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

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.

veg

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!

img_0804

 

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?