Friday, December 26, 2008

It's Finally Sunny!

It's a sunny day and I'm feeling better. I haven't gotten a blood test to check, but feel my counts are going up. It's so nice to finally get to open windows and sit out in the sunshine and breathe in fresh air. It's been raining here in Santa Cruz since the day I got chemo - 10 days ago.

I went through some depression around being ill and feeling sorry for myself that I can't go out to eat with my family. (Not to mention all the months I have to go through this, the surgery I'll have to endure and the interruption in my practice that I had just gotten started building only two months before being diagnosed - after a 10 year hiatus to raise children.) Plus, it wasn't easy knowing I was nutrapenic because that scared me silly. I did lots of praying and some crying and felt so lucky when Bailly came over yesterday and prayed for me again.

She retaught me this technique where you go to the book of Tehillim (psalms) and in #119, there are paragraphs where every line starts with a word that starts with a letter from the Hebrew alphabet. So it goes from aleph to taph in order. And what you do is read only the paragraphs that spell out your Hebrew name. So for example, you read the paragraph first where every line starts with the first letter of your Hebrew name and next go to the paragraph that starts with the second letter of your Hebrew name, and so on.

Then, depending on the problem you are praying about, you spell out a couple of more words after your name. For example, she suggested for my illness, to read the paragraphs that spell out the word, "kara satan" which in Hebrew means, "tear/rend satan". (Satan in Judaism is different from Christianity...but I can't give you a good explanation at the moment.) If I'm having problems with my husband, she suggests spelling out the word, "shalom bayit" which means "peaceful home". You can also spell out other people's Hebrew names, using ben (for male) or bat as necessary.

Bailly told me that this technique of reading psalms, not just number 119, helps to effect the "gezera" (decree) in heaven. She even has a tiny book she keeps in her purse and reads whenever she's got a moment - like waiting in line at Safeway! She watched her mother doing this all the time as she was growing up. Here's another interesting thing you can do if you want to: you can also read the psalm that's number corresponds to the year older than the age of your children - which is supposed to strengthen them and give them a blessing.

Anyway, I can read Hebrew but don't always understand what it means. So I have a Tehillim that has the translation of each word directly under the Hebrew word. It was very interesting to read it in Hebrew but understand what I was reading. After I was done, I felt I had pleaded my case quite nicely. I kept remembering what the rabbi once told me about why all those prayers were composed for us: when you stand before G-d, it's nice to have the perfect words to say! After I was finished I definitely felt better about myself and more sure of deserving G-d's blessing.

So either that praying I did or the sun today or the difference I feel in the lump (yay! I love chemo, even though I hate chemo) has uplifted my spirits. Maybe I'll even get to see some clients this Sunday and next week before then next round!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


My doc just called with my blood test results and I am nutrapenic again. So for the next few days I've got to lay low and be careful not to be around any germs. He says my counts will go back up on their own after a few days but next time, he'll change the chemo to account for my sensitivity. So until next time, think of me with lots of strong white cells circulating around my blood stream.

Thanks, I am a bit nervous.

Over the Hump

I'm feeling better today though not back to myself. The nausea is better and potatoes, pears, rice, and whey protein powder are my friends. This is day 7 and last time I went through chemo, I ended up in the hospital in the wee hours of the 8th day. (Reminds me of a very good cd I recommend called, The 8th Day - look it up on itunes - it's a very good rock band made up of my rabbi's cousins.)

I'm not having some of the symptoms I had after the first chemo - which helps me see that there were signs I was going south the first time - but I thought I was having normal chemo symptoms when I wasn't. So that's been useful to see - what's normal chemo and what isn't.

I am grateful Geoff is a bull. He doesn't like me to call him that so I changed it to an ox. If the tables were switched and he was sick and I had parents who also needed me, I would just collapse. He's been so great and the kids are just thriving. He knows how to entertain them.

Nutrapenia is supposed to hit day 7 thru day 10 so I'm being extra careful what I do, what I eat, the supplements I take to keep the immune system up and functioning while I continue on with the antibiotics. Hopefully by the end of this week, my tummy will be all healed and I'll be able to get off of the antibiotics.

By the way, I really appreciate all your posts - they really make me feel like I'm some strong, uplifting, spirited, amazing woman! Of course you don't see me when I'm asking G-d why me and walking around with a sour look on my face all day from nausea. Still, it's nice to think I can be strong enough to go through all this. In my darkest hours I wonder if learning to access my strength on a deep, spiritual level is the reason I'm going through all this. But can't I learn that any other way????

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hanging In There

Battling nausea and the ever present challenge of getting enough food and water in. I think the new nausea med put me to sleep and helped me not have nausea for one day. The best gift I've been given (after getting a very legal prescription from my doctor) was a tincture of medical marijuana from a very good friend who knew just what I needed. And she reminds me that the more this chemo challenges me, the more it's working. So I'm keeping that in mind. No pain, no gain.

The most important thing though is that my colon has been doing really well and not bothering me at all. I have been even eating bread and pasta and very small quantities to test. Doing ok so far. I will get my blood tested tomorrow morning for my immune levels.

Had to cancel my clients...and can't even visit with any of you! All I can do is eat, drink, sleep, watch the food channel. Go figure, it's the happiest thing I can find on TV these days.