The inevitable has happened: eating has become a challenge. While I was hoping that this possible side effect would miss me, it has hit me square in the mouth.

It began several weeks ago when water started to taste funny. Then things began to taste under-seasoned. In the past week or so, the radiation and chemo have begun to irritate my throat to the point that it’s now hard to swallow food. I sneezed this morning and it felt like I had been shot in the neck. I’ll never skip my allergy spray again.

And now the search for foods I can actually eat with minimal pain is in full effect. Taste and flavor is no longer a priority — I can literally put a pinch of salt directly on my tongue and it barely registers. I’m in search of soft foods, like a teething baby.

It’s really made meal-time difficult for me. I feel like an outsider in my own home. I get a separate meal from everyone else — whereas I normally cherish our family dinner. On top of that my severe headaches and fatigue keep me physically isolated as well. I’m alone, stranded, while the world goes on around me. Like drowning in a crowded pool.