Posted in Anosmia, Parosmia

Don’t Be Shy To Try!

On my journey from Anosmia, to Parosmia to…..well something in-between, I’ve realised I’ve become a wimp.

Yes ok, at the Anosmia point who would actually want to eat anything when it doesn’t have a taste but just gives you a sensation of eating cardboard? But YOU HAVE TO EAT, and I did. Then the Parosmia point which personally I think is worse than having Anosmia. Do I really want to put something into my mouth, try and chew it when it tastes like dog sh….?  You get the picture. But YOU HAVE TO EAT, and I did. (Whilst trying not to gag).

Now I’m at what I call, ‘the unknown quantity stage’. This is me……

Taste:

  • There is food I still can’t tolerate, you’ve heard me talk about this before. Onions and garlic being the worst.
  • Food I can eat one day then can’t the next, because all of a sudden they’ve taken on the ‘yuck’ factor. At the moment, eggs, sweet corn, beans, bacon, sausages, bananas and a few more besides….sigh.
  • Some things I can eat for the time being. Beef, pork, apples, fish and chocolate, for example. I even actually enjoy them sometimes…smiley face!
  • Food I can always eat, cheese, grapes, lettuce (ok doesn’t taste of much anyway), tomato’s, potatoes and most sweet things and very salty things….yes I know unhealthy!
  • Some food I just eat because I can, but its tasteless…..bored face.

Smell:

  • I get a smell, its not a horrible smell but its unidentifiable.
  • I get a sweet perfume smell, its a scented candle….yippee!
  • I try to smell something that I know is strong, I get nothing….sighs again.
  • I still get a horrible smell sometimes…..wrinkles nose.
  • I get some kind of smell, can’t be bothered to make the effort to work out what it is so dismiss it….shrugs shoulders.
  • I wake up to horrible smells almost like they are in the air itself then they fade away to nothing after a while….what?

 

So now you probably understand why I call this the ‘unknown quantity stage’.

I’ve given myself the ‘wimp’ label because now, from my bad experiences with the real no go tastes and smells I refuse to even try them.

If I get a sandwich from a shop I have to totally dissect it in case I find onion, and if I do as far as I’m concerned the whole thing is contaminated and I wont touch it. I have to read the label on everything and if there is even a miniscule amount of onion or garlic in it, even garlic powder, I wont even try it.

So the pizza that I very carefully hand picked all of the toppings for then discovered the tomato base had garlic powder in…. AFTER I’d eaten and enjoyed the different textures and crunch, was bit of a surprise to say the least.

Also eggs, if anything contains these evil things…its a nope again. Emmm but I ate a crème brule the other day and it was sweet and pleasant no hint of ‘nasty’ at all.

Corn on the cob, instead of tinned sweet corn…was actually ok when it had butter smothered over it and wrapped in tin foil then baked in the oven.

The smoothie with the main ingredient being banana that I unwittingly tried before discovering that’s what it was. Yes you’ve guessed it, I enjoyed it!

These experiences seem to be happening more and more these days. To the point where when I refused to eat a curry having discovered it had a hint of garlic in then decided to try it for my husband sake, well he was tearing his hair out at the time, I discovered that I couldn’t tell there was any garlic in it!

Ok sometimes it doesn’t always work that way, crisps with garlic flavouring in are still horrible for example. It seems however some things aren’t these days, but the only way I will ever know is to take the plunge and TRY things. So now I’m attempting to eliminate the ‘wimp’ label I’ve given myself, and at least give the ‘no go’ food a try instead of dismissing it straight away.

The same goes for smell. I cant go into a kitchen if bread is baking as it smells terrible, or did smell terrible. Until I went to see my parents and dad was baking bread….it just smelt insignificant, nothing to make a song and dance about anymore.

My best perfume that smelt like a cross between vinegar and antiseptic, up until I sprayed some on without thinking because we were going out. Instead it smelt sweet and pleasant.

As with taste, some things are still bad. I’m sad to say grass still smells horrible….maybe one day. But my Smell Training is coming along nicely, I haven’t given up on it, and things are progressing well.

So the morale of the story is an obvious one my friends. Don’t dismiss things without trying them first, don’t be ‘shy to try’. You may be missing out on the opportunity to discover pleasure in food and smells that weren’t there before. You’ll never know if you don’t give it a go!

 

Have you discovered tastes or smells that have improved recently? Please share if you like.

 

 

Posted in Anosmia, Parosmia, smell, taste

Now What?

Ok this isn’t the most inventive title I’ve come up with. So If I’m not careful I could bore you even before I’ve started this post. But hang on though don’t go yet, I want to explain. I feel like I have written so much about my life with Anosmia the definition of me has become a little blurred around the edges. Am I Debbie Jinks, or am I a person with Anosmia?

I was asked to write an article recently for an online magazine, and the theme was ‘Resurrection -what hardship have you come back stronger from’. Id written a piece about my Anosmia for them before, and realised as I sat down and started writing that I was going over the same old ground , my Anosmic journey. I have come back a lot stronger yes, you will have read about this in my previous posts, but I am also different.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not dismissing the whole thing, I haven’t recovered properly. I’m still skinny and can only smell perfumed candles. Food still tastes of nothing apart from the four ‘true’ tastes. I still hate onions and garlic and cant go near food with them in. But my Parosmia has lessened considerably, I  don’t have to cover up my nostril to eat anymore, that’s certainly a better look when I have to eat in front of people now!

So yes I have improved, and I would never have believed it at the time, but good things have actually come out of this nightmare. Like my love of writing, I wold never have put pen to paper, or these days fingers to keyboard had I not acquired Anosmia. It was starting this blog that set the ball rolling and made me realise how much I love to write. To the point where I now have a website called, A Song To Write, and I am planning on writing a book or maybe more than one, you never know!

I would never started my Facebook Anosmia group Living Well With Anosmia, and got to know such lovely strong people, if I hadn’t acquired Anosmia. I love that group and the fact we can support and help each other so much. They often keep me strong when I’m having a bad day and I’m so glad I brought us all together. Facebook isn’t all bad!

I want to start writing about different things now though. Yes I’ve been sitting staring at a blank computer screen for the last hour, but now I know what I want to say.

Every Anosmic has a life outside of Anosmia.

I often see that it my Anosmia group. We have a laugh, share stories about what our week or day has been like, our plans for the weekend. We all still have personalities and relationships and good experiences in our lives. So my posts could go off the subject now and then, maybe I’ll share daft things with you, maybe I’ll share happy things with you and maybe I’ll share sad things with you. Not too often on that subject though I promise.

This blog however will live on, if I have any readers left after that little speech! I know this is a short and sweet post today, but I have to prepare for my blockbuster next time!

So lets chat again soon.

Please remember also my friends it is ‘Anosmia Awareness Day’ on Monday 27th of February so if you’d like to support this please wear red. You can find more information here thank you.

 

What stories or articles would you like to see featured in this blog? Let me know it could be fun!

Posted in Anosmia, Parosmia

A Merrier Christmas!

This was my second Christmas with Anosmia and yes I was nervous. I didn’t know how I would manage a second time around. Also last Christmas I didn’t have Parosmia just straightforward old Anosmia, if you can call any of this straightforward.

I’m sure if you’ve been following my harrowing journey you’ll know the difference between Anosmia and Parosmia by now. But just in case. Anosmia is a complete lack of smell and taste. Parosmia is a distorted normally horrible sense of smell and taste. So this effects my enjoyment of food immensely. Just imagine if you were chewing on something that tasted like it had come out of a sewer….I wont elaborate I’m sure you get the picture.

So where was I? Oh yes second Christmas. I’m thankful to say that my Parosmia has lessened over time so some food was pretty good. However Onions and garlic were sill disgusting, check out my post ‘Orrible Onions! to be further enlightened.

My family and friends were great, as by then they’d had a lot of experience with my Anosmia, including when it developed into Parosmia, so they knew what I could and couldn’t eat. This made such a lot of difference to my enjoyment at this festive time of year because after all, a lot of it is focussed around good Christmas grub! (Not the nasty things that are laid by flies etc thank goodness)! Anyway apologies, enough of that.

 

I’d like to share with you some of the things I could eat.

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Roast vegetables, which consisted of  potato’s, carrots, squash and parsnips. Cooked in olive oil, with salt, pepper and Agave nectar, which is a natural sweetener that you sprinkle over  before roasting. Not pour it on like I did when I  cooked them at home and they ended up a syrupy mush!

Turkey was fine as its pretty bland anyway, served with apple sauce as its sweet, and sweet is always good. The traditional cranberry sauce was a bit too tart.

Cauliflower cheese because cheese is great. Most parosmics will agree its a staple diet for us. The cauliflower was masked by the cheese so that was ok too. Pretty bad on its own though.

(Christmas sausage stuffing that I used to love was a definite no, no, onions argh! I have to be honest I missed that.)

The usual onion gravy was of course totally unpalatable but my wonderful husband found these little chicken gravy pots with no nasty stuff in at all…whoop, whoop!

Christmas pudding was yum. Sweet, gooey with lots of different textures which makes food more exciting. The Custard with it was nice too.

So are you impressed? I certainly was. I actually had a full stomach for a change, and with a few glasses of Amaretto down my neck that was me sorted.

But on a serious note anybody reading this with parosmia or anosmia should give some of  these things a go. They may work for you too.

The whole eating experience gave me such a boost that Christmas was a joy this year. Even getting a bit tipsy was nice as alcohol was pretty bad last time. I was so much happier which made my family so much happier too and I’m glad about that because, yes I felt guilty last year as I know they were tip toeing around trying to do their best. Its always a joy being with family at Christmas which is of course such an important part of it, that wonderful feeling of closeness. But this year was extra special because we were all happy. Its not all about food after all but the love we share with one and other and the being together that counts. Mind you a few party games never go amiss especially with my niece making you run around playing hide and seek with a ton of food sloshing around in your stomach!

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So a Happy New Year to all of you. Lets hear it for 2017, may we all be Merry and Bright, mmm I know that phrase from somewhere!

 

Did you have a good Christmas? What was the best part for you?

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Anosmia, Parosmia

Letter To My Nose.

Hello reader, if you’ve been following my blog you will by now be familiar with both my Anosmia and Parosmia so this should make sense. If not please have a look at my older posts especially the ones under the ‘Parosmia’ categories and you will know what this letter is talking about, and why my nose isn’t exactly popular these days. Why am I writing a letter to my nose? Well because I want to and sometimes writing things down helps, its how this blog started off in the first place after all!

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Dear Nose,

Why have you let me down so much?

I know its not directly your fault that my nerve fibres severed from you when I banged my head and now they don’t work properly anymore. But you could heal better instead of getting all of them mixed up leaving me with Parosmia.

Have you any idea how it feels to hardly taste my food and what I do taste is normally disgusting?

Its left me hating you quite a bit especially when you decided to leave me with one nostril that cant smell anything and the other constantly distorted. When I have to embarrass myself at the dinner table by having to press down on the nostril that gives me a horrible smell and taste, taking that experience away for a bit so that I can actually eat something!

Yes ok you’ve helped me discover writing and I don’t know if I would have tried that otherwise, but why cant you heal properly for me? Are you ever going to? Should I be grateful for what I’ve got back? Oh so many questions and you aren’t answering any one of them. You’ve certainly messed me up a lot.

Oh nice of you to give me the odd decent smell back like vanilla candles, but is that it? I wouldn’t mind perfume, cut grass, food cooking thank you very much! Also I know I can taste the four true tastes i.e. Salt, Sweet, Hot and Umami and maybe I should be grateful that I’ve got that much, but I’d also like umm let me see …. chocolate, spices, tomatoes, beef, chicken and the rest.

I’m trying not to blame you I’m really not. I suppose what I should be doing is helping you out by getting back into my smell training and trying to stick to it this time! Maybe that way we’ll both be encouraged….especially if it starts to work. If I’m not helping myself I’m not helping you either.

So I’m seeing Chrissi my smell trainer soon and I will be honest and tell her how I’m struggling. I know she’ll understand and you know her well enough these days. Hopefully she’ll get me back on track then you and I might be able to come to some sort of agreement. We could see eye to eye again. Ha, ha the irony!

So lets have a go at helping each other, work as a team instead and see how we get on.

Love (ish)

Debbie x

P.S. I’ll try and start loving you again if you love me back too.

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Posted in Anosmia

Never Give Up

Before my Anosmia took hold, I used to be a singer….but then I stopped, my enthusiasm left me. This got me thinking, what have you given up because of this life changing condition…..

It wasn’t just that one thing though…

  • My health
  • My hope
  • My joy
  • My job
  • My world.

For a long while I gave up on all of it.

So, lets break these things down for a moment.

My Health:

Yes of course that suffered, when you cant taste, or everything tastes horrible why would you want to eat. Don’t eat = lose weight=lose energy=become physically frail, and psychologically frail also. This has a knock on effect of course. Low blood sugar was one for me so I was very weak and had a habit of collapsing quite a bit. Also the lack of essential nutrients, calcium, vitamins, fats….yes even fats, can be so dangerous. A risk of brittle bones, was one I was warned about, due to calcium deficiency. There’s always the obvious risk too, of not being able to smell dangerous substances, like smoke, gas or carbon monoxide, and not knowing when food has gone off. Yep Anosmia is such fun!

My Hope:

Well my wonderfully helpful doctor, note the sarcasm here, now ex doctor. Had a fair bit to do with that one. Did I want to hear the words, “sorry there’s nothing we can do“, or, “there’s no cure”? I don’t think so. But I believed him….well you would wouldn’t you. So that’s hope down the drain then.

My Joy:

That well and truly went, I was lethargic, had no enthusiasm….depressed. I never wanted to go out or socialise. I’m amazed sometimes that I still have any friends left. Crying… I made a habit of that, something I did on a daily basis as well as, yelling, getting angry, blaming it all on God, that stupid wall I hit my head on, my stupid phone I picked up, my treacherous body that chose that moment to crumple beneath me and pass out! I could go on and on but I think you get the picture!

My Job:

I loved my job…do you know what I did? Maybe I told you in a different post…possibly but I’m going to repeat it anyway. I was the area manager of a wildlife habitat. Yes I wandered around all day in beautiful countryside, maintaining fields and woodland, checking on the welfare of wildlife, nest box checks every year. I loved it. Ok there was the paperwork bit, there always is but I usually managed to organise it so I did this part when the weather was crap, oops sorry horrible. Then when it was sunny I was outside….so therapeutic too. However when I couldn’t eat, my energy went, how could I walk around maintaining a wildlife habitat, doing energetic jobs like strimming fields etc, when I could hardly stand up for more than 20 minutes. No I didn’t get fired…they were lovely in fact, but I got made redundant. Was that coincidence, could I have fought against it, who knows? However at that time I was so ill that I didn’t really care anyway, so bye bye job.

My World:

A bit melodramatic?  Nope…I gave up on life. I detached myself from it, I lost the happiness in living. I existed….my world was the house, (that’s not a world). Not outdoors, not my friends not seeing or socialising with my family, just the four walls I stayed in most of the time. Even my wonderful husband didn’t get the love and care he so deserved, and with all he had to cope with…i.e. ME, he should have got a medal!! When I shrank, my world shrank with me.

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That was how it was then. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, or the garden in this picture. I’m starting to glimpse it now. My life that shifted to horribly seems to be on the move again and in the right direction this time.

So lets have a look at this list from a new perspective.

My Health:

I’ve started trying different combinations of food to see what works for me. New recipes, smoothies, protein shakes things to build me back up again. Vitamin supplements things that will work for me. Milk, cheese I can manage and they are a good source of calcium. Anything sweet is fine too, a good excuse to eat cake! The smelling harmful substances thing is a bit of a different story however, but we have smoke alarms for the house, and if I’m not sure if food is still ok to eat, I simply don’t eat it until someone has checked for me. Normally my husband….poor guy!

My Hope:

I now have a new very supportive doctor, who has read up on the subject of Anosmia and Parosmia and comes up with ideas and suggestions. Ive also done my own research and found out you can get better from this, not guaranteed but a lot of people do regain some if not all of their sense of smell and taste back. I have also been having some lessons in smell training with a wonderful lady called Chrissi Kelly who specialises in this new method. If you want to find out more the link is smelltraining. She has now become a good friend also, and is very active in my LivingwellAnosmia facebook group.

My Joy:

Would you believe that its coming back! Ok I get my bad days, but I get more good days than bad now. My writing has had a big impact on my state of mind….my blog….my articles have all helped me get it back together. Also my wonderful husband, family and friends who have stuck it out and are now cheering me on. Yes life is starting to feel good again.

My Job:

Ok I’ll never get my lovely wildlife job back and I get sad when we drive by the area. But I have a part time job that helps pay the bills and my work colleagues are very supportive. Also if all goes to plan I intend to expand my writing and generate some income from it one day. I love writing so it would make up for the loss of the other job that I loved. Also  da, da! Ive written a childrens book, about the animals in a wildlife habitat…mmm wonder where I got that idea from! Not published yet as it still needs illustrating but it will be ready soon, and when it is watch out world! I also have ideas about writing a book about my life with Anosmia one day, but that’s another story….literally!

My World:

I’m getting out so much more now. We’ve had a good summer so I’ve been in the garden a lot and on day trips, we even went to the beautiful island of Kefalonia. We used to go there all the time but I wasn’t interested last year due to my depression. But this year we went and it was lovely. We met up with all of our old friends and had a great time. The eating thing was a bit scary at first but we focussed on other enjoyable pursuits instead such as swimming, walking and sitting in the lovely warm sunshine enjoying great company and great scenery.kefalonia-4-18-sept-05-068

 See what I mean!

So my dear friends, the moral of this story is don’t give up on your life….fight this with every bone in your body be strong and claim your life back. Its too short and too precious.

So tell me in the comments, what have you given up…..hang on I’ve not finished yet…then tell me how you are going to get it back again. Re claim your happiness! You’ve got the whole of the rest of your life ahead of you.