• Taste Buds

    Asked by ticklingcancer on Friday, December 14, 2012

    Taste Buds

    How did you deal with your taste buds changing while on chemo?

    18 Answers from the Community

    18 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      My taste buds fell into 3 categories when I was in chemo:

      1. This tastes like it should.

      2. This tastes like cardboard.

      3. This tastes like a 4 letter word that will print out as XXXX here.

      Most foods fell into category 3, so I just didn't eat them. After some experimentation, I found that for some reason tomatoes and cheese tasted like tomatoes and cheese, and bread, crackers, and pasta didn't have any taste, good or bad, at all. So I mostly ate tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese and crackers, and when I really wanted to splurge, pasta marinara.

      almost 4 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      I agree 100% with your categories. And like you, mine usually fell into category 3. I was able to eat cereal. But it had to be really sweet. My cereal of choice was frosted flakes. I would eat a small bowl in the morning and a small bowl at night.

      almost 4 years ago
    • GypsyJule's Avatar

      I agree with nancyjac completely. My favorite comfort food during this process has been grilled velveeta sandwiches. Yes, oh so healthy!! And for some reason pizza still tastes good. Almost anything else is just something to eat because I'm hungry, not because it tastes good.

      I am a soda lover, but found that coke & Pepsi ( both diet & reg) didn't taste the same. I found a new love in A&W Rootbeer. Not my favorite in the past, but now it calms my stomach and tastes great. I know it's important to eat healthy, and I know I will give up the velveeta when I am through all this! :)

      almost 4 years ago
    • cris' Avatar

      My taste buds are: 1) taste like nothing, 2) taste like xxxx, or 3) taste like it should which is hardly ever. I do realize if I crave a food I try & eat that because more thank likely it will taste good. Also sweets are ok at times & I am not a sweet eater. Good luck to you!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      I guess I fall in with Nancy's categories. Something strange though happened to me. I always could eat the little packs of chocolate pudding you get in 6 packs, but didn't really have an obsession with them, I woke up from a surgery and the guy in the next bed was eating one, when the Nurse came over to check on me the first thing I said was "I want one of those" I bet I have eaten a truck load of chocolate pudding since then. Strange. And another, I always could drink milk, but take it or leave it. Durning my throat pains, sores, blisters, etc in my mouth I could drink. So I started drinking milk, with chocolate syrup in it. Now I still go through about a gallon and a half a week.

      Also mashed potatoes and gravy probably made me survive the first round.

      Greg p

      almost 4 years ago
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      Ha! I lost weight! There were so many foods that tasted bad.

      almost 4 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      That's a good question. Dad's taste sense was mostly affected by the chemo for the first cancer-- carboplatin and taxol. I'm not aware of anything to improve it during chemo. I'm sure someone must have some tricks to help.

      Love the hat... even better than the lady wig.

      almost 4 years ago
    • ConnieB's Avatar

      My taste buds went to "XXX in a handbasket" during chemo. I'm done now but some of my tastes for certain foods haven't come back.

      almost 4 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      I have found that some of the foods I was able to eat while on chemo I can no longer eat. Might be because I somehow relate it to the chemo.

      almost 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      TC, I have found that to be the case too, don't want anything to do with some things, and my wifes perfume that she used to wear during that time I can't stand the smell of it. Makes me sick to smell it. And I can be walking down the hall in the hospital and smell Heperin, I get a flashback of sitting in the chair.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I had weird cravings while on chemo. The taste bud thing made me want to eat really spicy foods, like tacos and stuff or really sweet foods, like cupcakes. Not the healthiest, but it got me through.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Debbie's Avatar

      I have Nancyjac category 2 and 3, never 1. But now I am a sugarholic - if it is sweet, I am on it!

      almost 4 years ago
    • SpunkyS's Avatar

      So GregP_ Is that a gallon of milk or a gallon of chocolate syrup you go through?
      Most things tasted like nothing. I usually woke up at 2 a.m. hungry. Cottage cheese and peaches, ham or deli turkey on crackers. When I had GI trots from chemo it seemed that white rice settled it down. Use to love hot spicey. Now my tongue can't take it even though my mind wants it. McD's ice cream on the way home from chemo was what I craved, and only then.

      almost 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      My main problem was that if I ate something once I never wanted to see it, taste it, or smell it again. Many well-intentioned people gave us huge casseroles and such so we could get two or more meals out of it. I was so repulsed by the idea of leftovers it wasn't even funny. I read somewhere that you should avoid eating your most favorite foods during chemo because you may get forever turned off from them. I think that might be good advice.

      My best coping strategy for nausea during chemo was the same one I used during my pregnancies: At the first sign of nausea I would force myself to eat something, no matter how much the idea repulsed me. Mostly I would eat dry cereal or crackers (not easy to do with an incredibly dry mouth!) Keeping my stomach from being totally empty was key to controlling the nausea. I can remember sitting at the kitchen table many mornings at 4 or 5am trying to choke down dry mini-wheats to calm my stomach so I could go back to bed and sleep for several more hours.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Modern's Avatar

      I didn't have much of a problem except smells and tastes became more intense. Like even the sliteist amount of heat would have me draining a gallon of milk to cool my mouth off and really strong smells would make me feel queasy

      almost 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Great question- BTW love your new photo. My biggest problem is that I want to eat more so i can taste something, since most things taste so bland, especially the the first few days after treatment.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Lirasgirl33's Avatar

      Oh man! Nancy hit the nail on the head for me. To me changes in taste made some of the tastiest things taste like eating a plain flavorless rice cake. I've never eaten styrofoam but I'm thinking that's what it would taste like. I'm not a fan of rice cakes. Then there were times when things tasted "sort of" normal....but the more you ate you realized "nope" this tastes like poo. I'd like to compare it to the first time I ate a vegan Philly cheesesteak sandwich...it started of ok.....then my brain made the connection and realized it was an impostor, yuck. LOL What can I say? I like my beef and my mouth knew the difference. :) Then there were times when things actually tasted good and I "enjoyed" eating. I took advantage of those times. I ate good. And of course the bad times when I couldn't think of, see, or smell food, period.

      How did I deal with it? I tried to change things up. Trying different and new foods. Sometimes eating the "familiar" wasn't too good of an idea since I knew what taste to expect....and if it tasted different, my body would not want anything to do with it. Fruit, cream of wheat and veggies usually tasted as they should, so whenever I was having taste issues I would choose those. I would say, eat what you can, when you can, but ALWAYS eat something. An empty stomach is nauseas best friend. On days when I just could not eat I would drink nutritional shakes with a straw. A straw got it to where it needed to go.... to the back and down my throat.

      Toward the begining of my journey someone here on Whatnext said something that stuck with me. He/she said to think of side effects as discomforts, and to get through those discomforts by finding ways to minimize them. This has helped me a lot. :)

      almost 4 years ago

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