Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tastes, Sorted into Categories

Ten days out, I'm totally recovered from last week's chemotherapy. Everything feels great, except for a few little things. Like some (lots?) of my taste buds don't work. It's not uncommon, chemo can be hard on all parts of the mouth. This effect has built up gradually, but it still surprises me sometimes when I eat something yummy and it tastes like nothing, or even worse, it tastes bad.

Stuff that is not tasty: coffee, wine (really totally lost on me), bread (the texture is annoying to my tongue), most sweets, savory meat flavors, plain water. Matt brought me a glass of water the other night and it tasted like licking a toad. He had to spike it with a lot of lime for it to taste normal.

Stuff that is tasty: mustard. Mustard is like my new favorite friend, which is perhaps fitting given that one of my chemo drugs, cyclophosphamide, is a mustard gas derivative. I think mustard's strong taste and vinegariness make it work even for my impaired taste buds. Likewise any strong, spicy, sharp, or bitter flavor: cabbage, peppers, green tea. I enjoy those. Anything with a creamy mouth feel is still a champ, like greek yogurt or cheese, because I realize they rely on texture as much as taste. And risotto is a champ. But when is risotto not a champ?

Other stuff that's going on in the health arena:

When I met with the oncologist before my chemo infusion last week, she had the results of some kind of genetic assay thing that she'd sent my tissue out for. It's a proprietary test--I won't name it because I don't really want to awaken the maker's Google alerts--that looks at 20 different molecular attributes of your tumor and then runs them through some magical donkey algorithm to predict an individual patient's risk of disease recurrence. Apparently it is all very sophisticated but well validated. Okay. So the magical donkey says I have a low risk of recurrence and that for my population chemotherapy may provide little additional benefit over hormonal therapy (i.e., taking Tamoxifen for five years). Great timing on that information! But low risk. That's good. The doc said, "So everything we're doing right now is just putting the icing on the cake."

Yes, that cake is getting totally damn iced. We'll file this under: Good news.

My eyebrows and eyelashes seem thinner. I'm really glad I stopped having my brows waxed months ago. I've heard that if they do fall out, they're the last to go and the first to grow back in. We'll file this under: Whatever.

My skin is smooth all over, and not just the parts that are hairless. Like, it's all nice and soft. Don't know why. File under: Unexpected Benefit.

I tied a bandanna around my head in a new way and went in to Matt's office to show him. I said, "What do you think of this look?" He said, "I would like for you to take me down to Paradise City, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty." Yes, in what was a vulnerable moment for me, he made an Axl Rose joke. File under: Don't tell him but I thought it was funny.

Sometimes when I get an email I don't like, I flip the bird at my iPhone. Why am I telling you this? I'll be holding the phone in my left hand, and I give it the finger with my right hand. I make a face and give it a lot of gusto. Thank goodness nobody has ever seen me do this. File under: I am a goofball.

Have a good weekend y'all! I have to go take Laura to get her hair cut. She is trying to grow it long, but I persuaded her to have it shaped up a bit. File under: FINALLY.


Corinna said...

Hey, I flip off inanimate objects, too! If I stub my toe on a chair, I will turn around, give that lousy chair a really mean look, and then give it the bird... feels good, doesn't it? I am going to try that with emails, next. Happy Summertime, Becky!

Jenni said...

Okay, Axel, pony up the bandanna shot. Also, sorry about the wine and bread (two of my faves) but hey, smooth skin? A win. And glad you aced that super fancy genetic test, smarty pants.

Amy said...

When I'm in the first trimester of pregnancy, I can't eat some things that I normally love. They just taste awful and make me shudder. I'd been meaning to ask you about your eyelashes! And what about your legs?? That could be a benefit for summer, eh?

Matt is very cheeky. I don't think husbands who tease their wives' bandanna styles get taken to Paradise City. Perhaps you need to point that out. ;)

Super Single Mom said...

"Do you know here you are?? Your in the jungle baby.. " LOL
Crystal Lynn

Sjn said...

I don't usually like the icing the best but... here's to the icing!
Stop by and read my new post, it's good therapy!

Judy said...

Becky - so glad to hear your good news on the genetic tests. LOVE the Donkey Magic Algorithm. Try that on your dissertation committee when you're defending. I would really like to see the expression on their faces: "I had originally intended to use a Multiple Regression Analysis to determine the validity of this research, but determined that Donkey Magic Algorithms are just as accurate. To .05."

Amy said...

Yes--never underestimate the accuracy of magical donkeys. Powerful stuff.

Mad Woman said...

At least that man of yours can still make you laugh :) Will we get to see pics of you rockin' the new bandanna look??

Amy said...

Yet again you manage to make the mundane hilarious. File under: Why I Love The Suburban Matron.

I tried to treat myself in my 3rd trimester to a glass of very, very nice wine. Sent the first glass back. Then had to concede it was me. SO sad. I feel for you.

Donkeys and icing = good news indeed

Becky said...

Yes, I should get some pics and take you ALL to Paradise City.

A Day That is Dessert said...

So glad about the genetic testing Becky!

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

My chemo-undergoing friend told me Mexican food is the absolute best. For what that's worth.

So has the bandana replaced Cody?

We're right behind you in your eagerness to get this cake iced once and for all.


Keely said...

No wine or sweets??

*flips off Cancer*

CrazyLovesCompany said...

Sorry about the buds, but that G&R comeback was awesome. I'm with Jenni, pics please.

Casey said...

Now I really want a soft pretzel with some mustard. And I love that you're channeling Axel. You are my hero.