In the midst of all of the bad news of the day – Brexit passes, Supreme Court rejects Obama’s immigration policy, Congress rejects gun control measures, Trump’s outrageous attacks and Clinton’s political troubles – yet all of the above parties DO agree that today was my last day of radiation! Here are photos of me getting radiation.
This has been the hardest week so far: I have been without energy, fatigued, unenthusiastic, lethargic, wiped out, drowsy, sleepy, drained, run-down, weak, pooped, sluggish…. I spent probably on average 16-18 hours each day sleeping or resting and the other hours, I was mostly listless, though I did rally to go to the theater yesterday evening to see Oslo. The good news is that radiation is over, I am not “sick”, no nausea or pain, but the feeling of not having any energy is debilitating both physically and mentally. I understand that this is a normal reaction to the radiation and chemo, but it still feels horrible! I know that I just need to hang in there and I will get through this – and soon. Starting now, I am on a month break from chemo. I’m told that this next week it is likely to get a bit worse but then slowly, my energy will return. I will spend a good period of time on Fire Island just chilling by the ocean, focused on healing.
Thanks to all my radiation volunteers: Antonio (11 times in addition to all the amazing daily support in so many ways), Ed Sullivan who drove in from Connecticut (4 times), Susan Locke (4 times in addition to the other ways she has supported me), Maie Ayoub (3 times), Susan Letteney, Carlos Motta and Nancy Raphael (twice each), Buffy McDevitt, Ellen Saad, Stewart Schulman, Bertil Lindblad (from California) and Jon Labman (from Pennsylvania) (once each). I appreciated their love, support and company each time!
A few thoughts on NYU Medical Center: I so admire the diversity of the place – you see Hasidic Jews, devout Muslims, people of all races, shapes and ages, including staff, visitors and patients. Today, there was a big Pride banner welcoming LGBT people.
What a wonderful microcosm of our world and everyone seems to be fine side-by-side, so unlike what we hear in the newspapers daily. I loved that the elevator bank I used went to the floors with seriously ill patients along with maternity, so I’d often see a newborn baby in the elevator or a woman on her way to give birth. While I will not miss the daily trips for radiation, I will miss this scene of so many people coming together, getting along.
My health indicators are all good: I weigh 168 lbs (76 kilos) which is about 2 pounds (1 kilo) less than my normal weight – and I assume this is muscle weight because my belly is larger than before, though not by much. And my blood pressure is a perfect 110/70. My skin looks better than it has in a long time, thanks in large part to the nightly ritual when Antonio uses lotions to hydrate my facial skin. I graduated from physical therapy given that my strength and balance were rated well.
Last Saturday afternoon, Antonio and I met Miguel and Ronny for a picnic in Central Park on a gorgeous day and sat under a big shady tree on Sheep Meadow. I did nothing but eat and rest and even that wiped me out. Francesca came by for a bit with infant son Matias but, honestly, it was hard for me to join the conversation. Sunday we had a low-key brunch with Eric who magically showed up on time!
When I got home from radiation on Wednesday with Ellen, an elegant gift awaited me from Seth and Andrea from Rome – a double orchid! I have gotten so many gifts, emails and calls that when this is all over, I hope I can reciprocate with this wonderful circle of friends. I will work to make that happen.
Yesterday evening, Antonio and I went to see Oslo at Lincoln Center – a play about the behind the scenes facilitation of the talks between the Palestinians and Israelis in the early 90s and it gave a smidgeon of hope that even the most intransigent people can come together through diligent work, focusing on the important issues, and personal contact. Sometimes seems hard to imagine today! I had tried to postpone until I had more energy, but in the end that was not possible.
A few people have commented that I need to be more positive, noting that last week’s blog entry was focused on what I was mourning, but for now I am focusing just on getting through these next few weeks. My optimism will come back at its own pace – hopefully soon!