The Reflux

Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with reflux. Every time I say or write that word, Duran Duran’s song The Reflex immediately pops into my head. They are two quite different things though. The Reflex is a door to finding treasure in the dark, whereas The Reflux is waking up choking on your own stomach acid and then sucking it into your lungs. As I said, quite different.

The Reflex is a lonely child who’s waiting by the park, whereas The Reflux is a side-effect of the medication I’m taking for the next five years to help prevent my cancer from recurring. It started when we were on holidays in Thailand last year, and I thought it was food poisoning for a while, then the Thai version of Bali belly, and finally about a month later I decided it probably wasn’t either of those things, and raised it with my oncologist. It took me a month to ask a doctor about it because if there’s one thing all cancer patients have in common, it’s the ability to put up with things that would have someone who hasn’t had cancer presenting at emergency screaming ‘For the love of god, someone help me pleeaaaassseeeeee’. Cancer people do this for two reasons. One is because we know things could always be much worse, and the other is because we don’t necessarily want to know that things might actually be much worse.

The Reflex is watching over lucky clover, isn’t that bizarre, whereas by the time I was diagnosed with The Reflux, I was at the point of being unable to drink a glass of water without chest pain so bad I thought I was in cardiac arrest. I had lost around 12kgs in the space of three months because most of the time, I was unable to eat anything substantial. I’d cook dinner for the family, sit down to a lovely meal, take two tentative mouthfuls, and ten minutes later be in agony with the burning and contracting in my oesophagus. My oncologist immediately knew what was wrong with me, so I was prescribed a drug called a proton pump inhibitor to manage the side effect of the non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor. My inhibitor is  now apparently being inhibited, and constantly having a popular song from 1984 in my head would appear to be the least of my worries.

The Reflex is a game, he’s hiding all the cards, whereas The Reflux means that because of my inhibition issues, I need to be very careful about what I eat. Lettuce, perhaps the most innocuous of vegetables,  is now my mortal enemy, as it will bring on an horrendous attack of The Reflux if ingested. Bread is bad, pasta is bad, rice is bad, cake is bad. If it weren’t for the fact that I’m pretty sure I’m not a total fuckwit, I’d be worried that I’d started turning into Paleo Pete Evans. And although my arse and thighs look markedly better minus the extra 12kg they were sporting, I still do need to be able to ingest food at regular intervals, and if I remember correctly from my primary school history lessons, scurvy doesn’t sound like much fun. Enter the Ninja.

Every little thing The Reflex does leaves me answered with a question mark, whereas The Reflux has caused me to buy myself a Nutri Ninja. As seen on TV! The Nutri Ninja with Auto-iQ takes the guesswork out of drink making! Auto-iQ Technology features intelligent programs that combine unique, timed pulsing, blending and pausing patterns that do the work for you! Rotates at high-speed to liquefy ingredients into the smoothest nutrient juices, smoothies & purees! So many exclamation marks! It must be good! And the salesperson is going to give me $40 off! That seems reasonable! Food! Without choking! Or vomitting! Or chest pain! Where do I sign! Shouldn’t that one be a question mark! And that one! Oh dear!

This morning I made myself a drink from carrots, pineapple and kale. It looked like this:

green sludge

I’m on a ride and I want to get off
But they won’t slow down the roundabout
I sold the Renoir and TV set
Don’t wanna be around when this gets out.


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