Archive for November, 2009


November 30, 2009

I got to wash my hair this morning!  For the first time in two and a half weeks.  (Just in case anyone wanted to know.)


This whole nausea thing…

November 29, 2009

…is really getting to me.  I can handle physical nausea pretty well.  But psychological nausea is no fun.  I can think of one of two words relating to food and feel ill for the rest of the day.  I can smell cooking food — savory, not sweet — and feel ill for the rest of the day.  We boiled an apple, cloves and cinnamon to bring into my room to dispel all the nasty, nausea-inducing odors from people cooking this morning, and it helped some.  So did two slices of apple pie and a cup of spice tea.

What doesn’t work — all the things that normally do.  Like cinnamon candy or a sip of Coke — the cinnamon candy might work if I had the right kind, but I don’t.  And Coke helps when you actually need to vomit, but I don’t.  Last time I needed to was when I was in the hospital this past summer… 24-hour stomach viruses are not fun.  Especially when you’re supposed to be about to get out of the hospital and you’ve eaten a plateful of green beans.

I’m just about at the end of my rope, and this is supposed to last for at least one more week.  Ugh.

More things that are wrong with the world

November 26, 2009
  • nausea medicine that makes you even more nauseated
  • being in danger of being nauseated for Thanksgiving
  • having your mom and stepdad play strip blackjack in front of you

I’m sure I’ll think of more later.

To the tune of “Found a Peanut”

November 24, 2009

Got a flu shot,
Got a flu shot,
Got a flu shot in my arm,
In my arm I got a flu shot,
Got a flu shot in my arm.

(On Friday.  Not so bad.  My arm was sore over the weekend, but no fever/chills/aches like they said might happen.  First time I’ve had a flu shot since I was 12 — the oncologist said I’d be crazy not to — so it better work!)

There’s something wrong with this

November 23, 2009

First I convince the doctor to give me a medical certificate allowing me to work (from home, don’t worry!), but my boss doesn’t want me to.  (To be fair, we don’t have much of the at-home variety of work right now, but I’m bored!  I need something to do!)

Then I go to school, only to find out that while I missed the last three weeks of class due to being in the hospital, this week and next week (when I can actually come to class) we have a bit of a vacation.  Bad timing.

The silver lining

November 21, 2009

We missed the synagogue service last night.  Which made me deeply unhappy, since I hadn’t gotten to leave my room all day.   I wanted to go to the shorter service, since Saturday mornings are kind of hard when you don’t have much energy and aren’t supposed to stand up for very long.  I was so upset about it that I ended up bursting into tears… my poor mom has had to deal with a lot of that lately.

Anyway, so we ended up going this morning.  And since there were a lot of English-speaking visitors, we got to use the trilingual (English-French-Hebrew) prayerbooks.  Which means that my mom actually got to follow along everything we did — pretty cool, since it was her first time ever to go to a Saturday-morning synagogue service.

Keeping kosher

November 19, 2009

It’s not easy creating a kosher kitchen when you have cancer and are on chemo/radiation and when you share a kitchen with 20 other people.  The chemo/radiation makes you TIRED, so it’s hard to spend time in the grocery store, digging around for the foods on the kosher list (in German, which you don’t speak!), since most kosher foods in the grocery stores here don’t have a hechsher on the label (with the exception of foods imported from the States).  It also makes it hard for you to actually spend time cooking lunch/dinner — beyond throwing something frozen in the oven and hoping that it will actually cook beyond defrosting (the oven doesn’t work very well).

The 20 other people means that keeping kosher dishes is impossible.  I have one plate/bowl/cup/pot/pan/set of silverware because even if I kept two sets — people put meat down on the kitchen table, so my dishes would get contaminated.  People pile their dirty dishes up by the kitchen sink, so my dishes would get contaminated.  People cook pork in the oven, so… well, you get the picture.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t steps I can take towards building a kosher kitchen, though.  I own no pork,  no seafood and no insects (ew).  Which is hard, because I love to eat them.  (Minus the insects.)  I just have to ignore the meat and seafood aisles in the supermarket because otherwise I’d be too tempted.  Until this week, I owned no meat because nobody knew whether the kosher butcher shop in town was still open and it’s too far away for me to be able to spend the energy to go there only to find it shut.

So, what’s different about this week?  Well, my mom’s here to visit, and she’s tired of cooking vegetarian.  I keep telling her to buy some meat at the grocery store and eat it (my dishes aren’t kosher anyway, so it’s not going to mess anything up), but she feels guilty eating meat in front of me while I sit by and watch.  There’s no reason to feel guilty, since I’m perfectly happy eating all the other food she’s prepared the past few weeks, but she does.  So she decided we’d go and scope out the kosher butcher shop to see if it was still open.

On our way to get on the tram, she got so excited.  “I can get you kosher pork chops now!”

Cue me stopping in the middle of the road and looking at her cross-eyed.  I am so never going to let her live that one down.  It’s okay, though.  She’s just starting to get used to this whole my-daughter-eats-kosher thing.

Of course, now my problem is that I have to actually think about separating milk and meat.  It’s a lot easier when you just don’t eat meat dishes.  No waiting times.  I’ve decided that I’ll keep the Conservative tradition of waiting 3 hours.  Tonight my mom will be making me my first meat meal since the summer — my stepdad’s favorite beef chili (he’s here visiting for the week).

And since I actually have free time on my hands until I go back to work, I can pare down the 100-page-long kosher list in German to a list of products I’m actually likely to buy (like breakfast cereal or canned applesauce) and translate it into English with the help of a dictionary — and finally get only kosher-certified food in my pantry.

Now I just have to get my rabbi’s opinion on hard cheeses — the Conservative movement in the US says that all US-produced hard cheeses are acceptable without a hechsher, but I don’t know what liberal rabbis say about hard cheeses produced in Europe.  And it’s not possible to get kosher-certified hard cheeses around here unless you go to France, which I can’t at the moment.  And while I can actually live without sausage cheese balls and king crab legs (although I will forever miss them dearly), I cannot live without cheese.  Oh, how I hope my rabbi likes hard cheese!

I love Mix & Remix

November 18, 2009

Here are some of their anti-anti-minaret cartoons:





This cracks me up

November 17, 2009

This morning my mom and I went window-shopping.  First time in 3 months I’ve gotten to go look in stores for fun. 🙂  It was a gorgeous day — 18 °C, sunny, take-your-coat-off weather — and on our way into town I got to give my mom a lesson on Swiss politics.

The UDC is a right-wing party that — how shall I put it nicely? — prefers not to have foreigners in Switzerland.  Or, at least, any foreigners who aren’t white, Western European/American/Canadian/Australian, college-educated, etc.  They get a greater percentage of the vote (30%) than any other political party in the country, which drives me nuts, but I try not to go into politics here.  Anyway, here are a few of the referendum posters they’ve put up over the past few years:

This one says “For better security”.  The logo down in the bottom right says “My house — Our Switzerland” “Swiss quality” “For a strong Switzerland”.  The premise of the campaign was to kick foreigners out of Switzerland because they commit violent crimes.

mouton noir poster

This poster was against streamlining the naturalization process for 2nd- and 3rd-generation foreigners who were born in and who have always lived in Switzerland.

This poster was against extending the bilateral agreements permitting free circulation to Romania and Bulgaria.

And this is the poster for the current anti-minaret campaign, since allowing minarets to be built in Switzerland will allow sharia law to take over for secular law, etc., etc.

And here’s the poster we saw this morning.  It’s absolutely brilliant.  It’s based after the surgeon general’s warning on a pack of cigarettes — “Warning: Xenophobic nightmares may be harmful to your health!”

Oh, the irony

November 16, 2009

I managed to make it through two rounds of not-chemo without losing my hair.  I even earned a few awesome stripes.  And now I’m going to lose my hair because of radiation.

My head is not a very pretty shape.  I’m going to have to work on figuring out how to keep a scarf on a hairless head.  I have a feeling bobby pins aren’t going to work anymore.