Breast cancer lesson number 97: Reclaim your tastebuds!

The only things I am currently taking in extra strong helpings right now are my mints. That’s right. Trebor Extra Strong Mints are my not-so-secret weapon in the fight against chemo. They hit the spot in a way no other foodstuff knows how. And, for that, my tastebuds will be forever thankful.


The nice thing about developing a rather unhealthy obsession with these giant pill-like (yes the resemblance isn’t lost on me) sweeties, is that the extra strong mint and I go back a long way – to the school run in fact. The last time I remember popping a peppermint treat in my mouth was in the car with my mum on the way to lessons. No journey would be complete without a mint. Every time I crunch one now (I am too impatient to suck it for too long) I think of my mum and I smile at the thought that this small ritual from my childhood has made such a mark on my life.

I think it is only right I clarify that my diet does not now consist of mints, mints and more mints and I am not advocating you all rush out to the newsagents. But, it’s just so refreshing to find something that doesn’t taste of cardboard when I pop it in my mouth. Chemo has its own special way of turning the most delicious smelling (and looking) plate of food into something akin to gruel. And, gruel is something that belongs in a Dickens novel, not on my plate.

Of course, I can’t give mints all the credit. Blueberries and strawberries are putting in a good performance and pineapple chunks (the fruit pretty much everyone has on the list) are pretty special. And, let’s not forget eggs in purgatory from lesson 80 (to which I have added onion, sausage and all types of cheese in an attempt to vary it slightly). I even find that, the cheaper the wine, the better the taste (especially white wine). But, when I wake up and can’t face the sight (let alone the taste) of a glass of water, I know to what item my thoughts drift first.

I will be posting a more comprehensive guide to chemo when I think the side effects have all worn off after my last poisoning. At the moment, life is so unpredictable I fear a tip may be out of date before I press publish. For now, my advice to all those facing the toxic cocktail that is chemo is experiment. Find a way to get reclaim your tastebuds. You might not find them in a bunch of bananas or a slice of peanut butter on toast. But, they’re there and they want to tempt you once more.