October 2006 Archives

Coping with Terminal Illness


Several of my friends have remarked that my frankness about my mother's terminal illness is somewhat incomprehensible - especially for those who have never lost a parent.

First of all, it is beyond describing. It is excrutiatingly difficult and painful. I want my mother to live.

That said, there are guiding lights for me.

1. The Baha'i Faith, first and foremost. This past year, struggling with her cancer, has taught me what true reliance on God is. It ain't easy, that's for sure, but it has allowed me to let go of the control I so strongly craved and was desolate without. I think this is a large part of the struggle over losing a loved one.

2. Prayer. I see so much new meaning in prayer now. Turns of phrases such as "Make Thy beauty to be my food", which I always understood to be a request for detachment from things on this realm - now I read it as a request for my mother when she moves on to the next world. Not that either interpretation is invalid, but it is a new understanding of the possibilities of the power of the prayer.

3. Mimi. My grandmother, my mother's mother, passed away when I was one. She has had such a large influence on my life that I believe I can genuinely say that I do not think I would be where I am today, who I am today, without the relationship I have had with her - which has obviously not been the typical relationship considering she passed away 30 years ago. My connection to her is so strong, and through this I know that my own children will know their grandmother in the same fashion in the event that she isn't on this plane of existence to pamper them as grandparents do. This is not the end for me.

4. Finally, my mother. Her own frankness - having lost her mother in a similar fashion - has helped me go through the process that I have gone through. It highlights how much I rely on my mother, and also how much she means to me. Whenever she dies - be it tomorrow or 20 years from now - she will be missed by many more than just me for her wisdom, generosity, kindess and strong will, among other things.

That said, if you're still up for a long read, my mother is hosting an amazing dialogue over on her blog that highlights what a wonderful family we have. I suggest you have a peak - both at her entry and all the comments from my aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws and "out-laws" :-)

Time To Go


In one week, I will be back in Ohio.

And you know, nothing says "I'll miss this place" like a cat peeing all over your freshly cleaned laundry.



Pregnancy is all about development. My development as well as the growth of this extra spinal column I'm incubating inside of me. (Don't ask me why, but seeing the spinal column on the ultrasound was the most moving thing for me - not head, arms, legs, whatever else.)

Anyhew, I'm 15 weeks today. Which means that my baby is supposed to be roughly 4 inches/10 centimeters. However, as of Tuesday (that last ultrasound I posted), the baby was already 11.5 cm, or 4.5 inches. I measured this and figured out that the baby is larger than my palm (my real hand palm here, not my Palm Pilot, folks), and is quite possibly already up to 12 cm.

I can't quite explain it, but the more 'real-life size' the baby gets, the more real-to-life it gets for me that this is all happening inside of me. (obviously, I have a way to go!)

Not That I'm Competitive


Now we all know what some of the biggest stressors are in life, right?

So, let's see:

Pregnant - check
Moving - check
Jobless - check
Loved ones dying - check
OH! And HOUSE FLOODING (again? yes! again!)- CHECK!

So, you know, if you think you're stressed, well, I've got you beat this time!!!

That's me. I'm a winner.

(laugh and laugh with me, I promise. It's just too absurd to be reality....)

Comfy Cosy


I had my ultrasound this evening and I got the all clear - no gallstones. (PHEW!)

The technician, who also happened to be pregnant herself, printed this little gem out for us, too. Very kind of her - she tried to look for the sex, but we clearly have a very modest baby :-)

I think the photo is pretty clear, but just in case, the head is facing downward on the left - the baby just looks so cozy, no?

Photo 167.jpg



"In all matter, take your spouse into consideration. Always try to see things through the eyes of the other."

This is the advice my mother gave us at our wedding shower. I recently looked over the 3 x 5 card notes from that day, and realized that this is the one I forget most frequently. It's the one I have the most trouble with.

I was chatting with my sister-in-law Kristen the other day and had another one of those moments. She and I were discussing my mother's somewhat imminent passing and some of what Kristen and Mendon are going through as a result. Kristen expressed concern that Mendon would expect her to "be there for him" - a solid rock in his time of need. She, validly, pointed out that she'd be grieving as well. Which is when it dawned on me that I expected the exact same thing of Mark, even though he will, in all probability, be grieving as well. D'oh.

So, in advance, I'm asking all of you (who are not related to me) to be there for us*. And thank you, Kristen, for helping me realize this important need.

*If you don't know what to do, I have learned the overwhelming importance of food at such times. So, if you're in the area, bring us food.



There's a hairdresser here that some of us have followed for a while as he graduated, started at a salon, etc. He's now currently salon-less, but he'll come to our place and use it as a salon if we organize a few friends together for cuts, dye, etc. So yesterday, one of our friends did just that.

We all went over to her place for our appointments, chatted and goofed around. Mark and I stuck around for a while as sometimes if we left that would have left the hairdresser alone in the flat with just one woman. And we got hungry. So we raided the kitchen. We first ate chips (I know, nutritious, hello!). Anyway, the bags each had a tattoo in them!

So yesterday, Mark and I got haircuts and tattoos. Mark has a cobra which we put on the nape of his neck. He thinks it's very cool. I have a rose on my wrist- THAT GLOWS IN THE DARK. Yes. I think mine is cooler.


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What are your plans for Halloween?

Well, don't forget to include your Ipod!

And yes it is real. They get better - so make sure to check out the links on the left for the specific sizes (Ipod, Nano, Shuffle...).

And your Mac? What will it wear? Wouldn't want it to feel left out, no?

Keyword: French

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I've started looking for work back in Cleveland near my parents.

Just for kicks, I typed in "French" as my keyword. You know, just to see.

I got one hit. "Wow," I thought, "that's more than I expected." So I clicked on it to see what the job was.

What was it?

And I quote, "Tired of smelling like a French fry?"

Guess I won't be using French in my next job...



When my mother told me that her cancer was back I was at work. I took it rather matter-of-factly, and moved on. Now is preparation time. Looking back, I know this routine. It's the third time in as many years that Mark and I have been through this drill. Parent ill, get plane tickets, arrange flat, pack bags, get on flight ... then fall apart. Last year, when my mother made a similar phone call, people were literally walking in our door for Mark's birthday party. I broke down, then pulled myself together and held the (small) party. In a way, it helped me put the emotions on pause.

This time though, I have some of my own health concerns to deal with first before I can fly. I really, really don't want to have to use one of those vomit bags during take-off, for instance. Unfortunately, this means I may have a whole month of "emotions on pause" before I can leave. And the cracks are already beginning to show.

Last night I couldn't sleep, kept up by unseemly thoughts about my family. I dreamt, in one night, that Mendon had fingers blown off in an explosion, Kristen ran through a glass door, and Rachael and I were trapped in a tiny room w/ an open outside window from which scary things were about to descend. Other family members were involved, but I no longer remember what their roles were....

How do I let myself feel - without falling apart? I have to get our flat ready in a "I'm never coming back" way, same with my job.

Maman, I am glad you told me in my 13th week and not my 6th. Even if I hadn't lost the baby, those weeks of severe nausea and vomitting would have been unimaginably more hellish.

I Miss Clipper

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As I mentioned, I haven't had hot tea for a while. Mark made some cinnamon buns this morning, and so I made some tea to go along with it. And then I looked down at my mug and thought, "why is this tea black?!"

Back in Scotland, Nathan had a big box of Clipper brand tea. It made these lovely golden brown cups of tea with no trace of bitterness after 5 whole seconds of exposure to water. Sigh. I miss Clipper.

Physical Feeling

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Thought it only fair to let you all know I am beginning to turn a corner and feel a bit better. I ate potato latkes last night (and oh my goodness I could eat them all day again today, they were so good!!). Okay, they weren't quite potato latkes - they were a Kazakh variety, but still.

And today I ate cinnamon rolls and had my first cup of tea in 7 weeks!! I know this seems trivial, but it's pretty big to me, seeing as how I unwittingly lost 10 pounds in those same 7 weeks.

Now I patiently (ha!) wait for an ultrasound on my pancreas. Know what? I hate prancrea-i. HATE THEM. Do you hear me?!?! Oops. I guess I'm slipping into my emotional feelings. Didn't mean to do that.

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Nash! Nash! Stomp around the room tearing things to pieces!


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A friend of mine, who just recently gave birth to her second child replied to my woes with this statement:

"Your head could fall off and they'd say 'that happens sometimes during pregnancy'."

It's the little things that get me through the day!



Photo 161.jpg

As I lay a sobbing mess on my bed, I made a decision. I'm not going to lie and I'm not going to pretend. You can congratulate us and I will fully understand, but I am in an extreme amount of pain. I haven't been to work in 6 weeks - and you can still see the exhaustion in my eyes. The most comparable feeling I can come up with was how much my heart hurt when I learned of my mother's cancer diagnosis.

I spent yesterday at the hospital because we thought that, with 3 doses of anti-nausea meds and still 3 rounds of vomitting in a day, I might be dehydrated. Come to find out I wasn't dehydrated, but that pain in my abdomen? That's not normal. That's not from all the wrenching of my body as I puke my guts out. No, that's an infection.

And I woke up today with pain in my chest. It hurts to breath and shoots pain up into my right shoulder. Suspicion? Viral infection. (Daddy? Daddy? Is this respiratory ... it hurts so badddd! I'm in tears just writing this.)

And the soonest I can see a friggin' doctor is Wednesday because it's party time in Israel (not that I begrudge them the party). I suppose it's probably like trying to see a doctor in the States sometime in the week between Christmas and New Year's.

When a child puts you this close to the brink, yes, I understand why parents think their children owe them the world and then some.

I know it'll get better. I know I'm just inches away from that happiness that comes with the second trimester. At 12 weeks/3 months, I am just on the cusp of that. But this first trimester sure is going out with a bang.

So there. There's the big, exciting announcement. I apologize if it doesn't quite live up to your expectations. Oh, and that's just the baby's head. If my father is calling the baby 'the prune pit', he's probably got the size about right (about 2 inches/5 centimeters in length).

Sweet Land

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I really want to see this movie!

That's all. ;-)

No, it's not - I want the collection of short stories it's based on, too: A Gravestone Made of Wheat by Will Weaver.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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