Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Side Effects: Scents and Sensitivity

Many-a-month ago, I used to love certain scents. Chemo sometimes gives me a heightened sense of smell. Unfortunately, this doesn't make me a superhero. 


The sensitivity is hit or miss, but it always has the same result.

Cinnamon raisin bagels?




Fruuiity soaps?

Source: Waking Ned Devine



Story time!

Thanks to weakness and fatigue, lifting a regular old jug of laundry detergent proved as challenging as weightlifting. Laundry day was a full gym workout.

Sources: Baby, Detergent

To conserve energy, I switched to those tiny individual pod things. My favorite lavender scent (which I tolerated quite well) was not available in pod form, so I settled for something called "moonlight breeze."


Ugh! More like Bog of Eternal Stench! (In a too sweet, rotten berry kind of way.) 


Wearing clothes and sleeping in sheets reeking of this horribleness became a daily battle between breathing and retching.


Three loads of laundry later, I returned to lavender, this time in a self-dispensing container that I don't have to lift every time I use it. Yay!


I also re-washed all of my clothes and bedding to remove the foul "moonlight" miasma.

My Soltions

There is no way to predict what will and will not offend one's nostrils.

The best advice I have is that as soon as you realize something is afoul, get rid of it. (Goodbye cinnamon raisin bagels. Goodbye fruity soaps.  I miss you.) 

Also, if something already works, stick with it. (I love you, lavender laundry detergent!)

Oh, and one day a smell might offend you and another day it might not. A few hours after my second chemo treatment a friend and I painted our fingernails (big mistake). Since then I've painted my nails a couple of times without any trouble, provided I paint on a "good" day and not right after chemo.

Further Reading
Wikipedia: Hyperosmia (heightened sense of smell)
ChemoCare: Nausea, Vomiting & Chemotherapy

Every person is different and their experiences will differ from mine. Always discuss your particular symptoms and concerns with your doctor.

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