Insomnia, again. But this time, it’s different. Instead of dark thoughts, my mind is occupied with my new life. All the things I need to catch up on and all the changes I want to make.
Seven days. It has only been seven days since I heard the news and I have rushed full steam ahead into my new life. On day one, I joined Gaby for a three hour car ride to and from Hadera for a quick work trip. I’d never been to Hadera and part of my “post cancer resolution” includes visiting new places. So, off to Hadera I went, past beautiful homes and gardens to the dilapidated buildings of the municipality and court houses. Their central bus station hasn’t changed in decades, taking me back to the year I spent as a seminary student. The women we had come to see about a permit were both sick and no one else could help us, so we walked over to the local coffee shop before driving the hour and a half back to Jerusalem. I was physically exhausted when we got home but happy for the adventure.
On day two, after dropping the kids off at school, we drove to Rishon LeTziyon for a 9:30 a.m. appointment with a nutritionist who specializes in working with cancer patients. Dr. Rela Abel came highly recommended and I have been desperate for someone to create an eating plan that will heal my body from the side effects of six and a half months of intensive chemotherapy while making it an inhospitable host for cancer. I’ve been struggling through keto for cancer and anti-angiogenesis foods and so much nutrition information that I yearned for someone knowledgable to just create a program that would work for me. An hour later, I had a plan of action that made sense but requires a lot of work and life changes. Getting my body healed and back in shape is a priority, so we went hunting for a top of the line juicer that could make my morning carrot, red pepper, beet, cucumber and apple drink with 1 tsp of flax oil. (more on this later)
On day three, I rested. A lot. Sivan woke up Shabbat morning with an upset stomach so I cared for her while Gaby took the other kids to shul. This time, I worried less about possibly catching anything she had, and was able to really be there for her. She’s learning Hebrew script and I enjoyed listening to her read. Gaby and I tag teamed Shabbat afternoon naps and then my brother-in-law and sister-in-law surprised us by walking over for Shalosh Seudot. It was such a lovely visit, I can’t remember the last time we just sat around and talked about travel and movies and Tel Aviv happenings and work.
On day four, I walked from my apartment to my parents place in Baka. I did school pick up for all three kids. Tani was so excited to see me that he grabbed my arm and pointed out the absence of my PICC line to anyone who would listen. We think he is very confused about the news though. He has been having a lot of meltdowns and anxiety, more now than when I was going through treatment. We’ve been trying to figure out a way to communicate with him to let him know that thank g-d, things are going to be okay. I cuddle with him and read him some books before bed that night, something I hadn’t done in a really long time.
On day five, I went back to work. I fielded back to back conference calls and wrote blog posts. I invoiced and figured out social advertising strategies for the month for a dozen clients. I pulled together monthly reports and analysis, answered emails and scheduled meetings for the rest of the week. I started instituting small changes in my quest to get on this time zone. It’s not easy to change ten years of habit in a couple of days, but part of my new life requires me to be up with the sun. I need to work when everyone in this time zone is working, and sleep when Israel sleeps. I finished my last conference call by 8:00 p.m. and sat down with Gaby for dinner. I kept him company in the living room while he worked out, we showered and were asleep by 10:30 p.m. Progress but not yet perfect.
On the sixth day, I drove. I got back behind the wheel and I took back my independence. I drove from a meeting at one of my kid’s schools to a meeting with my therapist. I drove back to Baka to pick up my daughter from the bus and then took her on an adventure! We went to the bread and cheese store on Derech Beit Lechem where we picked up fresh rolls and cheeses, a package of smoked salmon and pesto. We walked over to our greengrocer Gil where she picked out vegetables for a salad and I caught up with a friend. We took our bounty back to my parent’s apartment where I prepared for us sandwiches and fresh salads, and we chatted about her day. I drove her over to her English chug and, on the way, found my eldest walking home with some friends to a play date’s house. I pulled over and told the three girls I would give them a ride and then drove around the neighborhood. I can’t remember the last time I spent half of my day behind the wheel and as exhausted as I was, I was also so excited. Remember when I needed someone to walk with me around my block? It wasn’t that long ago.
As the sun starts to rise, I’m going to wrap up my blog post. On the seventh day, I’m going to get into my workout gear. I’m going to put my iPhone into an armband that covers the scars of my PICC line. At 6:00 a.m., I’m going to take my vitamins and make my morning juice. As the children start to get up for their day, I’m going to lace up my sneakers and cover my spikey hair with a hat and head outside for my morning walk. For (hopefully) 30 minutes, I’m going to walk around a neighborhood I’ve lived in but don’t really know. During yesterday’s morning walk, I discovered Douglas park, named after Anne and Kirk Douglas. I stood for a few minutes in the middle of Korei Dorot street to admire the breathtaking view of Malcha and beyond before heading back home via Beitar street.
Maybe today, I won’t cry during my walk, but it’s okay if I do. Three weeks ago, I was stuck in the hospital finishing up a second round of high-dose methotrexate. Three weeks ago, I was wrapping up an intensive month of chemo that included a 12 day stay at Shaare Tzedek Medical Center. Three weeks ago, I walked the halls of the hospital pushing an IV pole. I stood at the window at the end of the corridor on the 7th floor and watched with jealousy as people walked outside, breathed fresh air, lived their lives.
Today, I get to be back among them.