Friday, June 17, 2011

The Spectrum

Peonies from the yard and freesia from my husband (as a congratulations for finishing chemo).

I'm calling this one "summer borscht" - beets, carrots, and onions make a sweet and flavorful base. Bonito flakes add smoky depth. A splash of lemon juice, some mellow miso, a little cracked pepper, and cilantro and basil from the garden round out the goodness. Yum.

There is a woman at the gym who went through breast cancer treatment and has given me some interesting tidbits of advice. She told me, about chemo, "You will completely lose your sense of taste within 48 hours of your first treatment." She went on to talk about how she, as a tea drinker, switched to plain hot water, because, why waste tea? She was also one of the three hundred thousand chorus who told me to use plastic cutlery because metal would become intolerable.

I did not lose my sense of taste within 48 hours. Actually, food didn't even begin to taste funny until my second round, about three weeks into treatment. And I was never interested in plastic cutlery. As for tea, I brought a thermos of herbal tea along to my first chemo treatment . It hit the spot that day but for months thereafter the thought of tea of any kind, even pseudo-tea (hot water in a mug) turned my stomach. The sight of that thermos still makes me queasy.

Funny, because I had no such issues with soup.

I saw that same woman today in the locker room and she told me that for her, radiation was the worst part. She said, "Your skin will get so sore it will bring you to tears."

I know this was my friend J~'s experience. But my friend J~ (another J) said that for her, the worst of it was a little redness toward the end. "You'll be fine," she's said to me on more than one occasion, with a reassuringly dismissive shrug.

One thing I've learned on Planet Cancer is that though there may be some common themes, everyone's experience is their own, unique, and likely unpredictable.

I plan to apply aloe vera gel and calendula cream religiously and hope for the best.

2 comments:

Georgianna Rivard Bravo said...

Hello Amy! I've been reading your more recent posts. I am glad you are finished with the chemo treatments. I will be with in spirit when you start your radiation. As l brows your blogs I am inspired by your immense creativity and energy; the food, the videos, the blog and all your beautiful artwork. I love the geometric patterns and all the colors. Are these silkscreens by any chance?
My last day of school was yesterday. Hurrah! It's great to find you again. Your swimming pool pal. Georgianna

Mo and Will said...

Congrats on finishing chemo!!! And wishing you smooth sailing with the radiation. I'm sure this gym woman is trying to be helpful...but it doesn't sound so helpful.

I smiled in recognition at your writing your thermos makes you queasy. I used to take my chemo pre-meds with a can of welch's grape juice. the sight of welch's grape juice STILL makes me feel a little off 11 years later (but I drink it sometimes anyway). I consider it a small price to pay for getting to be here still 11 years later.

thinking of you.

Mo