Pinky Pie

Taste buds (or lack of), athlete’s foot & me

Posted on: October 19, 2009

Mustarding up supportI received a very funny gift from a friend Friday, who was mustarding up support for me – it was four different mustards – none the color pink. I’m sure Leah spent a fortune shipping the spicy brown, horseradish, super extra hot and Dijon to me but it is a great visual.

What she didn’t know is that I have become a very big fan of mustard, and continue my love of lots and lots and lots of pickles and mustard on burgers (especially from Steak n Shake in St. Louis or Overland Park, KS).

Mustard is particularly important because my taste buds have been severely tested by chemo. Everything tastes different and strong flavors seem to provide the best stuff (besides ice cream, which has not lost its flavor for me, especially this time of year with candy cane out seasonally).

But alas, I don’t think I need a diet high in sodium because my blood pressure was just starting to creep up before I was diagnosed. But that’s what I’m eating at the moment.

And since my double mastectomies, it is very hard to take my blood pressure– it needs to be done on my legs where it always shows a higher reading, hurts more and isn’t all that easy to take without special training. Most of the time it isn’t taken at all.

(Please excuse that whining).

I also received a gift about ten days ago from Paige, my daughter’s best friend now living in Australia with her husband. As a participant in a breast cancer run, Paige received “a foot spa in a bottle” made in that country for the McGrath Foundation, which provides breast care nurses to women with the diagnosis.

Called Soothe & Smooth, this product’s label includes the following instructions:

“Simply spray to refresh & revitalize tired feet leaving them relaxed and silky smooth. Anti-aging properties from your skin whist replacing lost moisture. Discontinue use immediately if irritation occurs.”

Soothe & Smooth

Soothe & Smooth

Of course, if I discontinued everything immediately if irritation occurs, I would have less to write about in this blog.

Paige carried Soothe & Smooth with her – in a little plastic bag for security – back to the U.S. for a very short visit in late September. She felt, after reading about my athlete’s foot a few weeks back, no one deserved this foot spa in a bottle than me.

What I liked about Athlete’s Foot is that the diagnosis was so ordinary. For a few weeks I could say, “I’m just a lady suffering from …” and folks expected breast cancer. Instead, I’d finish the sentence with “Athlete’s Foot.”

Of course, some questioned whether I earned the right to such a diagnosis considering my level of athleticism. How cruel you are for thinking that. As I said, “walking three miles a day doesn’t count for anything?”

Alas, my Athlete’s Foot is gone and it simply is not as effective to describe myself as a former Athlete’s Foot sufferer.

Julie's play ...

Julie's play ...

By the way, Paige’s mother, Julie (a 15-year survivor), brought it with her when she visited me for a day. We walked four miles, had lunch and played two Scrabble games – splitting the results.

Of course, I’m sure her loss in that second game came from the shame of her playing the word “die” as her opening move.

I discovered it as I was talking with the PBS Now team, which was double-checking some facts for their October 9 program on advance directives. I had to explain why I suddenly cracked up during this call in the midst of discussing the very serious topic of “living wills.”

When she realized what she had done, Julie said something like, “a little insensitive, huh?”

Did I mention she is a 15-year survivor who cuts me no slack when we play Scrabble? She didn’t even in the midst of my itchy toes.


3 Responses to "Taste buds (or lack of), athlete’s foot & me"

Sue – I hope you have been enjoying your spa in a bottle. I saw it and immediately thought of you and your athlete’s foot. Of all the things we brought back I was most concerned about your foot spray. During the flight I kept asking John if the pressure was going to make it explode. Luckily it made it to you!

Hey, Sue,

Today I had a colonoscopy after feeling sorry for myself (two days without eating and nary a martini). I tried to think of yoga, even the Dalai Llama, and then I thought of chemo and knew I could take whatever they would stick up you know where.


It’s not what they stick up you know where; it’s what you have to drink to prepare.

Feel whatever you are feeling … it’s OK.

I don’t know how the Dalai Llama feels about a colonoscopy, though.

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