Stories from a Life I Didn't Plan

Ice Cream | Chemotherapy side effects: cold sensitivity

Coffee Beans, my quiet chemo room companion.

Coffee Beans, my quiet chemo room companion.

Since I started chemotherapy, I have noticed I do many everyday things without a second thought. One of the most persistent side effects I have is cold sensitivity. If I am outside where it is cold, if I touch something cold, or if I consume something cold, I feel pinpricks where I am exposed to cold. I found that I have even been taking ice cream for granted.

Several times a day, I have to compensate for my cold sensitivity. When I wash my hands, I have to be careful to let the water warm up before putting my hands under a faucet running chilly water. If I take one of the meals my mom has made for me out of the freezer, I have to remember to put on my gloves to prevent the shooting pain from smarting my fingers. If I forget to microwave my glass of water or juice, I have an unpleasant reminder that flows down my throat with the liquid.

An oncology nurse warned me that I would have to let ice cream melt if I wanted to eat it while on chemotherapy. This was not welcome news.

One of my great loves in life is ice cream. I have happily made many dietary adjustments  to maximize my health and my chances of beating cancer. But,  ice cream or frozen yogurt are treats are hard to let go.

When I lived in Ecuador, I indulged myself in the plentiful boutique ice cream shops that offered economical and scrumptious specialty ice cream. For an incorrigible ice cream connoisseur, it was something like heaven.

While on chemo it have realized I was taking ice cream for granted. When chemo was unexpectedly pushed back for a few of weeks, I noticed my cold sensitivity disappeared and I spent the entire week trying out various local boutique ice cream shops.

Although I wish chemo had not been pushed back, I was just this side of heaven as I enjoyed different flavors of my frosty favorite.


  1. Dorothy

    So happy that you found a piece of joy amongst the disappointment!!!

    • chelitacrowe

      Thank you, Dorothy! It was a bright spot of joy in the middle of such uncertainty.

  2. Grace Yoon

    Yes, ice cream is heavenly. For as long as I can remember, my favorite was Rocky Road. Now, nearly half a century later, I reach for Ben and Jerry’s Red Cherry Garcia. Visually, it’s more appealing to me. Something about seeing the red cherries make it so attractive to me, like a smile … or a heart.

    But my other great love is … COFFEE. Served strong, with cream. Warm or cold. I love them and could drink a pot if I don’t restrain myself. I do. I limit myself to one cup a day. Ok, sometimes I break down and have two cups. Chai tea is a nice supplement.

    • chelitacrowe

      Grace, I love the beautiful visual of the cherry ice cream smiling up at you or the thought that it is the ice cream with heart. Those cheery thoughts would certainly make it taste better.

      Like you, before my cancer surgery I drank coffee everyday–so much that I feared my veins ran highly caffeinated. However, after my hospital stay, sadly coffee lost its appeal. At first, I could not tolerate the acid, but as time has marched on I find I no longer enjoy the taste. I have searched for a viable substitute, but still consider it’s loss to be one of life’s minor tragedies.

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