When people who don’t have cancer hear about cancer or think about cancer they generally imagine the chemo – the nausea, the hair loss. Some may think of radiation and others may think surgery. Most don’t know, or imagine, the little things that change when you have to deal with this stupid disease. Don’t get me wrong. All of the things I just mentioned are part of the wonder that is cancer. But it’s the little things I remember and focus on.
The taste of recovery
Not everything I’ll post out here will be heavy, philosophical, medical or even interesting. Cancer does make one a bit more wistful – about things you did or didn’t do and things you will or won’t do in your life. But it also has some weird and interesting side effects. Not always bad. Just weird. My weirdness happened after three rounds of chemo and my 10-hour cystectomy, prostatectomy, and neobladder installation. Sure, there were a lot of big things to consider after that medical obstacle course but the change in my taste buds was probably the most interesting.
I haven’t researched this so there is probably a medical reason for it but I’m convinced that for a short-time, after my chemo and surgery, my taste buds changed drastically. What I like and wanted (heck, CRAVED!) was very different than what I normally liked and craved. For instance. Chocolate was my go-to sugar high pre-cancer. After – I had zero desire. Happy to say, I’m back! Chocolate is on my top 10 list of candy treats (1-9 actually…) But just after I got home and needed to take it easy as my scars healed, my neobladder adjusted and I waited the intermitable amount of time it seemed before I could remove the catheter and bag (5 weeks!!) I noticed things I never wanted before had become must-haves.
My recovery cravings
My recovery cravings were all about in-your-face tartness.
Yep. You read that right. Fresca. The grapefruit and lime flavored soft drink. I’m still not sure who thought adding grapefruit to a soft drink was a good idea but there it is. I could not get enough of it. And I started creating my own concoctions with the diet soda. I’d mix Fresca with cranberry juice cocktail or other fruit drinks like fruit punch. Truth. It was delicious! I drank gallons of it during my recovery. There was something about the strong tart flavor that my body and mind craved. Don’t know if the whole cancer treatment and recovery process created a different nutritional requirement that somehow was manifest in changes in my craving but I was a Fresca junkie for months. Five years later. Not a drop. No desire at all. Go figure.
Hand in hand with my Fresca binging was my sherbet binging. Normally I’m a Ben & Jerry’s “Phish Food” or Stephen Colbert’s “AmeriCone Dream” kinda guy. BC (Before Cancer) I was carrying a pint every other night monkey on my back. AC (After Cancer) I had no interest in that creamy, sugary, chocolatey goodness. I was no longer an “ice cream” person. I was TEAM SHERBET all the way.
Lemon, lime, raspberry (oh the raspberry!) Pints and pints of sherbet. I’d have sherbet instead of dinner. I’d have a bit for breakfast. I’d have it for a snack.
Today. Meh. Give me a choice I’m back with ole Mr. Colbert and his cup of waffle cone pieces imbued dream.
What were your cravings?
Love to know if you had cravings during your journey. BC or AC – either.
Am I alone or are there others who have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Sherbet living in them?