I think my natural toothpaste caused my lymph node swelling? Question mark? Am I allergic to toothpaste now?

I can’t confirm anything yet, because my lymph nodes are still slightly enlarged, but they’re much smaller and way less angry. And the only thing I can figure out is that I switched toothpaste.

See a couple of years ago, during chemo, brushing my teeth made me gag. (If you know, you know.) At the time, the Peroxicare stuff Dan and I both used was super foamy, which made me want to puke more. It also aggravated my dry, burning mouth, so I switched to a natural, non-fluoride brand.

Tom’s toothpaste helped with the gagging and the burning, so I bought it again whenever I ran out. Then recently Dan couldn’t get the toothpaste he prefers, so he got something else. He didn’t like the Complete Care he bought. So I thought I’d take the nearly-full tube off his hands when he discovered the Arm & Hammer Peroxicare was back in stock at Walmart.

The Complete Care stuff touts being reformulated, and since my gag reflex is better now… I figured it was okay to try.

I did just fine. No gagging, no burning. But the amazing part was that after one brushing, my most offensive lymph node—the left mandibular one—shrunk a good 30%. It’s probably down about 60% now after a couple weeks on the Complete Care, and I’m almost certain it’s the toothpaste. (There’s always room for a little doubt.)

I haven’t talked about it a whole lot because I fear jinxing my progress, but I’m growing more confident Tom and I aren’t meant to be. If his toothpaste is the problem, I wonder whether I’m allergic to an ingredient or if I need the anti-microbial properties of fluoride in my very sensitive, illness-prone body. Maybe it’s a little of Column A and a little of Column B?

I won’t give it much consideration as long as I’m feeling better. But if it is an allergy, I’d like to know what specific ingredient is setting me off so I can avoid it elsewhere. Know what I mean? I don’t think Tom’s is made with spinach or arugula, but maybe I should check.

It’s good to feel a little better. But also? Fuck potentially years of unidentifiable and very expensive suffering because of toothpaste. Jesus, my life.

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