Some call it anxiety. People who do not understand what we went through (or some of you reading this – going through) say we are doing this to ourselves. I call it “anticipatory nausea”.
It is when you know what to expect when you follow the exact same steps just prior. Everything will be the same. You sit down in the chemo chair, they insert the line, perhaps you can actually taste one or two of the drugs, the needle comes out, and it is off to the races, the trophy being the Porcelain Cup, all the while rapidly going downhill with nausea.
There will be certain things that trigger the nausea. I was okay for the first treatment because I had no idea what to expect. But there was one negative thing about that first injection that I took. It was a metallic taste that hit my tongue, the second it hit my veins. Clearly, this was going to be my trigger. The taste lasted as long as the infusion which was about twenty minutes or so. I finished my chemo, and then as I said, had to get to the bathroom at home immediately. Just for the record, eight cycles, never vomited in my car. Once just inside my apartment (I had three flights of stairs to go up).
The second injection went without incident. So in my head, it had begun. Approximately two days before the beginning of my new cycle, my stomach would start to turn. I began to taste that one drug already. This was impossible I thought to myself. When I arrived at the oncology office, I asked Brenda, my nurse, if I could have a mint to suck on while getting the infusion. She said that she did not see why not, as long as I knew I would probably vomit it later. I told her that I was hoping to overpower the taste that the one drug left in my mouth while it was being infused. I also mentioned that this anticipatory nausea was causing me a lot of anxiety to which she had me take some Ativan to help me relax. Unfortunately it did not work. Nor did the medication given to me at the oncology office.
One major side note here, research has developed much better anti nausea meds to help lessen the side effects of nausea. Ask for it. Your mind is already working hard enough dealing with all the other toxicity that you are having done to you.
Final thought, following the completion of my eight cycles, at what would have been the time of the month for the next cycle, I could no longer taste that one chemo drug like I had the previous seven months. The psyche is so powerful.