Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Goodbye Sparkly Raspberry Lipstick

This has been a pretty darned good week so far! I have already accomplished a lot at work, slept really well, and ate some sushi. There were minor and transient bone pains and muscle spasms, but nothing that was not solved with some Advil and Tylenol. The most annoying problem has been my dry mouth.

On Monday, I attended a lunchtime seminar called "Look Good, Feel Better" where I got a bunch of makeup and some strategies for trying to look my best during chemo. There was a really strong emphasis on not contaminating your makeup, and I had this epiphany that continuing to use my favorite old lipstick is probably not a good idea especially now that my immune system might be compromised. (Yes, I really do have an old Clinique lipstick in exactly the right raspberry color with sparkles that I bought at least six years ago. No, it is not all dried up! It works fine! Yes, I will go throw it into the trash as soon as I complete this post.)

On Tuesday afternoon, I noticed that my tongue had turned white. A big white floppy tongue filling up your mouth, yech, that's not right. So the minute I got home, I rinsed with salty water and phoned Duke and chatted with the oncology resident on-call who reassured me that as long as I had no fever I was okay to wait till Dr Reidel could call me tomorrow. (If you are wondering whether my white tongue might be related to the scary old lipstick, it is just not true.)

On Wednesday, I sipped Gatorade, coffee, ginger ale, milk, and water but nothing really worked to keep my mouth moist. Well, the rice pudding helped. Mmmmmm. But no matter how much you like rice pudding, you just cannot keep your mouth full of pudding 24 hours a day. I read online that there is artificial saliva. The first time I read that, I gagged, but the idea is starting to appeal to me.

Tomorrow, I will have bloodwork done, check in with Dr Reidel, and then try to catch at least part of the Chemo Orientation seminar where I hope to get more info about how to deal with my dry mouth. And then if I have any energy left after work, I plan to go out to dinner with Carol for North Carolina BBQ. Lou does not really care for vinegary North Carolina BBQ, so Carol and I will have at it while he is playing poker. Marriage is about compromise.


Robyn said...

Hi Karen,

GAAAADS! No more Rasberry lipstick? The inhumanity! The injustice! How will you ever survive? (My attempts at pathetic humor...)

Seriously, though, they gave you new makeup? You know, you should have asked for a cute make up guy to come in to do your makeup each day...and even if you are not up to wearing the makeup, it might serve the same purpose...having a cute guy to wait on me and treat me like a queen might elevate me to at least wanting to go out... it would be like having my own cabana boy! I guess that wouldn't work for you - old married send him over to my house. Ha Ha!(More pathetic attempts at humor...)

Many folks asked about you last Tuesday night. We really miss your smiling face and bad jokes. Ok, Ok...and the Boston accent...

I miss seeing you and hope that we can connect soon...

Let me know what I can do to help...

Love You,

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen,

The medication that my mother had to take for years made her mouth completely dry also. She found that one good remedy was to chew Trident Chewing gum. There was also some kind of pill she took I think as the years went on that also helped but I do not know it was. But the Trident especially was a big help, she had it in her mouth almost all of her waking hours. It comes in some great flavors !!!! Love you lots and hope your visit with Dr. Ridell goes good, Debbie P.

Delpfine said...

My mother had no saliva for years due to radiation and chemo for Hodgkins lymphoma. She swore by the artificial saliva that she used. I can't remember the name of it. I'll look at the pharmacy and see if my memory gets jogged.

susan said...

Karen - when my oldest son Scott had tongue cancer, his salivary glands were serverly affected - they gave him something that worked....but I don't know what - I do know that he had to adjest the amount at, at first, it made him foam at the mouth - LOL - that was the ONLY funny thing during those difficlut months :) He is now more than 5 yrs cancer-free - knock on wood! If you want me to ask him, email me as he can be really testy about anything related to that period of his life..... susan