When you hear the phrase “on the rocks” maybe you immediately think of a chilled refreshing alcoholic beverage or maybe you envision Tom Cruise pouring you a cocktail straight out of his 1988 New York City bar. Either way it is all about letting down your inhibitions and relaxing for at least the twenty minutes you are sipping your beverage and the two hours after the alcohol lingers in the system and your brain believes that it has been rewarded with dopamine. After all the consumption of alcohol is ingrained in our history. Hell in America’s early years it was safer to drink alcohol than take a chance on “dirty water” (No offense directed at Boston or the Standell song). Alcohol was a staple in many communities, even a currency in some. George Washington actually had to send a federal army into western Pennsylvania to put down a rebellion of farmers angered over Hamilton’s whiskey tax. Alcohol was some pretty serious business. That’s also probably why Temperance Societies in the Antebellum years fell short of a ban and why the Prohibition Era is characterized by the likes of bootleggers and speak easies. Today, people enjoy an adult beverage here and there which is a non issue when done in moderation. Women enjoy wine nights with their girlfriends and men indulge in craft beer gatherings. One can become a connoisseur of sorts, which is something I know very little about. Now don’t get me wrong I enjoy a sweet and fruity glass of Riesling, or a tart lemon drop at the camp on vacation, and the very occasional rum and coke for old time’s sake (when I apparently used to drink like a man in college temporarily). In the last three years, I can probably count the number of drinks I’ve had on both hands, mostly because with a cancer diagnosis comes a slew of meds that may or may not interact negatively with alcohol. Plus, I’m not a huge fan of testing the limits, mostly because I don’t want it to be like that one time in college I had a ‘little’ too much and had my date drop me off at a different apartment building just in case he was a Criminal Minds serial killer and I tried to go in the wrong apartment and my neighbor had to bring me home.
At the current juncture anyhow, most of my cocktails are in the form of chemo, but this time I ordered mine on the rocks. I was elated to learn from my PET scan on the 10th that I had a complete response from the heinous GND combination that had landed me in the hospital the week before and deflated in the same instant I learned that I had to complete two more cycles (four more treatments) before I could go to transplant. Since I couldn’t run order a scotch on the rocks to drown my sorrows I ordered my chemo on the rocks instead. Cryotherapy has been studied and claims to be a deterrent in the development of chemo related hand foot disease and mucositis. I have tried chewing on ice for the infusing period of the Doxil (the red liposomal devil) and it hasn’t quite been successful, but that could be attributed to the sheer heinousness of the drug, the insanely high dosage needed to kill off Hodge, or the fact that I take Cellcept which may complicate matters. Either way, it didn’t stop me from attempting cryotherapy on my hands and feet, so there I sat with plastic gloves on submerged in a bag of ice and hospital socked feet in a basin of cubes. It looked hilarious, it was certainly entertaining, and it may have been the first time I ever considered taking a warm blanket. At this point, I’m willing to try just about anything to make this process easier as I prepare for my upcoming stem cell transplant, which officially has a timeline. I will check in the hospital the week of the 9th of April, for what will inevitably be the most difficult (and painful) thing I will have had to endure yet.
As I get closer to this check in date I can honestly say I’ll probably need a stiff drink!