital in tel aviv.  i will be staying in a hostel and arriving home for shabbat.

i have been shlepping back and forth to tel aviv for the past two months.  in between hospital appointments, i continued to work at the yeshiva.  i faithfully, cooked for them and mothered them as best as i could.  during chanukah, i fried up a storm.  i actually made latkes and homemade applesauce for them on the first day.  i don't think i ever fried up so much food in my life.  i fried corn fritters, turkey schnitzels, eggplant, and fish.  i continued to make hot soup and meals for the guys, until this week.  i couldn't go on.

i started having to sit when i peeled the veggies.  i know for many of you out there, this is a tried and true method of food preparation.  for me, it was a sign of defeat.  i knew it was time to take a break.  i was able to find someone to take over for me while i am gone.  i didn't want to leave them in the lurch.  i think this cancer thing is my chance to get away and finally take care of zelda.  i know this is an extreme test but i guess i need it.

to say that i am calm is a lie.  i am terrifed.  i am mortified too.  i am in a process of total submission.  my body now belongs to the technicians, nurses and doctors.  for someone, who has never been really sick, and mostly used homeopathic remedies, this is huge.  for someone like me, who is a homebody and never travels, this is huge.  for someone who needs to be in control, this is huge.  to suddenly be at the mercy of incompetent  bureuacrats  just to get to do tests, receive the results and see the doctors and get diagnosed, is huge.

i have been using up a lot of my energy and mornings, for the past couple of weeks, pursuing the results of my biopsy.  it took over 27 days to get a diagnosis and be told that the biopsy wasn't clear.  i have been terrorized by doctors in zefat from the beginning.  at my first ultrasound in the emergency room,  i was told that i probably had a cancerous growth.  i was hospitilized overnight to do a CT, even though i live nearby.  i was told that i would probably hemorhage, when i signed myself out of the hospital against medical advice, when they didn't perform the CT.  i returned the next morning.

 i was told that they wouldn't perform the biopsy unless i was fully anestetized in the operating theater.  i was also told that in the event of a serious rupture of the tumor, i would be receiving a total  hysterectomy.  i was scared to death of doing a biopsy. i was scared to death to be defenseless in zefat.  i asked for a second opinion with the top man in tel aviv at sheba hospital..  it took a month to get an appointment at the clinic.  in the meanwhile, the pap smear came back,  showing that i had a carcinoma.with 'squamous' cells.  i tried to look it up on internet and was abruptly, 'welcomed'  into  the world of cervical cancer.   i couldn't read any further.  i wasn't ready to know.  i still held fast to the fantasy that it was only pre-cancer cells.  i actually,  had tried to convince the doctors  that it was merely, a fybroid tumor at first.

the local gyn called me at home to tell me that the pap results weren't good. i had forgotton all about the pap. when i asked if i had the big or little C,  he just told me that it wasn't 'pareve'.  i ran to his office, which is located in my neighborhood.  he handed over the results in a sealed envelope.  he told me to go to the family doctor.  he didn't explain one thing to me.  he did finally,. give me a letter to fax to the sheba hospital to urge them to make an  earlier appointment.   i did receive an earlier appointment, but the incompetent secretary, forgot to call to let me know, so  i had to wait another 3 weeks to see the specialist.

in all honesty, i enjoyed the 3 week break from doctors.  i was terrifed of  them.  the specialist doctor proved to be my angel.  he spoke to me very nicely.  when you request to speak in english you are treated nicer here.  the doctors find it more sophisticated.  not so, with the bureacrats.  they get hostile.  they are threatened and behave downright, rude.  i did the biopsy and didn't hemorhage.  i was euphuric.  then i needed to get a pet ct.  and the 'fun' began. i was running to the doctor for the referral and waiting for the health carriers' consent.  who was i, 'zelda the elitist', who wanted to go all the way to the center of the country to do these tests.  didn't i know that angels didn't exist.  didn't i  know that bad things do happen in these places, too?  why not go to rambam in haifa?  what's so bad about waiting a month?   what can happen in a month or two???   we then started calling all over the country to get the earliest, possible  date.  i had appointments in 3 different hospitals until i got a quickie tour at ichilav.  then i was back to the doctor for more referrals and waiting for consent forms once again..

one morning shortly after the biopsy, i started bleeding.  i was in sheep panic.  was this the hemorhage that they had been warning me about from the start??  after a short time i was fine. i wanted to go to work.  my sister insisted that i see the doctor here.  the kids came to take me to tel aviv to check it out.  the doctor here said to go to the zefat hospital.. i refused so i  got another referral and away we all went.  it turned out to be nothing.

 the results of the pet scan  were ready in a few days.  i  still  had to get the incompetent sheba secretary to fax the ichilov people.  the incompetent secretary hesitated to fax the ichilov people.  she didn't 'like' the fax number i had given her.  she had my sister call her back 3 times with the same number.  each time she said it couldn't be right.  in the mean time, she agreed to send the fax.  i checked  with the impatient bureaucrat at ichilav the next morning.  they never got a fax from sheba.  i freaked and confronted the incompetent secretary. G-d bless her, she stood by her story.  she didn't know where she sent the fax but she was sure she sent it to the number i gave her.  she kept on mentioning the bellinson hospital.  i told her that dealing with her was like being in the twilight zone.    she got angry and hung up on me.  but you better believe she finally sent the fax and the results were in..

so now i had the pet results but no biopsy.  i threatened her that if i didn't have those results and a new appointment for the diagnosis then i would call the head of the hospital.  i also called patient's advocacy and got them involved.  so i finally got to see the specialist on tuesday. i waited 3 hours.  i also got to see the head of radiology.  what a character???  i went yesterday to start the process.  i was simulated.  i don't exactly know what that means.  it's a scan.  i was also tatooed.  my backside looks like a child played  tick tack toe on me while i slept.

i will be starting treatment in about 10 days from now.  i don't know if i'll have access to the internet.  i'd love to keep you all informed.  for those of you who pray out there, i'm known as zelda bat tcharna.   may we all have good news.  shabbaat shalom!