Eden completed radiation - her final treatment was Wednesday, Oct 5. She's now a graduate of the SCCA Proton Center. They actually throw a graduation luncheon which was incredibly touching. The week's graduates and their families share a meal, say a few words, and are honored by the staff with a "Challenge Coin," a tradition traced back to a World War I pilot who was shot down and captured by the Germans and later escaped to France. His U.S. coin was the proof he was not a German spy, saving his life when he wound up in French custody and was challenged. Since then, challenge coins bearing the organization's insignia are given to service members by commanders for special achievement. In addition to Eden and a few other adults, there was a 12-year old girl and a 5-year old girl who were honored for completing their treatment - bringing most of us to tears.
So here we are, in the first week and a half of this rest month before starting chemotherapy in early November. And Eden has gone through treatment beautifully. She continues to stay active, either running, doing pilates or yoga 3-4 times per week. She has also returned to work part time and is really happy to be back with her friends and colleagues. Eden and I have even been commuting downtown together here and there. And that's been really nice.
As far as side effects, Eden has been feeling pretty darn well. The likely nausea and headaches fortunately never materialized, but she has been more tired than usual, and there's the hair loss. She's sporting the hairdo pretty well. They say it takes a few months for hair growth to come back, and it might come back differently - curly or straight, thin, or not, gray or not gray (maybe blue?).
Over these past three months, all of us Zasloff's have been processing everyting at different paces and with emotions all across the board. Sometimes it is really hard. Many times we cry. Certainly life has changed. We've been so focused on treatment and our plan to get through chemo, but we've allowed ourselves to think about the big picture a little bit. Those of you who know us, know we are planners. So naturally we have started thinking about the things that are really important to us so we can plan for the future. We've had a lot of conversations about doing what we love to do, spending quality time together as family, taking trips, and more. It feels weird sometimes to plan for the future when there's so much going on in the present, but it's been helpful to look forward to good things. For example, Julia has her bat mitzvah next year. Originally it was planned for the beginning of June but given Eden's chemo schedule, our temple was able to push her date to September 2. Eden should finish chemo in June or July. So, we planned a very low-key trip to Maui next August for R&R and quality family time before the excitement of the bat mitzvah. Having that as a goal for us is helpful - there's a fun trip at the end of a long treatment period to look forward to.
No doubt, the next 9 months will not be the most fun or easy months we've had. But we feel lucky to have our family rallying around us, sisters, brother, parents, and more coming to visit and help. And we feel lucky to have the love and support of our friends. We will have lots of laughs and good times throughout this period too. I am appointing myself Cheerleader in Chief and am prepared to rally.