Monday, October 10, 2011

Toughened Up


During a family cruise vacation several years ago, we participated in a shore excursion to Stingray City in Grand Cayman. Everyone was issued snorkel gear and a handful of dead squid to feed the rays.
The creatures, gliding below, looked so serene. If you put out your hand while holding a piece of squid, a ray would zoom by and grab the squid with the mandible on its underside.

I had my face in the water, admiring the animals' agility, when I felt a sudden, acute pain. I stood up, ripped off my snorkel mask, screamed, and began to cry. My family swam over to me, an all-out sprint with the aide of their fins.
Ryan, boyfriend at the time, had been the one closest to me. He asked if I was hurt. They'd all thought I'd been whipped by the barbs on a stingray's tail.

No, I explained through tears, I hadn't been stung. In a moment of excitement, Ryan had thrown a left elbow jab into my mask.

My entire family looked at me in disbelief, put their masks back on, and swam away.

I admit: I was a wimp, even at 25 years old.

I'm not anymore.

Not after what I've been through this year.

I took my first dose of ATRA this morning, which means the migraine will begin around 4 p.m. today. My first of three doses of Daunorubicin is scheduled for this afternoon. Since this is the same regimen as the September round, I know exactly what to expect.

Am I nervous? It's hard not to be, given how I felt last month. But one thing's for sure, I'll never cry again if someone elbows me in the snorkel mask.

Treatment Schedule