Passover Update

This was an email update to friends, originally sent out on April 8, 2012.

Good day, all, and a happy Passover!

A promised last week, a proper update following chemo #10, which took place one week ago tomorrow.  The chemo gods were clearly smiling upon us.  Parking, positive meeting with liver specialist, relatively short wait for chemo, pleasant nurses.  Really not much to complain about.

We did learn, however, that chemo can directly impact triglycerides.  They doubled in a two-week period and, as the liver guy said, I’d have to eat a steak a day to reach those kinds of numbers.  I guess I’m an over-achiever.  Good news, though, with Passover here, I won’t be eating too much eggs, cheese, butter and other unhealthy foods.  OK, that’s not true, but I did get a lovely prescription for Lipitor (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) which I’ll be taking for about one month to see what happens.

Chemo last week was entertaining and inspiring.  Living in Israel and all, everyone – regardless of whether they are religious or not – observes Passover.  So the first 30 – 45 minutes of treatment were spent talking recipes (or, I should say Tammy was talking recipes with the nurses as I sat quietly waiting for someone to pay attention to me…) and what the “best” way is to get over this apparently very difficult week of no leavening.

I also received a surprise visitor – my dear friend Rabbi Mordechai Tzion – who had the afternoon off from work and decided to come spend some of it with me.  As usual, he offered me tremendous and inspiring words.  But, when he presented me with a gift, he simply took my breath away and I was speechless.  Now, for those of you who know me, know that I’m pretty good with the words.  One of Mordechai’s many jobs is to oversee all English-language publishing from Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim, located in the Old City of Jerusalem.  He presented me with copies of a book that he and his wife, Orly, dedicated to my forthcoming recovery.  I can’t describe how moving it was to see they did that, and to see it in print.  Truly remarkable and unexpected.

This past Friday night was the Seder.  Living in Israel, we only have one day of the holiday, as opposed to the two which are observed everywhere else in the world.  That means we “only” get one chance to have a Seder.  It was simply incredible this year.  We hosted Tammy’s siblings and their families and, suffice it to say, it was lively.  We kept the kids engaged with lots of candy.  Every time someone opened his or her mouth to ask a question, there was candy.  Answer a question: Candy.  Make a tangential point?  Candy.  Sing a song?  Definitely candy.  The highlight was when my niece, Keira, who is in preschool and not the loudest of children, belted out the traditional Four Questions, complete with an Israeli accent.  Maybe she didn’t get all the words right, but no matter, there was still candy. 

And that brings us to today.  A couple of months ago, Tammy decided it would be a nice idea if we could go to NY for Passover.  Since we weren’t sure how I’d be feeling and if I’d be able to fly before the holiday due to chemo, we agreed to fly Saturday night.  I say this with all seriousness: how tremendous it is to travel with children as well behaved as mine.  Shlepping bags I can’t lift and generally being helpful, they deserve heaps of praise.  Now, I should say, I was a bit nervous.  As you know, a do a fair amount of traveling and, I’m not afraid to admit, I was concerned they’d cramp my style.  But it all worked out in the end and, aside from having to wait at the baggage carousel, they did a great job of playing the parts of seasoned travelers.

So, we’re now in NY for some spoiling for Tammy and the kids, and some work and some spoiling for me.  This will be followed by a quick jaunt to Buffalo to visit my aunt and uncle where, I’m told, there may be more spoiling and, possibly, candy.

That’s all for now and, as always, thank you for reading!

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About Alan

F---ing Cancer since 2011.
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