Happy Erev Shabbat from my bed in Jerusalem! I’m home, thank g-d, after spending two days post round three of RCHOP resting at my parents apartment. It was an unexpected couple of days out of the house that was difficult on Gaby and the kids but unfortunately necessary to protect my weakened immune system.
I was very anxious going into treatment on Tuesday and even more nervous when we woke up and discovered that Gaby was under the weather. Fortunately, my mother-in-law was able to take me to Shaare Tzedek and my parents came really early to take the kids to school. Before I headed out to the hospital, I packed a “go” bag just in case Gaby felt worse and I couldn’t come back home. I was so hurried to pack and make it in time for my appointment that I forgot to pack another pair of pants, but did manage to pack enough meds and shots to get me through a couple of days!
My mother-in-law got me to the hospital on time and I was able to grab a bed this time, instead of one of the Lazy-Boy chairs set up in the treatment room. Since they give me a big dose of anti-histamines before starting the Rituximab, I usually fall asleep and figured being in a bed would be most comfortable. Nurit, the amazing head nurse in the hematology-oncology unit, drew my blood and then cleaned and steralized my PICC line. I went back to my bed, waited for the blood test results, and tried to hydrate as much as possible.
It takes about an hour for the results to come back so I davened and chatted with my mother-in-law and did a lot of deep breathing. Tuesdays on the ward are very busy and the beds started filling up really quickly. I was happy I grabbed the one all the way against the wall, next to a tiny window where I can spy on all of the hospital workers grabbing coffee and cigarette breaks while sitting at the tables set up right outside. Since I’m on the 6th floor, but facing the back of the hospital, I’m actually on ground level. I know, seems odd, but Shaare Tzedek is built into a mountain and there’s actually a ground level entrance behind the building to the 6th floor where you can access the beautiful new Children’s hospital.
There are a lot of volunteers who circle the floor and this week, a lovely reflexologist was going from bed to bed offering up foot rubs. At first, I thought to decline, but then I decided why not? And it was the most relaxing 15 minutes I’ve had in a long, long time. I hope she comes back for my next treatment!
I know my numbers are good for chemo when I hear them wheel in the IV pole while calling out my name. I’ll be honest, I let out a huge sigh of relief when Nurit showed up with the first part of treatment. She gave me some pills, hooked me up to the anti-histamines, and 25 minutes later I was out for the count.
It took seven hours to get all of the meds into me and I was at Shaare Tzedek from 8:00 am – 4:30 p.m. I woke up for good around 1:00ish when they switched my IV pole to the CHOP part of my treatment. A couple of minutes later, Dr. Ashkenazi came by to see me, which was really nice. I try to push my IV pole down the hall to his office but I was so wiped, I wasn’t able to get out of bed this week. During our consult, I mentioned that there was a lot of illness back at home and he recommended that I try to find someplace else to sleep until the family could get healthy.
So, off to my parents house I went for what extended into a two day stay while Gaby got some R&R back at home. It was hard to be away from everyone but it was also so helpful to have my parents take care of me while I rested.
I woke up at 3:00 a.m. Wednesday morning in a lot of pain; my stomach was hurting me and so were my fingers. The prednisone caused my fingers to swell and my rings were cutting off my circulation. I started to panic because I couldn’t take my anniversary band off my ring finger and it was red and throbbing. Fortunately, my parents were both already awake, and my Mom used good ol’ Palmolive and a lot of cold water to slowly pry my rings off my fingers. We put all my rings into a ziplock bag and then I just massaged my fingers until the redness went away. I had on and off stomach pains for the rest of Wednedsay but it was manageable, I just stuck to a really bland diet and drank a lot of water.
Thank g-d, by Thursday, I was already starting to feel much better. Mom took me out to run some errands on Derech Beit Lechem so I could get in a walk and some fresh air. I went to Gil, my favorite fruit and vegetable store, and bought some produce for the week. We went to Anise so I could pick up some more Matcha green tea for this Matcha Latte recipe I found online; I make it using homemade cashew milk since I’m allergic to almonds and I put in a tsp of honey since I’m off of sugar. It’s not bad and it makes me feel like I’m doing something nutritionally to fight the cancer!
When Gaby came to pick me up to bring me back home, it was wonderful. The kids were so happy to see me and it was great to be back in my bed and surrounded by my family. They give me the strength to keep on fighting. I’m looking forward to P”G a restful Shabbat.
Thank you all for your tefillot and acts of chesed, your hafrashot challot and your delicious meals that continue to flow in to our home and are beyond appreciated. May you all merit a long and healthy life.
Lior Shira Batya bat Chaya Yehudit