Everyone knows about the basic impacts of chemo – you lose your hair, it messes with your blood (anemia, increased risk of infection, etc.), and it messes with your digestive tract (nausea, loss of appetite). One of the side effects of my particular flavor of chemo is changes in taste, caused by the platinum-based Carboplatin chemo drug. Interestingly enough, my taste buds start to be affected pretty much that night.
The first change I notice, is that water no longer tastes good plain. Now, I drink a lot of water. You’ll always find me with my cup full of water around the house, or a water bottle if I go out, so it’s a big change for me not to want to drink water. I tried adding mint leaves or lemon balm to the water, but it still didn’t taste right. Even my tea in the morning just isn’t quite right (but I drink it anyways).
I started drinking Gatorade during the last cycle, since I was craving salty flavors (which is a big change for me since normally I think Gatorade tastes like spit). I asked StatGuy to go out and get me some Gatorade, and he came home with six different flavors. So far, lemonade has been the best. At one point, I put a bit of Gatorade in my water bottle with lots of water, and it still tasted good, so that’s what I’ve been drinking lately.
The other big change is my lack of desire for sweets. Normally, my lunch isn’t finished without a cookie to top it off, but in that initial week after chemo, those taste buds seem to be down-regulated and sweets just aren’t worth the effort for me. Potato chips are quite tasty, though, so that’s been my treat of choice this week. I have to be careful with even chips, though. I tried Cool Ranch Doritos, and they were actively nasty. Hint of Lime Tostitos, which are normally a favorite, were absolutely flat, with no lime taste at all. How disappointing.
The trick is finding something that’s at least somewhat appealing so I get some calories in my body.