Cancer stories

Alan’s story

In 2010, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. It was quite a shock for me and my then fiancée (now my wife). We’d never heard of it.

I was in a lot of pain and wasn’t able to move, but my doctor put me on a combination of drugs. Within a few weeks I was feeling less pain.

Since then I’ve had a lot of treatment. I had a bone marrow transplant, with my brother as the donor, a week after my wedding. At one point I was taking 28 tablets a day.

One morning I woke up with a metallic taste in my mouth and found I couldn’t taste any food. I saw doctors, dietitians and nutritionists, but no-one could explain why I had lost my sense of taste or if it would come back. Wondering what I was going to eat became all I could think about.

I decided I’d do everything in my power to help myself. I did some research online and found that having low levels of zinc and B vitamins can cause a loss of taste and smell. A friend recommended I see a naturopath.

At my first appointment the naturopath asked me about the myeloma and my treatments. He also tested my zinc levels by giving me a spoonful of zinc solution and asking me what I could taste, which was nothing.

He suggested I take zinc and vitamin B supplements. Because I’m on a clinical trial, I checked with the nurses beforehand. They were very encouraging and said it would be okay.

After two months I started to regain my sense of taste and smell. My wife’s a great cook and I can’t wait to have some of her food. You can’t expect a quick fix – I know using the supplements will take time.


This information was last reviewed in May 2015
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