God, I miss food. Or rather, I really miss enjoying food. I’m still eating, but it’s a process of endurance and necessity rather than nourishment.
One of the most difficult side effects I’ve been suffering with on this chemotherapy regimen (docetaxel and carboplatin) is a sore mouth and throat, which makes eating really difficult. And when you add in a suppressed appetite (I can’t remember when I last felt hungry), nausea and gut gripes after eating (apologies if this is too much information, but what’s the point in sugar-coating it?) and mealtimes have become a battleground rather than something to look forward to.
The same applies to drinking. When you’re having chemo, the medical advice is to drink plenty of fluids so you keep hydrated, and flush out the poison they’ve just pumped you full of. But, when your mouth feels as if it’s coated in fur and even a glass of water fresh from the tap tastes like it’s been drawn from a stagnant ditch, then excuse me if I’m not rushing for a refill.
Anyone who knows me, knows I’m the Brew Queen – never far from a kettle and a good cup of strong Yorkshire tea. But now I can’t stand the stuff. And it’s driving me crazy. Because what does any decent British person do in a troubled times? Put the kettle on.
And now I’m not working, I really miss the daily ritual of walking round the corner to the Cafe 164 for my flat white (and maybe an apple flapjack or a chilli chicken sandwich). Now I can’t stand coffee either. Flapjack is too sharp and chilli too spicy.
And the list goes on: bread is cardboard, sweet potato is sickly, breakfast cereal is sawdust, yoghurt is gloopy. Every food I used to enjoy is rendered either tasteless, nausea-inducing or revolting.
So, whilst I still sit at the table at mealtimes and push bits of unpalatable food around my plate, I no longer take pleasure in it. And, I’m not ashamed to admit it makes me sad. I miss you, food.