Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Luxury cruise for an anosmia sufferer

My wife and I have been on 4 or 5 cruises over the years but the last one was about 6 years ago which was before my anosmia occurred.
Well, we recently went on an Alaskan cruise aboard the Princess cruise line. We had a spectacular time, saw great sites and of course one of the big attractions or draws for people who cruise is the vast amounts of food that is served on board a cruise ship.

Well, let me tell you, it pretty much sucks to have all this super high quality food being served and not being able to smell or taste it! As a matter of fact, since I became anosmic in the fall of 2005, I've probably only had a handful of meals in really good restaurants because I really don't care anymore. So this was the first time in this situation.

Just a note from the very strange life of an anosmic!!

32 comments:

martin dickinson said...

...I have just completed a month of heavy med.s and nasal irrigation to try and revive the nerve..but to no avail....so now coming to terms with anosmia for the rest of my days...looking for support groups...ideally in Calgary Alberta...Just had my favourite ginger beef today...ginger is gone..enjoyed the crunch of the noodles,the heat of the peppers and the sweetness of the sauce....

Brad D said...

Martin -

I lost my sense of smell back in 1990 from a head injury. I was 18 at the time and there were many days that went by I didn't realize what was wrong. I simply eat to survive but I do let my memories drive what I like to eat. I will still put seasoning on my food and I like to think I can taste and smell it but it just isn't the case. I can't say it gets better from a food perspective, but it does get better from a reality perspective. I am sad that I will never be able to smell my wife or know what my children smell like, and I will never have the smell imprint memory of them. It could be worse... :) Best of luck, and I will say I tend to eat spicier foods now to get some sensation in my mouth.

~Brad

Clinton said...

I developed anosmia after a few attacks of bad bronchitis and lots of anti=biotics. At first, I hoped that my smell will come back, but it never did. I work in a restaurant as a chef and this made the situation really awful. Cooking used to be my passion, but without sense of smell and taste I couldn't enjoy it anymore. I couldn't smell things burning, I couldn't taste. I had to give up my job at the end... you can imagine the frustration.Then I came across a newspaper article written by an anosmia sufferer who tried natural alternatives with some success. I went to the Wimbledon Clinic of Natural Medicine. Dr. Thomas Marshall-Manifold did a full health screen and gave me a combination of herbs. After 2 months my sense of smell started coming back slowly. I could again smell and taste food that I love so much... I could smell my wife and children... I almost could't believe that... My ability to smell and taste is sometimes better and sometimes worse (I noticed that it is influenced by weather) but at least I know how life tastes!

martin d. said...

brad..I can relate to your memories driving what you eat. Wonder if that dissipates over time? ..Been a year now..damage is such that it's gone for good.. Food and drink is definately re-defined. I'm fortunate to have enjoyed 59 years before this happened....And Clinton....I don't know how many times I've thought...what if I were Chef?..dealing with anosmia and a career change.. If I where to get my sense of smell back (which I won't)I would live in fear of it going away again...every time I had a cold....

Gil said...

I had no idea this condition even had a name. Even more surprising was discovering there are so many other people throughout the world who suffer from this condition. I myself lost my sense of smell, and hence taste as well, after a collision in a hockey game about three moths ago. I should point out that I have been battling sinus congestion since I was a young boy. At first with Dristan-like nasal decongestant sprays but the rebound congestion was too much to endure. In my mid-twenties I saw a specialist who prescribed a topical corticosteroid spray comprised of “flunisolide” (Rhinalar at the time). This product was very effective at reducing the swelling, itching and running. I was quite capable of smelling and tasting for the 30 or so years I’ve been using it. It was only after the collision that these two senses stopped working. I can relate with others’ comments about not going out to restaurants etc… Indeed, what is the point in spending a lot of money on delicious gourmet food when there is no perception whatsoever – it’s like putting on beautiful music for a deaf person or showing a beautiful portrait to someone who is blind. They, like us, simply cannot appreciate it as the necessary sense to perceive is lacking.

At first I refused to believe there was any link between the collision and my newfound anosmia but after reading that others have suffered the same fate as a result of falls and other injuries I have to consider to obvious. A neighbour’s story also supports the injury theory in that he himself became anosmic after an accident yet briefly recovered his sense of smell after falling flat on his back – unfortunately the recovery was short-lived.

In light this new condition and what I believe to be the cause, pressure on nerves, I am commencing a treatment program with a Chiropractor first week of 2009 and am hoping this may help. I will post comments as to my progress.

For those of you whose condition is not related to collision or injury, you may want to research the possible benefits of “hot peppers”. A while ago I did some research on hot peppers and stumbled upon an interesting passage which read as follows: “Sinus Pain – Capsaicin (the acid in hot peppers) also possesses powerful antibacterial properties, and is very effective in fighting and preventing chronic sinus infections (sinusitis). It also clears out congested nasal passages like nothing else, and is helpful in treating sinus-related allergy symptoms. Small daily doses of capsaicin have even been shown to prevent chronic nasal congestion.”

What is not clear from this description is whether the capsaicin was ingested as a food only or perhaps administered locally in the form of a spray. Nonetheless, definitely worthy of further investigation. Cheers.

Mitch said...

I'm 18 now and i lost my sense of smell about 2 years ago due to head trauma. It's gone for good and i can't smell a thing so i know how you all feel. I'm dating this wonderful girl now but i met her after the accident so will never know what she smells like which is probably the worst part about all of this. And maybe i'm weird because almost all of the people i read about with anosmia talk about how they don't enjoy eating as much anymore and just do it because they have to.. but i still love eating and actually look forward to it everyday haha. (i'm not obese i only weigh 160 pounds haha)I haven't noticed a huge change in the taste of things but maybe its because im younger and im getting used to it early. Either way anosmia sucks but i'm still alive i guess!

Riddlers said...

I am also anosmic since my head injury 4 years ago.

It realls sucks, that's all I can say. It sucks so badly. I miss smelling almost every day and it's driving me nuts.

martin d. said...

Riddlers...I know...there are days that are tough...but we have to adapt..It's a challenge best described, I think, as a redefinition of things...like food and it's texture for example...I still enjoy a glass of wine..I can't define the nuances but it is still enjoyable..same with beer...but the hard stuff has no definition at all...all of us that lose a sense or a limb..we all have to adapt and be thankful for what we have...It always could be worse!...Cheers...

Jenna said...

I have been anosmic all my life. My father is anosmic as well as my older sister. Today I just realised that the couch is made of leather, so it probably smells like leather.

I can still taste. I can distinguish an apple from an onion and an orange from a grapefruit. I however am not able to distinguish the difference between warm tea and warm water...no matter how strong the tea is.

I learned in elementary school when everyone kept talking about the overwhelming smell of popcorn on Movie Day. I didn't quite understand how everybody knew popcorn was being made, I was so confused!

Now it's like a joke between me and my friends. They will ask me to smell their latest perfume and I will just sort of tilt my head to the side and look at them like they are the largest idiots on the planet! haha. They appologise profusely and then we just laugh.

Anosmia does have it's upsides, in 6th grade I didn't have to do a project because I couldn't smell. I checked "no" on everything on a worksheet and got an A!

Peggy said...

I lost my sense of smell and consequently sense of taste after a viral infection (diagnosed with bronchitis). I finally learned after 3 months that there is no cure. I did not know this condition had a name. I am now re-thinking my life.....I need new toothpaste, shampoo, lotion. Meals are a drag....just going through the motions. One thing I can half-way enjoy is vanilla pudding. My husband brought home a 7 lb. can of pudding for me!

I am dealing with the acceptance of this condition, realizing that I can be thankful for all my other senses.

The one thing my doctor said to try was zinc; now I learn that it is the zinc in zicam that is causing so much uproar. I have never taken zicam in my life. My question is......do I take zinc, hoping it will come back (fat chance) or just forget the zinc?

Mike said...

Peggy: I would say absolutely NO to the zicam. Even though your anosmia seems to have been caused by a virus (which supposedly makes the condition irreversable), I'd stay away from zicam due to the problems some people have had.

As for having to readjust your life, all I can say is that for me, it took well over a year before I could enjoy eating anything. And that was not because I tasted anything but it was all about texture. Something like pasta was absolutey disgusting to me at first. Now it's just another food item that nourishes me but provides nothing in the way of "enjoyment".

martin d. said...

...Hi Peggy and Mike....Peggy, I don't know about the zinc...Mine was lost to a virus...subsequent MRI showed the cavity where the nerve should be was empty..the virus had perished the nerve...I'll have to try the vanilla pudding. I find cottage cheese tastes just about the same..I like it with ground pepper on top....and to you both..with the adjustment/adaptation of food..I believe what made it a little easier for me is my imagination/remembrance of what food used to taste like as I eat. Seems to help...just don't over analyze...I suppose this could dissipate over time...

Anonymous said...

Wow, reading all of these posts makes me very depressed. I am new to anosmia. Started in May during a bad cold. I used Zicam, but they dont really know what caused it...the cold or the Zicam. I cant smell or taste anything. Sometimes, I even have a bad taste from things, but I cant describe it. I have been to the Dr, had a scratch and sniff test, and they tell me there is nothing they can do. I am so depressed about this. I keep thinking I will taste something when I eat, but alas, nothing.

martin d. said...

...Hello Anon...Don't despair...you can't...Take inventory of what you have left..in terms of taste and smell...think about textures of food now..and things like sweet,sour,spicy,salty...There are indescribable tastes..for me, green peppers now taste..indescribable and I do get indescribable whiffs of things...be open to adapting and coping...and putting this situation we find ourselves in into a broader perspective...and on the bad days...we can always talk....Cheers!

Nancy said...

I also have lost my sense of taste, but can still distinguish between hot spicy things, sweet things and bitter things. I can smell some things and other things if I put it very close to my nose. I have no idea what started this, it came on slowly until one day I was sure about it. My doctor tried me on Alpha-Lipoic Acid tablets and Nasonex for the nose since it has a cortisone in it. It didn't work. He wants to try a very short (1 week) dose of Prednisone and I don't know if I should do that. I had a Brain MRI done and it was totally normal. He said I will probably never know why this happened. I did move into a new home a couple of years ago and the oil baseboard heating dries me up like paper and I am wondering if it killed off my taste buds and nose receptors.

Anonymous said...

Martin D - thank you for your encouraging words. I need to be more positive too, but its so hard.

Wish there was a more formal message board us anosmiacs could post on!

martin d. said...

...Hi Nancy...Typically this happens after head trauma or a virus...my loss was sudden and because of a virus...I had an MRI done and it actually showed where the nerve used to be....maybe you lost your sense quicker than you thought?...Don't know what Prednisone is? Still use a saline nasal spray in the hopes it helps whatever remains....

martin d. said...

...Hi Anon. Yes, I wish there was too!...with a quicker response turnaround for those not so good days....Thar's me at the top of the page..so to you all...I'm on Facebook..If that would help....

Christi said...

I've been told that my loss of sense of smell and taste is due to polyps that are blocking those sensory perceptors in my sinus cavities. Does anyone here have the same situation? I have taken Prednisone in the past which has enabled me to smell and taste, but only for as long as I am on the meds...which is not advisable because of the negative long term side effects. I am going to another ENT for a third opinion next week and will have a CT scan at that time. I'm sure the doc will recommend surgery, because that is what these docs all say. I know that there is a better than a 50% chance that the polyps will grow back within 5 years, so I am hesitant to do the surgery, but I don't see any alternative. Christi

Christi said...

Has anyone lost their sense of smell and taste due to polyps? I am seeing a specialist at the University of Pennsylvania next Monday, 9/14. I've been to see 2 other ENT'S in the past few years and they all say that my problem is due to the fact that the polyps are blocking the sensor receptors in my sinus cavities that are responsible for smell and taste. Christi

Christi said...

Has anyone lost their sense of smell and taste due to polyps? I am seeing a specialist at the University of Pennsylvania next Monday, 9/14. I've been to see 2 other ENT'S in the past few years and they all say that my problem is due to the fact that the polyps are blocking the sensor receptors in my sinus cavities that are responsible for smell and taste. Christi

Anonymous said...

Christy,
My doctor did a scope test to check for polyps or tumors that could be causing my anosmia. I didnt have any, but he said it would have been better if I did, because surgery to remove the polyps would allow me to smell and taste again. So, good luck, sounds like your problem is curable, if that is the cause.

Anonymous said...

Christi,
My Doctor checked for polyps and tumors with a scope and said I didnt have any, but that it would have been better if I did, because surgery to remove them would allow me to smell and taste again. So, good luck, sounds like your anosmia is curable if that is what is causing it.

Anonymous said...

Christi,
My ENT checked for polyps because he said it could be the reason for my anosmia. He didnt find any. He actually said it would have been better if he had, because he could remove them and I would most likely regain my smell and taste.

Good luck.

Botsford said...

Mike-
I have some similarities with your situation - I've suffered from bad allergies for a few years, while I have been smoking cigars for about 12 years. Last year my allergies got much worse. Generally I now smoke about 5 small cigars a week, but during some periods I might average 2 per day.

My sense of taste/smell has been disappearring/reappearing for a few days at a time for the last 2 years, but it always coincided with periods of severe allergies. It didn't seem directly influenced by the number of cigars. However, recently my allergies have been fine but my sense of taste/smell is gone completely. With this loss has been my complete loss of enjoyment of cigars (as well as food, beer, wine, etc.)

Questions- Did your quitting cigars help at all? (I'm assuming it had no impact since reading your post about the cruise.) If that didn't help, do you still enjoy cigars?

Cigars were/are one of my greatest pleasures, and it would suck suck suck if I were to lose that pleasure forever. I understand how people enjoy some foods due to textures, spices, and memories, but how to enjoy a cigar if I can't even smell smoke?

Nancy said...

Hi Martin D.:

Predisone, which I started yesterday in a dose called a "burst" is Cortisone. I finally agreed to try it out of frustration. I doubt it will work, I will tell you late next week. I have no idea what caused this. I have no head injury, did have a light case of bronchitis, no antibiotics, normal results on MRI, nose etc. scoped and normal. I still think I killed off my taste buds and cells because of the dry conditions with oil heat in my used to be new home. I also still can differentiate between bitter, spicy and sweet things. If I put something close to my nose, I usually can smell it. But my smell is much weaker when I do smell (I live in the country and sometimes there are skunk smells) Thank goodness those are weaker. I know a few people dealing with cancer and as frustrating as this is, I'LL TAKE IT!!!!

martin d. said...

...Hi Nancy....Good attitude!....good for you!....I might suggest it was the bronchitis, and not the oil heat...I thought I lost mine because of trying to get a car started in the dead of winter in the garage with the big door closed and the entrance door open. The specialist said not likely...His MRI showed the nerve had perished...so I guess it's a moot point now...look forward to hearing from you...Cheers!

Nancy said...

Well, the week of cortisone didn't work. My Doctor told me about the clinic in Philadephia who specializes in this but it's really time consuming and a long drive from Orange Cty., NY.

martin d. said...

....Hi Nancy....sorry to hear it didn't work...remember the last sentence in your post prior to your last..I don't think a long trip to Philly will be an answer...So I'm thinking acceptance and perspective and balance...adapting and coping....and putting the situation we find ourselves in, into a broader perspective...we can always talk...Cheers!

greg said...

Hi anosmics and other abnormal smellers!
I too have the no smell thing and I am looking for solutions,also.I hate the no taste with food aspect and most of all terrible tasting drinks. Pineapple soda kinda tastes ok and spice cookies are just ok too.I am going to an ENT but my expectation's are very low.

tisha said...

i'm dating a guy who suffers from this from a accident. I've read your posts and am starting to understand it a little better but i'd live to know what i can do to make him feel less conscious, and more special. I would usually cook at great meal but i want to get that right!

any help would be appriciated!

T

Gil said...

Tisha,

I have suffered from this condition since mid 2008. What happens is that the olfactory nerve gets damaged to the point where it can no longer regenerate. That doesn't mean you can't taste at all since the taste buds are still working but not in concert with the olfactory nerve.
Consequently, I have gravitated to foods that have very pronounced flavours like Thai cuisine instead of white fish and mashed potatoes for example. That's not to say I don't eat fish but when I do, I add a curry sauce or something quite tasty to give it a stronger flavour. In the end, all these foods do not taste like they used to but I do get sufficient sensations through the taste buds to still look forward to foods like chicken wings with a hot barbecue sauce. I also add hot chili powder or hot sauces to dishes in order to spice things up heat wise and the combination of strong flavours with heat makes for an enjoyable eating experience anyway. The upside is that I eat a lot less as I used to and have dropped 30 pounds as a result so it's not all bad news.

For all you other olfactorily impaired folks, I could add that since my previous post back on December 29th, 2008 (Gil), I have sought remedy through chiropractic adjustments and nasal irrigation but neither has produced any results. I will be attempting acupuncture this year and let you know how it goes.