For the last few days I’ve been discovering what chemo mouth sores feel like. Earlier I had a few canker sores. I usually get them when my iron is low, which also happens with chemo, so I was supplementing iron which mostly kept the cankers to a minimum. Then I got a true chemo mouth sore. It is nothing like a canker sore. It formed on the side of my tongue, which apparently is particularly sensitive (ouch).
There are many mouth wash recipes on the Internet, so I asked Scott to find one and make me a mouth wash from a recipe for treating mucositis (he made it in a small nalgene bottle for me):
- 14 oz of warm water
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
It seems to be working. I used it last night and this morning (and after anytime I eat) and the sores are starting to get better. I now know why the doctors ask “can you eat”, as the concern isn’t the sore itself (that is a chemo side effect, and it will eventually heal), their concern is that you are eating enough so that you stay healthy overall. Fortunately, among the odd prescriptions I got from emergency (even the dermatologist was confused by this one) was a bottle of oral viscus lidocaine (like the dentist uses before putting in a needle), which is used to help provide symptomatic relief of the mouth sores to allow you to eat. So, for this one, I was prepared in advance.
I’ve created a little chart for my oncologist (and myself to allow for planning next cycle) of my various chemo symptoms in the first cycle (if you think something similar would be useful for yourself, send me an email and I’ll send you the template – it is done in Powerpoint). I will use it when I next see the oncologist to get him to write in the preventative section at the bottom information about when I should not swim, and any other activities I should be limiting at various times, as well as when I can and cannot take NSAIDs. I’m finding that I need the visualization to better understand things – and I want to make sure that I’m not being too cautious about swimming, as it is something that I need for my mental health – especially if biking may involve blistering.