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.

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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.......
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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...)


  1. what an upbeat update! IYH, the seven difficult years are indeed behind you and your family.
    I am interested in the tuba drawing on the ground... did you or someone in your family draw that? Amazing! Klein/Kashins are truly multi-talented!!!
    Mazal Tov on Shifra's Bat Mitzvah!
    xxxooo dev

    1. Hey Dev, No, we didn't draw it. but thanks for the compliment anyway. ;)
      It is drawn on the foreground of the educational theater in the old city of Be'er Sheva. Cool, right?

  2. May it be so!! That is my prayer for you!

  3. Wow Sarah- inspired by your keeping the course with the reduction of Fetanyl, even with all the craziness in your life of the past few weeks. You go girl!