Monday, April 27, 2009

Tongue Depressor

That's 144 Blue Beauties — it's come to this. Buying generic Advil in bulk.

It's been just over a week since I had my latest injection of Bleomycin into my tongue. As I've probably said a thousand times, you could set an atomic clock by the 48 hour reaction time I seem to have. Two days after the injection, the area near the injection turns white (almost like a blister you've soaked in warm water), and that skin seems to sloth off, become pink, and then begin to whiten again and so on until after about 2 weeks it goes back to (my) normal. When this happens under the tongue, it's annoying and uncomfortable but not too problematic. When the soreness persists and spreads to the top of the tongue, that's when the real fun begins. How to describe this without sounding like I'm fishing for sympathy? I just want to relate the experience. Don't pity me. It's not as though I don't get benefits from it eventually.

I'll start by saying the worst looking part isn't the most painful. The areas that have gone white feel like dull cankers (not as intense as canker sores). Strangely, the adjacent areas feel like a dull ache not too different from after you'd burnt your tongue from a hot drink. The top of the tongue that has no outward signs of change is very different. Some times it feels like you've bitten your tongue, or as though you left a very strong lozenge to dissolve there – deadened with a pins-and-needles sensation. At other times it feels more like sutures or a knife tip digging in (yes, sharply painful).

Tasting flavours is obviously corrupted. Again, it's very much like having burned your tongue. In general, you can't taste much at all. At best it can be described as metallic or like iron (though that may be a bit of blood at the site). Only the most base flavours are recognizable such as salty or fatty but sweetness and sourness are gone. Spicy or peppery things have no taste at all except for the strong stinging sensation. Strangely, I noticed anything with vinegar is extremely painful (even mild things like pickled ginger or ketchup are like mighty powerful piquant sauces).

Also, where the soreness occurs affects the experience. Pain on the underside of the tongue can be ignored as long as you don't stick your tongue out. Pain in the back (underside or top) is the worst as it is felt whenever you swallow or well, do anything really. Pain on the tip (as I have currently) isn't too bad as long as you don't plan on sneezing, coughing, brushing your teeth or talking.

After more than a week, the Bleo side-effects of nausea and light-headedness have subsided but the soreness in the tongue is settling in for awhile. If I sound surly or dour, don't worry, life isn't getting me down (though it is very capable of that), work isn't depressing me (though the less said the better) - it's just my tongue. The strongest muscle in the body — strong enough to re-arrange my teeth in my sleep. My tongue that gets me into so much trouble, is now the trouble. My tongue that I've bitten so often, has learned to bite back.



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