Friday, August 15, 2014

Does It Matter If It's All in Your Head?

On Wednesday when the nurse was giving me the bolus of 5-FU I mentioned that it was starting to give me a headache. She asked, "Do you have a metallic taste in your mouth? Some people say they get that."  My response? "Well, I do now..."

It's hard to know how much of this stuff is real and how much is psychosomatic. Did I actually have a metallic taste from the 5-FU, or did I create it based on the nurse's suggestion? Do I really feel terrible today, or do I feel terrible because I expect to feel terrible? How is it that within fifteen minutes of detaching the infusion pump and removing the line running to my port I can feel so horrible? Shouldn't removing the line make you feel better? I hate these kinds of questions. 

In any case, Day 3 of Cycle 2 turned out to be very much like Cycle 1, which is to say that by the middle of the afternoon I felt terrible. Once I pull the infusion pump, my energy drops and the nausea rises, and I wind up on a fairly short fuse for needing to lie down. 

But Cycle 2 did bring a couple of new twists.

First, my teeth hurt. Why chemo would make my teeth hurt is beyond me, but mouth pain is unfortunately developing into a thing. Happily, I've yet to see signs of any open sores -- thank you Google images for pictures that will never leave my brain (yikes!) -- but the brushing thing has me nervous. I'm also finding that every time I try to eat or drink something I have to first get past a terrible pain in my jaw. The jaw works fine, but for fifteen or twenty seconds I get this intense pain in the joint. Weird. 

The other impact from Cycle 2 is that I have to find a new bus stop. I normally pick up my bus home at a stop that sits underneath the exhaust vent for Whole Foods or one of the restaurants that surrounds it. It's never been a pleasant place to wait, but at this point the smell is revolting. There's no way I can stand there for five or ten minutes waiting for the bus. I didn't last thirty seconds today. 

Still, though, I can't really call these complaints. Compared to many, I'm still having a pretty easy time with chemo.

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