|YandA plus Murphy are in the featured image above|
The year started out well. The first high point was a trip to Canada for Pesach (Passover) where we had a lovely time with Hadass, David and their kids.
On our way home, we stopped off for a few days in Istanbul. We shall spare you the tribulations of the trip–suffice it to say that we will not travel again with Turkish Air.
The next high point came in June when Yosefa’s kids gave a bash in honor of their mother reaching the age of 80. Unfortunately, the movie is too big for the blog.
We all had a great time. Then as we moved into the summer, we learned the hard way that getting old is not a matter for the faint-hearted. Both of us encountered major health issues that are still with us at the end of the year.
A: Suddenly something as prosaic and simple as excreting fluid turned into a major problem. I had been dealing with malignancies all along, prostate (metastasized), bladder (dormant since 2008) and melanoma, minor with a mole removed and semiannual checkups. Now retention of what should be gone led to the ER where more than a liter was taken out. I lived with a catheter for two months before taking the drastic step of surgery. This took place in mid-October and all looked well until suddenly I was retaining again. In the meantime the surgeon took the money and more or less ran and my GP took over. A nasty UTI named enteroc. faecalis was found and is being blamed for the setback. Now the catheter is out, praise the Lord, and enterococcus is being blasted by antibiotics. We hope we kill the little bastard. Whenever I appear at the ER there is always someone new who has to be taught to insert a catheter–yuck!
To round things out I had a thrombosis of a vein in my left retina and my left eye has become useless. I declined surgery and now my eye doctor is thinking of alternative strategies. Not much fun.
Our family is rolling along. Maya is doing a Ph.D. at Brandeis U. in anthropology and English Lit. Her support is from the Israel Studies Institute under a Schusterman grant so much of her data gathering will be done in Israel, cheers!! Joey is studying drama/film at Santa Monica College. He is experiencing success in various areas such as playing the lead in a student production of the musical Aladdin and now working on directing a film for which he wrote the script.
|Enjoying a visit of grandkids, from left Maya, Saba, Joey, Ma’ayan|
In Canada, Rafi is about to graduate with honors in physics from the University of Winnipeg and is shopping for a graduate school. He is interested in General Relativity and Cosmology–going for the big stuff. Ari is a first year student there studying Computer Science.
My young ones Ma’ayan and Shira are both tenth graders and appear to be doing well.
In what Margy Kivelson calls the intermediate generation Zohar is overworking as a professor of Psychology at Haifa U., Danny is making beautiful music and teaching, Hadass is promoting her various business ventures, David is enjoying retirement and home maintenance and Shaul and Zohar are struggling with life in present day Israel.
Murphy, while not attaining the status of Forbes of the Kennel kennel, is a great member of our family and keeps us walking and aware that we need him, although not for the reasons in the cartoon.
In point of fact we knew before my birthday celebrations that life was not going to be so rosy. A PET-CT had discovered lung metastases from my supposedly totally removed melanoma, and we were awaiting the verdict as to which, if any treatment would be recommended. The most optimistic view was for a revolutionary new (4 years on the market) immunological treatment which is supposed to do wonders in cases like mine with minimal side effects. We-e-e-ell, there are side effects, but they only occur in a few cases, Ye-e-e-es, some people have side effects, but they are usually minor….Just my luck to fall into the category of a few cases, some people, and the whole catalogue of what has been attributed to this treatment.
It appears that the immunotherapy awakens the immune system which in a few cases, in some people, proceeds to attack the patient. Mouth ulcers, itching, loss of feeling with pain in fingers and toes, joint and muscle pains, severe increase in my already chronic back pain induced me to take both steroids and drugs to alleviate the symptoms. The oncologist took the view that anything was better than the alternative (and we of course agreed) and cooperated in trying to improve my quality of life.To that end I am now in the hands of a rheumatologist and a pain specialist and hope to be able to get off these powerful medications while continuing with the immunotherapy. After the first PET-CT another one in October showed a complete clearing of the metastases, and presumably there will be another one sometime in January to confirm the success of the treatment. After that I hope to be allowed a break in both treatment and side-effects.
Meanwhile, although postponing for the moment thoughts of travel abroad, we are doing our best to keep up with exercise, culture and my woodwork and choir hobbies. Arkee was more limited when carrying a catheter, but still rides a bicycle to nowhere when he cannot do other gym. This place is certainly what we needed, although we did not expect to take advantage of all its options so soon.
Despite our complaints we get around for family events, trips to Tel Hashomer hospital for my consultations , films, shopping etc. facilitated by the fact that we both drive. Arkee insists I continue to sing in my old choir, despite the increased distance, and takes me there and waits till I am ready to come home. Mitsva points and loud applause, please.
Adam is in business, Ayala does family therapy; Eshed is an air force pilot, Arad wants to study medicine and they are both in Vietnam at the moment. Erel is finishing high school in computer science. Barak still works hard for the army and Dafna has broken through successfully on the art scene with a three month solo exhibition in Rishon Lezion which has just closed. Ella is working at the Planetary observatory in Givataim, teaching dancing and trying to decide what to do next.
Galia’s Shaul has a good position at the University, Galia is on sabbatical from teaching, learning film and video. Boaz is in the army doing something we mustn’t mention, but is home every night. Reut is majoring in art in her secondary school and Natan will celebrate his barmitzva in February. Dina is working hard at psychotherapy, both in a psychiatric institution and privately; Gabi teaches computer science at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva to which he commutes by bicycle and train; and Hillel (10) , David (7) and Ruth (3) are wending their various ways through the (anthroposophic) educational system which we hope will do them less harm that the other available alternatives. So far so good.
We hope that 2018 is a better year for us, our family and the world at large. This is not what we look forward too…