So I just realized that I haven’t really kept you guys in the know as far as how radiation round 3 has been. This is mainly for your curiosity, but also for those of you who will ever have radiation and want to know what it’s really like. To be honest the doctors aren’t always the best at preparing you. They use vague terms and can’t give any specifics because these days Americans will sue for any little thing.
The first weeks I had few symptoms, mainly just fatigue. Then as you know I got the intense mouth burns, ew. After my doctor tweaked my treatment, my mouth started to heal, praise God! Then the dry mouth started, only this time not only did my mouth get dry, but any spit I produced was as thick as molasses, no exaggeration. Because my spit was so thick, I would get super nauseous and I didn’t eat. Well losing weight in the radiation world is a big no no so, they sent me home with a bunch of, ENSURE. Yes Ensure, the protein shake that I grew up believing was only for Grandmas.
Back track a few days before the nausea set in. I was alone in Seattle at this point, and a little bit anxious after watching some kind of crime show. My fault I know. Anyway, I decided to make a cinnamon bagel with butter and cinnamon sugar (this is relevant). At the Collegiana there is a shared kitchen, like a college dorm, and often people will leave random food and things behind. Now I’m not one to eat peoples leftovers, mainly because I can imagine them scratching body parts and then reaching into their bag of chips, the same bag of chips that they left behind marked, “free”. Not free of germs! Anyway, so I made my bagel and realized I didn’t have any sugar. To my dismay, I was forced to grab a few of the restaurant style sugar packets left on the table. I took my bagel back to the room and took a bite, only to be met with the bitter taste of pure cinnamon. Confused, I poured more sugar on it. Took a bite, not a hint of sweet. Now at this point I had 3 sugar packets poured onto this bagel, so this time I stuck my finger directly into the sugar, placed it on my tongue, and felt only the texture of powder with no taste. Okay, I’m assuming that a normal person would just shrug it off and throw it away…remember how I mentioned I was anxious? I immediately started thinking about how maybe it was poison, do people even use poison anymore!? No maybe it’s drugs, someone hid their drugs in the sugar assuming no one would use it and now I have drugs or poison in me!?! I seriously debated calling someone. I checked my eyes, not that I knew what to look for, they looked normal. I felt my heart, it’s not about it explode. So after probably a half an hour of panicking, and texting my family telling them I loved them in case I never woke up, I thought it may be a good idea to get a drink of juice. After taking a swig it hit me, I lost my sense of taste. That’s a side effect of radiation that my doctors didn’t warn me about, but I happened to overhear another patient talking about it. The ability to taste sweet, POOF, gone.
Losing your ability to taste sweet really throws you off. It’s amazing because I realize now how so many things have sweet notes that I would have never noticed. Biting into pizza only to be met with texture, some oregano flavor, saltiness, and the subtly of cheese, but not the sweetness of tomato sauce!? Terrible! I went to one of my favorite Portland ice cream shops, as I sampled flavor after flavor I couldn’t help but grimace at the savory notes that showed up, but ice cream without sweet is just gross. It was incredibly discouraging at first. You pick food based off what sounds good. You have an expectation based off experience or knowledge that your food will taste a certain way. It’s a habit really! So it’s frustrating when you go to take a big ol’ bite of spaghetti because it sounds good, and it smells like spaghetti, it looks like spaghetti, but when it meets your tongue, it tastes nothing like spaghetti. Food is dull right now, like everything has been watered down. I have to add salt to everything. It’s less discouraging now because I’m used to it. I eat for nutrition only, not pleasure. So please, next time you eat something that sounds good to you, take a moment to savor all the flavors, pay attention and really enjoy it!
Okay moving on. I don’t know if it’s just the power of prayer, or if it hasn’t hit me yet, but I really feel pretty good! I don’t have my skin melting off, like last time, it’s more like a peeling sunburn and it’s hot. So I am praying that I’m catching a little break! Woohoo! Thank you for praying. Love you all!