Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Angeles, Aimee and Me

While I was sitting getting my chemo drip today, I read that book I told you about, "My Grandfather's Blessings" by Rachel Naomi Remen, which is a really great book to get for anyone going through anything similar to me. But the interesting and coincidental thing that happened was that when I opened the book while getting my drip, there on the very first page of the chapter I was on, in the second paragraph, was a reference to a book that my Tarot teacher wrote! Angeles Arrien wrote a book called, "The Four Fold Way" which inspired Remen to help someone she was working with and ended up as a chapter in Remen's book.

I haven't read Arrien's book myself but what Remen was referencing was an assignment that Angeles recommends which Remen then gave to this one client she wrote about who happened to be a chemo surgeon who was sick of his job. The assignment was to take 15 minutes at the end of each day and write down 3 things: What surprised me today. What moved or touched me today. And what inspired me today. These 3 things became the healing that helped this surgeon become happier in his job once he got more interested in and focused on the inspiring stories in the lives of his patients.

As I thought about what surprised me so far that morning, I was thinking about what my chemo nurse said when Geoff asked her what was the highlight of her holidays. She told us about something that her son said that was cute. It surprised me. I don't know what I thought she was going to say, but it made me think about how precious our children are. I remembered telling a couple I was working with once (who didn't have kids...yet) that having children was the best thing I've done in my life.

I also thought about how, now that my kids are older, I don't ever write down the cute things they say like I used to when they were younger. So I said this to the nurse and Geoff mentioned Aimee saying something recently that was cute. She had told me the same thing before but today it didn't go in one ear and out the other, instead I asked her about it.
And it will be permanently recorded right now - here!

Aimee is 11 years old and her Bat Mitzvah, G-d willing, will be this July 26th - which will be the perfect way to celebrate once I'm done with chemo. (Another thing that this book recommends is to start focusing and imagining happy occasions that you will enjoy in your life in the future.) So anyway, Aimee said that she wants a tiny replica of herself to play with. A younger version of her - like 3 years old. Why? Because she'd have so much fun seeing how she was when she was little and she'd feel really comfortable playing with herself because she'd know this little 3 year old very well.

Cute, huh?

Then she told me another thing today that was cute: She wants her school to give each student a puppy to teach them responsibility. I told her that her puppy is homework right now and she's really doing well with the responsibility for that. She told me, "yeah, but a puppy is fun."

(Duhhhh, Mom...just listen, don't comment!)

I have been making a point of walking with Aimee around the block after she comes home from school - when I am up to it. It's been a really nice way to connect and spend time together. She likes to tell me her problems and since my diagnosis, I am better able to let her have problems and not as worried about them like I used to be. My focus has been to just listen and ask her questions about how she's trying to work the problems out and not jump to offering my advice - which always just frustrated me in the past because none of the things I would come up with worked for her anyway. It's been so much better to be separate from her problems, it's like, I've hit a real problem in my life and her problems aren't as scary to me anymore.

So I need to find a way to spend time with Jason too. He's tougher because he often doesn't get home from school and basketball practice until 7pm. We like to watch movies together and sit in bed and read. He doesn't open up to me like Aimee does so more time together is important I think. Maybe he'd like to cook with me...Now that I am focused on it, I know a solution will come and I'm sure some of you will offer your experiences with this kind of thing.

Anyway, I had a nice chemo, I guess. We'll see how the days transpire. They cut the chemo drugs down by 10% and they'll cut them down 20% next time if I go into neutrapenia this time. Still he told me that .9 for white cells isn't bad. The real danger is when it goes down to .5...So I began to wonder what it went down to the first time...

If I don't do well this time and next time, he will send me to the surgeon to see if he can do the surgery before we continue with the last 3 or 4 rounds of the T. That way, my bone marrow has a chance to recover for a month and is still strong enough for surgery. The chemo would then start again a month after surgery. So, whatever happens, happens. I'm just happy with how things went last time and look forward to an even better experience this time.

So that's the update today. Hope you enjoyed the musing about kids.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chemo Tomorrow Morning

So I'm feeling really good today. I guess I finally had the chance to experience what normally happens by the 3rd week after chemo. I've had about a week of feeling like the beginning of the week I was a bit tired but by the end of this week, I'm running around doing errands. (Wow, New Leaf downtown now has a hot food aisle and I got to purchase some of the kind of food I'm eating now, hot and ready to eat! Quinoa, black beans, sautéed kale with garlic, chunks of marinated tofu. Yum!) I also saw clients on Sunday and it felt so good to spend some time out of the house.

I'm finally off of the antibiotics. Now I'm just pumping the probiotics, digestive enzymes and getting acupuncture and Chinese herbs for my immune system and for colitis.

I found a bunch of recipes I forgot I had from days gone by from one of the many times I've been on a wheat free, dairy free, egg free diet. For example, there's this yummy, creamy sauce I used to make out of tofu that they served at a Vegetarian restaurant down in Hermosa Beach. I can't remember the name...Miriam? What's the name of that restaurant again? That was a great restaurant.

I'm a bit nervous about having to go through chemo again starting tomorrow (9:30am) but if I get that week of feeling good again like last time, I know I can handle it. Having a chemo like I did last time, even though I went into neutrapenia, gave me hope and the feeling like I can do this. So 2 more rounds of the A & C and then 3 or 4 rounds of the T. Piece of cake! (oh sure.)

So I just wanted to give you all an update and I may be in hibernation for the next few days and over the weekend. But if I can come up for air, I'll post a few lines here to let you know how I'm doing. I might even be high again tomorrow when I get home (like last time) and then maybe you'll get a screen-full.