So I’ve been through three rounds of chemotherapy, I’ve lost my hair and now we hit the hard place. Food is no longer a source of joy, but a potential threat no matter how I feel about the matter. I can be starving, and food tastes bad. I can feel sick to my stomach, and food is necessary. Whatever my expectation, it’s wrong, and thus far, the only preapproved meals I’ve found are soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, crackers and ginger ale. Everything else is, iffy. My body has said no, but my will keeps hoping…today can we eat with it being okay?
So far, the answer is, “No.”
One weird thing, I want salt, always salt. I’m known for my sweet tooth but I’ve become like the salt vampire in Star Trek. Nothing felt as sad as yesterday when we stopped for some small fries and they came hot, but no salt. It was a bag of potato sadness. Second weird thing…water tastes bad, like it’s too heavy.
The bonus is, the reason I keep feeling awful, is dehydration. When it tastes bad to drink, you don’t want to drink, and when you don’t get enough fluid, you feel bad –so it’s a double bind.
All of which leaves me playing Russian Roulette with my palate.
“What do you want for dinner?”
“Don’t know, not sure.”
The food comes. It tastes great. We’re watching baseball, so it’s grilled hot dogs, and they taste meaty and salty and wonderful until an hour later. Now they sit like lead hating me and making me hate them. I wish like anything, I didn’t eat. I’m still thirsty and not wanting to drink, not wanting the cure. I miss being able to enjoy food, and hate having to will myself to take sips.
Side effects from chemotherapy are rather like spiritual dryness –the cure is persistence despite feelings. Drink even though you do not like the taste. Eat, though you do not want the food. Pray, though you do not have the highs or the spiritual comforts you’ve known in the past. Yeah…but I’m sick. Yes…and this is the cure. And just in case I didn’t want to know I knew the answer, there was yesterday’s Gospel about staying awake and being ready at the second and third watch.
Long ago, I told my children, “God Cheats.” in that He uses the Gospel for the day to speak to us directly about our own lives. It is a constant truth…that God doesn’t mind making us do a double take when we see that what was written then, was for us today and now. He doesn’t mind rousing us and having us grumble and get back to work, because He wants to find us awake at the second and third watch.