Independence Day

This post is from an email update sent on April 27, 2012.

Good morning, loyal readers, and apologies for the delay since my last email update.

Typically, I draft an email in the days following chemo.  Since my last treatment was almost three weeks ago, it’s been a bit longer than usual.

Why the lag in chemo treatments?  As a regular part of treatment, I needed to have a PET scan to ensure the chemo is doing its job and, in order to get accurate readings, one must wait at least two weeks following a chemo treatment.  (That we had planned a last-minute trip to NY for Passover worked out well, as I was able to be away from home at a time I would have normally received chemo.)

Anyway, I had the scan and met with the oncologist earlier this week to find out what’s what.  Good news!  It seems as though the treatment is working well – very well – and that all I need to do now is finish up two more chemo treatments (starting this coming Monday), after which we will determine next steps in terms of surgery (i.e. reversing the ileostomy). After that, I’m sure, will be a regular schedule of scans and tests to make sure everything stays OK.

Please allow me a moment of horn-tooting: my oncologist was rather pleased with how I’m progressing.  In fact, she said, she used me as an example for another patient who was rather tentative about traveling while undergoing treatment.  She said to him: “You’re worried about making one trip?  I have another patient who travels every other week, after he’s had chemo!”

In other news, Israel remembered and mourned its fallen soldiers and victims of terror this past Tuesday night and Wednesday and, starting Wednesday night, celebrated 64 years of independence.  For those of you who don’t know, Memorial Day in Israel is a true memorial day.  It’s not about sales, barbecue, long weekends or music count-downs.  It is a most-solemn of days because everyone, regardless of politics, socio-economics or philosophy has someone to mourn.  A siren is sounded twice on Memorial Day – once on Wednesday evening for one minute to mark its beginning, and a second time on the day itself for two minutes at 11:00 a.m.  For those three minutes, the entire country stops and stands in quiet reflection or prayer thinking about personal experiences and those who are mourned.  The only television to watch is an all-day scrolling of the names of the fallen and other appropriate programming for the day.  It’s the same with the radio.

And then, only once we’ve paid appropriate tribute, can we celebrate another year.  The entire country is on the move, either to the beach, the forest or someone else’s home for non-stop eating, relaxing and general enjoyment.  We had a most-enjoyable day with friends who put out a spread that could feed a small army.  Thankfully, we had a few teenagers among us who were more than happy to do their part in making sure food wasn’t wasted.

As always, thanks for reading this far!  I hope to file another report next week at some point, following my penultimate (I hope) chemo treatment.

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About Alan

F---ing Cancer since 2011.
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