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Taste changes and how long do they last

2 REPLIES 2
Kay0987
Member

Re: Taste changes and how long do they last

Thank you so much for the sound advice. I had reconstructed my diet when diagnosed and was actually fine on it but I don't think it's going to work during chemo if I keep it strictly. I won't get enough flavor in my food to perk my appetite up and keep my weight on. So like you said I'll try to just focus on eating whatever tastes good and gives me energy so that my body appropriately withstands the poison. And hope I get a break with the tastebuds in between. Had my first ice cream yesterday to reward myself and I could taste it and it tasted okay but it wasn't like the usual pop I'm used to. But it went down easily so I'll probably do that again. Quality icecream is extra calcium and nutrients with a high caloric content and exactly what I need to be focused on. Who cares about sugar right now. Chemo should be killing whatever is in there. I just need to be making sure my body withstands it.  

Jaybro
Member

Re: Taste changes and how long do they last

Hi Kay

I think this is something that differs from person to person. Smell and taste are closely linked and some people get a heightened sense of smell that compensates. Others lose their sense of smell and are scuppered. But from my experience of primary chemo, a lot of women talked about their need for spicy food because of their lack of taste buds. Me, I tried to adjust my diet but even fruit juice was like drinking brine!  ‘A few days’ is too soon to judge what’s going to happen. I do remember writing in my blog that everything tasted of salt or soap for me.

Mine was ‘completely done’ for the 19 weeks but I did have a lot of mouth problems, including my salivary glands (hence things tasting of soap). Watch out for mouth ulcers as they tend not to heal. Your hospital may have given you some mouthwash but mostly they are too strong and can strip your mouth of its lining. The medical herbalist I saw at Breast Cancer Haven (now sadly closed) prescribed a mouthwash which was an infusion of dried marigold petals. 4 years on, I still use it daily as a mouth freshener and if I get an ulcer or have bitten my tongue. You just take a tablespoon of petals (Holland & Barrett, Amazon, any health food shop), steep them for 10 minutes in a small teapot or an infuser (not expensive), drain and you have a mug full of mouthwash. The soggy petals can be turned into tiny compresses if you get sores and they really do help, though it’s a bit cumbersome and you have to concentrate!

Try adjusting your diet to include highly flavoured foods but expect things to change throughout. I started by loving pineapple till it began to taste of salt and stung like hell. Digestive biscuits were like sawdust. Crisps like slime. I even went off chocolate (and I was an addict). My favourite meal ended up as being mashed potato, very thick gravy and some peas and other green veg. All I tasted was the gravy - but it was food!. Try to eat healthily but if that proves too hard, just make sure you eat regularly. Small and frequent was the advice I was given. Every two hours, a handful of food. Obviously all this will affect your bowels - be ready! Then adjust to rule out certain foods. Raisins went straight through me! The point is, your chemo is calibrated according to height and weight, among many other things. Weight loss (I went from 7-10 to 6-4) can mean the chemo can damage other body tissue , in my case tendons, and that needs to be avoided.

Now I’ve scared you witless, remember it’s different for everyone. Report back any side effects, no matter how trivial. But, in terms of how long does it last, you may get a small window of ‘normality’ by the middle of week 3. You may find you get 2 weeks respite before it starts again. It’s not predictable. Meantime, good luck with the chemo and I hope it does its job well for you. 

Jan xx (now addicted to pea and bean sticks - Off The Beaten Path - guaranteed to defy any taste loss)

Kay0987
Member

Taste changes and how long do they last

Just had my first chemo a few days ago and my taste buds have gone rogue. Everything is tasting bland. How long does that last? Like will it come back before my next cycle (I go every three weeks for four times) or it is gone until I'm completely done.