Sunday, January 18, 2015

we are growing apart... I need you less. For today.

I have started writing my next blog entry twice already. Just hasn't felt right. My blog writing style is changing, and I have to learn its changes. We're growing together.

Actually, I am feeling like I am growing apart from my blog a bit, at least for now.

Gone are the days of agony and anguish, many hours and entire days in bed. I do still have the occasional day in bed, but it is much more rare. I do feel the need to give medical updates every now and then, if for nothing else than the chronicling aspect of my health journey. Though of course, each medical trial brings with it its emotional counterpart. That is, if I give emotional meaning to it. I find I am doing that less; giving emotional responses to medical setbacks. It is all commentary to the facts. I can choose to create that commentary or not. Recently- I don't know- like the past few months maybe?- I am just having less running commentary in my head about the medical stuff I go through. So that is why, for now, maybe even just for today, I am going to give an occasional medical update without much commentary about it.

I am learning "mindfulness" training, together with meditation to help chronic pain. This is part of the program that the neurologist set forth for me to help deal with chronic pain, and from migraines. The rest of the program is to start physical therapy with a special neurological physical therapist, and also start psycho-therapy with a medical-oriented therapist. The physical therapist appointments start at the beginning of February.

This neurologist is starting to be at the forefront of my story. I intuitively feel that the program he has started me on is the right direction for me. That, combined with me going off the Fentanyl, is the future of my healing. Dr. Ezra (the neurologist) also agreed to be the one to submit the request for the medical Cannabis, so I will be monitored here instead of having to go to Jerusalem, which is what I wanted the whole time. I just didn't know who the doctor was going to be to do that for me here in Be'er Sheva. He actually tried to send in the request for me last week, but the computer crashed at the website. (I could make lots of jokes about a computer that crashes at the website which is for requesting medicinal Cannabis!) He said he'll do it this week- I will see him on Wednesday when I go to the meditation group.

In short, I will just try to list here some of the medical problems I have come up against lately, but without a lot of commentary about it. It is what it is, right?

1. restless leg syndrome (RLS) getting worse. It is a result of going off the Fentanyl.
2. The solution I found for the RLS was to wrap a heating pad around my leg and I could fall asleep with that.
3. The solution got nixed when we saw that it made my lymphodema swell up terribly.
4. The RLS messed up my sleeping at nights.
5. Even on the nights I don't have RLS, I haven't been sleeping deeply- or at all- almost all night.
6. This has led to increased migraines and exhaustion.
7. I have lost my appetite for some reason, and my hair is coming out in clumps in the shower. Don't know why that is happening, but I will talk to my doctor about it. I feel that the sleeping problems, appetite loss and hair loss is all connected, but we don't know how yet.
8. My doctor put in a request for me to do a sleep clinic night, but it hasn't yet been approved.

That's about it, in a nutshell!
How is it to read my "stuff" without commentary?

PS- I am writing less, also, because I have decided to not be on the computer for the hour before I go to sleep. Since I am going for early bed times, I don't often open my computer at night for anything more than looking at email or occasional Facebook for a few minutes. My kids need me in the evenings, 100% of me, until about 10PM. Then I try to end my own day as well. Since the sleeping problems have crept in recently, I will be even less on the net to give myself ample opportunity to sleep when it is night time.
Remember my "new year's resolutions" from Rosh Hashana? That I want to go off narcotic pain medicine, and go to sleep early so that I can write and work on my book in the mornings? Well, I'm getting there on both fronts. I'm getting there. :)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

After seven years, things will change.

Shifra climbing up water which is flowing out of a tuba in a three-dimensional picture on the ground.
Ya'akov is trying to save Azriel from falling into the abyss.
Azriel climbing into a three-dimensional tuba painting on the ground.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The storm after the calm after the storm. That's where I'm at over here.

But, there are different types of storms I'm describing- the original storm was the Bat Mitzvah week and everything that entailed. Just last night I finished all the laundry from that! I think every sheet and towel in my house was used. This is the first time in *months* that there isn't a basket of something waiting for me to wash in the laundry room. The washing machine is empty, the dryer is empty, and nothing is waiting in the wings! It's not all put away, mind you, but it's all clean!

There is the calm after all that. I made dinner last night out of what I think may be our last left-overs from the catering hall from the party. Not sure if something isn't hiding in the freezer, though.

I've been resting a lot. I got a bit of a cold, which has gone to a bronchial cough thing now, but nothing to worry about. I haven't yet gotten back to writing my book. I need a new "boost", I lost momentum. This evening I have a class on the internet scheduled with my teacher, so hopefully that will get me back on track. (writing now after the class with my teacher happened... I am much more on track. I'll *do* this. I'm getting back to my book. I will take back my mornings).

The storm that is happening at the moment is lots of wind and rain. Brrrrrr.... these Israeli houses made of stone were not built with much insulation, so, 'tis the season to feel cold to the bone and pay high electric bills to heat the house, even mildly. It's so interesting- a friend of mine commented on this storm and how the country is relating to it. She said that this past summer, with bombs and rockets falling all over the place, and especially here in the south we were heading into our bomb shelters multiple times a day, life went on as usual. Well, summer camp was canceled, but every one's attitude was that life must carry on like normal. That is what Israel is made of- "war-schmorr". It's what the country prides itself on. *But*, a heavy storm with snow promised in the higher latitude regions (Jerusalem and surrounding areas) and the country is scared out of it's wits and closes main roads in and out of major cities. Everyone has shopped for so much "storm food" that the grocery shelves are practically empty. Isn't it interesting that war doesn't make us stock up on reserves? But snow? Schools in Jerusalem were closed just because of the weather report, without seeing if it will really happen. As of this afternoon, I understand that it hasn't happened yet.
(again, adding comments while proofreading much later in the day... it has been snowing, and continues to snow on Jerusalem. Jerusalem, known as "the city of gold", now is the city of powdery white.)

Be'er Sheva got snow 14 years ago. I remember it. Before that it had been more than 20 years ago. My brother Peter remembers that- he lived here at the time.
I grew up in snowy winters! Y'all get a grip! Truth be told- I have turned into a major wimp in the 19 years I have lived here. I used to dig my car out of the snow practically every day when I lived in Boston. There were storms practically on a daily basis. I *know* the bitter cold. I have even been hiking in the Alps in December. But since I've been here, I get frozen at the littlest dip in temperature. It's hot and sunny here 80% of the year. The winters feel so cold, though, even though they are insanely mild compared to what I used to deal with.

Anyway, see? Here *I* am using my blog space to talk about the whether!

Actually, I gotta go now. I have to go early to my meditation-for-chronic-pain-sufferers class today so I can try to catch my neurologist. I haven't yet had the opportunity to ask him if he can take over the role in submitting the request for medicinal Cannabis for me because Dr. Davidson is gone for another month at least. Going now- I hope I can catch him. I'll let ya know when I come back.......
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

OK, I caught him. He said he would do it, no problem. My next step is to go to my previous psychiatrist, who I haven't seen in at least three years, maybe more, and get a letter that she agrees that I am a good candidate for medical Cannabis. I'll call her tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see her again. I never really had a great chemistry with her, but no matter, I just need this letter. I think it'll be fine. (famous last words........)

I spoke to Dr. Ezra, my neurologist, briefly also about the RLS (restless leg syndrome). He agreed with me that I should take away the extra 30mg that I added a month ago of my Cymbalta. Usually Cymbalta is used to help RLS. In my case it has exacerbated it. What he didn't know, however, is that I have already *been* lowering the Cymbalta, without consulting with him beforehand. I know my body, and I know what is going on.
So, as well as going off the Fentanyl, I am also reducing the Cymbalta to the dose it had been for quite some time. (Yes, it is uncomfortable... brain zaps, withdrawal feelings, all that. I know it is temporary, though. I am proud that I haven't complained about it at all. I know it has to be done, and I am doing it.)

I am still on course with lowering the Fentanyl. My last dose reduction was about a week ago, after the Bat Mitzvah. I am now at 50mmg (started at 87.5mmg).

Pain levels.... manageable! I actually think sometimes that I am having overall less pain than I had on the higher doses of Fentanyl. Today in the meditation course I am taking (the one that my neurologist runs- meditation to help chronic pain. I made up a little ditty- "meditation, not medication!") the instructor spoke about pain medicines and how sometimes they can make our bodies react more acutely to pain, by lowering the level of our own, natural endorphins. Isn't that *so* interesting? Taking pain medicine actually inhibits our own body's production of the hormone that could naturally help us to reduce pain. So, as I reduce the Fentanyl, I think that maybe my own body's endorphins are released, and helping me actually experience less pain. It's a tremendous insight. It makes me wonder if I will be needing the medical Cannabis after all.

The main source of pain these days is actually the lymphoedema. That is the swelling of the lymph nodes because they are not properly draining (this is due to the NF infection and surgeries). Sometimes my lymph nodes (only the ones near and around Gapey) get so swollen and sore. It can actually be seen by the eye. I go to my physiotherapist who specializes in lymphatic draining once a week. Recently, though, we skipped three weeks in a row. First it was Chanukah (vacation), then her mother passed away, then it was the week of the BatMitzvah and I didn't have an appointment. Things were in bad shape by the time I saw her a few days ago. She wants me to go back to twice a week now until things calm down again and my lymph system isn't so swollen. Each time I go to her, it is about an hour and a half to two hours of time (from door to door, finding parking, the treatment, etc). This is a chronic condition, though, and it seems that it is here to stay. But we never know, right? :)

I'll finish off with an interesting tidbit from meditation class today (another interesting tidbit!). I was telling some of my story, and I said that it started 7 years ago. When I finished, a lady across from me said "now you have had the seven hard years. next will come the seven easy years". We shared a knowing, understanding, hopeful, loving smile. She was referring to a story in the Torah. The story of Joseph, which we are in the midst of reading at this point in our yearly Torah reading cycle.
Joseph became king of Egypt, with Pharaoh, by interpreting a dream that Pharaoh had. It was a dream of 7 fat, robust cows, followed by seven lean, emaciated cows. Joseph's interpretation was that the land of Egypt was presently in a period of 7 years which is robust and plentiful in food and grain. However, the 7 years following will be of drought and famine. Joseph then advised Pharaoh to appoint a manager who will wisely store grain and food for use to feed the people when the draught comes. (from then, the story takes us to Joseph's father- Ya'akov- and all of the people of Israel coming to Egypt because there was food... then slavery, Moses, 10 plagues, redemption, blah blah blah. :)) The point is that there is that time frame of seven years referred to in the Joseph story. Although in my case, we are hoping that it will be in reverse- first the bad years and then the good ones. The good years, of course, when you place them after the bad ones, have no real end point to them.
I like that dream interpretation. I feel it... close. My years of hardship and pain will turn around. I feel it in my bones.

A few more pictures: these are from the Thursday morning women's t'fillah that we had when Shifra read Torah. As of yet, nobody has sent me pictures of shifra actually reading. Anyone have a picture like that?

Shifra, Sarah, Torah.
Kind of a long shot, from the top of the stairs (where some special male relatives were hanging out). Chairs were set up, and Shifra and I were up front with the table holding the Torah.

Three cousins... on left is Azriel (9), middle is Noad Klein (14), on the right is Dov (16).

(The next set of pictures will be from the Party! I just haven't transferred them yet...)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Another "notch" in the timeline of life.... thank God.

At the beginning of the party when Shifra came in, these flairs were set off!!
"Oh what a night! Late December, back in '63 2014. What a very special time for me, 
'cause I remember, what a night!"

(...What a lady, what a night!")

(anyone remember this song, popular when I was a kid in the 70's? It's a good one.)

Actually, the whole weekend- from Thursday until Monday- an entire BatMitzvah extravaganza. And everything went very well, thank Gd!

Thursday morning Shifra read Torah in our house with a women's t'fillah (prayer) group as we prayed the Thursday morning service. There were about 20 people here, I think. It was so nice!!

Friday had us all preparing for Shabbat and our kiddush which was going to be on Shabbat day at our synagogue. I don't even have to tell you what an insanely busy day it was, even with things planned out! I didn't sit down much. Hardly at all, actually. My sister-in-law says it's important for me to learn how to pace myself. She's right, but it sure didn't happen that Friday!

Friday night had our dining table extended to the max with another table added on to have a meal with 17 relatives... only relatives! Many more on Robert's side than mine, but with my two brothers there and my lovely niece, I felt blessed. Lots of food, free-flowing wine and whisky, and togetherness. Thank Gd for the good milestones!!

Shabbat day in shul was a total Klein affair. even Azriel participated in praying from the pulpit!! He publicly prayed the beginning of the morning service, the only part that a young boy (pre-barMitzvah) is can do (p'sukei d'zimrah). Ya'akov led morning prayers after Azriel, Robert read (chanted) the whole Torah portion, and Robert also delivered a beautiful d'var Torah. Dov led services for "musaf", the extra service on Shabbat after Torah reading. After Azriel sang for the synagogue his lovely (and adorable) "Anim Z'mirot", Shifra delivered her own d'var Torah to the entire congregation.

After services there was a beautiful kiddush outside (it was a warm, sunny December day here!) for the whole community. Again, lots of food. Many women in our community helped cook dishes, set up and clean up. It was such a treat to have so much help. If you are one of those special people who helped with the kiddush, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

Returning home on Shabbat (Saturday) after the kiddush, *exhausted*, I opened the door to see that the table for 17 had already been set up, and salads were being chopped! I felt so loved and taken care of. Shifra was so happy, bouncing off the walls, actually. Her Torah reading and the d'var Torah were over, she could relax. All that was left was a HUGE party the next night!

Lots and lots of setting up and cleaning up, chopping and mixing, popping up and down from the table, going back and forth to the kitchen kept me on the move constantly. It was OK, I didn't actually have much pain, but it was exhausting. Exhilarating, but exhausting!

Sunday morning found me waking up feeling *lousy*. I had a fever. My body was in over-drive too long and it was talking to me. So, by some miracle, I stayed in bed most of the day. Shifra still didn't have shoes that matched her dress for the party, so Robert went out with her on Sunday to look for shoes. She & I had gone to so many stores, there weren't that many left, but another stroke of miracle, and they found *the* pair of shoes!! And the same shopping trip yielded the perfect shirt that Dov wanted for the party. Nothing like last minute!

While I was sick in bed on Sunday, I realized that one of the gifts of having that time is that I could really think about my speech for the party. With our bar/bat mitzvah celebrations, usually Robert does the public speaking in shul on Shabbat, and I give a speech at the party. It has turned into a sort of tradition. I wrote my speech... Anyone interested in reading it can write to me and I'll send it to you! It was personal, mushy-lovey, and straight from the heart. The only way I know how to talk about my kids. I think Shifra loved it.

At the party, whoa.... I was buzzed on Tylenol and Advil for the fever, not much eating or drinking all day, and I was a bit dizzy. But, the photographer got pictures, people started flowing in, and the party got off the ground! In the beginning, Shifra spent more time in the bathroom with her girlfriends checking her hair than with us in the hall, but that's OK. She's 12. :)
When dancing started up, I danced with all my energy. After a few minutes of that I was getting dizzy, so I opted out a few times, but did get to dance with my lovely girly, and my dearest friends and family! I'll post pics when I get them.

Here are a few pictures- these were all taken "un-professionally"- the one at the top (with the sparklers) was taken by a good friend, and the other two I took, at the end of the party when I got reunited with my cell phone.

her pretty braided hair
After the party... the dress!
So, we got home from the party at 12:30am. We were all sooooo exhausted, but not Shifra! She wanted to open *all* the presents! So, I sat on the floor with her in our sweat pants and opened presents. Lots of OOh!'s and Ahh!'s for all the pretty things she got. Lots of jewelery, some great books, and some wonderful, original gifts as well. We stayed up way too late. She was finally ready to conk out at 4am, and asked to sleep with me in my bed. That was the sweetest way to end the day, holding hands with my girlie while we drift off into dream-land. After a whole three days of being in the spotlight, she wanted some cuddles and mommy time. I love how kids can be so organic and natural in having their emotional needs met, you know?

In the days since the party, we've had more family time, but slowly family members are making their way back to "the old country". This Shabbat we have my oldest brother and one of Robert's brothers staying with us. Next Shabbat we are back to our little family again... I'm good with that.

Today, the exhaustion hit me hard. It is exactly a week since the festivities began, and my body is breaking down a bit. Had a fever today, coughing, and lymph node/nerve pain. My body's way of putting out the "stop sign". Tomorrow is Shabbat again, thank God. Hard to prepare for, but a gift to experience.

More pictures to come, as I get them from the photographer. These are actually the only ones I have! The ones from the Torah reading haven't been sent to me either. I'll post some when I get them!

These types of landmark events are so hard to organize, prepare for, and go through, but on the other side of it one always is so glad they put in the effort. All worth while things take tons of effort, right? And most importantly, Shifra is so happy. She told me that her BatMitzvah was everything she dreamed of. And my daughter is everything *I* ever dreamed of... and more.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Up all night. Restless leg syndrome is going to make me jump off a bridge.

...and then there are times like these.

Coming to you from a dark room in the middle of the night, at 3:48am, big event going on early in the morning for Shifra's BatMitzvah (she's reading Torah). I spent half the day with a migraine, the other half doing things that needed to get done, waiting for my migraine meds to kick in, I tried to rest, my body was breaking, way beyond the tired point with all the running around for errands for the BatMitzvah and kiddush. I haven't pushed it this hard since... Ya'akov's BarMitzvah?

I have been in perpetual motion for weeks now getting ready for the BatMitzvah. That is something the I need to avoid doing, it always puts me into pain and other bad situations. Along with that, I am still lowering the dose of the Fentanyl, raising the dose of the Cymbalta, which is actually *supposed to help* with restless leg syndrome. It's making it worse. It is impossible to sleep, no matter how heavily I drug myself, if  my leg is involuntarily jumping and cannot settle.

This could honestly put me over the edge. I gotta keep it together somehow, but I tell ya, having as much pain as I do on a regular basis, and now having this? No sleep? Doesn't particularly strengthen the will to live.

After I ran all over Be'er Sheva and a neighboring town a half hour away, Netivot, it seems that we all have our clothes for the event happening. Even Miss Picky is happy with the dress that is being made by a seamstress just for her. Thank the Good Lord. I went through physical and emotional torture going from store to store with her, just about every day for two whole weeks, and she wouldn't choose anything,  understand her. And I like who she is. We made a good team most of the time.

Now it's upon us. My brothers and niece have arrived this evening, and it is wonderful to have them here. Tomorrow morning (this morning) Torah reading, Shabbat meals for 16 each meal. Big Kiddush, in which Shifra will share her d'var Torah (which is, of yet, not completed), then Sunday night par-tay... getting ready early, going for pictures, etc. A. Big. Deal. And I can't wait till it's over! Monday hang out with the family, probably invade some cafe and order everything on the menu.

But will I sleep tonight? Over the past few days I have been waking up feeling like a flu is coming on, but holding off. Not a good omen for afterward.

I am wearing now a new, improved pressure garment for the lymphoedema problem. I am still trying to get used to it, but it is quite uncomfortable. It was made to exactly my measurements, and has the prosthetic pillow for filling the gape of gapey. It is sooooo tight, though. That is how they keep down the swelling of lumphoedema, so not much choice in my case. Also trying to get used to that, getting used to the dose changes for the Fentanyl often, and also the fact that I raised the dose of the Cymblta- any of these things can make me miserable with restless nerves and a shaky leg out of my control.

I'm going to lie down again and try not to whine too much so Robert at least could sleep. He'll be picking up lots of slack tomorrow morning because of what kind of night I am having. Please Gd, let me fall into a deep, satisfying (albeit short) sleep.

Oh Please Gd.

[Today I started the first of eight classes about medical meditation for chronic pain sufferers, This is led by the awesome neurologist's medical psychologists.8 weeks. Seemed very interesting. I'm in for 
once a week, every week, for 2 hours. I am so interested to learn how to possibly be able to overpower your pain with the power of your brain.]

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Is this the little girl I car-ried.... Is this the little boy who played? I don't remember getting old-er... when-did-they?

"... one season following a-no-ther, 
laden with happiness and tears..."
(Fiddler on the Roof)

It's been just a whirlwind week... weeks. We are preparing for Shifra's BatMitzvah... around the corner. Look at these....

last week

the setting sun at the park
sencond grade... after I had NF

Next Shabbat (the 27th) is her BatMitzvah in the shul, and Sunday night thereafter is the party. It's just been crazy with all the arrangements, and I have been so busy.

Sometimes there have been days that I see myself oddly capable of tremendous feats of shopping and doing... cleaning, organizing, cooking. So much blinkin' shopping. I mean, I do like to shop, not gonna lie to ya here. But these two weeks have seen more shopping that I thought were humanly possible, no less possible for *me*. In-the-car-and-out-of-the-car at least 48 times a day. Walking around stores, on my feet constantly. Why, do you ask, the sudden shopping bonanza? Because my darling daughter couldn't find a dress that suited her. Yes, we saw nearly 25 dresses that were beautiful on her and completely appropriate. But no, she did not agree to buy any of them. Well, she is having a BatMitzvah, so I, as her mother, have to get her a dress, right? We've actually been having nice times together, laughing and chatting about all sorts of things. But, so frustrating that she couldn't decide on anything. At all. My maturing daughter is quite mercurial, it seems. It's a phase, right? Please tell me it's a phase!...? Well, in the end, we went to a seamstress to make the dress my daughter had in mind. Except it turned out that when we went for the first fitting, it wasn't actually the dress she wanted. She then visualized another one (tears happened along the way, as well), and thankfully the seamstress was able to accommodate that dress with the given material, as well. Lovely seamstress, really- she said to me "now I see why you weren't able to find a dress"........

I found clothing for myself one day with a rare half hour to myself. That was very fortunate.
Now Azriel needs pants, and Dov may possibly need a shirt, if he gets what *he* wants.

The amazing thing here is that I have also, during all this, done pick-ups after school, taken kids to ballet and other activities, picked up after various activities, gotten good dinners on the table, and not suffered as much as you would think, in my situation.

I am sticking with the program of lowering the Fentanyl. The last time I lowered a dose was two days ago. I am now down to 56mmg, (started at 87mmg). I do suffer pretty big the first and second days, but I am making it through. I don't know when the medicinal cannabis will happen, I am still looking for someone who can put in the request before Dr. Davidson can. Part of me wonders if I can just go off the Fentanyl and not need anything else. Pain is a very difficult thing to deal with on a daily basis, sometimes terrible, for sure. But can I suffer those days for the ones which I get bursts of energy? As I have been lowering the doses of Fentanyl, we all have noticed that I have more energy. It feels amazing sometimes. I wonder if it is *me*. All these years of no energy, just plodding through my days, with the goal of getting back into bed to rest my aching bones and muscles. These bursts of energy are almost manic.

Tonight Shifra asked me, as I braided her clean, damp hair for the night (I'll miss that when she stops asking me to do it), if I think there will be a time that I won't need any medicines. I told her "yes". It just popped out of my mouth. Somewhere inside me, I have hope that that will happen some day. I *believe* it can happen.

There was, however, the inevitable down. Really, really down. Like all day in bed Thursday, aching with pain in my hip. Every movement was torturous. My steps were little baby steps, I can't take big strides anymore, any time, but sometimes a shuffle is all I can handle. Friday, however, I was able to get it back together and go to the seamstress, and do other errands while we were out.

Friday afternoon, after returning from the seamstress and stores, in considerable pain, I forged ahead and helped Ya'akov make order out of the chaos that was his room. Overhaul... he took everything out and started again. Huge garbage bags went to the dumpster. It was a tremendous project. I hurt, was profoundly tired, but pushed through it to help him. It is so important to catch that "teachable moment" when the child *wants* to organize his life by organizing his room. It was a rare opportunity, and I think he got a lot out of it. It isn't easy to learn to let go of things.

My kids and I have a dream; a vision of my life without medicines.
Sometimes I can see glimpses of the possibility.
Sometimes, no way, my body hurts too much.
Well, one day at a time.
Onward-ho to the plans for the BatMitzvah! In a few short days, my brothers come, my niece (who Shifra adores), and Robert's brother come from America. I will dearly miss my parents, but, unfortunately, traveling is not the the cards for them.

I probably won't write until I catch my breath when it is over. Some of you I will see there!
These are the things raising kids is about- getting to milestones, teaching them, chatting, spending time together, love. So much love. It has no container. That girl stole my heart the minute she was born. The first thing I said after she was out, to my friend the midwife, was "is she a gingie (redhead)?) Yup, looks that way" was the response. Indeed she is! She nursed while still attached to the placenta inside my body. I am in no means ready to let her go. The world can be so cruel. All I can do is pray (and pray and pray and pray) that she falls into the hands of the right people. She's 12.... such a child still, but I see the maturity creeping in. It's part of why she didn't find a dress. Either too childish, or too womanly.

My only daughter, my sunshine. She's a beauty, inside and out, if I do say so myself. I am the luckiest mother on earth.
Three outta four, 2008, after NF. They were SO young when I got sick.

My four puppies, all in one place... doesn't happen often these days!
three outta four on the 5th candle of chanukah
(Shifra was born on the 6th candle- tomorrow evening!)