Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chemo Odor

I swear I smell! And from what I can tell from the discussion boards, others having chemo are having similar experiences. So my first thought: "Peachy! Not only do I sometimes feel like crap, I kinda smell like it too!" (Doesn't do much for ones' self-esteem!) Now no one else seems to notice it. I can't figure out if it's my "imagination" or people are just too nice to mention it! Bruce A. Feinberg, MD, chief of the Georgia Cancer Specialists, is an oncologist and the author of Breast Cancer Answers states that when cancer patients complain that their skin has an odor, the first thing the doctor has to sort out is whether there is an odor present that is perceptive to others, or whether it's just the perception of the patient. The reason for this is that many chemotherapy drugs intensify or change the patient's sense of smell, so the patient notices odors that were not detectable before, or odors that were not noxious before become unpleasant.
So the first thing to do is ask my friends and family to tell me if they notice an unpleasant smell. So please tell me if I smell! If they don't smell an odor, the problem is likely to be with my sense of smell. If they do, I'll have go into hiding! It is reported that some chemo agents do affect the endocrine glands so that they emit a chemical smell. The only solution appears to be masking the odor with soaps and lotions that smell good. The problem will pass when chemotherapy is finished. One thing that makes me feel better is the Vanilla Sugar Cookie Shower Gel and Body Spray that my co-worker Danyale gave me last year for Christmas. I use it every day and hope it masks the smell.

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