Thursday, April 25, 2013

Narrow Bridge

I walked into the gym at 5:40 this morning.
I sat down to put on my spinning shoes.
And a wave of something like grief washed over me.

I haven't sat down to put on my spin shoes at the gym since...
since before Sam relapsed.

For just a moment, I put my head in my hands.
I breathed in deeply, staving off the dizzy wave of realization and fear.

The world is a very narrow bridge.

I rode my bike.
I sweated.
I stopped at the store.
I grabbed a latte with the early-morning crowd.

And I came back home to some kind of normal...some kind of reality.

All four of them bouncing around.
School books.
Piano practicing.
Coffee drinking (okay, that was just me.)

The world is a very narrow bridge
but the important thing is not to be afraid.

This in-between at-home-but-knowing-it-is-temporary feeling is unsettling.
The in-between bridge is narrow.
And the end is foggy.
The home-health nurse came for a visit.
She took vitals.
She asked questions.
We flushed his lines after she left.
It was like we had never taken a break.
We remembered exactly what to do.
I wanted to forget.

But the important thing is not to be afraid.

The important thing is not to be afraid...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Different Kind of Counting

We are in the period of the Omer, the days between the second day of Passover and Shavuot. 

Jews are very into counting.

Each year, I find different ways to observe the Omer. The counting lends rhythm, it is special. More and more of my colleagues and friends are counting the Omer, particularly using social media. It's a really wonderful way to connect and learn new lessons, to remember the day, to sense the passage of time in a communal way.

But this year, my Omer is different. The counting in which I'm engaged is different.

We're counting hemoglobin and white blood cells. We're counting neutrophils and platelets.
The official lap-counting board on the HOT Unit
We're also counting days and weeks, we're counting visitors and jokes. We're counting laps around the unit and we're counting antibiotics and degrees of temperature. We're counting ounces of water consumed and calories taken in.

Counting the Omer has taken on new meaning for me this year. We count up to Shavuot, we add the days...we don't count down. We are reaching, rising, moving forward from the slavery of Passover to the freedom of receiving Torah.

Sam's symptoms began to present themselves on the second night of Passover, the night on which we begin to count the Omer. He entered into the hospital on the last day of the holiday, and we began the count-up....through the slavery and degradation of chemotherapy and treatment into the freedom of healing...

We're not there yet. There's a lot of counting left to go.

Each year we count the Omer. Each year we remind ourselves of the journey from slavery to freedom. But this year, my family is living it. We are walking the road, we are traveling the journey.

Like the Israelites, we are afraid, we don't know what's ahead, we don't know what pitfalls we will face. But we can see the mountain, we can see the high place of light ahead of us.

We're counting up...up...up.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Where You Can Find Me

In case you're looking for me, I'm mostly over here these days.

Unfortunately, things have taken a step backwards into Cancerland.

Gam zeh ya'avor. This too shall pass.