Saturday, May 21, 2011

My muted tongue

So here I am, a week and a bit out of treatment. As predicted, my skin has healed remarkably fast, and now I'm only waiting for a small area on my cheek to clear up. My salivary glands, which had taken a hit and started producing excessive mucus instead of saliva, are mostly back to normal, though my mouth still gets dry if I don't drink water regularly.

And while I was quite fatigued on the last day of radiation (a fact I only learned when I wore myself out baking cookies as a thank-you for my technicians), I'm getting much better.

But I still have no taste.

Okay, not entirely true: I've discovered that I can identify coconut, so avocado-coconut smoothies are my new friend. I can also taste the sweetness in turnip, which was in my soup last week. And I can detect lemon (I added some zest to an asparagus soup today), though it has an odd metallic edge.

But sugar just feels like granules in my mouth, and chocolate might as well not exist.

On top of the taste issue is the fact that my dry mouth makes it difficult to eat anything that's not already moistened. Cereal in milk is okay; bread is not.

So I'm in this strange position of craving certain foods — cheese, toast, roast chicken, oatmeal raisin cookies — but at the same time not wanting to eat them, because doing so would be frustrating.

A couple of weeks ago, The Boy brought home tres leches cake, which I love. (And it was a good idea, because it's a pretty moist treat.) But because I couldn't taste it at all, it just made me sad.

Being able to see delicious food — and perhaps worse, being able to smell it — is like watching your favorite music video with the mute button on. You get the visual, so some of the pleasure is there, but there's such a large part missing. And you can hear in your head how it's supposed to sound, but that's not the same as actually listening.

I'm trying to be patient, but I really want someone to hurry and turn up the volume.

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Blogger rsaltus said...

Dear Limey - so glad you're done and healing - look how far you've come and been such a good soldier! I can only imagine how frustrating it is to be tasteless (so to speak)but I imagine it will more or less recover, right? Also, they say smell is such a major factor in taste - true of false?
Hang in there!

PS: My daughter has found the two seasons of the original "Life On Mars" on the Web and we are streaming them at a rapid pace. It is the best!

1:07 PM  
Blogger Pool Fool said...

it makes me sad to read things about cancer

1:53 PM  
Blogger BRug said...

I wish you luck in getting your taste buds up to snuff!

Oh ... life without flavour ... I can't possibly imagine.

- Bubba, the homeless blogger

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Mother said...

Have you tried Bread Pudding? You can eat things that are moist, but not bread. Why not mix the two? With cinnamon or nutmeg.

2:55 PM  

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