Chemo: Part I

Posted on July 18th, 2011

Thanks for the flowers

As soon as we get home today, I know that we will get a million phone calls asking how chemo went. So I figured I might as well explain. The fact that I am writing at 2:30 in the afternoon rather than at 2:30 in the morning might also be a good thing.

Here’s how chemo day works. When we got here, Stella had a blood test that is required prior to chemo. A technician took some blood and then told us that it will be much faster if we take the bag of blood to the lab ourselves rather than wait for someone to do it. So there we were going between the 7th floor (oncology) and the fourth (diagnostics) with a bag of blood.

Of course Stella does not take elevators so we took the stairs. Not nearly as exciting as those high tech elevators at Asuta Hopsital in Tel Aviv. Shaare Tzedek may not be as sleek as Asuta, but it’s more haimish personal.

While waiting for the chemo, patients can get reflexology and massages in the relaxation room. While Stella initially said that she didn’t need “any of that (sissy) stuff,” she relented and went for a little foot massage. Although I think she did it just to make the volunteer happy. (By the way, they did NOT offer me any foot massages, and I was disappointed because I really wanted to show off my infamous runner’s toes.)

A volunteer also came by to ask if any of us wanted something to eat or drink. Now I have to say, there are some special people whose face just broadcasts cheerfulness. The volunteer was such a person. It must be tough spending your day in a room full of cancer patients, but this woman kept smiling. I like that.

The next step was the IV and then the bags of chemo. Stella has three separate drugs, two of which are administered through the IV, one after the other. While taking chemo, we sat in a medium sized room with about a dozen other patients all sitting on reclining chairs. There was room enough for me to hang out with her (although my chair was not nearly as nice.) Then friends came by and we took turns and made jokes about the funny colored liquid that was running from the bags into her body.

To tell you the truth, the day is pretty boring. Thankfully they have wireless here and so after requesting jokes on Facebook, we hung out laughing at some and snickering at others. (Today’s winner is Shellie Ben David, just don’t ask her how the fight started…)

We also met with a friend who had been looking into alternative treatments for us. Don’t worry — we will do nothing without the full blessing of our doctor. I think the funniest suggestion was the coffee enema (really gives “cafe afuch” — upside down coffee —  a new meaning.)

Don’t worry, that one is definitely not on our list to even ask the Doc about.

The rest of the day, we hung out while the chemo dripped into her arm. Her hair did not fall out, she did not turn blue, and except for some localized pain where the stuff went in, the Stella that came out of chemo was the same Stella that when in (minus a bunch of cancer I hope.)

Our plan tonight is to go to a friend’s for a barbecue, and Stella has told me that around dawn tomorrow, she and the dog will be taking their regular walk. I will skip the morning run since it is a fast day, although I may do a middle of the night jog seeing as I will have nothing left to write at two in the morning.

I know how concerned everyone is, but I have to say, I think we are o.k.

I think so because we realize that there is one thing that is even more powerful than the chemo drugs.

It is one word that I finally understand in its full meaning.

That word is… “hope.”

As always, thanks for being there.

Yarden and Stella

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  1. Larry Rosen says:

    Hi Stella! (and Jordan) Things sound good, and hopeful. Glad to hear that… I love elevators!

  2. Paul Goldstein says:

    Sounds like the whole process is designed to take out some of the trauma associated with this. Stella, how come you don’t take the elevator?

  3. Sari says:

    As a seasoned member of the Kick Cancer’s Butt Cheerleading Squad, I have no doubt that hope, combined with prior good health (and the tireless prayers of your loving friends and neighbors) will work in your favor. Here’s wishing that the treatment continues just as smoothly in the future as it did today. Go Team Stella!

  4. Ima2seven says:

    So many of us around the world are mobilized in tefilot to connect more to Hashem as a result of your family’s struggle. Cheering Stella on from the cyber-sidelines….

  5. Sari says:

    PS – why on earth does that picture keep coming up on your blog? My kids might be blond, but I’m sure not!

  6. susan says:

    love the fact that you arent considering a coffee enema…..thanks for keeping us in the loop and know that we are with you from afar… to you all- perth.

  7. rutimizrachi says:

    I love “Team Stella”! Thanks, Sari. May Stella and Sari and all of the KCBCS keep fighting until the beast is defeated. Go, TEAM!!!

  8. David Bernstein says:

    Hope is one of the most powerful drugs administered by HaKodesh Baruch Hu.
    The healing powers it holds are tremdous. Wishing you all the best!!

  9. kira says:

    Glad things are going uneventfully at this point. I pray it continues to be that way. Note that I hear “preggy pops” work for cancer patients as well, just fyi.

  10. Jen says:

    Way to go! You are 100% right–Hope is the path to take.
    Keep up the great work both of you!

  11. Ruth Shlossman says:

    Stella…Jordan… oy, oy, oy…. what unexpected and big huge bummer of news. I went through this with a friend 3 years ago and now she is healthier and happier and stronger then ever. Please God… that will be you in no time. Sending you love and praying for strength and courage for the whole family. If you ever need anything, especially when you are here in town at Chemo.. i would be so happy if you called me . 052-669-0991. Love, Ruth

  12. Emily says:

    Stella – So glad to hear that Day #1 went well. That also means that you can start counting down to the half way point, and then to the last day of chemo! That number really helps keep you going 🙂

    Were you on the 6th fl or in the oncology dept? If you were on the 6th fl, please tell Zehava the secretary that you are “friends” with me – I hope that will afford you a little more protekzia. Dorit, Tanya, and Nurit too! If you EVER need a ride there, a ride back, or someone to come and make bad chemo jokes with you, dont hesitate to let me know!

    Have a great sleep and tomorrow is already a new day!

  13. Seitz Fam says:

    Lots of love,
    Zefi & Noam From London

    Also BEST wishes from my in-laws, and the rest of their community (Kenton, London) – Your name has been added to their list!

  14. Carla says:

    So glad to see that things went well with you today. Thought of you all day and how blessed I am to know you both.

  15. rachel himelstein says:

    the cheerleaders on rechov hamoriah are all jumping up and down(quietly so that we dont disturb) but just happy and hugging you for handling round 1 of treatment. all our best wishes and kisses and sincerest prayers for a speeeeeedy recovery!!!

  16. Shellie and Lenny says:

    I admit that I cheated; my friend sends me e-mails with jokes so I cut and pasted. Facebook has a limit to how much you can post, so that’s why I had so many postings! But, I’m glad if I can share them, put a smile on your faces and let you forget where you are for a bit of time. Keeping you in my prayers.

  17. Krista Strothmann says:

    Stella – does going up and down all those stairs remind you of living on the 4th floor of KED? Hahahaha! Keeping you in my thoughts.

  18. Josh says:

    Hey Cousins,

    Here’s one:

    A guy walks into a psychiatrists office wearing nothing but a pair of underpants made completely out of Saran wrap. The psychiatrist stops the man at the door and says: “hold it right there, I can clearly see your(e) nuts!”

    i hope you laughed…I laughed typing it!

  19. Nina says:

    Laughter is the best medicine, glad you had visitors (both virtually and physically) to keep up your good spirits.

  20. Rhea and Bob says:

    You are always in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for keeping us posted.