5 Oct


When Thanksgiving rolled around, I finally began two and a half weeks of radiation to help treat my brain tumors.  Whole-brain radiation really got to me —  I can handle physical nausea pretty well, but psychological nausea is no fun.  When I thought of food-related words, it made me sick for the rest of the day.  If I smelled cooking food — savory, not sweet — I would feel ill for the rest of the day.  Mom boiled an apple, cloves and cinnamon to bring into my room to dispel all the nasty, nausea-inducing odors from people cooking in the kitchen on my floor, and it helped some.  So did two slices of apple pie and a cup of spiced tea.

What didn’t work — all the things that normally do.  Like cinnamon candy or a sip of Coke — the cinnamon candy might have worked if I’d had the right kind, but I didn’t.  And Coke helps when you actually need to vomit, but I didn’t.  Last time I had needed to was when I was in the hospital for my kidney surgery and caught a 24-hour stomach virus.  Those are not fun, especially when you’re supposed to be about to get out of the hospital and you’ve eaten a giant plateful of green beans.

I was just about at the end of my rope, and to add insult to injury, the anti-nausea medicine only served to make me even more nauseated than I was before I took it.  Not even the entertainment of having my mom and stepdad play strip poker in front of me (out of view of the nuns!) could distract me from the misery.

The most miserable part was when I thought I had finished treatment, only to receive a phone call from the hospital a few days later telling me that I needed another week of radiation.  I had SO been looking forward to being able to eat something other than plain rice or dry oatmeal.  I went for about 5 weeks without being able to eat normally.  The last regular meal I had was an international Thanksgiving dinner (hosted by my mom for all the girls in the dorm who had never celebrated Thanksgiving before).  The first normal meal came a week and a half after radiation ended, at the Chinese restaurant next to my apartment with all my coworkers.  “Wow,” they commented when they saw me, “look how much Kitty’s eating!”

The whole experience only reinforced my vow to never, ever get pregnant and experience morning sickness.


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