Things Get a Little Interesting

It’s been a while. Thank you for the emails of concern; they are always appreciated. A lot’s happened in the past couple of weeks, so let’s get going.

One week ago, I went in for chemo #3 in the this cycle but, before we get to that, I must share the following with you:

Alan and some meat.

Meat. Just meat

Before Monday’s chemo, we decided to have a little preemptive birthday celebration and, being that we are now of the philosophy that a little hedonism is good for the soul, we trekked out to a wonderful restaurant called Papagayo.  There are three in this small Israeli chain; we went to the one in Tel Aviv,

Here’s the deal: it’s a Brazilian steakhouse with a mediocre menu but, the real reason anyone goes there, is to enjoy what they call the “Brazilian Table.”  It’s a “prix fixe” in which all or none of the table’s diners must participate and, over the course of as long as you like, the waiters continually bring samplings of various meats.

You heard me right.

The meat starts coming and doesn’t stop.  In fact, there’s a little redlight/greenlight system they have to indicate when to hold off.  We sampled eight different meats (or, more accurately, six meats, two of which were prepared two ways) and, once we were done, we were free to order more, to our hearts’ delight.  Not all were award-winners but the experience was something else.

Perhaps most enjoyable was the wait staff.  They genuinely seemed to enjoy their jobs, offering commentary and suggestions and watching from a distance as we chewed and sampled. They’re pretty smart, too.  The dinner comes with side dishes which the waitress pointed out would be served at the end of the meal. If we wanted.

Of course, we asked our main waitress what the record was for dining time and she claimed that earlier in the week two men sat for about six hours – from lunch until dinner – taking a coffee break when needed, and even changing tables at one point.

This is not the sort of place one goes to regularly, but I do hope to go back again.

Chemo #3

The gauntlet of smokers right outside the cancer ward.

The gauntlet of smokers right outside the cancer ward.

So, last Monday was Chemo #3 and, as smooth as things went last time around, this was even better! Parking. Meds pre-ordered. Zero waiting time. Faster-than-usual administration of meds. Out by about 2pm.

Unheard of!

And then the fun started. For whatever reason, from Monday evening until Thursday morning I had abdominal pain I hadn’t experienced in years. I couldn’t eat and even drinking proved to be a challenge.  I was, to put it delicately, “driving the porcelain bus” (Think about it…) more than I had in the entire past two years combined.

By Thursday morning, we decided to reach out to the oncologist whose nurse immediately called us back and asked us to come to the hospital.  Luckily, oncology patients don’t have to go to the normal ER and sit among the riffraff.  We get to go the to the oncology day care unit, where our files are kept at the ready and the staff (more or less) knows us.

With the quick blood sample, my high blood pressure and elevated pulse it took the attending physician about a second to declare me dehydrated, but first we needed to determine what the cause of abdominal pain and other symptoms were.

Asked the doc: “Did you have pain before treatment?”


“Have you had this pain previously?”


“Did you take pain meds at home or perhaps anti-nausea meds?”


“What are you, Polish?”

I kid you not. While I understand his sentiment – i.e. you’re in pain so take some Tylenol – I was literally shocked.  I tried to explain that nothing was going down and that when I tried a Gas-x because I thought at the beginning the whole thing was gas (See earlier part of post in re never-ending meat.) it stayed in me about five seconds before taking a ride on the Porcelain Express, but I realized he seemed quite confident this is all a side effect of treatment and not a new or evolving situation.  So, I acquiesced, got into a bed and allowed the saline and other meds to revive me.

A few hours later we were discharged and by Friday I was starting to feel like there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Unfortunately, we had to miss a Bar Mitzvah away from home, but instead we had one of those amazing Shabbatot where it was just us.

Yesterday was Purim and I’m happy to report that I was well enough to leave the house and enjoy a meal with close friends. I’m still not 100%, but I am eating and gaining back some of the weight that melted away last week. And, after losing a week of work, I’m looking forward to becoming reacquainted with some colleagues.

Thanks for your ongoing good wishes!


About Alan

F---ing Cancer since 2011.
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6 Responses to Things Get a Little Interesting

  1. Anita Fein says:

    Glad you are feeling better. Actually, I guess you are missed around here. Yesterday Dad said “It’s been a few months since Alan came in” (even though we don’t see all that much of you while you’re here) Hope the next, and hopefully, last round of chemo will be kinder to you. Happy Shushan Purim!!!!

  2. u.d. says:

    papagaio…. there is no way.. to leave and still feel like a person…. I feel like that guy who explodes after having the mint …. ala monty python….

  3. Rosalyn says:

    Glad you are feeling better and through it all still a sense of humor.

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