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A (Sudden) Life Without Smell

Updated on June 22, 2017
The first year I have dreaded lilac season, as I can't smell a thing.
The first year I have dreaded lilac season, as I can't smell a thing.

An invisible disorder

I really wish I had listened when I was told to stop and smell the roses. Seven months ago today, I went to bed with the lingering smell of turkey in my nose from my son's school Thanksgiving celebration and woke up the next morning as an "anosmiac", joining a small club of people around the world who are unable to smell anything at all (and therefore only taste a few things). Some had head trauma that caused it, but the majority (like me) have super "duper" viruses to blame for this life-changing event.

"But surely you can smell this, right?" people would say. Nope. "You can't smell that???" Nada. I have essentially stuck my nose in a pan of bacon and there is nothing. Just blank air. And unfortunately three different doctors in some of the best hospitals in the Northeast have said it is likely permanent. Simply put, the virus caused my olfactory nerves to spazz out, throw up jazz hands, and exit stage left.

I can't sit here and say this hasn't affected my life in a huge way, because it has. Lilacs, ocean air, fresh cut grass and my "baby" after a bath are some of the biggest things I miss smelling these days (although I will probably be glad when he is a teenager). And I can't drink IPAs anymore, which in Vermont basically makes me a leper. However, it is not deadly (thank God, since I did have to undergo several brain scans and such to rule out something worse) and it is not visible. It just stinks (I wish).

So, please...bake some chocolate chip cookies, look up from your phone and breath in the forest air, and put some fresh flowers on your table because you can. Be present. Take nothing for granted. And don't mind me if I make up for this "bland" part of my life in other eccentric ways!!


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      Joanne Oboyski-Battelene 10 months ago

      I'm sorry to hear this Caitlin. Don't give up the possibility that your sense of smell will return. I'll pray for you. Xoxo

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      Debbie Jinks 10 months ago

      Caitlin as a fellow sufferer, you'll know this having joined my group! I understand completely where you are coming from. This is such a heartfelt and honest piece. I'm glad you've shared it and hope any other Anosmic will take comfort from it too.

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      Erin Mcleod 10 months ago

      Caitlin! Tears. Love you girlie, my prayers are with you for a miracle.

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      Sue aka Marlene 10 months ago

      Girl...that just plain stinks (no pun intended)....I'm so sorry...that piece was so eloquently written...I'd be madder than a wet hen...I pray they find NOTHING else wrong with beautiful you..keep smiling that infectious smile of your and hugging that gorgeous little boy.

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      Soul sister Lynn 10 months ago

      Oh, Cakie! SO well written.....with total honesty and your amazing sense of humor! I can't begin to imagine the frustration. I have a new appreciation for the scents around me....even the middle school boys who plaster Axe all over themselves to cover up their sweaty gym smells!!! Thank you for putting this in perspective!!