Cancer Lesson #38: Is it chemistry? Or is it chemo?

Cancer Lesson #38: Is it chemistry? Or is it chemo?

As a romance writer, I was struck by how many of the side effects of chemo are similar to the reactions used in romance novels to indicate desire and attraction. Consider the following account of one heroine’s response to re-meeting the man who will turn out to be her hero.

“The new hand ambled into the ranch kitchen, and Paige’s knees went weak. She sank into a chair, her legs melting beneath her like candles left too long in the sun. Her father had spoken so highly of this stockman. He’d had no way of knowing the cowboy was the same man who turned his once-happy daughter into the bleak woman she was today. Hank was as mouthwateringly handsome as he’d been at twenty-two, though the lines around his mouth and eyes were etched more deeply now.

Paige damned herself for noticing, just as she damned herself for being drawn inexorably into the past, a past in which she and Hank had spent long nights under the stars on an old horse blanket filched from the stables. A past full of laughter, fumbling touches and love. Her stomach churned as she reminded herself that it hadn’t been love for Hank, but a momentary pleasure, tossed aside like tumbleweed in a storm. Mouth dry, she swallowed hard, trying to hold back the caustic words that rose to her lips…”

Okay, so Paige isn’t losing her hair – although judging by her reaction to Hank, she may soon be tearing it out strand by strand. Nor is she actually sick to her stomach. There are still enough similarities – the lethargy, dry mouth, loss of appetite and funny feeling in the pit of one’s belly – to make me wonder about the physiological aspects of falling in love.

Ultimately, it’s all chemistry, isn’t it?

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