Last Thursday (July 14th) was my final dose of Doxorubicin and Cyclophosphamide (for those of you that are not oncologists or have not pumped these cocktails into your veins, these drugs are the red devil Kool-Aid and the one that makes your nose feel like you snorted wasabi off of a Dynamite Roll at the dumpy All You Can Eat Sushi place down the street). Tasha and I high fived in celebration as we walked out of the hospital and headed home to weather the impending storm.
There’s mixed feelings about hitting this half way point. Part of me is all, “yay! you’re half way done! Suck on that cancer! Pow, pow” (imagine me doing finger guns like Yosemite Sam) and another part of me thinks, “sweet baby Jesus, how are we only half way? There’s so much still to come. Eff”. It’s tough because both ways of thinking are true and as much as I am thrilled to put the first drugs in the rear view mirror at least I know what to expect with them. I know the level of crappiness that it makes me feel, how many days I need to hermit at home and that iced coffee is a no-go until at least 7 days after treatment. This new drug brings all kinds of unknowns. I hate the unknown. But soon enough I will be sitting for my first of 12, weekly Taxol doses (Aug 4th) and with a round of nervous coughs** the unknowns will become known.
**Did I hear someone ask, “what’s a nervous cough?”. Well my friends, for some reason that I can’t really explain, when I get nervous or anxious I tend to cough. Some people laugh when they’re nervous, others get an upset stomach and I cough. A lot. Loudly. It’s not a dainty cough, not like, “oh look at that adorable little girl with the cute cough”. It’s deep, chesty and it goes until I am red in the face with tears in my eyes. Most people in earshot think that I am on the verge of throwing up and often come over to check if I am ok. Those people also tend to look at my closest friends like they are evil incarnate because while strangers are pressing 911 on their cell phones, my friends ignore me completely. In their defense, they have experienced more than a couple of Arielle’s nervous coughs. So, like clockwork, every time I go for chemo the coughing starts just as I sit down in the chair.