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Topic: No Taste Buds!

Forum: Just Diagnosed — Discuss next steps, options, and resources.

Posted on: Sep 26, 2008 09:30PM

dacox wrote:

Did my first treatment on 9/18/08, my taste buds went bye-bye after that.  Everything taste flat and bitter, not sure if that is the metallic taste that I heard about, even water taste weird.  Any suggestions and does this go away befor my next treatment!

Debbie Dx 5/2008, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 26, 2008 09:37PM hopefullady wrote:

Hi Debbie,

I'm not sure what kind of treatments you are having?   After my first chemo everything tasted flat and about the same.  That went away the second week.   I have taxotere and cytoxen every three weeks.


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Sep 26, 2008 09:53PM dacox wrote:

that is my treatment and I to have them 3 weeks apart, I will do 4 treatments.  It really sucks because friends and family have been really great, they dropped off food for my kids and they tell me everything taste really good and I can't enjoy one thing!  My friend took me to Red Lobster, could taste that, so they told me they would make me eat McDonlds if it all taste the same, how sad is thatCry, she was kidding, I hope! 
Debbie Dx 5/2008, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 26, 2008 09:59PM - edited Sep 26, 2008 10:00PM by HeatherBLocklear

Dear Debbie,

I'm going to level with you: as long as you are on chemo, your taste buds will not be your best friends. Nothing will taste right; most things -- even those you loved best before -- will taste strange or downright nasty. I am now two months out of chemo, and things are gradually (very gradually) starting to return to normal in that department.

If I can give you a bit of advice, it would be this: do not eat foods or patronize restaurants you used to love while you're going through treatment. If you do, you will no longer like those foods, and will feel nauseated at the very thought of those restaurants for a long, long time after treatment ends. Even today I can no longer even see an Olive Garden sign without wanting to throw up because we'd eat there after my chemo each time. DH thought he was giving me a treat (and of course I love him for it), but in fact the ritual has resulted in a situation of aversion for that restaurant and the food it serves.

Things will return to normal once you're done with chemo, but -- as I say above -- it takes time.

Hang in there. You WILL get through this!



Annie Camel Tail Dx 2/23/2008, IDC, Stage IV, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 26, 2008 10:30PM - edited Sep 27, 2008 02:02PM by whoopsiedoodles

Annie is ABSOLUTELY right.  I can not, or will not go into Applebee's, nor will I ever drink a strawberry smoothie, eat a popsicle (any color), or drink a Vanilla Frappucino from SBux.  All of these things were items I had during chemo (Applebee's was my "last" meal before chemo, and the other items were consumed during Adrimyacin to stave off the mouth sores).  The very thought of them make me want to vomit. 

As a result, I made a point to eat Wendy's after every chemo (a Wendy's Chicken Sandwich, to be exact).  Why?  Because I hate Wendy's.  I knew I wouldn't care if it made me ill to think of it. 

Water issues?  I can identify/empathize with this.  The only water that tasted AT ALL "drinkable" to me was Aquafina bottled water (warm).  This was after a whole lot of trial and error.  How did I get around this?  For a few days, I tried eating lots of watermelon, but began to feel yucky when I smelled it.  I LOVE watermelon, and did not want an aversion (I was too late, the smell makes me sick now).  I also did Crystal Light, and even drank some low sodium boullion. 

I was delighted to have lost 30 pounds on chemo, but sadly, my taste buds suddenly came back about 3 months after my last chemo.  I was suddenly eating voraciously, as if to make up for lost time.  Those 30 pounds were quickly found FrownEmbarassedInnocent

I stayed away from spicy foods, partially because of aversion, and partially because of mouth sores.  I ate TONS of bland foods (bagels, mac and cheese, any type of carb-rich food with very little flavor).  I also drank Boost.  God bless Boost-what a tremendous product! 

Hang in there.  Come back here often, you will get all the support you could need or want,
Love and prayers, Deb

"And if it turns out it's over too fast, I'll make every last moment last" Dx 9/29/2005, IDC, 6cm+, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 27, 2008 06:47AM sushanna1 wrote:

Identify whatever tastes normal and eat it. Horseradish (which I didn't particularly like before chemo) tasted normal as did cheap hotdogs.  I got through Christmas and Thanksgiving by putting horseradish or horseradish sauce on things.  Cocktail sauce made not only shrimp, but fish palatable.  Cheap chili dogs (aka coney island red hots) with lots of raw onions worked too.  Unfortunately, fruit never tasted right and to this day, I cannot stand jello.  It dissolves into chemicals in my mouth.  I warned friends who offered me dinner (in their homes or at a restaurant) that I could not predict how things would taste and to forgive me if I had to leave the table quickly.  Good luck and hang in there. Once you figure out what you can swallow, you will do fine.  One friend told me that she could only eat bland "white foods" such as mashed potatoes.

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Sep 27, 2008 11:19AM seawolfe wrote:

+1 on the "white foods" and +2 on the "try not to eat any of your old favorites, lest you grow to hate them".

 You might also go into brainlock when you feel like youre starving to death and cant think of a single thing that you want to eat. Pancakes, potato pancakes (latkes) with applesauce, apricot cliffbars and mashed potatoes were always good for me in these instances.  My husband went nuts trying to get me to eat enough protein Tongue out Try to identify asap foods that work for you.

The funniest thing was wine - all my old favorites tasted nasty! But the sickly sweet ones that everyone hated tasted "normal". 

 Just remember - this too shall pass.

Dx 3/2003, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Sep 27, 2008 11:36AM NancyD wrote:

You're going to find a lot of things taste strange. Sometimes not bad, but definitely not normal. I didn't avoid any foods out of fear I would grow to despise them (I love food too much to ever feel that way), but I did have trouble finding foods I could taste. 

Most of the time I was going through chemo, I had little taste at all. Sometimes, I couldn't taste anything sweet, and foods tasted kind of bitter like they had too many dried herbs on them. Then I couldn't taste salt, and I didn't trust my judgment when I cooked. So I told my family to add their own at the table.

And I'm with seawolfe on the wine. Sadly, I pretty much gave it up during chemo and have found since then that I really have lost my tolerance. More than one glass gives me a headache. Beer didn't change it's flavor, however, and I seem to tolerate that fine. I hope the wine intolerance passes as I really enjoy it

I'm not a complete idiot. Some parts are missing. Dx 2/22/2008, IDC, Left, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 4/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/22/2008 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 7/11/2008 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 9/1/2008 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 9/5/2008 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 1/28/2010 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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Sep 27, 2008 12:40PM my3girls wrote:

I would have to agree with Nancy on just about everything.  However I was not able to tolerate beer or alchohol in any form. I could not stand coffee or soda...good thing huh.  But that is not to say that my taste for it did not return, because it did. My taste buds were dead most of the time, then right before my next tx..they would come back slightly...and so would my appetite!

I heard about staying away from fav's...but I did have mine several times, if I craved them...and it did not make me not want them now.  The only thing I don't want to drink is my favorite raspberry iced tea...it is too red and reminds me of my infusion!

Have faith, it all goes back to normal!!

Good luck to you!


Worry is for "shit"! Live, Laugh, Love! //unilateral mast//reconst. 2/4/08 Dx 3/6/2007, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/22 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 27, 2008 08:38PM dacox wrote:

Thank you all very much! I trying to ajust to this new way of life, don't much care for it and I tell myself its only for 3 more months, I 'm a big girl, and I can do this!  I just can't get enough to drink, the food, I could really care less about, it's finding something to keep my thirst up.  Now with all these other changes going on in my body, just got myself a cold and was put on anitbiotic, levaquin to be excact!  so, the 1 day I was feeling good is gone and no I need to worry about the side effects with this medicine.  So much for making progress!  Did any of you lady's have cytoxene and taxotere?  I have been reading some of the other boards and I'm a little scare of the taxotere.  Does this stuff get worse with treatment?  And did anyone have a bad reaction with the Neulasta?  I thought I did my reasearch, but after reading the boards, I'm a little terrified!


Debbie Dx 5/2008, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 28, 2008 04:13PM crazy4carrots wrote:

Hi Debbie:

There is a Taxotere Side Effects thread on the Chemotherapy: Before, During and After Forum which will give you a few insights and tips.  I think the three most noticeably different se's from Taxotere were peripheral neuropathy (tingling and/or numbness in fingers and toes), tender nailbeds, and lack of taste buds.  My last tx was July 22; my ability to taste returned within 3 weeks, but the other 2 se's continue to linger to a lesser degree.

However, not everyone reacts the same way, and for you it may be a piece of cake.  Let's hope so!

Good luck,


The demagogue preaches doctrine he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots. Dx 1/10/2008, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 28, 2008 07:20PM carol1949 wrote:

dacox,  Bless you... You WILL make it through!  I just finished 22 weeks of chemo (a/c and then taxotere.... and then taxotere+ carboplatin).  Unfortunately, nothing tastes as it used to... but it is not that bad. Since I could not taste anything anyway...  I tried to eat especially healthy things and lots of raw fruit, carrots, etc.  I found cold foods the easiest to taste and eat.  It is normal to be thirsty, and you are supposed to drink a ton of water... so just add lemon, lime. or whatever helps.  I found that lots of ice helped.  I also found anything sweet tasted 17 x's more sweet than normal, and since I believe sugar is a cancer feeder, I avoid sugar as much as possible.

My onc told me to take 3 b complex per day to help avoid neuropathy... it has seemed to help.  I did get achy from the neulasta, but tylenol helped.

I highly recommend for you to check out Dr. Patrick Quillin.  He is a former VP of Cancer Treatment centers of America, and gives valuable information regarding diet, supplements and even menu suggestions.  He does not sell the supplements, but prioritizes which ones may be beneficial esp. when money is a determining factor of what one can afford.  YOu can Google him... or I borrowed the book from my library... it is called Beating Cancer With Nutrition. (His program is designed to work WITH traditional therapy)  It is not quacky... just lots of good advice backed with documentation.

Good luck and let me know what you think about Quillin!  (my oncologist also approved of him!)

Dx 4/4/2008, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, ER+, HER2-
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Sep 29, 2008 02:25PM whoopsiedoodles wrote:


One thing to remember is that we ALL respond to treatment differently.  I will tell you that FOR ME, Neulasta was harder to handle than the chemo.  I believe that is what caused all of my pain to skyrocket.  Other women just get a mild discomfort, other women don't even realize they had it! 

Levaquin is a DREAM when it comes to being neutropenic.  I was dangerously ill with infection and Levaquin made me feel much better. 

I didn't do Taxotere, I had Taxol (very similar).  I felt pretty crappy with my 1st chemo cocktail (Adrimyacin and Cytoxan) but the taxol and Carboplatin felt like a dream in comparison.  Again, we are all different.....

You will get through this.  Love and prayers, Deb

"And if it turns out it's over too fast, I'll make every last moment last" Dx 9/29/2005, IDC, 6cm+, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-

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