I Made it to ESL

I haven’t written anything for a while, so I’m going to cheat just to have something to post.

I have a caringbridge.org site to keep family and friends informed about how I am doing. This, and other sites like it are so helpful because it becomes overwhelming and burdensome to keep your loved ones and friends updated.

So – I just decided to pretty much copy today’s journal entry to have something to add here. Here it is:

I’m feeling pretty good this week. πŸ™‚

Last Friday I had achey bones, so I knew my Neulasta shot was working and those white blood cells would be on the rise. (I’ll find out for sure when I go for labs in the morning.)

1st time out in a scarf

1st time out in a scarf

Sunday I went to church for the first time in months. Our ESL (English as a Second Language) class was being recognized for our 10th anniversary and I really wanted to be there. A few students participated in the service and we watched a great video about our class and students. It was also my first time out of the house in a scarf. One of the things about losing your hair and going out in a scarf is that you are quickly identified as someone with cancer – so you do feel as though it draws attention to you. In some ways that is not all bad, I guess, because there were a couple of people who didn’t know who saw me and came up to offer their support.

I got quite a few hugs during the welcome, communion, and after the service. One of the ESL students – a woman who started attending during my absence from class so I had never met her before – was very concerned about me. She said that she was in my position (she had had cancer) two years ago and that it was okay for me to tell people not to touch me.

It was a beautiful morning and good to be with friends and students in church. Then my husband and daughter and I went out for lunch, so it was a good day all around.

I got up on Monday and thought that since I felt good, maybe I could try going to ESL. I wondered if I was being foolish since I had a low white cell count last week and I would be with so many people, but I decided to go anyway. My daughter works in child care for our ESL class, so I had a built-in ride. I made a big sign to wear around my neck that said “No Hugs” and decided I would offer to teach an advanced group of students because it is less taxing. With the lower groups I get up and down a lot to write on the board and it is a bit more difficult to teach at times.

By the time we were doing announcements and before I actually started teaching, I was struck by a big wave of feeling tired and weak and I wondered if I had made a mistake. It passed and all went fine. A couple of times while I was teaching I’d get a little wave of tiredness but they were short-lived. (It’s weirdly like hot flashes in the way it can come and go.) I had a wonderful time being with the students and teachers and especially teaching my group of students. This group in particular enjoys conversation and a good laugh, so I had a great time. Our lead teacher had already introduced the word “vulnerable” to the entire group during announcements to explain the sign around my neck. I started my little group by teaching the words “impulse” and “impulsive.” πŸ™‚

One of the students sought me out during break to have her picture taken with me. I don’t know the circumstances of why she left her home country (Iraq), but my impression is that she cannot return. Her mother has had cancer for several years and now her sister has breast cancer. For some reason she thought a picture of us (me having come to class) would be uplifting or encouraging to her sister. I hope it was. I’ve included the kind of blurry picture – and also hope that’s ok as I haven’t asked her permission. I love how we match (we are both wearing black pants and red tops)Β and the juxtaposition of the Muslim woman in headwear, my cancer headwear, and the Christian crosses on the wall in the background.

Tomorrow morning I go for labs, so hoping everything is good. I think it will be.

There are several things on my mind to write about, but they need a bit more thought, so I’ll save them for later.

Oh – here’s a little thing. I read this and it made me think about how great my friends and family are because you/they have done so many of these things for me!Β http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/07/how-to-help-breast-cancer-patients_n_4031150.html?utm_hp_re…

Thanks for reading and keeping in touch and praying and all of the other things you all do for me!

Well – not a family history item or an entry for “The Book of Me”, but one of my stories anyway, I guess.


6 thoughts on “I Made it to ESL

  1. Kathy, I’m glad that you are enjoying being out in the world and going to ESL class (even without hugs). I’m so glad that you are keeping us informed through your blog about how you are feeling, so that we can send our encouragement and support. I have always loved your blog posts. I am steadily sending you the best karma and wishing for the best outcome! Bless you!

    • Thank you so much Mariann! I find that I feel pretty yucky (but no nausea thanks to wonderful drugs!) the first few days after a chemo infusion, the next week I feel better and the week after that even better. Then the cycle repeats. So I’m most likely to write about midway through the cycle. Keep the good karma coming! I know it helps. πŸ™‚

  2. Dear Kathy,

    Think it’s great that you were able to attend church on Sunday and teach the ESL class. Getting out and being with friends and family is good for you and also therapeutic or “therapetic” as Barney Fife says. πŸ™‚ I’ve just said a prayer for you and will continue to keep you in my thoughts.

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