Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Cabinet of Doctor Chemogari

What would Nancy Reagan say? A whole cabinet full of drugs.

None of these are cancer treatments, mind you. They are all to help me cope with the cancer treatment.

I'm coping slightly less well today. Just can't get my stomach comfortable.

Food is really a challenge. There are only a few things that are tolerable to eat. I got down a bowl of Cream of Wheat this morning. Last night I managed a plate of butter-soaked scrambled eggs. I can eat a bowl of granola but it's starting to hurt my mouth (first mouth sore appeared last night - many more to come). Wonderful Wife has been making smoothies that I can get down pretty easily because they are wet and cold. I supplement with Ensure.

I would love to just fill my stomach with something resembling a normal meal but trying to eat that much at one time is just too revolting.

What's revolting about it? The combination of several factors:

  • Very little saliva production (from radiation)
  • A persistent distasteful coating in my mouth, which is dead cells killed by radiation
  • My sense of taste is 90% suppressed and also altered for the worse (from the chemotherapy)

So when I put a bit of food in my mouth, I get a brief second of a hint of flavor before that flavor turns bad. Then if the food is not quite moist it becomes a tasteless thick mass that I have to chew. Then I have to take a mouthful of water, mix it with the food and take a big gulp to get some of it down. Rinse and repeat.

Even with the well-lubed buttery eggs there's enough moistness but the natural impulse to swallow after chewing for a while just isn't there. I have to wash it down.

At least all that washing food down helps me get my fluids.

Treatment ends one month from tomorrow.

I am scared that my second chemo infusion on Tuesday is going to crank everything up a notch.


  1. You're brave!
    Are you allowed to use orastat for the mouth sores? it's numbing. In the UK we had something called bonjela which was less numbing and more healing (or so it felt)

    1. One of these days I'll write a post about bravery. It doesn't feel like bravery to me because I don't have a real choice.

      Those red bottles are "magic mouthwash" that the cancer center pharmacists mix up. Maalox, Lidocaine and Benedryl for protection, numbing and anti-inflammation. I don't really need it yet - it really numbs the whole mouth - but I'm sure I'll want it when my mouth is full of sores. But I can use it on a cotton swab to treat individual sores.