Stories from a Life I Didn't Plan

Tag: Chemotherapy side effects: cold sensitivity

A Year After Beginning Chemo

I couldn’t help but think of where I am a year after beginning chemo, while also remembering the beginning of that chapter in my life. Over the weekend, the anniversary of the installation of my chemo port came and went and today is the six month anniversary of the end of chemo. But, yesterday I found myself a bit melancholy thinking about how one year ago I had my first chemo infusion. I remember I was scared, my port incision was still very tender, and the sensations I experienced during that infusion were unpleasant and unfamiliar. Similarly, my emotions were somewhat raw and I wrestled with the “Why did this happen to me?” and “Oh my goodness, I had cancer and I am having chemotherapy!”

Although I may still remember with sadness and disbelief that cancer and chemotherapy were once a part of my life, today I am thankful to be looking back at the cancer detour and hoping to never find myself on such a path again.

The anxiety of my upcoming CT scan sometimes looms large in my mind, but I try to remind myself that worrying won’t change the results and that a positive outlook is good for everyone concerned. Today, I rescheduled my scan from Friday, November 11 to Monday, November 7. I was fretting that the report wouldn’t be ready for the oncologist when I saw him the following week.

So, getting rid of that worry simply took a phone call. If only all of our problems could be rectified just that easily.

I feel a bit of a hypocrite worrying, especially since I read my students a book called, What Do You Do with a Problem? In the book, the author says that problems are beautiful and hold opportunities. If that is the case, then I can honestly say that cancer and chemotherapy were opportunities I could have lived without!

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.

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