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Friday, June 11, 2010

Mourning the loss of my taste buds

Here are a few things I am most lately grateful for in the last 2-3 weeks:

*That I could savor all the dishes on our Chinese wedding banquet two weeks ago
*That I could devour my mother's Jamaican stew peas -- my favorite childhood dish -- last week
*That I got my first taste of "local yogurt" (I think that's the name of the company) in Durham where they have this delicious strawberry-original swirl
*That I got to enjoy both Hawaiian Kona coffee and Jamaican blue mountain coffee the week before and during all the wedding madness
*That I got to go to dim sum in Chapel Hill and discover that it's pretty decent and more importantly they have my favorite Cantonese style noodle dish.
*That I could taste every one of the three wedding sheet cakes we ordered for the party

I am grateful for these taste memories, and more, because I have turned into a textbook case of someone going through chemotherapy. When I was receiving the "C" portion of the "AC" cocktail yesterday (click here if you want the fully skinny on my first treatment) a mettalic taste was starting to creep into my mouth. It stayed with me through the afternoon and evening (although this morning it doesn't seem to have popped up). I was also having low level nausea--the kind you get when you've ridden a roller coaster (not one of the wild ones, just the regular up and down kind) and your head is a little dizzy but more than your head, your stomach just feels off? Actually, I'm not feeling dizzy so much as a bit light headed -- that seems to be due specifically to one of the anti-nausea drugs I'm on (1 of 4!).

And then when we were eating dinner last night, I noticed a few new things:

*Raw vegetables taste like dirt. I suppose you could say that we didn't clean the lettuce or carrots or bell peppers enough, but I don't think that was the problem. It seems as if raw vegetables are not appealing to me right now. Which I think is horrific because I love eating baby carrots and a nice salad once a week.

*Citrus taste exacerbates the mettalic taste. So does vinegar.

*Hamburgers are hard for me to chew and swallow--I literally had to take baby bites of the bison-beef burgers Matthew and his brother grilled up, and I had to chew them into tiny portions before I was able to swallow. I had no problems swallowing other foods, like the baked beans or the hot dog or the salad.

*My taste buds are off because when I was doctoring the baked beans (I always put in a dollop of ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar--a tip I learned from Beth) I couldn't taste that I went too heavy with the mustard. It wasn't awful, according to my Mom, but it was noticeable.

All of which is to say, my taste buds are clearly off. But what is more distressing is that I'm not all that interested in eating.



It is a terrible irony (and I think this counts as irony) that a week after receiving so many lovely wedding gifts and shower gifts that are themed around cooking and food and EATING, that the idea of cooking and handling food and eating is really unappealing to me.

I don't have any desire to pick up The Barefood Contessa cookbook or Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" or the Italian cookbook bible by Marcella Hazen. It all seems grey.

I'm hoping that this is just a phase--perhaps this will subside and I will go through eating jags (which is what one of the nurses suggested) where all I'll want is tacos or pizza or chicken marasala or udon noodles. I hope so. I am still eating, more because I know I should than because I desire or crave a particular taste in my mouth.

Which is really sad for me--because I LOVE the feeling of desiring or craving a particular taste in my mouth.

But the practical gal in me knows that this is all temporary. And certainly Matthew has all his taste buds (and appetite) in tact. Which brings me to the Bruno & Food drop-off schedule. We have both been really bowled away by everyone's generosity and willingness to pitch in. And I've been receiving email and phone calls lightly encouraging me to add more dates--as it stood, we were only listing the days of the chemo and when Matthew works, but the truth is, I may be at my lowest 7-10 days after treatment because that's when my white blood cell counts are lowest. So we added in Sundays and Wednesdays off-week from the original schedule. Again, PLEASE DO NOT FEEL OBLIGED TO SIGN UP. But for those of you who said that you would like to sign up for a summer date, esp. since the fall gets busy, we thought this might be helpful.

Here's the link to the Sign-in sheet

And once again, thank you all SO MUCH. I'll be sending email messages to the dog walkers and the food droppers to thank you more personally and explain a few thing about Bruno, the lovable but tempermental dog--who also now has a new summer hair cut! (I don't have a photo so you'll just have to see for yourself!)

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