Today I Tasted Eggs – Recovering Taste After Chemo

Recovering TasteNow this may not be a headline that will stop the nation. Few people can even begin to understand the importance of recovering taste. I know it is a incredibly insignificant event of zero consequence for everyone – but me.

For me though, this was an event of incredible significance.

Only those who have experienced the loss of taste after chemo will have any understanding of what the hell I am talking about. The reality of  being taste ‘blind’ is just so hard to explain. Mine resulted from a double dose. In addition to chemo, I also had radiation to my tongue due to tongue cancer.

It is nearly three years since my cardboard diet began. The only difference between one variety of cardboard and another was the hardness or texture. Gourmet cheese, nuts or prime steak all tasted remarkably similar in their cardboard flavours. Wine? Well… just think liquid cardboard and you get the rough idea.

Now it hasn’t been all bad. Some taste in a few foods came back after about a year. Since then it has been a series of sporadic minor improvements.  Today was a giant leap in the taste of eggs. From next to nothing two weeks ago through to pretty darn good today. Why? I have no idea.

First Signs of Recovering Taste

Remarkably Japanese food was the first taste to recover. I rarely ate Japanese food before my treatment and now it is the mainstay of my diet. My Irish ancestors would be aghast at my ongoing disdain for potatoes. They still have only the barest taste and that renders the humble spud (no matter how it is cooked) almost inedible.

My new gastronomic delight is teriyaki white fish. It is light years (am I mixing metaphors?) ahead of anything else for the quality of taste sensations and satisfaction that it delivers.

In fact, it is so far ahead that my lunches are almost a mono diet where I head out on ‘fishing trips’ at lunch time each day in search for new restaurants. My order remains the same most days – teriyaki fish. The variety comes from the surprisingly diverse way each cook prepares their teriyaki sauce and then cooks the fish. Who knew it was possible to cook the same dish 200 different ways.

I find it impossible to explain why my taste buds react so strongly to that one flavour – they just do!

After literally thousands of bland horrible meals it was such a delight to find something that restored even a minimal a sense of pleasure in eating. It may be limited. It may be repetitive. But, if you knew where I am coming from, then this is sheer blissful delight.

The Bliss of Eggs

So, what is the big deal about eggs you ask? Well, this morning I finally had a semblance of the previous taste. Not complete, but enough to make my eyes mist with joy. Then I took a second bite , closed my eyes and let that flavour roll around on my tongue. It was a moment to remember.

In contrast, two weeks ago I also had eggs and… well… I was glad I’d added soy sauce because at least I could taste that.

I have absolutely no idea why today was different. No idea what changed or why it was eggs that suddenly loomed back into my taste-world. I’m just glad it did.

A Message of Hope for ‘the Few’

Few will have any comprehension of the depth of the emotions that go with taste returning. Losing such an enjoyable sense is devastating when you have to sit down three times a day to shovel blandness or very distasteful lumps into your mouth. When that drags on for weeks, then months, then years… it becomes very hard.

However, I know there are others out there gritting their teeth and persevering with ‘just another bite’ so they can get sufficient nutrition. They will understand. I wish them a speedy return of their taste. I hope news of my small victory gives them comfort that things can and will improve, even if it does take a very long time.

Bon appetit!

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Angeline Yarger says:

    Congrats on getting the enjoyment back for eggs and every other food delight you’ve enjoyed in the past! I am a foodie and got frustrated when I first started chemo last January and had the taste of metallic in my mouth. It only lasted a month or two to spoil the taste of my favorite foods then dissipated. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to deal with that for years. Best wishes to you for good health and all the good things that come with it!

  2. I remember the first day I tasted eggs as well, such a celebration! Congrats and I’m excited for you that you will be able to add foods that will continue to add joy to your days ahead!

  3. I also am recovering from throat cancer amd did the 35 rounds of radiation and 2 chemo sessions. Also going through the taste a few bites then blah! I am definitely going to try soy sauce and teriyaki sauce on food and hopefully that will help the blandness of food.

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  1. […] have written before about how I have Recovered Taste After Chemo. It was not easy to regain my sense of taste after radiation have wreaked havoc with my throat and […]

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