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.