It's difficult to talk about Cancer without talking about the smell of it. The hospital has a certain smell, especially from the antibacterial soap found in every bathroom. When you leave the bathroom after you wash your hands, it clings to you.
Ryan says that the chemo is very similar to how I describe the hand soap. It's a "metallic-y and nasty smell that you cannot get out of you," in his own words.
The smell of the clinical environment comes home with us when Ryan gets treated.
Ryan cannot escape the smell when he leaves the hospital because the chemo pump is inserting the smell into him continually for 46 hours. Then, as it leaves his body through his pores and otherwise, he can still smell it.
It is there, days later, an assault on all of our senses, especially our sniffing sense.
As everything fades from the chemical warfare that God is using to keep Ryan alive, his normal smell returns. And I am almost intoxicated because of it.
I receive hugs from Ryan and he smells of a mix of good soap, clean clothes, and excellent hygiene. I drink it in. And I am grateful to God he is still here today because we are not promised tomorrow. Just as James 4:14 says:
"...whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and vanishes away."
I am further comforted by the smell of the leather cover on my Bible when I read its precious words. Our home smells amazing when each of the people from Soup's On bring us a warm meal out of the kindness of their hearts twice a week. And I love smelling the roses at both the amazing City of Hope rose garden, as well as the much smaller one in front of our home.
Ryan wants nothing more than to feel (and smell) normal all the time. Unfortunately, right now that isn't part of God's plan. But it sure makes both us grateful for the moments when he does.
Please share a time when you didn't take your sense of smell for granted in a comment below.