November 29, 2008

Our Thanksgiving celebration

We had a truly lovely Thanksgiving day with family and friends. My mom came to visit and our friends the D's joined us for a great afternoon and evening.

Here is our Thanksgiving menu, entirely home made except for the beverages:
sparkling rose wine and cider
green salad with cranberry dressing, pears and spiced walnuts
grill-roasted turkey
gravy
mushroom stuffing
tricolor roasted sweet potatoes
salmon in filo pastry (for the vegetarians)
brussels sprouts sauteed in olive oil and tossed with hazelnuts
whole wheat rolls

Then we took a break to walk the dog and - burp - digest.

We played a new parlor game I had just learned called Picture Telephone. Each player writes a sentence on a piece of paper and then passes it to the next person, who draws what the sentence says, then folds the paper so that only the drawing is visible. Pass again and now write a sentence of what you think the drawing means. Fold the paper again so only the new sentence is visible, pass to the next person and draw as above. Repeat, folding the paper so only a drawing or sentence is visible, and when you get back your original sheet of paper, unfold it and read the first sentence and last sentences aloud.

We laughed so hard we cried.

Then we sat down for dessert:

chocolate pecan pie
pumpkin bread with chocolate chips
dark chocolate covered almonds rolled in turbinado sugar and sea salt (these were from Trader Joe's)
coffee and tea

At the end of the evening we played Apples to Apples. A great time was had by all.

November 26, 2008

Scan results - a mixed bag

The report from yesterday's CT scan was a mixed bag. The small lesion in my lung has grown from 5 mm to 8 mm, still small but located in a place that would be tough to biopsy.

The CT also revealed a mass in my left breast. This is the first time my oncologist and I have noticed it on a scan report but evidently it was present during the last scan in August. This mass has not quite doubled in size since May (from 4mm to 7.6 mm).

Dr. G was unable to palpate the lump in a physical exam, it's so deep or tiny (or both). So I will have a biopsy since this area is easier to reach than the spot in the lung. Once biopsied and cultured, we will see what grows. If it's breast cancer, we will retest for ER/PR and Her 2 status. If it's not breast cancer... we'll cross that bridge when and if we come to it.

November 25, 2008

Seattle's other best breakfast


Last Sunday I dragged Rik to Molly Moon's Ice Cream Shop for their winter Sunday morning breakfast -- organic oatmeal served with a huge scoop of the ice cream of your choice, plus a choice of complimentary toppings: chopped nuts, dried cherries, candied ginger, chopped chocolate, and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves). I had the salted caramel flavor, Rik had maple walnut. They were both a big hit.

It was an UNBELIEVABLY good (second) breakfast. (We had already attended morning minyan and so had eaten a little something earlier.) If you live in Seattle, pick a Sunday morning and run, don't walk, to Molly Moon's in Wallingford. Your taste buds will be so happy!

You can read more on Molly Moon's blog .

Scan today

If you remember, the suspicious spot on my lung didn't appear to grow much between June and August, so we decided not to do the biopsy and to re-scan in three months. This morning I had the three month follow-up CT scan.

What I don't like about CT scans is that they stick me in a vein to start an IV (can't use the portacath). The contrast dye smells funny, tastes metallic, makes me feel hot all over AND as though I have to urinate. However, it doesn't take long and the technician got my vein on her first try.

I get the results tomorrow.

Again with the bat mitzvah?!


My mom came for Thanksgiving and brought with her the photos from my bat mitzvah. We had a laugh looking at them again. These were proofs. We never ordered pictures because they were so terrible! I was so unhappy about the dress that in every photo I'm either frowning or angry.


I chose a few to post that illustrate the look of the early 1970's. Oy, what we wore! The long hair. The bad clothes. (Vests were evidently popular among teens.) These looks were stylish in 1972 but in retrospect are just funny. Except for Mom; her outfit still looks stylish.

I hope you enjoy them!

November 24, 2008

More bat mitzvah memories

Last Shabbat, parashat Chayyei Sarah 5769, was the 36th anniversary of my bat mitzvah. In it, Sarah dies and Abraham sends his steward to arrange a marriage for his son Isaac to a nice Jewish girl from his family back in Mesopotamia. The steward doesn't know how he will meet the right girl for Isaac, and so he prays that she will offer water to him and to his camels. Rebekah comes along and does exactly this. She agrees to return with him and marry Isaac. And when she sees Isaac, she falls off her camel -- struck with love at first sight.

I was awaiting being called to the Torah for an aliyah when I realized that this is the portion Rabbi Gartenberg referred to when Rik and I had our aufruf, the aliyah before our wedding. He told us the story of Rebekah falling off her camel as a metaphor for our love at first sight, how this kind of experience can be so powerful, even overwhelming, that we lose our balance. I didn't realize until this past weekend that the story was from my own bat mitzvah portion!

Life is filled with circles, closing and overlapping...

November 21, 2008

Page 56

I saw this on Facebook and think it is just too profound for something so random.

Try it and if you like it, instead of or in addition to posting on your own Facebook wall, please include the quote you find in a comment here.

Page 56 Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence along with these instructions in a note to your wall.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

My page 56 quote? "Chances are you still have areas that need work." (Terry Axelrod, "Beyond the Ask Event")

November 20, 2008

Spiced Chocolate Truffles

Here is chef Greg Atkinson's recipe for Spiced Chocolate Truffles with Cocoa Nibs from the Seattle Times --

Makes 36 bite-sized candies

(Cocoa "nibs," which are roasted and crushed but otherwise unprocessed cocoa beans, are slightly bitter. For hard-core chocolate lovers, they represent the ultimate chocolate experience. Spices and cocoa nibs combine to make these chocolate truffles an adults-only treat.)

For the coating:
¼ cup cocoa nibs
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the filling:
½ cup whipping cream
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1. Line a sheet pan with baker's parchment or wax paper. Prepare the coating mixture by combining the cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, cinnamon and cayenne pepper in a small food processor or coffee mill; pulse the motor on and off to break up the nibs and combine the ingredients, but don't pulverize the nibs entirely; they should keep some of their crunchy texture.

2. To make the filling, heat the whipping cream in a small saucepan until it is steaming hot. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl with the vanilla, cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper. Incorporate a little of the hot cream into the egg yolks to temper them, then stir the mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring gently with a heat-proof silicone spatula until the cream is slightly thickened, about two minutes. Do not let the mixture boil.

3. Take the pan off the heat and stir the chopped chocolate into the cream mixture until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Continue stirring until the mixture has begun to cool. Move it to a pastry bag or a 1-gallon, freezer-strength, ziplock bag and pipe it onto the sheet pan in 1-inch dollops.

4. Let the dollops of filling cool to room temperature, then roll them into balls. Roll the balls in the cocoa nib mixture. Keep the finished truffles cold for up to a week; warm them to room temperature just before serving.

Greg Atkinson, 2008

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

Today I am a fountain pen

One upon a time, when boys became bar mitzvah, they frequently received a fountain pen as a gift. The joke went, when the bar mitzvah boy got up to speak to the synagogue, he would say, “Today I am a fountain pen.”

This week marks the 36th anniversary of my bat mitzvah at Temple Sholom in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rabbi Donald Splansky was our new rabbi, and I was the first bat mitzvah of his tenure. I remember thinking to myself, after we had finished the Torah service and I had completed everything I spent a year learning, "That's it? All that work and I'm done?"

Thirty-six is a significant Jewish number. In Hebrew, every letter has a numerical value. The word chai (life) has a value of 18. Therefore twice chai is 36. (This is why you often see charitable donations from Jews given in multiples of 36.)

I wanted to mark this anniversary. Since I am mourning my father, I'm not leading services on Shabbat. So I learned a new set of tunes and led the Torah service this morning at minyan. (We read the Torah on Mondays and Thursday as well as Shabbat.) Being the daughter of a Cohen, I also received the first aliyah.

It was challenging to learn new tunes on the fly, but everyone seemed to enjoy my singing and the opportunity to help me celebrate a Jewish anniversary. The spiced chocolate truffles I brought along to share as a snack might also have helped contribute to the festive feeling!

After services ended, I went to the shul's kitchen and made 200 more truffles to share with the congregation at kiddush this coming Shabbat. I hope they're a big hit on Saturday as well!

By the way, I did NOT receive a fountain pen as a bat mitzvah gift. But I did get a clock/radio, very trendy electronics for the time (1972). I still have the Beatles songbook a friend gave me. I remember shopping for shoes to wear with the new dress. My feet were large, but I was only 13 years old. The only appropriate shoes for a girl with size 8 feet were dye-to-match low-heeled pumps. We had them dyed navy blue to match the dress and I sweated so much, the dye ran all over my toes.

November 19, 2008

Fleas

Pumpkin has fleas. Or at least flea dander. I was late in applying his monthly dose of Zodiac Spot On and voila! Itchy, scratching dog. The vet prescribes washing all the bedding, vacuuming the furniture and rugs, and giving Pumpkin two Benadryl tablets twice a day until he stops scratching. (Evidently dogs take a larger dose of Benadryl per pound than people.)

Oh, the joys of pet ownership.....

November 15, 2008

Women, friendship and stress

I received this from a friend today. We might have known that friendship was keeping us healthy!

UCLA STUDY ON FRIENDSHIP AMONG WOMEN

By Gale Berkowitz

A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special.

They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. By the way, they may do even more.

Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It's a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research---most of it on men---upside down. "Until this study was published, scientists generall y believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible," explains Laura Cousino Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study's authors. "It's an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers.

Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just "fight or flight." "In fact," says Dr. Klein,"it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the "fight or flight" response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect. This calming response does not occur in men", says Dr. Klein, " because testosterone---which men produce in high levels when they're under stress---seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen", she adds, "seems to enhance it."

The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic "aha!" moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. "There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded", says Dr. Klein. "When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own. I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something."

The women cleared their schedules and started meeting with one scientist after another from various research specialties. Very quickly, Drs. Klein and Taylor discovered that by not including women in stress researc h, scientists had made a huge mistake: The fact that women respond to stress differently than men has significant implications for our health.

It may take some time for new studies to reveal all the ways that oxytocin encourages us to care for children and hang out with other women, but the "tend and befriend" notion developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor may explain why women consistently outlive men. Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. "There's no doubt," says Dr. Klein, "that friends are helping us live." In one study, for example, researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6-month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%.

Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nurses' Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. In fact, the results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having close friends or confidantes was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight! And that's not all! When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate.

Yet if friends counter the stress that seems to swallow up so much of ou r life these days, if they keep us healthy and even add years to our life, why is it so hard to find time to be with them? That's a question that also troubles researcher Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D., co-author of "Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls' and Women's Friendships (Three Rivers Press, 1998). "Every time we get overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women," explains Dr. Josselson."We push them right to the back burner. That's really a mistake because women are such a source of strength to each other. We nurture one another. And we need to have unpressured space in which we can do the special kind of talk that women do when they're with other women. It's a very healing experience."

Taylor, S. E., Klein, L.C., Lewis, B. P., Gruenewald, T. L., Gurung, R. A. R., & Updegraff, J. A. “Female Responses to Stress: Tend and Befriend, Not Fight or Flight”

Happy birthday to me!


Today is my birthday. For weeks now, when someone asked my age, I said like a child, "I'm almost 49!" I imagine that most women my age don't thrill to the sound of adding another year to their age. But from my perspective of living with metastatic breast cancer and beating the odds for the past six years and (almost) three months, celebrating each new birthday is the only way to go.

I heartily recommend that on your next birthday, you gather with friends, pop open a bottle of bubbly, and make a toast to growing older. It's way better than the alternative.

November 14, 2008

Zometa again

Here's the rhythm of my days -- Yesterday it had been a month since I last had an infusion of zometa, the bone-strengthening drug I take every four weeks. One month ago I was in the hospital, recovering from a staph infection and cellulitis. Since I take this IV drug every four weeks, it has become one of the ways I measure my life. I could hardly believe it had been four weeks since everything turned upside-down for a few days.

How quickly things move on. We accumulate the trivia of our days without realizing how much time has passed.

The nurses apologized for saying that they look forward to seeing me again. I guess some people take it badly when they have to go to hospitals on a regular basis. My view is that these drugs are keeping me alive and well, so I told the nursing staff that I hope to be seeing them for many more months and years to come!

November 11, 2008

Veterans / Remembrance Day

My father z"l, was proud of his service during World War II. Here is his story --

Sheldon Charles Cohen enlisted at age 18 in January 1945. His mother went with him to the ferry to New Jersey and waved goodbye. He spent three days at Fort Dix, where he was issued a uniform and dog tags. The army sent his clothes back to his parents in the Bronx. He beat the army to the haircut and had already had his hair cut militarily short.

He then went to Florida for basic training for six weeks, where he learned to master peeling potatoes. He was given a seven day leave before shipping out, but it took 2 days to travel by troop train from Florida to New York City, so he only had 5 days of leave.

He sailed to Le Havre where he was posted to the Army Corps of Engineers. Because of his experience with his father's seltzer delivery business, he spent his service driving trucks, including a 22-wheel rig. He drove from Le Havre over the mountains and south to Rouen and Marseilles; to Belgium and Holland, where he saw the famous fields of tulips; into Germany; and went to England for a special job for Eisenhower. After that trip he was thrilled to be personally thanked by General Eisenhower. He saw the concentration camp in Strasbourg.

He once ran out of gas somewhere in France. Having learned a little bit of French, he hiked back to the closest village, where he made a telephone call. He said to the operator "Le militaire American." The operator didn’t understand his accent, so he repeated "Le militaire American." Eventually they connected him and the Army came by with more gas.

He attended an Army buddy's wedding to a French girl. At the dinner after the ceremony, they ate soup, a main dish, and served the salad at the end! He was very surprised by this custom.

His cousin Eva's daughter came to Europe on a war bride ship and looked for him in Le Havre, but he was posted to Paris at the time. So she gave his buddies all the fresh milk and fresh food she had access to, and they all got sick. They had very little fresh food and were used to eating mostly powdered, dehydrated and canned items.

The Germans had sunk a freighter in the harbor at Le Havre to prevent any more Americans from arriving. When the tide was in, you could only see a main pole. When the tide went out, you could see the whole ship.

He said something about being in the Army was the best two years of his life. He was a young man, he traveled to five countries. He never saw combat. He served his country. He was honorably discharged in 1947 because the Army needed his unit to clear the harbor at Le Havre after the war in Europe had ended.

Remembrance / Veterans Day: In Flanders Fields



Today is Veterans Day (in Canada, Remembrance Day). While we were in Vancouver this past weekend, we saw many people wearing red poppy pins to remember those who died to defend their country. This is a tradition Americans could emulate.

In Flanders Fields

By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) of the Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

According to the Arlington National Cemetery website,
McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915. Here is the story of the making of that poem:

Although he had been a doctor for years and had served in the South African War, it was impossible to get used to the suffering, the screams, and the blood here, and Major John McCrae had seen and heard enough in his dressing station to last him a lifetime.

As a surgeon attached to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Major McCrae, who had joined the McGill faculty in 1900 after graduating from the University of Toronto, had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, Indians, French, and Germans -- in the Ypres salient.

It had been an ordeal that he had hardly thought possible. McCrae later wrote of it:

"I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."

One death particularly affected McCrae. A young friend and former student, Lieut. Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, had been killed by a shell burst on 2 May 1915. Lieutenant Helmer was buried later that day in the little cemetery outside McCrae's dressing station, and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain.

The next day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the Canal de l'Yser, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, McCrae vented his anguish by composing a poem. The major was no stranger to writing, having authored several medical texts besides dabbling in poetry.

In the nearby cemetery, McCrae could see the wild poppies that sprang up in the ditches in that part of Europe, and he spent twenty minutes of precious rest time scribbling fifteen lines of verse in a notebook.

A young soldier watched him write it. Cyril Allinson, a twenty-two year old sergeant-major, was delivering mail that day when he spotted McCrae. The major looked up as Allinson approached, then went on writing while the sergeant-major stood there quietly. "His face was very tired but calm as we wrote," Allinson recalled. "He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave."

When McCrae finished five minutes later, he took his mail from Allinson and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the young NCO. Allinson was moved by what he read:

"The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene."

In fact, it was very nearly not published. Dissatisfied with it, McCrae tossed the poem away, but a fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915.

Best breakfast in Seattle

With school closed today for Veteran's Day, we followed a lead on a great breakfast place (thanks G!), Voula's Offshore Cafe on Northlake under the Aurora Avenue bridge. Rik had pancakes with "Greek sausage" (gyros) and I had a Greek Hobo -- hash browns, scrambled eggs, onions, mushrooms and gyros all fried up together. Incredibly filling and delicious! I could only finish half.

I thought the coffee from Tony's Organic Coffees was good, but Rik didn't care for it as much. Fresh-squeezed orange juice was a treat.

You can watch a video on You Tube of how they make their specialties here.

November 10, 2008

Montreal-style bagels


What is a Montreal-style bagel? Well, you can't buy them in Seattle, that's for sure!

Wikipedia says:
In contrast to the New York-style bagel, the Montreal bagel is smaller, sweeter and denser, with a larger hole, and is always baked in a wood-fired oven. It contains malt, egg, and no salt and is boiled in honey-sweetened water before being baked in a wood-fired oven, whose irregular flames give it a dappled light-and-dark surface colour. There are two predominant varieties: black-seed (poppyseed), or white-seed (sesame seed).

If they sit for more than 24 hours, they turn into hockey pucks....but they are delicious and they do freeze well for later toasting and enjoyment!

(Rik points out that a New York Times food critic once said Montreal style bagels beat New York bagels hands down. I couldn't find that quote, but here is a review of St-Viateur's in Montreal that I must agree with.)

Best Bagels: Montréal's bagels are clearly superior to versions produced south of the border, and St-Viateur Bagel & Café, at 1127 av. Mont-Royal est, near rue La Roche (tel. 514/528-6361), is the place to assess that claim.


(My mother-in-law says that this is a cafe, the bagels are baked at 138 Saint-Viateur West.)

O Canada

We spent a lovely weekend in Vancouver British Columbia. Between visiting family (both sides) and friends, attending a bar mitzvah, and eating ourselves silly, it was great to be in Canada again.

We ate Shabbat dinner with Rik's aunt and uncle in Richmond and arrived at the hotel around 9:30 PM. On this visit we stayed at the Granville Island Hotel, a charming (and pet-friendly) inn on trendy Granville Island. The room was small but the bed was comfy, and you can't beat the location.

The bar mitzvah took place at Ahavat Olam Synagogue, which meets in the Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture. This congregation has written it's own prayerbook based on the one used by the Reconstructionist movement. Since Rik was raised in a Reconstructionist congregation in Montreal, it felt more familiar to him. Aside from the rabbi and president of the shul, we appeared to be the only people wearing a tallit. This of course drew the attention of the rabbi. We sat together at lunch and it turns out he studied with my former boss, Rabbi Bob Saks. What a small world it is when you play Jewish geography!

The service seemed geared to the more than half of those present who were not Jewish. The rabbi offered much explanation and commentary. His pacing of the service was also very slow compared to what we are used to. The service lasted for three hours -- even longer than at our Beth Shalom!

L, the bar mitzvah boy, son of our close friends S and I, did a wonderful job. A year ago he didn't know aleph from bet but he said he wanted to have a bar mitzvah. Given that he is the child of an unaffiliated Jewish mother and a secular father, and not raised with any particular religion, his request took everyone by surprise. L studied hard, learned a lot, attended services regularly, and has made a Jewish home for himself in this congregation.

During the afternoon we walked around Granville Island and relaxed at the hotel. For dinner I really wanted to have poutine, that yummy Quebecois dish I learned to love while in Montreal a couple of years ago which is hard to find in the USA. It's not kosher, but boy is it delicious if you like salt and fat! Imagine skinny, Belgian, ultra crisp fried potatoes covered in cheese curds and brown gravy. So good!

We ate at Crave on Main, a tiny (14 tables; we counted), trendy (30 minute wait) neighborhood place. After dinner we visited with the bar mitzvah boy and his family.

On Sunday we met my cousins on Granville Island for brunch and a walk through the market. It's a lot like Seattle's Pike Place market, but enclosed under one roof. Fresh produce vendors, meat and cheese purveyors, bakeries, and any number of places to eat or drink sit cheek-by-jowl with a few crafts vendors. (The rest of Granville Island is filled with art galleries.) Rik brought home four dozen Montreal-style bagels from Siegel's, we each had a fabulous chocolate truffle, and then we got in the car to go home.

We waited 2.5 hours to get through the border (oy!). Going to Canada is fun; coming home, not so much sometimes.

November 05, 2008

Health update

Still sticking the mupirocin antibiotic ointment (brand name Bactroban) up my nostrils twice a day to keep the staph infection from a few weeks ago from coming back. Rik is going to take the same treatment to prevent us from passing it back and forth.

I saw the dermatologist (who looks an awful lot like my first cousin, 30 years ago). He examined my many moles and pronounced me clear for another year.

My body has been covered with moles my whole life. Last year during my family doc's annual exam, she found something potentially suspicious. She gave me a referral to a dermatologist. He removed the potentially suspicious mole and had it biopsied. Turned out to be nothing, but you never know. Now I have another doc to add to my roster of health care professionals, and this one I have to see annually.

How many providers do I have?

Primary care physician
Oncologist
Orthopedist
Radiation Oncologist
Pulmonologist
Dermatologist
Infectious Disease Specialist (2!)
Naturopath
Dentist
Oral Surgeon
Endodontist
Psychiatrist

Plus --
Oncology Social Worker (2)
Infusion Nurses (the same three for the past 6 years)
Compression Garment provider (2)
Physical Therapist specializing in manual lymphatic drainage (many over the past 9 years)
Dental hygienist

If you live in the Seattle area and want a recommendation on a provider, I think my health care team is THE BEST!

Or chadash

Today I went to morning minyan to celebrate the election of the nation's first African-American president, Barack Obama. We all sung the following line joyously:

Or chadash al Tzion ta-ir venizkeh chulanu meheyrah l-oro
Cause a new light to illumine Zion

May President-elect Obama and our country go from strength to strength!

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I dance with cancer. Oy!