Goodbye, Farewell – Smile for Me …

12 Dec

With breaking, aching hearts we have to inform you of the death of our most beloved Martin today at 1.30 – he passed away peacefully at home, embraced by his family whom he adored, and who adore him entirely.  The funeral will take place tomorrow, Thursday 13th December, at 12.30 in the Pardess Haim Cemetery in Kfar Saba.

 In true and typical Martin fashion, some weeks before he died, he wrote what he called “The Last Blog.”  Here it is – below:

 

Goodbye, Farewell – Smile for Me …

I won’t know when this blog will be posted.

Pam will have taken that decision for me.

We lost our fight with pancreatic cancer.

We had some successes for which I’d like to thank each and every one of you.

It never broke my spirit.

Smile for me.

Shalom, shalom. 

Happy Hanukka

8 Dec

At this time of year so special for miracles, let’s hope that we can again transform darkness to light … in good health, peace, and more than anything – tolerance.

Hag Hanukka sameach – happy Hanukka to all!

Catching One’s Breath?

29 Nov

Is catching one’s breath an issue?  No, if it was only a matter of simple breathing.  But in my case breathing has become complicated.  My lung capacity has become seriously impaired.  The difficult, if not impossible, question in this blog is really “What IS the catch?”  The answer is clinically unclear.  It lies within the until now unknown realms of the pneumo-thorax.  I’ve chosen not to share any further details of this one with you at this stage.

The reality is that this is the first blog that I’ve asked Pam to post, based on what I jotted down on paper, sitting in my chair.  Going to the computer is too much of a burden tonight, after a long day in Tel Hashomer Hospital.  But tomorrow is another day.  I wait to see what it holds.

Has Keith Helped Me to Turn the Corner?

23 Nov

Keith is leaving early tomorrow morning.  What brilliant timing for a visit.  Although any visit at any time from Keith would be amazing.  He’s just that sort of guy.  And I have the luck to be his brother-in-law … and he’s left me in better shape than when he arrived.

With regard to “turning the corner” – that’s a complicated matter.  Geometrically it might be a great analogy.  My clinical condition continues to deteriorate in a downward straight line.  My movement is miniscule and I spend most of my day (and night) in my reclining couch.  So we’d have to turn a corner for any dramatic change.  But you know my philosophy: life is a continuous cycle, going round and round.  We just don’t know whether we’re at the bottom, ready to swing back up, or vice versa.

The signs are pretty ominous, although each sign may well be one more crutch.  “Wheelchair” sounded bad, but it serves me well in getting to the beach and enjoying nature.  “Oxygen” sounds even worse, but having the admin behind us and a cannister on call (for the odd puff now and again) certainly makes for common sense.  “Morphine” sounds as low as one can go.  But using the right-sized patch has proven a blessing.

So, who knows?  At least I’ve still got the patience to wait and see – and to wait for Keith’s next visit.

Keith’s come over from Canada

18 Nov

Keith arrived last night from Vancouver.

I might just use the blog as an ‘updater’ while he’s here rather than posting my normal blog.

I might also be a little indulgent and ask that you channel your interest by email rather than calling, even though I myself am getting to the keyboard less at the moment.  So email Pam; she passes on all the messages to me.

A Hot Bath and the Simple Things in Life

15 Nov

A couple of weeks ago I spoke to my sister-in-law in New York who told me how wonderful it was to have running water and a hot bath. Not surprising after she was evacuated from her super-storm Sandy-ravaged house. It’s only natural that one focuses on immediate challenges.

I’m continuously amazed how my own daughters keep coming up with practical plans for our own immediate challenges. Almost immediately after I clicked “publish” for my last blog, pain kicked in yet again – as did a certain amount of desperation. “No problem”, chirps one of my girls, “just have a hot bath”.

One forgets how simple solutions can be found right under our noses. Weightless (and relatively pain-free) in the warmth of your own water.

If only life was a simple as a hot bath… or just getting around. But as we all know, it’s not.

When I say “getting around”, I don’t mean driving myself from A to B; I haven’t been behind the wheel for weeks now. I mean getting to the car. Walking those few, all too taken for granted, steps. My body has betrayed me – but it’s the only one I’ve got. So regardless of the pain, I have to keep moving somehow… just keep moving, walking, stretching. Seems like ages ago it was from the golf buggy to hit my ball. Then my efforts were reduced to walking round the block. Then, round the house and garden. And just latterly, “round the house”, is a few steps in the house itself. Funny, that with all my so-called discipline and fight, I need to be constantly cajoled and reminded to do my rounds.

Again, I’m so grateful that Pam and the girls give me so much time, care and devotion. Sidelle, running around to do whatever required; Joanna, literally “hands-on” every night, and Nadia, with so many solution. The latest, was the not-so-subtle suggestion of using a wheel-chair again. “Don’t see as a step backwards, see it as the opportunity of us still being able to go to the beach and enjoy the warmth of the winter sunshine.” “Besides”, she added, “we’ve been there before”. Who would have believed that almost two years has passed since I was wheel-chair bound (before being hospitalized). Who knows when and how things will turn out.

Let’s hope that one step back is worth the next two steps forward.     

 

Medical Marijuana – Important Update

10 Nov

Pain sufferers and pancreatic cancer patients in particular must keep themselves updated on medical marijuana. Here’s to trying to help you – through my own experience.

It’s no great secret that my clinical condition has been going from bad to worse. Ascites is one of my major problems at the moment and I’m in and out of hospital to have my peritoneal cavity drained. Aspiration gives instant pain relief which lasts all too briefly. In the two parallel fights between my physical and mental conditions, two giants contriving against me are exhaustion and pain. They are inextricably intertwined. They combine to make things worse. Pain – which cannot be relieved; pressure which is relentless; pain-killers that often have worse side-effects than the original pain itself. Exhaustion of such intensity that I’m simply too tired to sleep or too anxious even to crawl into bed.

How can one battle all this? Pain control must be one of the key elements. Medical marijuana is a miracle becoming more available.

One of my daughters has always been singing its praises. So has my brother-in-law, Keith – he recently sent me this link to an interesting article from The Vancouver Globe and Mail, “Support growing for medical marijuana in Israel”: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/support-growing-for-medical-marijuana-in-israel/article4901847/

Last Monday, I restarted taking medical cannabis. I am now witness as to how it can help. It’s only been a few days but the results have been dramatic and give hope. I’ve eliminated some of the trouble-giving pain-killing medication already. I stopped taking SOS pain-killers almost immediately. My digestive system is more regular (although eating remains a problem) and last night I slept for more hours and in a position I have not achieved for over a month. Position? I simply mean lying down on my back in my bed… how we take things for granted.

A couple of weeks ago there was enormous media hype here on the latest generation of legalized medical marijuana products. The cannabis leaves are treated in such a way that addiction and the making you “high” elements have been eliminated. I take it in drop format. Go visit the company making lots of the news, Tikun Olam:http://www.tikun-olam.co.il/tikun/olam/-/english.html

Going back to medical marijuana – or should I say moving forward with it – was well overdue. It also makes me think of my other brother-in-law, Philip, and our abortive attempt for me to try it just over a year ago. And it brings to mind one of my favorite blogs, “CAN CANcer be fun?” from 12 January 2012. Give yourselves a happy moment. Just to remind you, the gentleman on the left is yours truly, and my dancing partner, the incomparable PIP. Enjoy http://sendables.jibjab.com/view/g6hI6KIv63g76o1ZHRgg

I cannot thank my brothers-in-law enough at this moment.

Fellow pancreatic cancer sufferers, my recommendation is to try the new generation of medical marijuana.  

 

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