Yep – “Ageusia“.
It’s the term for a change in the taste buds. This is a side-effect of chemo which I was warned about but not prepared for. On the grand scale of unpleasantness, it ranks somewhat lower than the deep-down fatigue I experienced today and the queasy stomach that comes and goes as my body attempts to utilise and discard all the horrid chemicals that were pumped into me last week. But it is turning out to be very annoying. It started last Friday evening in a mild way, and became more pronounced Saturday. Coffee tasted wrong, pancakes tasted wrong, everything tasted wrong. The family invaded our house Sunday with much food and good cheer, and everything just tasted wrong. Plus, even when not eating, I can taste the chems sitting on my tongue. Ecch.
There’s really no treatment for it. I did some “internet research” last night, and most people on the cancer message boards seemed to think it makes things taste metallic and that spicy or sweet foods can help break through the wall of chemical awfulness. I liken it more to a plastic taste in the mouth. Meaty flavors become positively stomach-turning; a pickle nearly made me spit; curiously, cole slaw is alright. I hope that it fades as the chems leave my system. With any luck, I’ll have some time to gorge myself before my next round of chemo starts on the 4th. But for the time being, I am mostly having to coach myself to eat and drink, and avoiding the really bad flavors that can cause unfortunate associations of chemo with favorite foods for a lot of patients, an effect which can persist well after they are done with treatment. Don’t take my pizza away!
All of this is not to whine, by the way, just probing reportage on the ins and outs of what’s happening. It’s been awhile since my last post, and this is foremost in my mind right now. I want my taste buds back!
In more quantitative news, my BP and temperature are pretty good, and I go tomorrow for another blood test to see how my immune system is holding up. With any luck it will be good enough that I can refrain from being a hermit this weekend and see some people. The weird burning sensation down the middle of my chest is gone and my cough is greatly reduced. I still suffer from some laryngitis, which the docs say is certainly a product of the cancer, probably from pressing on a nerve. I really hope this abates, and soon. It’s the other truly annoying effect of all of this, and it’s frustrating trying to communicate with folks when you can’t project your voice.
That’s about all I can think of tonight – one foot in front of the other, and all that. More soon…