Saturday, September 18, 2010


For once, I am going to do my best to keep this journal entry short and perhaps a little sweet. Tonight I am up to my eyeballs in blintzes in preparation for our break fast at the hospital tomorrow night. Yes, I am *just* making them less than 24 hours before the big event. Yes, my mother would be ready to strangle me for procrastinating if she was doing the coordinating.

There are many reasons I've been procrastinating (aside from the fact that I *always* leave everything to the last minute)...and the biggest is probably logistics. Normally, we make and freeze the blintzes in advance, then set them out all day on Yom Kippur to defrost and pop them into the oven as people are arriving. Right now, I have no freezer space. What little we have is filled with food people have been bringing and tons of breast milk. I tried to figure out how to make them, transport them to my parents' house for freezing, and then get them up to the hospital to defrost and bake...and I realized it would just be easier to make them and bring them fresh to the hospital for cooking. So, that is my plan for tomorrow.

Many of you are probably scratching your heads and wondering, "Why not just buy them?" Well, the biggest reason is tradition. Break fast has *always* been my mom's holiday. We have a core group of friends that we have always spent the holidays with (Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Passover, and often Thanksgiving, too), and EVERY year since I was born, break fast has been at my parents' house. Our menu ALWAYS includes blintzes, applesauce, tuna fish, bagels, lox, cream cheese, kugel, jello mold, fruit, and an assortment of desserts. My mom always made the blintzes and applesauce from scratch, and everyone else who came brought their part of the meal. When all of us "kids" grew up and went off to college, it was the one holiday we usually made it a point to all come back home. I think we all just found it special, and we loved the food and the atmosphere. I think Yom Kippur was always my mom's favorite of the holidays because she loved to host break fast.

For the past few years, however, since all of the "kids" grew up to have kids of our own, our break fast celebration has....well, dwindled. In fact, last year was the first year that it was just our family. No one else. It made my mom sad that our long-standing tradition had faltered. She knew that people were busy with their families, but she always imagined that we would continue the tradition with the next generation of our families, and it made her sad to think that we were all going in different directions...drifting apart. She even thought that maybe no one cared.

So, this year, in honor of my mother, we are doing break fast the "old fashioned" way...except at the hospital. We reserved the family lounge/dining area there, and we'll probably take over the courtyard, too. Almost everyone is coming again, except for the few who moved away.

Today was a strange day. I arrived at the hospital before 12, and my mom was once again miserable. I wish they could get her intestinal issues in order! She told me she had a miserable night again, and she was very uncomfortable again. I helped her with lunch and showed her the new phone. She was doing really well with it today, and I'm hoping she'll be able to better answer and make calls. The phone reads out the menus, and announces all the buttons that are pushed. It also allows for voice command operation and dialing, and I think that feature (and the speaker phone) will be the most important for my mom.

At 1:00, the nurses brought in her chemo pill, and at 2:00, we went down for radiation. They allowed us to accompany mom, and she was a bit nervous. Of course, the minute we arrived in radiology, her stomach issues kicked into high gear, and that was a bit complicated to maneuver. Once we had my mom settled in, it only took 30 minutes for them to check the scans and do her first treatment. We returned to her room around 4:00 pm, and she was feeling fine. As far as we can tell, she had no reaction to the chemo today, and it will probably be a little while before we figure out how she will react to the radiation.

When we returned to the room, she rested for a bit and had to deal with more stomach issues. My brother and I had a series of discussions with the doctors about my mother's stomach issues. They seem to think that we should "stay the course" with the current treatment (or lack thereof), but we are worried about how my mother is feeling. I just think she is getting worse, not better, and that they should be doing more to help. The oncologist thought we should try some different medications, but the rehab doctor refused. I'm at a loss - we have requested a gastro consult, but that won't happen until Monday or Tuesday, and I'm just worried about my mom getting through the weekend and being comfortable. She would be in much better shape if we could work out these intestinal problems!

Her dinner arrived around 6 along with 2 guests from work! My mom was so excited that her co-worker brought along her mom's favorite recipe. She has been telling me about this couscous for the longest time, and I finally had a chance to taste it! She had a lovely visit chatting with them for about an hour or so.

We all said our goodbyes, and I left for the day. I am not certain how much longer my father stayed, but I made it home around 8:00 and sent the babysitter on her way. I hung out with the children until DH got home from services at 9:30 (very late for Micah to go to bed, but I just couldn't figure out how to manage both kids and put Micah to sleep by myself). Maya fell asleep shortly thereafter, and I took a nap before waking up to make blintzes, pump, and blog.

So...that is the update for the day. Day 1 of chemo and radiation down. I'm looking forward to spending the day with everyone to break fast.

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