I can feel my teeth.
Not the way you can when you forget to brush them and they get that gritty coating and you can’t help rubbing your tongue over them. I can feel them even when I’ve just brushed them. I can feel the inside of my teeth. Like there’s something in there trying to get out.
My lips are numb. If I drink something cold, even well after the cold sensitivity of the oxaliplatin has worn off, it feels like someone is pouring sand over the inside of them. And when I forget and grab something from the freezer, my fingers feel like I’m petting a porcupine.
My hair is changing. It doesn’t lie the same way anymore. It’s thinning on top and way too long on the sides and back. There was a time about three weeks ago when the balance between the two gave me Mitt Romney hair, but now it’s rapidly approaching Gallagher.
There is a brick in my stomach. Eating helps to pad the brick so it doesn’t poke me as much or feel as heavy, but it’s always there now.
My poop is, well, random. I think the foot of my colon they took was the storage part. The anti-nausea drugs cause constipation and the chemo drugs cause diarrhea, so they fight back and forth for about a week. I think my intestinal flora is starting to come back to normal after the surgery, so hopefully that will make things more consistent. Poop isn’t supposed to be fluffy.
Can I blame the persistent fatigue on the chemo, or is that just because I’m old and fat?
My white count has been dropping, so I get to take Neulasta and add bone pain to the ever-expanding list of annoyances.
Weirdest side effect so far? Hiccups. I suppose it makes sense in a weird way, since the injection port they installed hooks into my jugular vein, which is right next to the vagus nerve, which controls the diaphragm, so maybe the chemo irritates the nerve. (Side note: Having the injection port is VERY nice, especially since I only have one vein that makes for a decent IV site, and they use it to draw blood before each treatment. I definitely prefer being a quasi-cyborg to being a pincushion.)
Pleasantest surprise side effect? All the steroids they give me to control the nausea have cleared up my eczema.
But when the chemo is done, I don’t think I’ll keep coming back just for that.