I wrote this on Thursday August 21st, saved it and forgot to post it.
I am awake at 4 am, my body buzzing with electric energy. This seems to happen on the fourth day after chemo, so it must be the cause. I try to relax and go to back to sleep, but I know this is not going to happen. By 4:30 I am out of bed. As I throw back the covers, I catch a faint whiff of what is now becoming a familiar scent. I used to think it was my ostomy bag, but now I believe it is the way the chemo smells while it is working it's way out of my body. I also think had this smell when I was in the hospital, before I had chemo. It is a sharp metallic smell, and to me, unpleasant. Knowing that I smelled this way in the hospital I wonder if it is what healing smells like, or maybe it is the smell of cancer. It is not fresh and clean, like a newborn baby, it is not like garlic breath, or a nervous stomach. The closest thing I can think of is the heavy odor in the air after a car goes by that is not quite running properly. Maybe the it is burning oil, or an aging engine. I don't don't know enough about cars to say, but I have always imagined it is caused by all the metal parts rubbing together in some way they would not if all of the fluids in the car were flowing properly. It is funny that this is the thing I have identified it with, a sick car.
When I came home from the hospital, I imagined it was the anesthesia leaching out of my body. Could it be this is how a body smells when it is trying to transfer foreign chemicals through the pores? At first I thought I had this strange smell all of the time, but now I am seeing that there is a pattern to when I smell this way. It seems to be most intense on the third and fourth day after I get disconnected, and then it fades as the week goes on.
My sniffer has not been as sensitive as it can be, this I attribute to the chemo for sure. The ability to taste is affected, so surely your sense of smell is affected as well. I need to concentrate and breathe in deep to smell things that I would normally just smell. This can be a mixed blessing. Food may not be as enticing and I am missing the sweet smells of summer. I can't always smell a diaper in need of changing, which these days, I often just attribute it to myself. I guess there is a directionality to scent that I am missing. I never thought sense of smell could effect your sense of direction, but why would it occur to someone until it is not working properly? Maybe subconsciously, when we smell something familiar, it pulls us toward where we need or want to be. The faint smell of coffee in the air, and we can find a Dunkin Donuts, or a Seven Stars, the smell of soil helps us find an open space. These are things we don't notice so much when we rely on all of our senses working together.