One night after our second round of watching Broad City, I said, “What if you made a Make a Wish video and asked Abbi and Ilana to write you into their show?” Dara immediately countered with, “I should get them to come be in my Chemo Karaoke video shoot!”
So we did it. Why not? It was a low-stakes, really fun way to spend an evening, making the video. And even if Abbi and Ilana couldn’t come to the video shoot, at least it was a way to say thank you for producing art that was really delighting us during a time that was pretty shitty… It’s never a bad time to make someone feel good about themselves, as my bestie Rachael likes to say.
Abby and Ilana were busy writing the second season of their amazing show and couldn’t come to the shoot. But they did invite us to be their guests at their show the night before Dara’s birthday party.
Our post-chemo trip was postponed a few months, but we made up for it in October during an epic ten day Southern and Northern California road trip exploring new places and visiting familiar stomping grounds for this California native.
On the first part of our journey we travel up I-5, have a magical day in San Francisco eating all the things, have lunch in the East Bay and take a detour via the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Cruz.
Before Dara started chemo I’d known plenty of people with cancer at a variety of ages. Other than understanding that chemo is extremely difficult and disabling, I didn’t know what was involved. Going through the chemo process with someone as girlfriend and primary caregiver has been an extremely different experience and there is a lot that I’ve learned. Helping to ease the discomfort of the person you love the most in the world is a huge motivator to suck up information like a sponge! I wrote the below for a friend who asked for a relative about to go through chemo and I thought it might be a helpful blog post. It’s long so I tried to create headers and bold stuff for easy reference. I’ll write more another post about my experience as a caregiver (I’ve learned a lot) and about the other parts of her treatment.
Dara’s experience with chemo hasn’t been consistent as side effects change and shift. Before she started her treatment everyone (doctors, nurses, former/current chemo patients and their caregivers) said that all bodies react differently to chemo and things will be somewhat unpredictable. Even all the research we did ahead of time wasn’t really helpful until she was actually going through the experience. This is an account just of one person’s experience with the physical and emotional affects of chemo as they’re happening.
A lot of folks do the long look to try to decide what’s going on with someone when they look unusual. And that’s way more noticeable when you’re not used to it. It feels weird. And when Dara started to notice it, she felt uncomfortable and insecure about it.
I surprised myself by rattling off a bunch of strategies she could use to get more comfortable with being conspicuous. So here, dear readers, is a cheat sheet for how to stop caring about what strangers think about you.
Click here to read the whole article.