2 out of 5 and that's not bad!

One of the positives of having my sinuses removed is I no longer have cancer in that area of my body. One of the negatives of having my sinuses removed is I no longer have a sense of smell. Which, depending on what smells might be present, it is not necessarily a bad thing. However, the absence of the sense of smell directly affects one’s sense of taste as well.

            I will never taste food the same way ever again. About 18 months after I completed treatment and had my surgery I had my very first blindfolded taste test. I was visiting my dad in Florida and after dinner one night he, my stepmother, and her sister thought it would be interesting to see how I did in a blind folded taste test. I will admit I was curious also.

            They selected three different flavors of ice cream: vanilla, chocolate, and tiramisu. Up until this moment I felt certain that I could determine the difference. Even though I could no longer taste flavors I could still pull from what my tongue offered me which is: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. It had seemed to me that vanilla is a little bit sweeter than chocolate and chocolate usually has a heavier texture, so I thought I could figure it out that way.

            My dad spoon fed me each flavor one at a time. I did have to ask for another bite of the first one again, because it was harder than I thought. Once I made up my mind which was which I was convinced that I was going to be correct on all three.

            I spoke my verdict and they removed my blindfold. Their expressions were all a bit sad. I had gotten them all wrong. I had a 33% chance of simply guessing and getting at least one right. Even with those odds I still failed.

            It became very clear how much my memory plays a part in how I taste food. I still remember what tiramisu tastes like, so I believe that when I know what I’m eating my brain fills in the gaps that my nose left behind.

            My vision has also been impaired. The tumor had traveled from my sinuses between my eyes before it made its way into my brain. It had wrapped itself around both optical nerves. At one point my right eye was being pushed on so aggressively I was afraid it would be pushed out of the socket.

            Even after the removal of the tumor irreparable damage had been done to the optical nerves on the right eye. My left eye is the same as it was before. As long as both eyes are open I have no problems. If I only try to see through my right eye I have what is called a ‘doughnut hole’ in my vision. If I focus on one spot I can achieve 20/20 vision, but everything around it is a complete blur. I am also a bit color blind in the right eye as well.

            What I do have going for me is my hearing. Despite the concerns that the cysplatin would damage my hearing, as it is a common side affect, mine suffered virtually no change.

            My dad would complain when we were at MD Anderson that he had to lip read the television, because I had the volume down so low. My audiologist said my hearing is even better than his.

            Also, thus far, I have not encountered any nerve damage to my body, so my sense of touch is also still intact.


*Short story long (if you think about it, saying it this way makes more sense than saying long story short), I can’t smell anything, I have limited taste, my vision is impaired, but my hearing is exceptional so be careful what you say around me!

Latest comments

05.11 | 16:12

I am so sorry you had to experience this, Becky. But one thing no stinking fire can take away from you is this: You're an awesome writer. Keep on producing!!

15.04 | 16:00

You are the first person that I have heard from that has this bugger! feel free to reach out to me in the contact me section. Limited response in this section

15.04 | 03:48

Wow. IHow are you doing with the Teratocarcinosarcoma. I was diagnosed with it last September.

15.11 | 18:32

Wow! What an inspirational story! I hope that you continue to share. And for those that don't get it. Try and fit in her shoes one day.