Job available - apply today

Friday, August 31, 2012

Seeking individual to serve as on-call birth coach in the highly likely event pregnant woman's husband is caring for toddler son in the hospital across the street. 

* Provide distraction during IV placement
* Assist nurses in applying cold packs to patient's forehead after she faints from IV placement
* Make patient peanut butter and jelly sandwich before epidural is administered
* Allow patient to have full control of TV remote control during labor
* Check in every 5 minutes with patient's husband to receive status update on toddler son
* Laugh at all of patient's jokes (even if not funny)
* Remind patient to ask for Attending anesthesiologist and not Resident or Fellow to administer epidural
* Provide non-judgemental support when patient requests epidural at the earliest sign of discomfort
* Call for nurse assistance when patient poops on the table
* Pretend patient did not poop on table and never tell a sole if she did
* Take pictures during labor and video during last 3 minutes of delivery. 
* Do not post video/pictures on Facebook or YouTube
* Remind doctor to collect cord blood and tissue and call Viacord within 1 hour after birth
* Provide encouragement and support throughout labor, but without ever physically touching patient (unless specifically requested)
* Promise to forget what patient's female parts look like immediately after birth

* Ability to perform the essential tasks noted above in a satisfactory manner.
* Patience and empathy and thick skin in the event patient gets a tad nasty
* Incredible PB&J making skills
* No fear of blood, needles, pain, and any other medical procedures
* Relatives may not apply.  (Sorry folks, Thanksgiving dinner would never be the same.)

* At least 25 hours watched of TV programs showing births such as "16 and Pregnant", "Teen Mom", "A Baby Story", "I didn't know I was pregnant", and/or viewings of the live birth at the Science Museum.

To apply please submit resume and cover letter.


As anticipated, Ari was not admitted to the hospital today.  He is now scheduled for a 5-day stay beginning next Wednesday. 

(I knew I shouldn't have packed a bag.  I jinxed it.)


What's the plan Stan?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I am a planner.  I make to-do lists months before I host a party.  I write out itineraries for vacations.  I even go online and plan my menu selection before going out for dinner.  (I forget what it's like to go out for dinner.)  I want to know as much as possible in advance and I don't like surprises.

But when it comes to this cancer stuff, there's no way to plan.  I've learned to listen to a proposed plan and then anticipate a last-minute change.  Even with this new mindset, I was mentally prepared for an in-patient stay beginning today, a move to a new home early next week, and then a few days of unpacking before my water broke and a new baby appeared.  But, as I should have expected, Ari's counts weren't high enough to begin the new meds today.  So we are now hoping for a Friday start date but may be waiting until next Wednesday to check back into Children's Hospital. 

And this, my friends, brings us ridiculously close to my due date.  With my luck, I will be having this baby on Tuesday.  Why Tuesday?  Well, it is moving day.  And, we will probably be back in the hospital.  But really, we can be 3 places at once.  No big deal.  So I'm just going to plan for this insanity and then be pleasantly surprised if things change.

In the meantime, we are packing up our place, keeping Ari happy and healthy (I really could not have prevented his bloody forehead collision with the coffee table), and just taking it one day at a time.

Can someone remind me what goes in a hospital bag?  I should probably get one together.

And, this baby doesn't need furniture or a glider chair or a bassinet or anything else, right? 

Oh, and, will someone please come over and shave my legs?


Where have I been?

Monday, August 20, 2012

There have been no celebrity sightings.  No strange medical phenomenons.  No big tests and no bad numbers.

Life is normal.

Okay, normal is a bit of a stretch.  Between 3 back-to-back chemo courses, 1 lumbar puncture, 8 nurses visits (to administer meds), countless clinic visits, and a whole lotta puke, things have felt surprisingly ordinary.

Oh, right, and then there's the fact that Baby Girl G is going to arrive in the next 3 weeks so we've been trying to prepare (more mentally than anything else).  And, uh, we go back to the hospital next Wednesday for a 3-5 day in-patient stay for a nasty new drug.  Um, err, yeah.... and, surprise, we're moving... in approximately 2 weeks.

So nothing is normal.  Except one thing.  This kid of ours is just as happy, goofy, energetic, zany, and carefree as always.  He is back to sleeping 12 hours a night (I'm lucky to get 4), he is eating brussel sprouts and pizza and smoked salmon, and he is happiest playing outside all day long.

His mommy is a bit stressed.  But he is not. 
Medical update:

I know I've been slacking on the updates.  I apologize!  Here we go:

Ari has now finished (as I stated above) three out-patient chemo courses.  Most of the drugs have been administered at home, either by a visiting nurse injecting directly into his port or in liquid form squirted into his mouth by his daddy (mommy can't touch chemo because of the soon-to-be born baby).  He had a few infusions (chemo given over a longer period of time) at the clinic and 1 dose of drugs injected intrathecally (in his spinal fluid) during a lumbar puncture.  The spinal fluid removed during that test was negative/healthy/cancer free.  Let's hope that continues forever.

Ari has only experienced mild nausea as a side effect of all of these drugs.  He still enjoys the nurses visits and the clinic appointments, and only complains when they remove the sticker from his chest which protects his accessed port.  Oh, and he freaks out when I make him get dressed every day.  And change his diaper.  Or make him go inside.  But none of that is cancer related.

He is now 1 day into a 10 day off stretch before he is readmitted to the hospital for a high dose of a drug that has some potentially really icky side effects.  If he sails through this phase, we will be home in 3 days.  If he has any bad effects (fevers, etc), we may be stuck there longer.  Compared to our first hospital stay, this should be quick and relatively easy .  (Except I'll be 38 1/2 weeks pregnant.  Please no roommate.  I need a private bathroom!  And please, no baby.  And, because I don't ask for much, please no side effects!!)

Thanks for all of the calls and emails and visits.  If I don't update for a few weeks, don't worry.  In my free time, I'm trying to nap.  Or bathe.  Or watch RHONY.  


Team Ari

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I'm not a runner.

But over the last 2+ months, I learned that Matt, Ari, and I surround ourselves with runners.  And these incredible individuals don't just run for exercise. 

Our friends, family, neighbors, sorority sisters, fraternity brothers, camp buddies, and CJP family ran to our side with meals and toys and cards and visits.  And they ran with smiles and encouragement and thoughts and prayers.  Some ran sprints and some long distances.  And they ran as fast as they could to be by us for the most important race ever - the race to save Ari's life.

No ribbon or medal (or thank you note... ahem, I promise they're coming) can thank all of you runners for the outpouring of love and generosity you have already provided us.  Without your support, we wouldn't have made it this far, and we wouldn't have the energy or mind strength necessary to stay up-beat and energetic and committed for the next 2+ years.  This will be one heck of a marathon and when we cross the finish line, we know you will not only be cheering us on, you will still be by our side, holding our hands, lifting us up, and ensuring we win. 

You are all part of our team.  And we are forever grateful.

I'm so very proud to introduce you to a subset of this team - a group of actual runners! 

Meet Team Ari, comprised of 14 incredible friends who are running the B.A.A. half marathon on October 7th to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Emily Beck, Jennifer Cramer, Rachel Glazer, Eli Gurock, Sheri Gurock, Neal Karasic, Adam King, Caryn Lazaroff, Emily Leventhal, Bryanne Mahoney, Leah Ofsevit, Eric Ritvo, Seth Rosenzweig, and Sami Sinclair are not only running for Ari. They are running for every child diagnosed with cancer, every adult fighting day and night to beat the disease, and every family running their own marathon. These friends of ours are training hard and sacrificing their knees and ankles and nipples to raise funds which will help the Dana Farber find a cure for cancer.

For more information on the Dana Farber, click here. This is the story I tell when explaining how lucky we are to be treated at the Dana Farber for the next two years:

A few days after Ari's diagnosis, we asked one of the nurses and then a doctor if we should get a 2nd opinion... just because it's the right thing to do.  Both individuals said the same thing.  They would be happy to give us names of docs around the country, but that people come from around the world to the Dana Farber for their 2nd opinion.  And our head doctor, Lewis Silverman, is the big cheese when it comes to pediatric Leukemia.  He researched and wrote the protocol that kids follow which has significantly increased the remission and cure rates for Ari's specific type of cancer.  He is known world-wide as the man who keeps kids with Leukemia alive.  And all of his work and research has been done through the Dana Farber.

The more funding the Dana Farber has, the more research they can do and the more advancements they can make.  And the more lives they can save.  I thank my lucky stars that we live in Boston and that Ari has Dr. Silverman and the Dana Farber on his team.

And as I've described before, everything at the Dana Farber is fun, is friendly, and is focused on kids and their families.  There are fish tanks, art projects, musicians, toys, games, and an unlimited supply of playdough and bubbles.  There are countless staff members there just to keep the kids happy and engaged.  When we're at the Dana Farber clinic, we feel safe, cared for, and optimistic.  We trust every nurse and every doctor.  We have fun!  It feels like we are with our family.  And it's only been a few weeks.

I learned over the last few months to both ask for and accept help.  So on behalf of the 14 runners, the hundreds of children and thousands of adults currently being treated at the Dana Farber, and of course Ari, I ask for you to join Team Ari as a supporter, a cheerleader, or a friend.  Donate securely online, come out and cheer on October 7th, "Like" us on Facebook, and/or help us spread the word. 

To learn more about the Dana Farber or the team, please check out

You're already a member of Team Goldwasser.  Now join Team Ari.  Thank you for everything.

Go Team!



Viva la Vida

Sunday, August 5, 2012

We all know I love famous people.  It's pathetic.  I get a kick out of meeting anyone... from reality TV has-beens to Oscar winning movie stars.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I would trade a sit-down meal with any and every famous person of my choice for a healthy 100% cancer-free son (in a heartbeat), but I try to "look on the bright side" of this situation and meeting a few famous folks makes this process a little easier.  Okay, and maybe even fun.  And sometimes thrilling.

So, when I heard we missed Chris Martin from Coldplay last week, I was bummed!  And he didn't just shake hands.  He sang for the children!  He played keyboard alongside older kids!  He gave each patient a goody bag with an Ipod and other fun stuff.  And he gave every parent... front row tickets to see Coldplay in concert! 


It's cool.  I have Coldplay on my ipod.  I've seen them before in concert.  I can always watch the show on Youtube.  And this isn't about me.  Ari wouldn't have appreciated the visit anyway.  At the end of the day, we were much happier meeting Wally the Green Monster (especially since we thought it was Cookie Monster) than Gwyneth's talented hubbie.

And by "we", I obviously mean "he".

Today ended a 5-day chemo course.  Thank goodness we chose to do this easy-peasy week as an out-patient.  Here are some of the highlights of the week:

Ari and Daddy snoozed:




And watched the Red Sox lose (from John Henry's box!):

It was a fun few days through and through(s).

We spent a few short hours each weekday morning at the Dana Farber Jimmy Fund Clinic and then we made a cameo on our old floor at Children's Hospital yesterday and today. I know this may sound crazy, but it was a great week! Ari had a blast at the clinic (so did we). Wednesday was Happy Birthday Everyone day (cake, ice cream, and presents for all... even the parents), Thursday was ice cream sandwich and Red Sox day, and Friday we got to "make your own pizza" and meet Senator Scott Brown. The only time we heard Ari complain was when we made him leave.   No joke.  And this weekend, Ari was thrilled to be back in the hospital, flirting with the nurses and playing with the toys. 

We have 2 days off before starting the next round of treatment on Wednesday (all outpatient and this time chemo is administered at our home so we don't have to go in to the clinic.  What will we do all day?!  Who won't we meet?  What fun activities will we miss?  Do you think we can ask to get the chemo there?). 

Ari has been feeling great and his counts are high so he is enjoying play dates and outdoors outings (shhh don't tell anyone but we did go to Target yesterday...we washed hands well afterwards).  Now that he's no longer port-accessed, he can go swimming and take a real bath. 

Side effects and low counts are inevitable as the chemo begins to work its mojo and we expect a not-so-fun next two weeks because of the double dose of meds.  But who knows... this kid is truly incredible and doesn't let much get him down. 

Oh my goodness and how did I forget... Ari slept 12 hours straight the last two nights!  Hurray! 

(I bet I would have slept well if I had met Chris Martin and gone to the Coldplay concert.)


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