Monday, April 30, 2007

A Scene Straight out of "Sex and the City"

Remember when Carrie discovers that all of her important computer files have been deleted and that there wasn't a damned thing she could do about it? The same thing has happened to me!!!!!!!!

Possible Ways My Files Were Deleted:

1.Someone with a grudge against me came here while I was in the hospital and erased them.
2.I am a paranoid schizphrenic and only thnk somebody would want to erase my files.
3.A friendly ghost, such as Caspar, whom I met on the Other Side, followed me home and played a trick on me.
4.An unfriendly ghost did it.
5.Nobody did it and I am delusional.
6.Greg did it to retaliate for the divorce.
7.The nor'easter did it.
8.I did it while I was in shock.
9.A disgruntled student did it.
10. Mandy!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Wherein Our Heroine Labors and Labors and Is Eventually Delivered of a Large Baby Boy

I went into labor towards the beginning of Saturday Night Live, on April 26,1980. It seemed like it would be a cinch: my water had broken, and I hardly had any labor pains. There was a full moon that night, so I felt in touch with Erica Jong and all her female witches and forces. Greg, sitting beside me and driving the car, did not appear to be as sanguine.

It turned out that Greg's attitude was more appropriate. As soon as we reached the hospital, whatever could possibly go wrong went wrong. Meconium staining brought a whole convention of nurses into my room; I was hooked up to all the monitors I so hated. My doctor came at once, even though he has just gotten engaged. Soon I was begging for Demerol and swearing that the monitor was missing beats.

Twelve hours later, on Sunday April 27, I was delivered of my son via emergency C-section. Then the real trouble started: The doctors and nurses thought he had terrible diseases that I, the phobic, had never even heard of. One specialist after another was called in to testiify; the nurses were so blunt that my doctor soon forbade them to discuss anything with me. At the door, the doctors murmured: "How come she isn't in shock already?"

On Monday night, he was declared healthy.

When Greg and I were finally allowed to look at and hold him, we found that he was uncommonly bright: he imitated us curling our tongues, breatsfed immediately and held his neck and head high and perused the (tacky) prints hanging on the hospital walls. To this day, he claims to remember a typically terrible Texas thunderstorm that took place on the second day of his life.

It is now 27 years later, and I am once again trying to fight my way out of physical and emotional shock. This shock has dulled my senses, so I am glad that Sheryl is so in love with and so appreceiative of my grown son: she will surely provide him with the joyous birthday celebration tonight that I cannot give him.

Sheryl, please please please continue to give Jeff all the love that right now I cannot freely show him because I am so afraid of being taken off this earth too soon: my impression of the other side is that we take with us memories that were frozen in time; we are deprived of seeing the future.

So Jeff, happy birthday, with as big a heart as I am able to muster this year. If I am here in 2008, perhaps my soul will be freer. We'll see.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Divorce Decree Haiku

Finally he left
Yesterday for the last time.
Never to return.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Poem by the Eleventh Grade

It's been so long since we've seen your face,
Seems like you've left without a trace.
We missed you, oh so much!
So we spoke about you during lunch.
Roseanne said, ""Yeah, it's been a while."
Tami said she loves you.
Ester Z. said days without you are blue.
Elena said you inspired her,
Inna T. asked why all this had to occur?
Suri said your life experiences were great,
Shoshana said that in us, you always have faith.
Malka said she wants to visit you,
Leah said you're the only teacher who stayed true.
Odelia said you're the best,
Kathy said you always put us to the test!
Ron said she hopes you get better.
Diana hopes you'll stay forever.
Ester I. said she wants you at our graduation,
Inna A. said you teach us concentration.
Irina said, "No matter what
No teacher will ever fill your spot."

11th Grade Loves You!

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho,,,'s off to work I go!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

In the Radiologst's Waiting Room... cell phone rang. It was our lawyer. Our divorce had been decreed on March 15,2007. I cried and cried and cried and cried. In fact I am crying still.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Radiation: G-d's Own Video Game

To begin with, nobody actually invented radium. G-d put it on this earth for the Curies to discover, which of course they did. They had not know how toxic it was; only G-d knew that.

Later, Einstein believed he was gazing into "the eye of G-d" when he happened upon e=mc2; maybe he was only gazing into the spectacles of G-d with his own self-congratulatory reflection bouncing back because no doubt G-d already knew the death and destruction that that little formula could bring about. (Poor mortal man was to find out soon enough.)

Anyway therapeutic radiation set-ups are much more preternatural than human in nature. (I.e., like radium and emc2, it seems that radiological equipment was put on this earth by G-d for the smarter of us mortals to discover and the unluckier of us to be zapped with.)The grids, the curves, the faux-planetarium look to the whole thing speak more of G-d than of the medical profession. The rumblings of the gigantic moving devices sound like gently rolling thunder for which one is tempted to say a special prayer; the precisely elegant movements of the grossly inelegant pieces of equipment amaze rather than terrify the poor supine patient.

"What about stray radiation?" the patient asks, clutching her thyroid.

"Isn't any," is the reply of the technician, as she runs out of the treatment room.

"Eyes opened or closed?" one asks beneath the lattice-work mask.

"Doesn't matter," comes the reply from the next room.

So I am on my own in the middle of some Cosmic Fantasy game, where the biggest fantasy of all seems to be that I am actually being treated for cancer.

Monday, April 16, 2007

How to Start Becoming a Person Again

1.Take a full bath and scrub off the remains of the bandages from kidney surgery.
2.Wash your hair and resign yourself to a scalp that is lined with titanium mesh. (Nobody will know if you don't tell them.)
3.Worry about mundane things like floods.
4.Look forward to your first radiation session. Just a big bunch of sunshine all ready to heal you. (You won't even need any messy sunscreen!)
5.Be overjoyed about driving your own self to the session in your own car.
6.Enjoy the fact that you can focus on television again. (Be glad that the return of focus occured at a very good time: just when that sleaze bag Imus is being dumped - finally.)
7.Reacquaint yourself with the Sunday Times. (Unfortunately Iraq is still around to continue to drag you down.)
8.Pay bills.
9.Go food shopping.
10.Continue to believe in G-d and His powers to heal.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rapunzel, Rapunzel...

... let down your hair! Let the Dr. Anants and the Dr. Gliedmans of the world decide how much head should be irradiated and thus how much hair should be lost and from where!

Before my emergency head surgery, they made a frenzied attempt at shaving the back of my head. The result was a quasi-crew cut. I just made an equally disjointed attempt at "hairstyling" the rest of my head with thinning scissors and snipping scissors: I look like hell. (Won't even mention how many colors, fake and real, still reside in my scalp.)

So on Monday I will begin six weeks of focused radiation (to the spot from which the clot and cancer cells were removed). Ironically, my full-service hair salon is right down the street from the radiation facility. HAHAHA!

In short I am already beyond recognition.

So - another re-make of Life Is Beautiful is in order, no? (What's that crazy manic Italian guy's name? I need him here on Monday to tango me to my first radiological session.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Mandy Matters

1Does Mandy create pandamonium in the playground?

2.Would Mandy be a pandacea for a kid who has no siblings? or a kid who has no pets?

Apple of her grandma's eye
Naughty but nice
Yentala, at times. (Aren't we all?)

4.Love is a mandy splendid thing.

5.Mandy : bamboo :: Jeffy : sushi

6.Baby gift: a 2x4 picture frame to accommodate a picture of a stick of butter

7.Mandy ripped a pair of spandax jogging pants. Gotta get her a new pair.

8.Mandy Haiku: Mandy our sweet pet
Mandy my granddaugther too
O Mandy, Mandy, what are you?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


1.Cancer does not mean death.

2.Wigs can be very stylish.

3.I will be more spiritual and wiser because of this experience with cancer.

4,My body can fight the cancer if I am calm.

5.Cancer has a meaning. (See S.Sontag, "Illness as Metaphor.")

6.It is possible to live well with only one kidney.

7.I must embrace radiation as a healing agent.

8. I did not give cancer to Jeffrey in utero or during breatfeeding.

9.I will live to see lovely pandchildren.

10.Tranquilizers facilitate positive thinking.

Friday, April 6, 2007


1.Shock - I am under water. Despite the ocean in my ears, I can still vaguely hear people trying to talk to me about cancer. The following lines:"The stiff heart questions,/"Was it He that forebore/And yesterday or centuries before?" (See Emily Dickinson) keep intoning inside of what appears still to be my mind.

2.Denial - They are trying to relate the cancer to me; but they are obviosuly wrong.

3.Bargaining - I will be the best person in the world if they will only stop connecting the cancer with my name!

4.Depression - If I shut down, I will not feel the terrible pain. I will not even have to care how old and ugly and wrinkled I am
becoming from weeping and frowning all the time, Nobody will care; not even me. (Ah,depression!).

5.Anger - Why me?

6.Acceptance - I am in for the fight of my life.

7.Bitterness - Why me? (Revisited in a slightly less hysterical manner.)

Thursday, April 5, 2007


Results of biopsies from March 20th kidney removal wwent okay!!!

Monday, April 2, 2007


...a weird mask to be used during radiation therapy was molded to my face and neck. The decision was made just to do radiation to the known site of the cancer cells; this decision may have to be expanded to include more of the head later on, but right now partial radiation is all my weak body, soul and mind can tolerate.

I begin radiation treatments on April 16.

Meanwhile we are all grateful to have been delivered to yet another season of the Passover miracle.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Questions Du Jour

1.Why is this night different from every other night? (Sorry - one day early!)
2.Should I submit to radiation of my entire head or just to treatment of the known site of cancer cells?
3.How crazy will I become from the cortisone that will be administered to prevent swelling of the brain from radiation?
4.Are trigger fingers signs of bone cancer?
5.Will the diuretic I now take for blood pressure cause cancer in the remaining kidney?
6.Does Sloan-Kettering really have valuable information that they are keeping from the rest of the medical community?
7.How will I make it through the rest of the day without becoming desperately depressed and making everyone around me even more miserable than they already are?
8.What should I do about my neck? (WHO CARES?)
9.Will I live to participate in the wedding?
10.Why is all this happening?