Sunday, April 24, 2011

It doesn't matter, they all taste the same

Counting down to the end of radiation treatment: 13 sessions to go. That means two more weeks of Mon-Fri, plus three days. Ohai light, I see you at the end of the tunnel!

And things are going more or less fine. I'm still able to eat semi-solid food (carefully, using a teeny espresso spoon, chewing on one side only) and my weight hasn't changed. My team is keeping watch on my red blood cell count — if it drops below 30 somethings, standard practice is a blood transfusion — but at least this week the number went up.

I had my third acupuncture session this week: needles in two points on my ankle (for the spleen), two in my hand (for dry mouth), one in my stomach (general well-being), one in the bridge of my nose (emotional balance) and one in the very top of my head (no idea). I can't tell whether it makes a difference, because I have no 'puncture-free experience to measure against. But I'll do a couple more sessions just in case. Can't hurt, right?

And I still have no taste buds. Or more correctly, I have even less taste sensation than last week. And somehow my brain hasn't quite caught on to this fact yet.

Example: I was hungry after treatment on Thursday, so we went to the main cafeteria at MGH. It's like a food court, with areas for salads, pizza, soups, and an ice cream bar doing scoops, banana splits, frappes, etc. Perfect.

As we were standing in line, waiting for our turn, I checked out the ice cream flavors. Hmm, what do I want? Coffee, chocolate, strawberry? Peanut butter — ew, no! Ooh, raspberry ripple. Yes.

And then of course I got my frappe and took a sip and remembered that it doesn't matter what flavor I choose, because they all taste the same: neutral.

Later, we went to the grocery store to stock up on Odwalla protein shakes (because they're quick and easy and go a long way towards my daily protein intake). I grabbed a couple of each flavor so I wouldn't get bored of the same thing every time — again, as though option A would taste any different than option B.

Something else I've noticed: I don't remember what things taste like.

If I try and imagine the taste of, say, chocolate, or cherries, or cheese, I come up empty. I can remember how it feels to enjoy the flavors on a more emotional level, but it's as though someone has gone through my mind with a black marker and redacted the sensation. I can understand the concept of flavor intellectually, but not practically.

I can still smell, of course. The Boy has a chicken stew going right now, and the house is fragrant with bacon and onions. He'll cook it until everything falls apart, and then he'll let it sit for a day so all the flavors come together.

And while I know that, from my perspective, that doesn't make a difference, I'm still looking forward to eating it.

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Blogger CJ said...

ahh... I think this is your saddest post yet. So cruel. Here's hoping you get your taste buds back soon!!!

9:51 PM  

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