Pardon Me...Doesn't "Cut" It!
Last updated: September 2023
It’s time. Time to talk about…farts. Oh, we can be polite and use the terms “flatulence” or “passing gas.” But I’m not referring here to your ordinary I-ate-too-many-beans farts or your everyday I-have-to-hold-this-in-while-I’m-with-friends farts. These are… chemo farts. For the uninitiated allow me to describe them; fetid, revolting, wretched. No, that’s not quite right; more like dog poop piled on top of horse manure spread on top of fertilizer that’s been rotting in the sun for three weeks. Yeah, that’s it.
Why do chemo farts smell so bad? According to chemocare.com: “chemotherapy may alter the normal bacterial flora that is present in the intestines. This can affect digestion and cause flatulence (gas).” Alter the normal bacterial flora? Oh, no, no, no. This is more like unleashing a nuclear stink bomb.
More of my research turned up this interesting tidbit: a team of astronomers discovered that the stinkiest smell in the universe is hydrogen sulfide, a gas that is abundant in the atmosphere of Uranus. Uranus. Ha! Is that perfect or what? (Think of the old pronunciation of Uranus - sounds like “your anus” - not the more recent, politically correct pronunciation with the accent on the “Ur”). Now guess which ghastly gas human flatulence contains? Hydrogen sulfide!
An unexpected side effect
Anyway back to earth. No one ever told me about this sickening side effect of chemo until one day after a chemo treatment I decided to treat myself to an innocent piece of cake. Suddenly a chemical weapon more deadly than sarin gas spewed forth. Lucky for my family, I had the forethought to run into another room before it jumped out because this was a revolting smell that even Satan would shrink from.
Oncologists should tell their patients about this for the good of the family dynamic. I’ve been known to run out of a room so fast my family thinks I’m lying about my chemo exhaustion. But I must dash out of the room to safeguard the relationship between my family and me. I have offered to sleep on the lawn, get a small apartment of my own (although I’d probably blow the place up with the noxious gasses), or stop eating altogether; none of which are reasonable alternatives. Tearing out of the room until the horror abates makes more sense.
I recently read about a man undergoing chemo who brought his dog with him everywhere he went so he could blame the stench on poor Fido! Truly that man’s best friend. But we have to concoct something to preserve family and friends!
This all may sound comical until you experience it. I have given up even going for a walk with friends because I fear that one of these vile vapors will jump out. Even the outdoors can’t mask it. So, if and when the pandemic abates and you want to get together with me indoors, be aware I might not make it out of the room fast enough. You’ve been warned.
Advanced breast cancer is an isolating and lonely disease.