Metal Mouth

When I was young, my grandparents lived on a farm whose water supply came from a well.

There was an old-fashioned pump like the one pictured above in their yard, and I delighted in pumping the handle to get the water to pour out.

The water had a specific taste: sharp and mineral. It was always icy cold.

Adding to its flavor profile was the glass that my grandmother kept – for years – turned upside down on the top the pump:

If you’re not old enough to recognize these, they are 1970s (? earlier?) aluminum tumblers.

I am sure they were manufactured with ALL badness and that there is not a small chance that cumulative environmental toxicity from things just like this contributed to my cancer diagnosis. However, the point here is that drinking from these tumblers produced a very specific mouthfeel, which was an unpleasant metallic taste and sensation that was coming at you from all directions. Adding these qualities to the minerality of the well water produced a drinking situation that was usually reserved for only the thirstiest scenarios.

Fast forward to now: this well water + aluminum tumbler combo is a reality I cannot escape.

Some cancer patients call this metal mouth.

An omnipresent metallic taste is an extremely common side effect from chemotherapy and up to this point, it’s the one I am experiencing the most.

And it won’t go away. Coffee is metal. Carrots are metal. Toothpaste is metal. Water is metal. Even air is metal as I breathe it in.

I consider myself lucky. Things could – and probably will – get worse.

Over the weekend I had a concerning episode that, once over, required me to replace a lot of fluids. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it myself and would need to go to an ER or urgent care for IV fluids. Fingers crossed, I have been able to get by on my own.

And as time goes on, I am becoming increasingly scared of COVID-19 infection.

There will hopefully be more time to expand on this, but in summary, I have not left the house save for walking the dog for the past several days.

One thought on “Metal Mouth

  1. some people suggested specific chewing gums or lemon drops for this as well as eating with non-metallic utensils…….hope something helps.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s