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Help with diminished taste buds during ABVD

PA_grandma
Posts: 48
Joined: Oct 2010

My 79 year old husband has stage 4 Hodgkins and just had his fourth ABVD chemo treatment.
No food has any taste for him anymore....(well, except eggs). Can anyone suggest something that will help? This treatment will continue until the end of April

His other meds to prevent nausea are Emend, Zofran, Compazine

Thanks,
Joyce - wife (and still lover) of fifty years

yesyes2
Posts: 461
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Joyce,

I had NHL not Hodgkins and was treated with a different chemo, RCHOP. I also had problems with the way food tasted, or should I say didn't taste. Almost all chemos have this effect on our taste buds. I'm sorry your dear husband and you are having to deal with this side effect, but do know that taste will come back after treatment is finished. For me ever chemo cycle had a different effect on my body and the sense of taste was the worst at the beginning of treatments and I had no problem with taste after cycle 3 or 4. Perhaps this will happen for your husband also. Perhaps someone else on this board will have some suggestions for you.

Blessings to you,
Leslie

PA_grandma
Posts: 48
Joined: Oct 2010

Leslie,
Thanks for taking time to respond, and hope you're doing ok with the NHL.

I too, hope his lack of taste will improve with time... however, in searching just now in The Chemotherapy Survival book...and they state that it may take several months AFTER therapy is completed to improve. Ugh...mid summer! Another suggestion, which John will try, is rinsing his mouth with baking soda diluted in water.

Tough road to follow... and after/if the Hodgkins is controled, we have the Prostate to attack. Oh well, we've had a good long life.
Joyce

vinny59's picture
vinny59
Posts: 1030
Joined: Nov 2006

Hi Joyce, I had stage 4 NHL, I'm currently in remission, I'm also a survior of head and neck cancer. With NHL a I did not lose my taste buds, but when I had head and neck, I had no taste buds. I got by on Ramen noodles, pastina pasta in chicken broth, and eggs. Hope that help's, I believe he will get his taste buds back fast. Vinny

PA_grandma
Posts: 48
Joined: Oct 2010

Vinny,
That's interesting. Chicken noodle soup is another thing John can 'taste' (also tomatoes)!
Bread products taste like sawdust.
I'll look for the Ramen noodles you mention, they're new to me.
Joyce

nickydog
Posts: 70
Joined: Nov 2010

A co-worker of mine did chemo, and she told me that sucking on sour candy helped her.

allmost60's picture
allmost60
Posts: 3149
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Joyce,
So sorry your hubby is going this, but you sure have picked the right place to come and find comfort, information and good solid support! I'd be lost without these folks. I did not lose my taste buds during chemo...mine was CVP-R(cyclophosphimide-Vincristine-prednisone-rituxan). Some foods didn't taste quite the same, but I could still taste them. Weird how it affects all of differently. Welcome to the group, and keep coming back.
Best wishes...Sue (FNHL-2-3A-6/10)

PA_grandma
Posts: 48
Joined: Oct 2010

Nicky, Sour Candy....what a great idea! If they don't work for John, I like 'em.

Sue, I appreciate the welcome. I have been on board before (registered in October just after my husband was diagnosed). I received wonderful support then, that's why I'm back with a new question.

After this is solved I'm sure there will be more and I know where to find answers and solace.
Thanks gang, my best wishes to all of you.
Joyce

PA_grandma
Posts: 48
Joined: Oct 2010

My husband, besides having nothing pleasant to eat, is apparently anemic. He's so dreadfully tired all the time.

His white blood count is good, but the red is low. (3.26) It tested low before chemo when having a knee replacement.

His Oncology doctor mentioned a possible blood transfusion (with which I'm personally hesitant). Is there any better option? He eats green vegetables, takes 65mg iron and B complex daily and has started drinking Ensure.

Any suggestions appreciated
Joyce

Tracie1981's picture
Tracie1981
Posts: 125
Joined: Mar 2010

I had Hodgkins Lymphoma and recently ( October) finished all my treatment. He needs to drink A LOT of water atleast 6-8 bottles a day for a few days after chemo that will help restore his taste buds quicker. When I had my first few treatments EVERYTHING tasted like rusted coins :P Not good at all. Then I took the advice from someone else and started drinking more water, it really makes a huge difference. Also drinking coke helps too. Especially the first few days after. It was the one thing that I could actually taste a little of and tolerate on my stomach as well. As for the red blood cells, try hamburgers with Extra Onions, onions are actually good in helping the liver detox your body of the chemicals in chemo. I hate onions and I craved them the whole time doing chemo :/ I hope this helps, God Bless!

PA_grandma
Posts: 48
Joined: Oct 2010

I appreciate hearing from someone who has had the same chemo treatment.
Yes, the information we were given at the start of all this DID express the importance of water. I have tried to push it without much success...this morning I will read your post to John, maybe that will help.

Coke is not currently on the 'menu', but onions are...and he likes (or at least did previously). We'll give everything a try.

Thanks for sharing your experience. Hope you are now ok.
~ Joyce

truckingalong
Posts: 444
Joined: Aug 2010

Welcome, Joyce to here!

I am approaching to my final 12th chemo treatment for Hodgkins. So I have had my share of low blood counts - white and red, lousy tastes, stomachaches, fatigues, and so on. One thing that I really appreciated the most was getting the blood transfusion last November. I was so weak and could not barely walk so after few weeks of low anemia, my onc suggested I had the transfusion and I was hesitant but went ahead. The next day, I felt day and night and went back to my normal energy. I was thrilled. Now two months later, my anemia is still not too bad. It is the white blood counts that I have to watch for. I thank American Red Cross for its help!

Eating a good diet is the best way to heal so anything that helps your husband eat well will help. Best of luck for his healing and he is lucky to have you care for him.

Liz

PA_grandma
Posts: 48
Joined: Oct 2010

I'm glad your final chemo is almost here and hope it is successful.

John's white count has been good ( currently 19). It's just the red we're fighting at the moment, along with taste and fatigue... thankfully no stomach aches. Your positive comment about the transfusion has changed my mind. (I've been worried about possible transmission of other diseases) He'll see his Oncologist next Friday for his fifth chemo and try to get that going.

I will read your advice to him, as well. We still have a long road ahead. April 29th will be his probable final dose. That happens to be on his 80th birthday. I hope it's a celebration!

(I'm glad I'm here for him, too. Fifty years, hard to believe)

Joyce

CiAnnaBananna's picture
CiAnnaBananna
Posts: 106
Joined: Mar 2010

I also just finished up ABVD chemo in October for Hodgkins Lymphoma. Like many have said before, hopefully the taste will get better in a few weeks. My first 6 weeks, my taste buds were on the fritz and then suddenly the taste started coming back. Each round I had a different side effect take place. I've also found that after chemo, certain foods don't appeal to me anymore and others I crave like I never craved before. As for the anemia, i was very anemic during all my treatment and even after it's over my red blood counts are still pretty low. I stay tired and very cold as a result. I dont know if there is a right answer other than possibly iron pills, but the docs tell me it should eventually get better in time. Sadly, it's just something we have to go through and deal with, but i'll pray that your husband gets better!

-CiAnna

truckingalong
Posts: 444
Joined: Aug 2010

CiAnna,

Thanks for the comment. Good to know that taste can come back! I understand it takes many months to feel normal again - I will have to tell myself to be patient and rest and even take naps regularly. Let's hope our anemia will subside with time then.

Joyce, my thoughts are with you and best of luck with husband's healing.

Liz

PA_grandma
Posts: 48
Joined: Oct 2010

CiAnna and Liz, Your kind good thoughts appreciated.

John is ten weeks into his diagnosis.... and yes, every chemo session has given him a different reaction. Good to know that's not unusual. He'll have another 'dose' this Friday. I wonder what it will be this time!

He has started Iron pills and B complex for energy. Blood test was done this morning. We'll see if there's improvement or transfussion needed.

My husband also has Stage 4 Prostate cancer. The hormone therapy injections (to hold that at bay while Hodgkins is being treated) probably also are giving him side effects.

Look forward to hearing how both of you are weathering this life altering experience.

Sincerely,
Joyce

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