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Trying to enjoy my garden

Posts: 177
Joined: Dec 2009

It has been tough with only about 20% taste to enjoy my garden this year, I am trying but alot of the flavors that I usually love are not coming through. I finally have my weight stable and am going to try to get my Peg tube removed tommorow at the ENT visit. Wish me luck, this whole eating thing is a pain in the butt for the first time in my life. What are some of your favorite things to eat, I am three months post treatment.


RushFan's picture
Posts: 223
Joined: Aug 2010

Hey Brad.
Sorry the taste buds are slow to bounce back. I'm about the same, finished treatments end of April. I love food and have found memories of many things. My taste has come back approx. 50-75%. I can distinguish many food items, but the taste is not quite the same.

Here's what I've been eating that is fairly enjoyable: I do have to take a sip of milk or water with each bite, salivary glands at 5% tops...

Scrambled eggs with turkey-ham, cheese and add fresh tomatoes and basil. Banana's. Life ceral. Open face "egg-mac-muffin". chicken if it's marinated. cinnamon rolls. cheesy grits . V-8 splash drinks. macaroni & cheese (Stouffer's frozen). fresh tomatoes & cucumbers. fruit sherbets. yogurts. fruit cups. pineapple chunks...

I'm interested in food, but it's a hassle to find items that are moist / easy to eat. What used to be "eat just about anything" has become a "process". I've heard try it...if you don't like it or taste is poor...try again later.

Good luck Brad, all the best to you and everyone here.

rush1958's picture
Posts: 214
Joined: Jul 2010


Look at the bright side, I was too fatigued to work my garden properly and it is the worst year I've ever had for one!

I'm about a month-and-a-half out of treatment. Fresh tomtatoes are OK for taste, but still not completely right. The sweet peppers have faired pretty well and taste good.

Fresh veggies taste pretty normal to me. Steak and BBQ were two of my favorites, but both seem to be too dry right now due to lack of saliva.

I love pizza and spaghetti, but the processed tomato sauces don't taste very good. Pizza is too dry and spaghetti has a bad taste...... but it is getting better!


Hal61's picture
Posts: 655
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Brad, I've got most of my taste back, approaching 4 and one-half months post, but a lot of time it doesn't make it through a meal. Mine shifts a lot. What I could eat last week tastes not so good this week, and vice versa, so as Rush Fan said, I have to keep re-sampling. I've been able to put away canned fruit--fruit cocktail, peaches--in water pretty well throughout, and eggs. I still have a g tube since my appetite is still not matching my taste bud progress. I never know though, I've been eating a small salad, and two chicket drumsticks from a nearby takeout for a couple of weeks. Today, a coke tastes o.k., but lots of days it has a perfumy aftertaste. At 20% it's pretty tough though, give yourself a bit more time now that it's coming back and I expect you'll have positive changes.

best, Hal

Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Brad,

As you may know I have gone the vegetarain way and an fact almost Vegan. I very occassionaly have a piece of Salmoon or Tuna but avoid all other meats and dairy. Funnily, I can eat most vegetables and especially salads and can taste it all.

My diet is very simple. Every moring without fail, a large bowl with a good quality muesli/cereal with a whole small Papaya and one of Rice/Almond.Soy or Hazelnut milk. I add a banana every other day.

Lunch is usually soup and salads, grilled asparagus and artichoke. I often eat Japanese for lunch so noodles & veges in soup.

Dinner is usually a mixed salad with mixed lettuces (the reds are good) red/yellow and green peppers, red beetroot, sprouts and avocado all with lashings of Olive Oil and a bit of salt. You can vary the dressings like add a splash of Soy Sauce and Sesame oil to the olive oil. I always have some fruit after dinner. In the afternoon I have a handful or nuts: Almonds, pistachios, Walnuts etc.

I do have one sometime 2 nutrition shakes a day as well.

I am probably the fittest I have ever been so this diet works for me.

I miss my pasta and potatoes but can't eat them in any quantity. I also gave away all fried foods, sweets, cookies etc although once in a blue moon I do have a slice of cheescake and maybe sneak a forbidden treat.

Hope this helps.


PS here is an interesting new one for you garden.


davidgskinner's picture
Posts: 81
Joined: Dec 2009

I will never miss a chance to tell the story of the first food I had a hint of real taste with after treatment...radishes. Heavenly red radishes. If I had a garden that's all I would plant and I would eat them right out of the dirt. OK maybe that's a bit much, but I did find that my taste began to SLOWLY come back after about 2 months and mostly with crunchy vegetables and fruits. As a result my diet is also a lot different now than it was before cancer. Not necessarily because I think I am being healthier, I just seem to have lost my appetite for a lot of meats and many processed foods I used to love. Weird maybe, but I just started finding food I could taste a bit(for me, fresh vegetables) and going from there to see what else I might like.
No question about it, losing your sense of taste is a really terrible thing that someone who hasn't had to experience can't understand. It can be the most discouraging part of the day. My two cents would be to just keep taking little bites of things here and there. Try stuff. Eventually some tastes will seep through. Others will take a little longer. You won't get it all back overnight, but it will happen.

Posts: 665
Joined: Apr 2010

I am five month's out of treatment& my taste has fully returned. I am eating almost everything. Salad's & vegetables work great. Red meat is a chore to eat unless it is rare or cooked as a stew. I am really not eating much red meat & seriously do not miss it. Anything with a sauce work's well for me or chased with a glass of milk or a protien shake.I found that my taste really improved into the four month mark. Alcohol taste's medicinal to me so that is a no. Soft bread with butter is ok! I find if I have to work at what I am eating I give up easily. The best thing to do is to keep trying different foods
to see what appeal's to you.
Best of luck

Jimbo55's picture
Posts: 576
Joined: Jun 2010

I am only 10 days out from treatment, but have already noticed a change for the better in my taste, albeit a pretty small change. Never had the PEG as I only had about 1 week there that I could only swallow some soups that my wife threw in the blender. I have been able to eat a few select things the past few days. Cucumbers were probably the first thing that tasted pretty decent again, though I'm going to have to try some radishes next, luv radishes. My wife and I were in the grocery store yesterday and I found myself wandering the aisles checking out all the food I can't wait to try again soon. Being in Thailand surrounded by all this spicy Thai food and my wife being a great Thai cook, the worst part for me is I can't touch it right now. Cheers


Kimba1505's picture
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

Tomorrow Mark is 3 weeks post treatment. He never lost his ability to swallow and seriously supplemented with the PEG for less than a week. PEG comes out on the 19th!! He cannot wait...always seem to be counting the days to something.
Anyway...Mark is so bummed that this has been a great fruit season. We live in PA and most summers fruit is hit or miss. Mealy peaches and nectarins are common. This summer I haven't had a bad one, and Mark can feel the texture, but not the fabulous taste.
At the 3 week post point, Mark speaks of having the "essence" of taste. This makes him feel like progress is being made. Also, the color of the skin on his neck has almost returned to normal. He has found some pain meds that are acceptable to him (ibuprofin with codiene). He is uping his workouts at the gym and his ability/energy to argue (I mean voice his opinion) is coming back. (Did I miss that??)
Things that work for him eating wise include: steak grilled fairly rare and sliced very thin, sushi, mashed, or baked potatoes, soups (matzo ball, won-ton, chicken noodle). He had a ham steak in Lancaster PA the other day, and Saturday night we ate crabs (Maryland style with Old Bay). We have learned spicey food is a "feeling" not a "taste". Liquids come out his nose if his head is bent forward (most often drinking hot beverages); liquid does not come out of his nose if he tilts his head back (posture for drinking cold beverages).
Oh, the facinating things we have learned.
Kim :)

johnlax38's picture
Posts: 136
Joined: Aug 2010

Some of my most favorite things to eat now are very bright in flavor. Fruit is wonderful at the moment, meat is blah unless doused in a sauce of some sort. Pasta's I enjoy too now.

Pre-treatment I was an adventurous eater. I love Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian. I work in one of the biggest melting pots in the world, DC, so I can get anything I wanted. Being that these dishes are so spicy I don't think I will be enjoying them for a while.

delnative's picture
Posts: 450
Joined: Aug 2009

When I was in treatment at Johns Hopkins, my wife and I stayed in Baltimore during the week and then came home on weekends, where my mother helped pick the produce from our garden. I couldn't eat any of it, so we froze some and took a lot back to Hopkins. The nurses in the chemo suite loved it when we brought them our fresh tomatoes -- some of them had never had a tomato fresh from the garden, and it was an eye-opening experience for them.
Now, almost two years out, I can can eat everything from our garden -- including my nuclear-strength Habanero peppers. It just takes a little time, that's all.
Best of luck, and good gardening to you.

--Jim in Delaware

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2196
Joined: Nov 2009

I thought about you when I was in my garden the other day - my sweet peppers are nonexistent - the only peppers I have are a couple of banana peppers and my best peppers - the jalapeno peppers I can't eat YET. When I had to avoid my beloved bbq chicken nachos while eating out, I told my family that you, too couldn't eat catsup at first and can now eat hot peppers. I won't be going for any habanero peppers, but am very glad you let us know (months ago) that you'd regained your ability to eat spicy.

Posts: 177
Joined: Dec 2009

On the way back from San Francisco, PET scan results so so. Anyway I stoped at a Safeway to get some of the soup from the deli and they happen to be out, so I looked around for somthing that I thought I could get down while driving home. I ended up getting some crab susi rolls and they were good and easy to get down. Crab meat some avacado rice and seaweed, dash of soy sauce and I was good to go. Although I did get a bit of wasabey by mistake and wholey moly I wasn't ready for that. Any way thanks for the sugestions and I will continue to try different things. One thing the doctor got on me about was not eating enough. Be a somewhat fat person I would never have guessed I would have a hard time keeping weight on.


Dragons7-7-2010's picture
Posts: 79
Joined: Aug 2010

Recently, diagnosed and recovering from tonsil biopsy of right tonsil and tonsillectomy of left tonsil I am still on a soft food diet but I wondered if I would be able to return to eating one of my favoite foods. SUSHI and edamme. Glad to hear someone else has become a fan.

~ E

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

Most of it or about 70% of your taste should come back but it takes a very long time. I too enjoy growing stuff in my garden it takes my mind off of many things.

As far as food I like the best it is Onion rings, don’t know why I just can’t passed them up.

All the best to you

Jimbo55's picture
Posts: 576
Joined: Jun 2010

Yeah onion rings sound good. We are going back to my garden in Siem Reap, Cambodia on Friday. Although this particular garden is about 140 acres and is called a golf course, which is where I work. Its funny, my wife won't let me do any landscaping around our house, she thinks I don't know what I'm doing. I used to plant different things at the house, and when I would come home from work the next day it would all be changed. So now I just let my wife Kusi take care of that.

staceya's picture
Posts: 719
Joined: Jan 2010

I am not sure what it is either, but onion rings always work!
Good thing they are so nutritious. They make a nice addition to my jello, custard ,ensure and cheese food diet. Also root beer.

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