Food, Food,and Food


I'm nearing the end of my 2nd week of treatment. My sense of taste left last night without even saying goodbye! I was expecting this but am surpised how hard it is to ear when everything tastes so awful. I know everyone experiences this to some degree but was wondering how you handled it. Was there certain foods that were your fall back food, something you could taste somewhat? Did these change over time? Did you constantly experiment? 

Thank you for your time!


  • MarineE5
    MarineE5 Member Posts: 1,031 Member
    Have you ever tried cardboard or a 9 volt battery on your Tongue

    Foods will taste like cardboard and fluids will taste like an aluminum can for a spell. I would smell my food before I tried to eat, sort of reminded me of what it was supposed to taste like. I had a PEG Tube for several months after surgery. When I was able to eat I could taste food after surgery. It was the Radiation treatments that hit me hard but have recovered some of my taste back. 

    Someone here mentioned that it took him about the same number of weeks out of treatments that he was in treatments for him to start tasting food again. After treatments, we "Cook" for some time before our slow recovery happens.

    My Best to You and Everyone Here

  • Billie67
    Billie67 Member Posts: 898
    Marine is right! However my

    Marine is right! However my liquids tasted like salty chemicles. It did become habit for me to smell my food too in hopes I’d be able to taste some of what I had smelled. I ate a lot of foods that were as bland as I could because the traditionally stronger seasoned and flavored foods were just awful and to be honest, I didn‘t want to ruin them for Later when I could taste again. Don’t know if that makes sense??

    I ate a lot of mashed potatoes, oatmeal, cream of wheat stuff like that. I also had a PEG so I got most of my nutrition from that but I knew I had to keep swallowing so thats what I”d force myself to eat. Oddly, root beer was one thing that kept its flavor. I was not a fan of it before (if I had to choose between that and coke) but since it sort of retained its flavor I sipped on it quite a bit. 

    Try many things, don’t give up and use those throat muscles even if food tastes bad or “off”



  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,722 Member
    no you eat it


    It is a memory only a H&N member can appreciate.  Take what you can from everyone here, but you  will likely make your own path through the food, eating, taste, no taste, smell.  I survived very well, I did not return to the land of eating (normal eating, like 99% of the people around you) for 7 months and the last thing you said before “Thank you for your time”, was one of the things I did all the time, just about every day.  I tried every food I could, I tasted salt and sugar to gage where I was, I tried magic fruit with orange slices (that was fun experiment #22), I carried around my little igloo cooler with water and protein drinks, I went to lunch with my boss and my wife, but was satisfied with a drink.  It does no good to be mad.  For most of us it does go away and we return to eating like everyone else, be it slower and with more fluids. I drank a lot of smoothies and sampled a lot of soft foods and at the end of 7 months, the taste buds returned and away we went.


  • yensid683
    yensid683 Member Posts: 349
    Salty worked for

    quite some time, I was taking liquid feedings through my PEG tube by the start of week 3, but for some reason bacon, mini powedered donuts and skim milk warmed to room temp in the microwave worked.  Don't ask me why they did, I have no idea.  By the start of week 4 the sore throat really spiked up so most solid food was no longer suitable, though I still worked on swallowing a few spoonfuls of jell-o each day just to keep my ability to swallow going.  I could taste the first spoonful, but it faded out within seconds.  No one that has not experienced what we have can appreciate how nasty it is to eat something that has absolutely no taste! 

    As others have said, it is a unique experience to each of us.  Not to be scary, but it will get more challenging before it gets easier!

  • OKCnative
    OKCnative Member Posts: 326 Member
    My taste faltered for a bit

    My taste faltered for a bit (around week 3-4) and returned (unfortunately) while my mucous was at it's worst (approx. week 6-7).

    While my taste never went completely away, I was unable to distinguish many foods I previously enjoyed. I found I needed really high fat junk type foods if I wanted to experience taste. I found McDonald's McGriddles to actually taste like they should, so I enjoyed one each morning. Otherwise, I just reminded myself this was all temporary and to just go with the flow.

    When my taste came back, I unfortunately could no longer swallow solid food - so I got the joy of tasting a combination of mucous and Boost VHC (yuck!). I also could taste the chemo during treatments and that was also not pleasant.

    I did not use a PEG tube, and the ability to eat solid food came back to me within a couple of weeks of treatment ending. So far my taste is back at 100% and I don't have sensitivity to spicy foods like many members here report.

  • donfoo
    donfoo Member Posts: 1,771 Member
    still early days

    It's a long slog through treatment and through recovery. Eating at some point becomes work and a chore. There is no longer any joy associated with it. At some point down the road, it will come back in varying random amounts and then at some later time it becomes "normal". There are some who rebound 100% and others with something missing from before. For now focus on getting as many calories (food) and liquids into your body.