Breaking the Cancer Bubble

It took about 20 rockets shot at the Golan Heights last night to truly break me out of the cancer bubble I have been living in for the past six months. It wasn’t a complete shock to me though. I’ve lived in Israel for almost 12 years now; I made Aliyah three days after the end of the 2006  war in Lebanon. Sadly, I’ve lived through too many “operations” to count, the last in 2012 when rockets were shot at Jerusalem. I stopped reading Israeli news years ago, I prefer to just not be emotionally stirred up by the headlines and constant threat of war and missile attacks. So, I made a pact with my husband, that he would only tell me the headlines if it was something I really needed to know about. Which is why, right after my treatment on April 17th, he started talking to me about the news.

I already knew that May would be a stressful month for me, two intensive chemo treatments scheduled two weeks apart with a biological treatment smack in the middle. I’ve made it through one difficult week in Shaare Tzedek that wiped away all my stamia and left me with a mouth full of sores, and just when I was starting to heal, I went in on Tuesday for what I pray is my final biological treatment that has just left me physically and emotionally fatigued. Next week, I’m back in the hospital for the second round of high dose methotrexate.

At Tuesday’s biological treatment, Gaby and I walked down the hall and knocked on Dr. Ashkenazi’s office door. It was already 1:30 p.m. and we had been in the day clinic since 8:30 a.m. During our meeting, I went through my list of questions as usual. We discussed neuropathy, which is a new side effect for me as the fingers in my left hand have been numb and tingling for a couple of days. We went through my numbers; my WBC’s are on the low side but Dr. Ashkenazi wants my bone marrow to kick in and bring them back up without the use of neupogen. I also already knew my RBC’s were low since I was feeling very breathless. When we got to the part of the meeting where we discuss the next meeting, there was nothing. I have another week of high-dose methotrexate in the hospital, then a repeat PET CT on May 22nd, and then nothing has been planned.

I started shaking and felt panicky.

I have been meeting weekly with Dr. Ashkenazi since December and to not have another appointment scheduled made me very nervous.

Could this possibly be the end?

The repeat PET CT will let us know whether or not I’m in remission. This is what we have been hoping and praying for. And then?

Life.

So, you can imagine just how angry I was this morning to hear that 12 rockets were shot at the Golan Heights.

I have not fought this hard to beat cancer, just to deal with this shit.

Please keep Israel in your prayers this week, and continue praying for Miriam bat Chaya and me Lior Shira Batya bat Chaya Yehudit.

 

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