Posts Tagged ‘pain’

Just Don’t Think

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

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I was riding with some friends one time in the desert on a challenging and beautiful path. At times the path narrowed into a tiny ridge that curved around the desert cliffs with about the width of my handlebars. Scary but also exhilarating. I am comfortable with that sort of riding. As long as the trail is uphill or flat, I can manage the terrain without worry.

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Downhill technical riding is something else. This is when you ride down steep paths that were never really designed for bike riding. When I start down a tech section, I am usually freeking out and just hope I can get to the bottom in one piece. Every now and then you have a drop. A drop is a ledge that you ride off of and then both you and your bike fall to the ground. If you are lucky, you fall together and land together and continue riding as if that was all part of the plan.

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Something for the Anger

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Another beautiful portrait

I may have made a mistake.

In my euphoria over the news that Stella could have the operation, I made the assumption that the hard part was over, that cancer had been defeated and now we could just celebrate the victory.

But real miracles take a bit longer than a Hollywood version. The Doctor assured me that reaching this stage was indeed amazing, but it was not by any means a guarantee. So perhaps I put on my party hat a little early.

On the other hand, the weeks before the operation were incredibly special as we celebrated every day with family, friends, and great food. O.K., the battle will go on.

Just after I sent yesterday’s post about how amazing Stella was doing, we had a setback. I won’t go into details but it was a very difficult afternoon. Then, a few hours later things got better.

I am sure that it was the extra tefillah that people said after my Facebook Post.

The big bucket of morphine didn’t hurt either.

Now let’s have some fun.

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A New Day

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Last night I came home from the hospital and tried to write an update. But I was exhausted and depressed and had nothing really significant to say. Since the surgery, Stella has been in a great deal of pain, both physical and (as I could tell from her usually smiling face) — mental. She was utterly despondent and nothing I could say or do would cheer her up. The nurses made her go from the bed to a chair which she hated because of the pain of sitting up. As soon as she could, she got back into the bed and closed her eyes in a morphine induced sleep.

I felt completely helpless and so I tried a few times to find some optimistic things to tell you, her Army, and I just couldn’t. I fell asleep with my laptop open on my pillow filled with sad words.

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Kilometer #38

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Max and Stella. There is no off-season.

I have run five full marathons. Despite the fact that each one is unique and stands apart in my memory, during all of them I got to experience what I call the “Kilometer #38” syndrome.

After running 38 kilometers, you do not feel at your best. No matter who you are or what pace you have been running, I don’t think anyone is really comfortable at kilometer 38. Your legs and lungs burn, your feet kill, and everything else feels like it’s about to just fall of your body like the muffler on an old VW Bug.

Mentally, it’s also tough. If you have never run a marathon, you might assume that everyone is happy at kilometer 38, since you only have four more to go. You have finished ninety percent of the race. The rest should be a piece of cake, right?

Wrong. At least for me, those last four kilometers feel like another forty. And knowing that the pain will continue — and in fact get worse — can be pretty darn demoralizing. Last January in Tiveria, I had run the race of my life, but at kilometer 38 I was about to admit defeat. I felt I could just not face those last four kilometers. If it were not my friend Chaim running next to me, I might have stopped right there.

Despite all the fantastic news — and we are so aware of what a miracle we are seeing unfold — Stella is right now at kilometer 38. She is battling through another round of chemo that is really knocking her around. After the chemo, we have lots of tests to get ready for the surgery, then the surgery itself will be on January 1.

Yes, all of us who love Stella are dancing and singing with joy that she CAN have the surgery. But we are not the ones who have to HAVE the surgery. Already feeling low from the chemo, Stella is not looking forward to this very involved operation and the recuperation period after it. She mentioned to the surgeon how she was a “bit nervous” about the operation, perhaps looking for some comforting words or reassurance. Maybe he would tell her that this procedure was nothing to worry about, that it would be a piece of cake.

He just looked at her and said “Do you want to live?”

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Longing for the Dawn

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011


I have said before that the nights are the hardest part for me.

I have lain awake countless times at around two or three in the morning, when my strength is gone and keeping the nightmares at bay is just too much.

Eventually, I give up on trying to get back to sleep and just “long for the dawn” as the Psalm (Tehillim 130) says.

On both a literal and figurative level, the battle with cancer is like one long night.

You long for the sun to come up because usually you feel a little more in control when the sun is shining.

You feel a little bit more hope with each new dawn. When Stella is up and we talk, I feel a bit more of a sense of normalcy and can often push the nightmares back into the box where they hide out.

But getting through the night gets harder and harder.

And I am getting really tired.

I’m tired of feeling helpless while Stella fights her courageous battle with the cancer that has turned our lives upside down. Demonstrating love and support and comfort are a given. Of course I do that as much as I can. But I need to do more.

So I have come up with an idea, and I hope you will join me.

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