There Will Be Blood … and Boogers

July 20, 2008

I woke up with a nosebleed a few days ago. Nothing horrible, just a “oh, that’s gross and kind of sucky” nosebleed which stopped very quickly. I didn’t think much of it as it takes something really showy now to get my attention and consult a nurse. Limbs spontaneously bursting into flames? Yeah, I might give the doc a call. Nosebleed? Not so much. Then they started happening every morning. I would start my day making coffee with Kleenex stuffed up my nose and carry on as normal, but this was starting to bug me. So I call the nurse. As I figured, it’s normal.


Apparently, nosebleeds are common with the drug Avastin and are not a big deal so long as they stop quickly and they’re not big gushers. So she says, “as long as you don’t fill a whole washcloth with blood, it’s nothing to be concerned about.” Christ on a cracker! If I fill a whole washcloth with blood I’m thinkin’ I’m headed to the ER pronto! Which was in fact her advice in that situation. A pal on one of my chat boards helpfully suggested that should I encounter a real river of red, its best to pack your schnoz with gauze and keep a cold pack on your face. This is the most likely procedure you will get in the ER anyway. Good tip and one I’m glad I can share as this was the overarching purpose for my blog. Helpful tidbits that make living with cancer just a bit less crappy.


The other suggestion I got was to look in to sleeping with a humidifier in my bedroom. I am in a dry, air conditioned condo most of the day, so it’s totally possible that my morning geysers are not cancer-related at all. Ok. Somehow I find that humiliating. That I might have my onc nurses all concerned and all I’m really dealing with is an arid apartment. I feel like a moron. A moron with giant red boogers. Seriously, it’s like a gory moonscape in there. Every time I blow my nose, I’m slightly horrified by the results. Is it just me who gets these weird and embarrassing side effects? Someone with some sexual disfunction, please comment and make me feel better.



  1. I hesitate to even try to match the misery of bleeding noses and butts. And I vowed long ago to resist the temptation to engage in the “my cancer is worse than your cancer” game. But I think what you’re describing is part of the frustration of this surreal world that is cancer. One person’s intimate experience with the disease and the treatment is just so personal. There is no consistency to the experience. I know you’ll probably be tempted to throw your computer at me for saying this but I would trade your nosebleeds for my total inability to enjoy anything that goes in my mouth. I have a HUGE appetite — and have throughout the course of my chemo — but I just can’t stand anything I eat or drink. Water. Sushi. Bagel and cream cheese. Cereal. Movie theatre popcorn. And most tragically: WINE. Everything just tastes so wrong and disappointing. My brain and my mouth are so completely out of synch. There is an overwhelming metallic residue that has taken up residence in my mouth and I don’t think it’s ever going to leave. I have never needed the comfort of food more than I do now — and the buzz of alcohol — but it’s like it’s just out of reach. I don’t even mind the sores all over my mouth — I can take that annoying pain. If only I could feel the satisfaction of eating just one thing that tasted right.

    BTW, I can commiserate on the bleeding butt thing (I’m not even going to try to spell the H word). One of the many drugs I’ve taken to counter-act the effects of the chemo has the charming side effect of completely halting any waste removal. After many days of being off the drug my system usually starts to grind into action again, but the process is so long and painful…yet despite the blood, sweat and tears, oddly satisfying when it’s done!

  2. I hear ya Amy. Thanks so much for sharing. I have a bit of that metallic taste thing, but mostly have been blessedly spared that side effect. Not being able to drink or eat tasty stuff as a foodie really really sucks and my heart goes out to you. (And I would never chuck my computer at you 😉

    Yeah – a bunch of the anti-nausea meds also seem to be anti-poop meds too. Zophran big time. What a drag. I never thought I’d be estimating an exit strategy for everything I eat and drink, but its become a science for me. Black beans, raw nuts, bran muffins = bad. Room temp rose wines and fruit = good.

    We become experts on the oddest things, huh?

  3. Hi, Chris,

    This isn’t necessarily for a posting. I just wanted to tell you that a mutual friend told me to check out your blog. The ever fabulous Laura Caldwell is my client (I’m her literary agent) and since I was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring she’s been incredibly supportive. She knows me well and knew I’d appreciate the tone of your writing. She was right. I love your blog — the honesty and the humour, especially.

    File this in the “pull it out on a dark day” file: my sister-in-law, Pat, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon cancer four years ago. It had spread into her pelvis. Some moron doctor pronounced her “terminal and incurable” but after changing hospitals and doctors, and undergoing chemo and 14-hour surgery, she is cancer free. Seriously the healthiest person I know. We call her the cockroach.

    Keep writing. I’ll keep reading. Amy

  4. Amy!
    I’m honored that you visited my site and were comforted and or amused by my words. (Laura IS uberfab by the way. I think my ideal dinner party involves her and Jen Lancaster.) I keep this blog going primarily for my own sanity, but it warms my heart that its helping others as well.

    thanks for your comments and huge hug to the cockroach,

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