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 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 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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