Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Will you spare me some gas?

Not much has happened in the last two weeks. The main thing is that I feel drained, completely worn out. I feel like I'm running on the reserve of the reserve. The very last drop of gas, of energy. Every so often the car chokes, doesn't run smooth, like when you're not changing gears smoothly. I break down, and run out of Kleenex. I used to be strong. But nowadays I feel weak. Very weak. I'm still in lots of pain. I haven't been able to control it completely. It comes and goes. Now for instance I'm fine, and so I'm able to think and write. The pain is influencing my sleep greatly. I will wake up every 2-3 hours. It's usually because of the pain. Then I will be up for 2-3 hours before I try to sleep again. This affects my days. I get tired and I take naps during the day. Again no more than 2-3 hours of sleep. So over the course of a full 24 hour day I might be sleeping 8 hours, but during the other 16 I'm often tired. I find myself reading something on the web and dosing off, my head falls back. I shake it up, I start reading again. It really takes a huge emotional toll on me. The pain, the fatigue, the worsening of my left arm and shoulder, the empty days, the waiting and the not know for what. All of these things are also contributing to keeping my undesirable weight. It's hard to eat when you're in pain, and when you're tired. It's especially hard to eat when it's very hard to swallow down the food. I used to be much stronger, but it's been getting harder and harder to shake off all the emotional burden I'm experiencing. All the negativity is strongly in the game. How I'm still holding up I don’t know.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to have an MRI to see what has changed. To see if any of the other small tumors decided to grow this year. To grow enough to add more pain. I get claustrophobic when it comes to MRI, and it's going to be a long scan. And since there is no way I can lay down on my back without moving with all this pain I'm having, I will be put out completely for the duration of the scan.

Thursday should be a great day, a day that will hopefully start charging my batteries. All the kittens have been adopted, and the mother is waiting for me. The people at the clinic told me the mother is very friendly and likes to be pet.

Well, it 2:30 at night, I'm going to watch a few more videos of cats, and then sleep (maybe I'll update this post later this week, and add some of the clips I find on YouTube).

Sunday, March 17, 2013

ruff ruff, meow

It's been weeks since I've posted something (with words). Things have been rough rough. This is not what I had in mind when I decided to move back to Israel.

In the two weeks before I moved, I felt a bit weaker than normal which was probably because I've been losing weight prior to those two weeks. I got down to about 59 kilos (130 lb). I was a bit concerned I will keep losing weight, but I've been stuck on 58 kilos for weeks now. So at least I'm not losing any more weight for now.

It's been harder to swallow more than ever. It makes it so that I need to chew longer in order to break down the food more so I can swallow it. Now, because I chew a lot I get tired, it takes me longer to eat, and I feel full pretty fast. I feel full probably because of all the chewing which makes the brain send a message to my body as if I already ate enough for this meal.

Of course there is also the pain and my mood which aren't helping in having a healthy appetite. I noticed that more than not having appetite, the actual problem for me is the pain and the swallowing. I'm not sure how much can really be done about the swallowing. It has to do with the whole left side of my neck and face being weak and paralyzed in some areas. In regards to the pain there are ways to help, it just takes time finding the right recipe. I've been trying a few kinds of  pills, and also some candy called Actiq. This week I should be approved for medical cannabis.

I read something about an Israeli company that is growing a new cannabis plant without the THC (which is the compound that gives users the high feeling). If they have this specific plant and it will help my pain it will be perfect. Although it's fun being high sometimes, it's not something I want to feel all day every day. The cannabis should also act as an appetite stimulant.

The pain in my left arm has gotten better. I think it's better than what it was a month ago. What's left with the left arm right now is mostly the movement which I think has also improved, but not too much. I've been going to a physical therapist twice a week, and doing some exercises for the arm.

But, during this month the right side has been bugging me more and more. There are two main spots that are painful. One on my neck, and the other on my hip (right where the bone is). I think it has to do mainly with my weight loss, and my inability to gain some of it back. My body is, overall, very weak (though blood tests are fine). It could be that not having much meat around my bones is making my body go after musclesThere could be tumors in those two painful spots. I'm feeling something in my neck, and actually, it was there before this whole cancer started, but I'm not positive it is a tumor or some other body part (I'm supposed to have some scans soon that will show what's going on there). I'm also feeling something where my hip is. So maybe with less meat in my body these small tumors are now pressing more on near by nerves.

Moving back to Israel meant finding new doctors that I can see for follow ups and more. I've seen quite a few doctors since I moved back almost two months ago. I'm getting sick of all these hospital visits (hmm I think I actually talked about this in a recent post). Anyways, these trips can really drain my energy, the little energy that I still have. Adding to this the pain, the limitation with my left arm, the new pain on the right, the inability to gain weight, and just the overall tiredness... and this is really not what I had in mind when I decided to move back.

I was really hoping I could have a daily routine within a month after moving back. But it is what it is, things don't always go as planned.

It's not 100 percent all bad, and I have times where I'm able to step out of the house and do. Starting around the early evenings is when things usually get better, and I'm able to breathe. I went to see a movie with my cousins last week. We saw "This is 40" which was disappointing. I thought it will be a lot more comedy, but it ended up being much more of a drama movie. I've been stepping out for concerts at the kibbutz's pub. These shows are awesome and very intimate. There are only about 100 spectators which makes it almost like a private concert. And of course you can't beat walking 5 minutes to get to the pub. This Wednesday I'm going to another concert. I'm not really familiar with the artist, Eran Tzur, but it should be fun. Here is a taste:

Last weekend I was also able to step out of the house to join my family and go on a day trip near the kibbutz. I have some family members visiting from Los Anageles. So that probably helped to force myself to get in the car. It's hard to plan too much things ahead of time. We went on this trip last Saturday, and I already felt pretty good around 10 in the morning. But then from Sunday through at least Tuesday I didn't feel so well. Thursday I felt better, as well as Friday, and Saturday. So you never know. The pain comes and goes whenever it feels like it.

A day trip. This was at Tel-Gezer

On Friday we had a nice family dinner

My cousins brought me an awesome gift. I felt like showing it off to everyone, which meant I had to write a post already (I have been writing things on paper, but didn't make a post out of them yet). I love the design my cousins chose. I will try to share a link through which anyone could get a t-shirt of their own.

AWESOME t-shirt

You might have noticed that I got a haircut and also trimmed my beard. Here are some more close up pictures:

Before and after.

A little gardening with the kids

Football practice. Although soccer is by far the most popular sport here in Israel, we, Israel, are just no match for pretty much anyone.

Being stuck at home a lot means there are lots of lonely times. I feel like I'm reaching the point where I'm going to lose it from being home so much. So I'm planning on getting a cat. I would have gone with a dog, but a dog is too much work for now. A cat that is friendly and likes to be spoiled should be good enough. I hope this meow will bring my spirit up.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Old dos games

I have been writing some thoughts down, but I have nothing to share just yet. I got to organize those thoughts better. In the meantime, I'll share with you some YouTube clips of old dos games. Games that I used to play for hours. I hope these clips will bring up some fun memories for some of you. How many of these games do you remember?

Commander Keen

Wolfenstein 3D



Thursday, February 7, 2013

A random thought plus an update

Just a thought:

Why is it amazing to people when a child does something as well as, or loves something as much as one of their parents?! If it's drawing, painting, playing an instrument... Why do people get excited when a child looks like one of the parents?! "awww, she has your eyes." Wow, really? This whole nature and evolution thing is amazing. Isn't this how things work? We are supposed to be like our parents, what's so surprising here? I'm not trying to mock anyone. I'm honestly trying to understand because I am confused and a little frustrated that I can't feel and get excited like others do.

*   *   *

So it's been tough since I moved back to Israel. My left arm is bugging me a lot, and is limiting me like never before. It hurts just to carry my arm around. It hurts when I get up from a chair, when I put on a shirt, or even when I roll in bed. I wake up more physically tired than when I went to sleep. It's as if I slept on the floor.

I take some pain pills when I wake up. But it takes about an hour till they kick in, and even then, the pills don't always make all the pain go away. I'm limited and very dependable on others. I'm stuck at home most of the day, and when I go out it is mostly to some doctor appointment.

I thought about it the other day, and I think that if I add up all the days I've been to some doctor appointment and other hospital visits since I was born they will add up to a whole year. Just this summer alone, with all the chemotherapy rounds and other appointments I probably spent over 6 weeks in hospitals.

Some of you who work all day, or go to school might say "I would love to have a month off just to sit at home" but you're not thinking it through. Imagine being home all day for 30 days. Not 30 days where you're free to go out, travel, and have fun. No. 30 days of just laying around at home. Not that fun trust me.

This physical deterioration of my left arm and it's consequences are affecting my mental state negatively. The solution is to step out of the house more. To go out, to see people, but it's hard to even get myself to step out.

I was able to step out yesterday to see a live concert at the local pub with my twin cousins. Maor Cohen and Peter Rut performed together. It was a very good show!

Somehow I was also able to see the Superbowl. Here in Israel it started at 1:30 in the morning. I was able to take a long nap during the day so that I'll be able to stay up for the entire game. They showed it on a big screen in the local pub. They served drinks and pizza all night. By the end of the game I think it was almost 6:00 in the morning, I was very tired and since the Niners lost I was able to easily fall asleep. It was an annoying lost for the best team in the league. And by "for" I do not mean "to the best team." That's right, even though the 49ers lost the most important game, they're still the best in my book, and probably by most analysts. It was an annoying lost because they didn't show up for the first half of the game. I've never seen the defense miss so many tackles. Oh well, on to next year. Which I think will be tough because all we will be waiting for is the Superbowl...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Most of you can skip this post. It will probably bore you. It's about the 49ers and the Superbowl (sports)... But for me it is everything and anything (:

This Sunday the San Francisco 49ers will face the Baltimore Ravens in Superbowl 47 which will be played for the 7th time in the Superdome in New Orleans. Let's celebrate with some facts and stats about the history of the Superbowl games. Well, mostly facts and stats about the 49ers' Superbowl history...

The last time the 49ers played the Superbowl in New Orleans was in 1990 when they recorded the most lopsided game in Superbowl history crashing the Denver Broncos 55-10. 55 is the most points scored in a Superbowl game by one team. It is also more than the total points scored by the other three teams in the NFC west division (where the 49ers play) on their last Superbowl appearance: 50.

Two of these three teams, the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks, both lost in their one and only Superbowl appearance. They are the ones responsible to why there is one team who has more Superbowl wins than the 49ers. The Pittsburgh Steelers who won 6 titles (one more than the 49ers), won their last two titles against these two teams. In 2006 they beat Seattle 21-10, and in 2009 they beat Arizona 27-23. Arizona, who were down 20-7 half way into the last quarter, came from behind scoring 16 points, and took the lead with less than 3 minutes to play. They lost thanks to an amazing catch by Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds to play.

The 49ers though became the first team to win 5 Superbowl titles in 1995. A year after the 49ers won their fifth title the Dallas Cowboys joined the club beating the Pittsburgh Steelers who also had 4 titles at the time.

The New England Patriots have 7 Superbowl appearances, 5 in the last 10 years, but they've lost more than they've won (3-4).

From 1985 to 1997 the NFC conference won every Superbowl. 4 of them by the 49ers. Another 7 were won by the NFC east division. The other two wins came from the NFC north division and are the Superbowls in which the New England Patriots lost their first two appearances.

Also during these years the Denver Broncos lost 3 Superbowls in 4 years (the last to that 49ers team who scored 55 points). But it was probably even more painful to the Buffalo Bills organization who lost 4 Superbowls in a row during these 13 years drought for the AFC teams. Unlike Buffalo who have yet to win a title, Denver were able to ease the pain with two Superbowl wins in a row (1997-8).

The Cincinnati Bangals lost both of their Superbowl appearances, both to the 49ers (which where the 49ers' first 2 appearances).

In their last Superbowl appearance (1995) the 49ers scored 49 points. Since then, no team scored more points in the Superbowl (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came close in 2003 with 48 points).

The average points scored by the last 9 Superbowl winners is 25.9. The average points scored by the 49ers in their 5 Superbowl appearances is 37.6. Appearances which they all won. Together with the Ravens who won their one and only Superbowl appearance (in 2001) they have a perfect 6-0 record. Who will stay perfect?

The last 3 Superbowl winners came from 3 different NFC divisions. Will the 49ers complete the series this Sunday?

Superbowl 47 will meet the 49ers and the Ravens, who are coached by brothers. I don't envy their parents, but I guess that's looking at the half empty part of the glass.

In a best of 7 I believe the 49ers would have been the champions, but in one game anything can happen. Who will win? We'll know in about 100 hours from now...

Here the two Harbough brothers can be seen scouting players together.
John (left) coach of the Ravens, and Jim coach of the 49ers.
Picture taken by Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quotes & Coins

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.” That’s a good one. I posted a nice video in an earlier post were Alan Watts talks about a similar idea. He says “Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.”

“A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have.” I can totally relate to this quote. One of my current enemies is cancer. And although none of my friends have cancer, as far I know, I feel that some at least can imagine one of their enemies been cancer. I see it with their support, their constant love and support.

“Character is like a tree, and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” I think what is meant here by “tree” is say, ourselves, and what is meant by “shadow” is how people see us. The shadow can be altered with little effort. All you have to do is move a little bit, change your angle with respect to the sun. But the tree, the person you are, your character doesn't really change. So many of us try to manipulate our shadows. We try to manipulate our true selves so other will like us. But the shadow is not real, it isn't who we really are.

“If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.”

And these were all quotes by Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States of America (1861 – 1865). He is famous for his Gettysburg Address speech “Four score and seven years ago…” You can hear the speech with English subtitles in this video. Lincoln can be found on the one cent coin, also known as the “penny.” (do NOT press these pictures till the end of the post... I believe you'll enjoy this post more if you don't see all the pictures at once right now...) 

* * *

“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”  Sadly, with all these obstacles I've been enduring, I haven’t had the will for hard work. But it does seem that most people who work hard find luck (in form of success for one).

“Speeches that are measured by the hour will die with the hour.”  Saying too much is usually a bad thing. Too much information will often cause confusions and complicate things.

Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.” I know too many who aren’t aware of how much they are losing because of their pride. Pride could be said to be a type of cancer, eating you alive from within.

“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today” Yes, but I got to check Facebook, Twitter, and Survivor is almost on (:

“He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”

“I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.” I will second that strongly. If we all would have done good for others, and less good for ourselves (we would get good from others) we would all be happier. Unfortunately, most of us fear to give and not get, to be the “sucker.”

These were quotes by Thomas Jefferson who was the 3rd president of the USA (1801 – 1809). He can be found on the US nickel coin. He is famous for writing the Declaration of Independence (1 of 5 writers).

* * *

“The virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea.”

“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” Stop being subject to high-school-like peer pressure, enough already! Put yourself out there! Don’t fear the reactions from people, fear the time you’re wasting, the time you’re spending trying to be someone you’re not, and “Remember, you are just an extra in everyone else's play.”

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” Parents everywhere, as well as school staff, need be doing a much better job.

“Physical strength can never permanently withstand the impact of spiritual force.”  How I keep finding more and more spiritual force is beyond me, honestly.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) was the 32nd president of the US (1933-1945). Yes he served THREE terms. He was actually elected 4 times, but died of a stroke one year into his 4th term. Roosevelt can be found on the US’s dime coin.

* * *

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” This includes the internet as well. And why do I keep hearing about certain governments trying to block information from the people?!

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”

“Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.” Discipline in general is crucial and important to implant in our youths. It is how we can teach them structure.

“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation”

George Washington was the first president of the US (1789 – 1797). He is one of the founding fathers of the United States of America. Washington can be found on the US's quarter coin.

* * *

Now, what I actually meant to share is this:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fabrice's Pastries

While I was traveling in India (winter of 2008), I spent about a week roughly 7000 feet (2134 meters) high up in the mountains in a village called Vattakanal. Here is a picture I shared in an earlier post (A magical photo album):

One of the things I remember about the small remote village we stayed at is a french guy who sold delicious pastries. I don't remember his name, so I'll call him Fabrice.

Fabrice lived at the top of the village. I believe he said he has been living there for a long time - a few good years. I think during the week he bakes pastries in his home. These are not any pastries, these are some very fresh hot-from-the-oven pastries. And he makes them right from scratch, dough and everything. He then slowly comes down the mountain stopping at each house to sell these delicious pastries. At one point I think we rented a place pretty high in the mountain, so he always had a fresh load of his daily creations.

He was always friendly and funny. I can't remember what time he would come down the mountain, I think it was around 10:00 in the morning. During my week there, I think only one day I was too tired to get up, so I asked one of the friends I was traveling with to buy me some. Other days I made sure to be up so as to not miss him coming by. Here are some pictures (In case you didn't notice or wasn't aware, if you click on a picture you should be able to see it in a larger size as well as scroll through all the pictures of this post using the arrows on your keyboard).

You can see in this last picture that Fabrice has a dreadlocks hairstyle. One day we saw him walking down on the main road without his wool hat. His dreadlocks weren't rolled up, they were free and loose, and they nearly touched the ground! You can see in one of the pictures that Fabrice is about my height, maybe more. I'd say he is 6 feet tall (about 1.80 meters), so those dreads were loooooong. He was walking pretty fast, and I don't think anyone was able to get a camera in time...

If you haven't yet liked my blog's page on Facebook please do so. It's nice to have a face of some of my awesome supports. You can stay posted with some more updates, and alerts about new blog posts. Also it helps get the word out about this blog... Thank you. https://www.facebook.com/ilanoflife

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Good Karma

I needed to make room in the garage for some of the stuff I'm leaving behind when I move to Israel, so on the day before yesterday I posted a bunch of ads on Craigslist for stuff I wanted to get rid of. A few of the ads were for free stuff. After I finished posting the ads I went to see a movie with my ima. Checking my cell after the movie I noticed over 50 unread emails waiting for me. Most of them asking about some of the free stuff.

Yesterday I uploaded some of that stuff to my car, and met with people at a Starbucks. I gave away some old tennis balls for a guy who has a dog that loves to chew on some balls, and I gave some stackable plastic drawer to an Asian guy who I think just moved to the area. For the ad about these drawers I received over 30 emails alone!! I quickly deleted the ad so it won't flood my inbox with more people interested in these drawers.

Funny thing was that these two guys came at the same time. One guy called me when he was outside, and then immediately after I had a call waiting. I saw them talking to each other when I stepped outside, so I think they both thought the other was me.

Before these two came by, a different older-man dropped by to grab an old HP printer that was laying in the garage for a while. It sounded as he is having a rough time financially wise since he said he didn't have a cell phone to call me when he arrives. He said he will just step in, look around, and he is easy to spot. I couldn't really concentrate on my readings and writings as I was waiting for him to come by. He said he lives close to the Starbucks I was at, and sure enough I don't think I waited too long.

Lastly came a guy who sadly was laid off around Thanksgiving this year (damn CEOs wanting more money for themselves...). He took an old Dell computer I had that I bought around 2004. It had everything but a hard drive. I even found some CDs with the drivers that came with that computer. It was so old it still had a floppy disk. He felt like giving me something in return. I didn't catch exactly how he got it, but he offered me some cans of beans and some rice bags. I politely rejected his offer explaining that I'm moving away, and trying to get rid of stuff, not acquire more stuff I'll have to carry.

Before dinner yesterday, I posted another ad for some cradle swinger combination, and within less than 30 minutes 10 people emailed to ask about it. I will probably give it away today. I also have an old Sony tube monitor I might give today as well. I was suppose to give it yesterday to some guy. I wasn't sure if he could make it at the time I scheduled with the other guys, but I loaded it to the car anyways just in case.

It feels great to give people things for free. I also love to recycle, and believe we all should try to do our best to recycle everything possible. It really does not take much of your time or effort to recycle. I recycle every little piece of paper that I can. If it's mail, or some small piece of notes. Global warming is real you awesome-readers and supporters of mine, and we all should try to avoid filling up more and more landfield sites with our trash.

Only one person emailed me about an ad for something I'm trying to sell. People, of course, love free stuff. Some because they just love free, but a lot also because they, sadly, are broke. Either way I was happy to help out some fellow human beings. On the way back home I stopped by a 7-11 and bought me a scratcher, hmm thanks karma...

ho ho ho, now in the dark I glow
(white beard - a side effect from the chemo medication).