Sunday, December 2, 2012

#41: Eat Spicy Food (without getting terrible acid reflux)

Chemo's side-effects can often be timed down to the minute of the day. Each of the twenty-one days of my chemotherapy cycle could be correlated to a particular side-effect. For example, day 1 I felt nauseous and day 17, my white blood cell count dropped. And on days 8-10, I had the worst acid reflux you could ever imagine.

My mom and boyfriend will tell you about the time I cowardly cried on the floor of my apartment, screaming in pain, cowering in the fetal position, desperately waiting for the Zantac 150 to kick in. It was my own fault. I put hot sauce on my chicken fingers and the acidic, salty spiciness ate away at my esophagus. Could you blame me? Another side-effect of chemo (some say) is a desensitization of the taste buds. I just wanted a little kick!

Chemo Wednesday, a week later on Thursday, acid reflux. That was my life for 6 months. If it wasn't the hot sauce, it was the soy sauce from my vegetarian sushi. If it wasn't food, it was simply laying horizontal on my bed and allowing my stomach acid to flow up into my esophagus (yes, that's actually possible). I couldn't for treatment to end and enjoy all the deliciously spicy, salty, fatty, acid-reflux-inducing foods the world had to offer guilt- and pain-free!

But, as it turns out, not all side-effects go away right after finishing chemo. I still get acid-reflux, albeit to a far lesser degree. I don't go anywhere, especially not out for dinner, without my trusty pack of Zantac 150.

Luckily, spicy foods are no longer a problem. Mexican food, Frank's hot sauce, my boyfriend's homemade habanero sauce, chilli sauce, anything! Bring it on, Zantac 150 will deal with the consequences!!

And now that my taste buds function at their full capacity, I get to enjoy every minute of those sauces' painful, eye-watering, water-drinking, "OH GEEZ GET ME SOME MILK OR YOGURT NOW" spiciness. Post-cancer life is yummmmmy!


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  2. What is clear however is what's going on when reflux happens, and that diet is an essential driver. how to cure gerd permanently