Thursday, April 19, 2007

Here Comes The Sun

The sun is finally shining!

After weeks of horrible weather, a Nor'Easter and tons of rain, the sun is out! I almost forgot what is was like to smile! It seems that sunshine and smiling go hand and hand.

A little over an hour ago, Sally and I returned from driving three hours from South Jersey, where we attended Uncle Joel's funeral.

Only a handful of mourners came to this morning's graveside service. Upon arriving at the cemetery, we were greated by an honor guard--two very young Air Force cadets.

As they folded the flag that draped Uncle Joel's simple pine casket, each of us remembered how much he loved this country. The young cadet stood perfectly still as taps played in the background. The simple, yet moving salute to another War hero...my Uncle Joel. We will never forget you.

What started out as a very sad, dreary day, has turned into a glorious evening.

As I took a stroll into our backyard when we got home, I noticed all the tiny buds on the trees. I sat down on our outdoor swing and listened to the robins singing their sweet tune.

In the yard, my peripheral view caught sight of the yellow daffodils and forsythia in full bloom, and after only a few hours of sunshine...the grass is noticeably greener.

It's the little things in life that now mean so very much to me. What a wonderful day to be alive.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

To Everything There is a Season

I just returned from spending five days in New Jersey for my nephew's bar mitzvah. On Friday, we enjoyed Shabbat dinner with my family and went to services at the temple. I had never experienced anything like it before.

Talk about ultra-modern! There was a female Rabbi and Cantor, two guitarists and a pianist! I felt so at ease...actually drawn back to my religious roots. Reciting the prayers, singing the psalms...being with my family.

Ryan shared the pulpit with a classmate for his bar mitzvah...something very new to me. Two bar mitzvah's at once! But it was a beautiful experience and I am very proud of him. There was a luncheon at the temple after the service, but I didn't feel too well.

That evening we went to Powerhouse...for a kids party. About a hundred kids, to be exact! Videogames, dancing, loud music. They showed a video montage which included photos of Dad. It was so good to see his face up there. Ryan also dedicated a candle on his cake in his memory.

Sally, Jarrett and I were also called up to light a candle...as part of his family. It was very touching.

Sunday was a different story. The Nor'Easter of 2007! Whew! Sally drove home and arrived safely, but I stayed on for a few days hoping to see my godson's baseball game. It never happened due to the weather. Many people lost their homes due to the storm, and most had water damage. Even Mom's garage had water rushing in at one point. Quite scarey!

I started feeling so much worse, so Mom drove me home yesterday and I saw my primary doc. He said I have a cold, but because of my history and condition, we can't take any chances. He prescribed Omnicef for ten days. I hope it works!

When I woke up this morning, I felt really "off." I can't say exactly what I was feeling, but within a few minutes of opening my eyes, the phone rang. It was my Mom...in tears. My great Uncle Joel passed away around 9 am.

Uncle Joel had a stroke over a week ago, and just couldn't recover. He passed right before my Aunt Bert got to his room. They celebrated their 65th anniversary on April 1st, and he was just about to celebrate his 90th birthday.

How does one go on alone after spending 65 years with one person??? Every day for 65 years, they were together...after he got out of the war. I cannot imagine waking up without that person by your side. My heart aches for Aunt Bert. God please give her strength from today moving forward.

Uncle Joel surely missed my Dad...as I can remember his tears after the funeral. They would share war stories whenever they were together. Now, they are together once again.

I said a very special prayer this morning to my Dad, asking him to take care of Uncle Joel. I hope they both are in peace...smiling down upon us...and once again, sharing stories of the old days.

God bless you.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Big Apple

I cannot believe it is April 10, and it is only in the 40s. What is going on? Since the temperature got colder again, I have a lot of pain in my upper joints...elbows, wrists and shoulders. I am hoping if spring ever does arrive, the pain will lessen.

Trekked into Manhattan today to see Dr. Spiera. Took the 10:30 LIRR into Penn, then Mom met me on 7th Avenue and we drove across town. My appointment was supposed to be at 12:45, but he didn't see me until 2!

Dr. Spiera couldn't believe my progress! He was extremely pleased with me overall, but still feels that my upper body and neck are weak. He was also concerned with my aldolase levels.

According to my recent bloodwork, my adolase levels are still high. The normal range is between 1.2-7.6. My level is 8.3.

Aldolase is an enzyme found throughout the body, particularly in muscles. Like all enzymes, it is needed to trigger specific chemical reactions. Aldolase helps muscle turn sugar into energy. Testing for aldolase is done to diagnose and monitor skeletal muscle diseases.

Skeletal muscle diseases increase the aldolase level found in a person's blood. Skeletal muscles are those muscles attached to bones and whose contractions make those bones move. When the muscles are diseased or damaged, like in MCTD, the cells deteriorate and break open. The contents of the cells, including aldolase, spill into the bloodstream. Measuring the amount of aldolase in the blood indicates the degree of muscle damage.

Bottom line...Dr. Spiera wants me to have at least two more treatments of Rituxan...sooner than later. Ideally, I should receive the first one in May and then again, three months later. If all goes as planned, I could go into total remission! Wouldn't that be something?

Ahhh...maybe, just maybe...I will wake up one morning and this will all have been a bad nightmare!