September 19, 2013

Xeloda round 9 and holiday update

I finished the ninth cycle of Xeloda on Tuesday and I am paying the price for agreeing to up the dose back to max again. I just never remember that increasing the dose gives me terrible side effects of more hand-foot syndrome, diarrhea, and fatigue. I stumble around because my feet hurt and I sleep until late morning because I'm so tired. At least I have the good tincture of opium to dry up the diarrhea. But for four days in a row?!

The Jewish new year holy days have been lovely. This year's fast for Yom Kippur was particularly long because the holiday fell so early in September. We gathered for a quick dinner at 5 PM and headed off to synagogue at 6:15 or so to get good (i.e. comfy and not folding) seats. Services began at 7:15 and the fast ended at 8:15 the following day, so it was a bit longer than a 5 hour fast.

I enjoyed leading Yizkor, the memorial service. It's an honor and a pleasure to help people remember their loved ones who have died. I try hard to give enough emotionally so that I can connect with people's feelings, but not so much that my focus on my own losses distracts from my leading the prayers.

Ne'ilah, the closing service, is usually highly energetic at our synagogue. We've been together as a community for a long day, we've prayed together, sung together, and listened to words of wisdom from members and our rabbi. We conclude with a final blast from not one shofar but many shofarot. Anyone, of any age, who brought a shofar to the synagogue can stand up in front and try to hold the longest note. The noise defines cacophony, and the shofar blower holding the longest note this year was, as usual, my friend K. Man, can that man make his shofar sing!

The next day Rik and some friends built the sukkah, a shack resembling what our ancestors lived in while they were bringing in the crops. The harvest aspect is like Thanksgiving, and the decorating aspect is kind of like Christmas (evergreen boughs, lots of silly decorations, and lights). This year marks the 19th since Rik and I met during the Sukkot holiday. He says building the sukkah is a lot of work, but the finished product always makes him happy, because it reminds him of the day we met.


  1. I have a new client who has taken a lot of time off this month for the Jewish holiday. Thanks for sharing your experience and pictures because I now have a better idea of what they have been doing this month too. Your sukkah is so festive looking. I hope it helps to lift your spirits too.

  2. Hi Jill. I was doing a research on the best Blogs on Breast Cancer and I found you blog listed as the second one. When I entered your blog, I realized you've gone through a lot: from Breast Cancer to Metastasized (spread) to your bones, liver, and brain. It is sad to know that a young lady, at the age of 39, had to deal with Breast Cancer. But I have a particular question: did your diseases [Breast Cancer and Metastasized (spread) to your bones, liver, and brain] affect the way you conceive life? I mean, did it push you to think differently from how you were thinking before your Breast Cancer experience? Did it make you question yourself about why was your body going from cancer to cancer?