Odor Ordeal

I don't smell like me anymore.

Now let me be clear about this. I am a reasonably hygienic individual. I shower daily. I use deodorant, brush my teeth and try to ensure that noses do not automatically wrinkle in my presence. But everyone has their own specific scent. Not to be indelicate, but even when you toot, you know darned well it's you. You can fool your family and blame it on the dog, but it's still you. Your own personal aroma, for foul or fair.

Not anymore.

When your veins are loaded with the chemotherapy concoction, things change. You taste it in your mouth. You burp it. You fart it. It's as though someone else has moved into your body and you'd really like to issue them some mouthwash, bubble bath and a loofa because obviously they have no clue.

You offend yourself.

At least, I offend myself. I'm reasonably sure I occasionally offend my children, although they're too polite to say so. Geeze, even the dog looks at me in a funny way. Periodically, he wanders over to be introduced.

So in a weird way, I am constantly trying to compensate. I have become obsessed with things that smell good.

My hot water bill is undoubtedly skyrocketing, as I lather and rinse and re-lather with body wash and shampoo. (Yes, I still use shampoo.) I tend to favor homey smells like almond or vanilla, nothing too floral and definitely nothing in a citrus vein. I don't just bathe in the stuff. I marinate. I want it to soak into my pores and force out the nastiness. (This is admittedly ridiculous. I know chemo is my friend in the white hat I just wish he smelled better!)

Some nights I make a cup of hot cocoa and spend more time inhaling the velvety chocolate steam than actually drinking it. Coffee holds a similar attraction, especially the fancy-pants gourmet stuff. Highlander Grogg is a personal favorite in the scent department.

I go into gift shops just to whiff the potpourri. I make liberal use of my Glade brand Apples/Cinnamon room freshening spray at home. One of the best Christmas gifts I received this year? An amber scented candle. It sits on my desk and makes me happy, even unlit.

There's talk, certainly hope, that I've had my last round of chemo. That six treatments might have been enough. I really hope that's the case, because the longer it goes, the more I don't like me. It's nothing personal. I just stink.

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