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Sensitive to Smells?

suekgaard's picture
suekgaard
Posts: 29
Joined: May 2010

Has anyone noticed that since they have had LC that you are very sensitive to smells, odors ect? I just went to clean my extra bathroom,( which OK I've bee a bad girl and haven't cleaned in awhile) and I sprayed some bathroom cleaner into the sink and I couldn't breathe! I had to walk out of the room until it disipated. I've also noticed this at my local craft/ fabric store because they sell lots of potpourri and candles. Where I used to be able to spend hours in there now I have to grab what I want and get out. I was just wondering if anyone else has had this problem or if it's just crazy ole me :) .

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I thought for quite some time that it was my time in the hospital. The first time, I was in for two weeks and when I was in the car on the way home I was nearly overwhelmed by the smell of tar and who knows what else from a nearby construction site. The second time, I was in for 30 days, and one of my most distinctive memories is of a nurse leaning into me and me asking what she was chewing because it smelled so wonderful.

My theory was that the basically sterile, antiseptic environment deprives one of normal daily smells.

However, it has now been more than two years since that second, longer stay, and I must agree with you, although I am not so sure that it is the odor so much as it is the particles in the air that create the odor. That is, if an air freshener is used (aerosol type) I am compelled to leave the room; if the vacuum cleaner is going, I have to hop from room to room as it follows me.

On the positive side, it seems my sense of smell is much more potent than it was (probably at least in part because I quit smoking as a result of this stuff, back in '05), and so attractive aromas are much more striking.

In any event, there are at least two of us who are 'crazy' :).

And the nurse was merely chewing a common chewing gum brand.

Take care,

Joe

kelli1843's picture
kelli1843
Posts: 72
Joined: Jan 2010

Three of us not crazy!! I've definitely noticed I pick up on smells more. I can't go to my favorite used bookstore as she also sells incense and it's too overpowering for me.

I used to make soy candles and stopped because I no longer liked the smell of the fragrance and essential oils used in them.

I never used to notice if my dogs smelled doggy, but I do now. I got stuck behind the city bus one day and I had to take alternate route because the diesel smell was making me sick.

I understand what Joe meant about the change in sterile environment to the real world. I always connected the smell enhancement to my chemo though. I'd get home from chemo and could smell "chemo" on me the rest of the day (the antiseptic, drugs etc).

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008

Ha. I thought it was because I quite smoking. LOL

zinniemay's picture
zinniemay
Posts: 534
Joined: Mar 2009

They say that Chemo and /or radation highens smell. At the hospital in Ann Arbor they ask and have signs up people not to wear perfumes. My husband smells every thing and he will say smell that I am like smell what? but He does notice smells more now . So you are so not alone.

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1580
Joined: May 2009

Prior to treatment I had almost no sense of smell. It had to be a very, very strong odor for me to be able to smell it. Post treatment my sense of smell is incredible, my husband is amazed at the difference. I smell everything!!!

I have a very hard time with aerosol sprays now. If I have to use hair spray I hold my breath while I spray and quickly leave the room before inhaling. Vacuuming is not a pleasant experience but I have 2 dogs so it's a daily necessity.

I've just had to learn to adapt and do things a little differently now. LOL - couldn't convince my husband that I could no longer do the dusting or vacuuming ;-)'

Take care,
Glenna

Dan620
Posts: 219
Joined: Dec 2009

I'm another one very sensitive to smells. My wife must go outside are in basement to do her nails, the polish and especially the nail polish remover makes me sick to my stomach. I also use hair spray on what little hair i have left and also have to hold my breath while doing so. I just want to say you people on this site are amazing. Best of health to all. ..... Dan

kelli1843's picture
kelli1843
Posts: 72
Joined: Jan 2010

The one thing that stands out in my mind (increased smell) was stepping in my backyard in May and having the scent of lilacs hit me. Whoa!

My favorite flower and we have several trees out back but I could hardly ever smell them; I swear I walked all aroudn the yard with nose in air, taking deep breaths. My dogs were trailing after me with puzzled looks like "wth is Mom doing??"...lol.

stayingcalm's picture
stayingcalm
Posts: 656
Joined: Feb 2007

I've had the exact same experiences, but mine did happen when I quit smoking, not related to chemo (a few years before my diagnosis). And I also walked all around smelling the air and all the fragrances - flowers, weeds, fresh soil, the pond...I still do this ;)

I've actually always had a problem with fabric stores, think it's something in the dyes I'm reacting to, and candle stores, whoa! Have to give them a wide berth!

Happy smelling :)
stayingcalm

Dan620
Posts: 219
Joined: Dec 2009

I quit smoking 21 years ago and made big difference in sense of smells, but since chemo i'm super sensitive to smells. My one pet peeve at cancer center and Drs. medical building ambulances and shuttle buses let motors running right outside main entrance doors fumes are terrible and they can sit there for 10 - 15 minutes are more, you would think they would have another entrance for them. well so much for venting. Stay well all ... Dan

firefighter51
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2010

I am appreciative of all of the postings regarding the smells. As a caregive, I'm challenged each and every day not to have things in the house which are offensive and nauseating. The latest was my tooth paste and mouth wash and I was asked if I had dumped whiskey down the drain and why was I hiding it (was only the listerine and crest). I am trying really hard to keep all offensive smells at bay but is difficult at times when I am not certain what is nauseating. I'll do anything to make sure the house is smell free - even down to doing my cleaning with non-smelly products, wash with very light smelling detergent, and I always do my nails outside. Any suggestions of what I might still be doing wrong will be extremely appreciated. Thank you for any suggestions you might be able to offer to make his life much more tolerable.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

As I, and others, have indicated, firefighter, there comes a time when we, the survivors, have to take action if we are offended by aromas/odors (leave the room during vacuuming, for example). It sounds to me like you are doing all within your power, reasonably, to make things easier for your mate. It sounds as though it is at the point where he may be the one needing to make some adjustments.

Just a thought from a survivor who knows how hard it is to be the caregiver.

Take care,

Joe

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

Maybe the extra sense of smell is a protection device our bodies turn on. I know that cleaning materials, especially the ones with bleach and ammonia, really bother me now. The doctors and nurses tell me to avoid things with irritating smells and that they are bad for me. I open windows more now and try to use the fan to get rid of fumes faster now. It helps. I sometimes have to practically skip through the detergent aisle at the grocery store if I go down it at all. I love Bath and Body Works, but sometimes those smells get to me too if they are too concentrated. Forget about gas fumes and paint fumes. I choke on them. Of course they aren't good for anyone, but maybe we notice them more because they are worse for us.

1blessedamongus
Posts: 15
Joined: Aug 2010

Within a week of my husband quitting cigarettes his sense of smell became like SUPERMAN's sight. ha. He could smell the slightest odor or food and he began to eat like a pig. During chemo treatments that lasted 6 hrs I would have to go twice to get him a fastfood meal so his weight never was affected. Now he has been off chemo for 2-3 mos and he hates odors. Can't tolerate anything cooking on stove and ESpecially Nail polish remover takes his breath away. Also wanted to know if anyones EARS have become super sensitive to noise. We had to go get earplugs for my husband because if several people are in room and talking his ears begin to HURT.

Mom@heart
Posts: 5
Joined: Aug 2010

My husband jokes that they should hire me at the airport instead of a sniffer dog because I can smell EVERYTHING.

1blessedamongus
Posts: 15
Joined: Aug 2010

I know I can be in the backroom with the door closed and spray windex and he yells"are you spraying that poison again."haha.

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