Posted in smell, taste

A Sense Of Kefalonia

Both my husband and myself love the beautiful island of Kefalonia. In fact so much so that we’ve bought a little rundown cottage over there to renovate. However that’s another story!

We went to Kefalonia a week ago, ahhh it seems like an eternity now we’re back to the nitty gritty of everyday life. There were a few revelations for me while I was over there however. Let me tell you about them.

  • My sense of smell vanished, not just a little but completely! 

Whilst here in England it had returned a little. For example I could smell certain types of candle, especially spiced notes with cinnamon in, also vanilla candles. I also got the odd smell of my perfume while I was spraying it on, and could smell food cooking if it was strong like curry for example. They were quite faint but definitely there.

Once I was in Kefalonia however….nothing. I didn’t even notice a first as I was enjoying the sunshine and relaxation so much. It clicked when we were strolling past taverns that often lined the streets, with Greek music playing softly in the background. Am I making it sound idyllic yet? On one of our little strolls while we were deciding where to eat, I asked my husband if he could smell the food or was it quite faint, thinking maybe it was because we weren’t that close to where they were cooking it. He said yes he could smell it and I asked him to describe the smells as I always did. Spicy Kebabs, fish, hot sauces. All the things I had faint smells of in England….what?!

  • I didn’t mind

Now don’t get mad at me here. Yes I was surprised, but it didn’t make me want to cry like it used to. I accepted it, I was calm. I think it was my whole state of mind. I let it wash over me and it felt fine. Getting angry and upset about it is understandable I know but the fact that I was somewhere where I wasn’t fighting with early morning traffic, or having to drag myself out of bed after a sleepiness night, or go to a job that I hated, made the whole thing seem less of a problem.

  • No Parosmia if you don’t know what I’m talking about check out this link.

I ate food and it didn’t taste like dog sh…. anymore, again the calm feeling was there. Elated too of course! Ok I couldn’t taste anything apart from the four true tastes. Salt, sweet, hot and umami, (very rich food i.e. strong/cheesy ), and they were faint but hey what would you prefer?

  • When we reluctantly returned to England my slight sense of smell came back.

However so did my Parosmia. Not when eating but when smelling certain things, they weren’t that pleasant, especially when I was tired or stressed.

I do believe your state of mind can worsen these distortions. For example if I wake up at night I can get a smell as if the air is sweaty, I’ve often had a bad day i.e. stressful, upsetting or just plain horrible so…..get the picture here?

  • These things have really made me think about my quality of life.

Ok so you cant go rushing off to a lovely island if your Parosmia gets worse, or your stress levels get so high that you cant cope. But you can walk away for a bit, enjoy other things. The sound of the birds singing, a beautiful sunset a lovely cuddle off your nearest and dearest, (yes ok a bit corny). Walk, run, give that stress a beating, take up a hobby, read a favourite book anything to take your mind in a different direction.

I still get days when my Anosmia floors me and I want to throw things around the room, when I bury my head in a pillow trying to lessen the Parosmia smell. It is less often now though. I breath, I calm my energy, I think of the positives and it really does help.

So I intend to create a little piece of Kefalonia in my mind. 745C3F17-0A3D-4CB7-9C61-8B03F30984ED[1] I can go to it when it all gets too much, play my Greek music, have a BBQ, yes I can enjoy things like that now. Raining ha, no problem we’ve put up a gazeebo! I wont be floored that easily.

When I return to my little Island, well ok not my Island as such! I wont be worried if my sense of smell goes for a bit. Maybe it wont this time, who knows? I’ll just live for the moment and enjoy my life, dive into the unknown, the sea is really warm over there. Sorry I’ll shut up now!


Do you have a place of calm? What are your coping strategies? Please share in the comments if you would like to.

 

 

 

 

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 smell, taste

Anosmic Anniversary 2

Tuesday 7th February is a big deal for me these days. Two years ago my life changed in a way I could never have foreseen.

I’m not going to re visit the past, as if you’ve been following my blog you’ll be clued up on that one. But what I do want to do is tell you how it is now. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Originally my plan was to post this on the actual date of my Anosmic Anniversary, but then I changed my mind. The reason being was that I wanted to experience it on my own. In the past I’ve written about what has been happening to me, my thoughts and feelings as they occurred. This was because it was ongoing, a day to day experience that I was continually going through. It was a thing that hurt so much, managing one day at a time was an achievement in itself. I needed something to help me express myself and this came in the form of my blog. Writing it down helped, and still does.

My Anniversary number 2 started like any normal day. I got up jumped around my living room a bit, this is called exercise I think, did some stretching, then writing. But not this blog, my website instead asongtowrite. I wasn’t going to work until 4pm, so my intention was to stay as busy as possible meaning I wouldn’t think about it too much.

I knew that I would eventually have to acknowledge this day though, so I sat down quietly and just let the thoughts and emotions come. Reflecting back on the last two years, I remembered how it felt when I realized I’d lost my sense of smell and taste. My devastation, the sadness of my loved ones, the loss, my disgust when my Parosmia reared its ugly head. Read this post Parosmia stinks! if you want some insight into that one. Then my dangerously severe weight loss when I stopped eating. The list goes on and on.

I thought, and let myself hurt, let myself feel whatever I wanted and it was a release as I began to realise that I wasn’t that person anymore. Don’t get me wrong I still have Anosmia and Parosmia, ugh! However I also have my life, which is so much better than it was. My writing which I would have never have discovered if I hadn’t started this blog. My family and husband who have stuck by me always. Also ta da! My sense of smell which has returned slightly. My Parosmia is also better, onions and garlic are still a no no, but I no longer have to put my finger over my nose in order to eat. Here we go, another link….. Nobody nose.

The best part for me was definitely some of my sense of smell coming back. I think I’ve motioned in another post about my first experience, but I’m going repeat it anyway. I had been writing in my office, come guest bedroom. I always burnt a scented candle in there just in case some of the smell came back to me, also because I loved the ambience. I remember leaving the room for some reason and blowing out the candle. I came back later and was overwhelmed by the smell of sandalwood, spices and perfume that had lingered in the room once I had left.I was so shocked that I burst into tears. My husband came dashing up the stairs thinking something terrible had happened, and when I told him he gave me a big hug saying how wonderful it was.

Oh yes wasn’t it just and it has got better. The sweeter more floral notes of perfume are coming through now instead of a distorted vinegar smell. I occasionally get a faint smell of my husbands’ cologne, and even the herb, thyme, if I rub it really hard between my fingers gives off a faint aroma, don’t get me wrong that isn’t what his cologne smells like by the way! I still cant taste food properly, but most of it doesn’t give me that disgusting distorted taste anymore. I feel healthier and people who haven’t seen me say I look it too.

So back to my sitting down quietly. As I sat there letting myself think some more, I was overwhelmed with positive feelings. I’d come so far, achieved so much and knew I could face my life with a lot more optimism. I’ve now completely fallen in love with writing it fills me with a sense of fulfilment. I’ve started a fantasy writing course, am submitting the odd article or two as well, and I’m writing a book. Not about my anosmia, I think that will happen one day however. Its a fantasy novel that I’ve got my claws into….oops no pun unintended , and I’m loving it. Any talk about dragons and I’m away with the fairy’s, oops another one!

I have also started two wonderful Facebook groups that are well established now and I love. My anosmia group ‘Living Well With Anosmia’, to support and encourage other people who are also experiencing this life changing condition, and my writing group ‘All Write’, which bring together wonderful writers to share, support each other and showcase their writing.

But do you know what the best bit is? I’m happy. I have dreams’ and ambitions again, even though I’m bit of an oldie now! Yes life still throws some crap my way, I still have my bad days. But the good days are beating them by a long way. So I’m going to stand up now, my back is killing me, shake myself off and get on with my good life.

 

Have you overcome a major hurdle in your life? Please let me know in the comments if you would like to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in smell

Making Sense of Scents.

A few days ago I was sitting in my sunny front garden contemplating.  My clever husband had just finished building some decking with a lovely balustrade and trestle, as this little area is a suntrap.  I was contemplating because I was trying to decide if I should bother to try and grow a scented climbing plant of some description along it.  Maybe honeysuckle, lilac or a climbing rose? It would look lovely I’m sure but wouldn’t smell of anything to me….but then I think I’m being selfish, other people would enjoy it, like friends and family who often come to visit.  I realise I have to be careful sometimes so as not to become thoughtless about other peoples’ pleasures in life.

I catch myself being like this on occasion and don’t like what I see, a good kick up the arse wouldn’t go amiss right now! So instead I consider what plant to grow on there, I’ll ask my husband Ruck what he thinks too…a joint decision.

My interpretation of the smell of things differs now, the smells I identify with certain things don’t connect anymore. Like I said in my articles on Smell Training, I have to, for example, learn that my smell of grass isn’t the same as your smell of grass, but I need to recognise that as the new smell of grass for me.
Let me give you some examples, unfortunately not all pleasant ones due to my Parosmia, which you know about if you’ve been reading older posts. So here is a short list that I’ve compiled:

  • Perfume – sweet but no distinctive notes to it, i.e. flowery. musky etc.
  • Coffee – Smokey, but not horrible.
  • Tea – no smell.
  • Basil – sweet, no really distinctive smell however.
  • Onions – horrible, one of the worst in fact, sulphur, sulphur and more sulphur.
  • Chicken – rotten kind of smell, not good
  • Pork – nothing at all.
  • Beef – cardboard!
  • Bacon – burnt smell, but not horrible.
  • Sausages – Sulphur, not nice.
  • Smoke – again sulphur, yuk!
  • Grass – earthy, so not too bad.
  • Flowers – most of these I cant smell at all, but I did get a faint smell of lavender once, so I grow it all over my garden. But sadly this seems to have faded now. I wont dismiss the fact that it might return though!
  • Chocolate – no smell
  • Milk – no smell
  • Bread – no smell but if its baking there’s the sulphur back again!
  • Eggs – Ugh!
  • Spices – the odd musky kind of smell.
  • Vanilla – this is one to celebrate as it smells like vanilla, especially the candles!
I’ll end on that one as a positive note or I could go on and on so I wont bore you forever!
Now, as I stop to contemplate again…there is no smell in the air. I’m sitting in my kitchen writing this, and breathing in nothingness. I’ve forgotten what my house used to smell like I suppose, and often check with Ruck that it doesn’t need a good old airing or air freshener spraying all over the place. I sometimes get a smell of something in the air, but cant identify it and have to ask what it is. If I’m outside it often turns out to be chimney smoke or the farm smell, which oddly enough smells ok to me.  We live quite close to a farm so this can be a common occurrence. I do miss smelling things as they should be though and not smelling the things I used to love, but I’m trying to come to terms with this. Not because I’m giving up on things going back to normal but because I’m preparing myself for the fact that they might not. Its a fine balance and I try not to get down about it.
Next time I want to talk about taste with you all, that is a weird one with more unpleasant than pleasant experiences unfortunately, but ill leave it here for now….thanks for reading as always.
To anyone suffering from Anosmia, Parosmia or related do you have good and bad smells? I’d be interested to know your interpretations. Please feel free to comment.

 

Posted in smell

Forward thinking!

Back to reality folks. I was determined to be strong and practice my smell training every day, but its been a bit of a rollercoaster ride these last few weeks to say the least so I haven’t really stuck to it.
This doesn’t mean that I’ve given up, but Chris Kelly herself said you have to be in the right frame of mind to do it and well, not to put too finer point on it I have had some crap going on so lets leave it there! In fact so much so I’m kicking Anosmia out of the door for this post at least!
I have to heal in more ways than one. Not just my rubbish nerve fibres that are being stubborn sods and not trying hard enough in my opinion, but my whole being. My head = big mess at the moment. Life can really chuck it at you sometimes and its throwing everything at me including the kitchen sink!  So I suppose this is why I am sitting in front of my laptop now without a clue what to write about. Self doubt is a biggy for me at the moment. I need to write something so –

Questions
Have I got anything to say….yes
Do I know where to start….no
Have I lost my self worth….yes
Have I lost my sense of smell and taste….yes.  Oops, I know I said no Anosmia mentions, but I couldn’t resist that!
Have I lost it…not totally or I wouldn’t have managed a funny just then.
Can I still write this blog….yes but it may change so I hope that’s ok with you guys.
Am I waffling…I hope not

Ok the ‘self worth’ question is a bit heavy going because deep down I know I am good at things, I’m a singer, a lyricist, a singing coach, a writer or at least trying to be!  (By the way this is a rehearsal photograph, we do usually have an audience honest!)  And I’ve done all of these things successfully as a career for a long time, including the writing eventually I hope.
Now all I have to do is convince myself that I can still be this person, even after everything that’s happened.
Oh that sounds better already doesn’t it?

I also have a cunning plan…..a Website, yep my very own. Focussed around what I’ve just written on here.
On-line singing lessons for a start, what do you think?
The ideas are starting to form, and are not bad ones at that, now all I need to do is stay motivated for long enough to put them all into practice.
I hope you lot are with me on this one, this little blog of mine was what kept me sane when I first became Anosmic and your kind comments and the fact that you stuck with me and read the posts has all helped. So if you’d like to hang around some more, that would be great! Let’s do this!