Many things happen to the human body after a stem cell transplant. Many things. The Medically Trained People and some Toms, Dicks and Harrys, have made a purposeful effort to make sure I know what these side effects are, several times over, and regardless of whether I asked for the information or find it useful. For me, knowing of the possible side effects, helped me prepare in the sense that I did not panic when each thing popped up, but I could never really know the severity of the side effects, until I experienced them, no matter how much people who have never had a transplant told me about them. In the end, I wasn’t surprised by any of them because I expected them; I just couldn’t imagine them.

Since the 16 July, there is only one thing that has come my way that I was not in my reading materials, it was completely unexpected and without warning. It commenced after I resumed eating and drinking. The surprise side effect, my friends, is called, the burp. I burp a lot.

It does not smell.

If one were to think inside the box, my current side effect is not a shocking one. I don’t think it is anyway. It’s just not something that oozes femininity.

My main task at the moment is drinking. Apparently, I am to drink 2.5-3 litres a day. An achievable task to be sure, if one has not spent a sustained period of time replacing consumption with mass excretion, as I have. My stomach has shrunk and now, the minute something enters it, I am forced, forced to pass wind.

You may think I am exaggerating, but I am not. If putting stuff down my gullet was a constant, so would burping be. Cuppa tea? Sure thing, parp. Cocktail sausage? Why not, Homer Simpson. Sip of water? well I have dry mouth, crackle. Snap, crackle, bloat, burp,

With building up my strength, comes wind. It’s the pay off nobody mentions. Nobody mentioned that I would not be able to stomach fizzy water either, but I had worked this much out because I passed all my GCSEs. If only belching was something that people generally associated with elegance and manners. They don’t of course. People are prudes.

Hypothetically speaking, if I were to have burped prior to my transplant, which to be clear, is just a hypothetical, it would have sounded rather masculine. EJJ like, as somebody helpfully described my vomiting sound last week. I imagine, if I were to have burped in my old immune system, it would have been long and loud, something from deep inside my gut, so powerful one could feel the vibrations through their feet. Hypothetically.

The actual burps I am producing now, do not sound like that, which is a good thing given the frequency. Mamma Jones described them as sounding ‘sweet’, which in itself was nice, seeing as that is all I did on the two hour drive home last night. There isn’t much power behind these little mouth explosions. One might be able to mistake them for a cat’s purr. Occasionally, the burps can hurt and are accompanied by a little something something, and when this occurs, I reach for the Domperidome. If it persists, I reach for something stronger. Must love the drugs.

The unexpected… It keeps me on my toes, and contributes significantly to my current fetishist status.