Congenital Anosmia is the absence of the ability to smell.
At one time, I was a moderator for anosmia.net, known as The Congenital Anosmia Forum. Then, on August 4, 2008, I was hospitalized (see my thread "My Stroke" for details). Once I was discharged back home (June 30 2009), I tried to log into anosmia.net, only to find that it no longer existed! Unfortunately, my PC suffered a hard drive crash while I was in hospital, so I lost all of the contact info I had for my friends at Anosmia.net. :( Does anyone here have any contact with anyone from the old Anosmia.net? If so, please contact me with them at RSLancastr@aol.com. Sadly, all I remember of the people from there is this: The owner and administrator of the site was a woman named Steph, who lived (I believe) in Hawaii. The other moderators on the site were: 1. Polarbear - he was fond of (what he referred to as "wielding the Banhammer - banning any miscreants (such as Spammers) from the site. His avatar was a graphic of a polar bear using an innertube as a sled. 2. Breanne18 - A woman I corresponded with a fair amount.. Her avatar was a female D&D-type character holding a sword. Any info anyone may have on the site, or these people, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, RSL
Please forgive the typos in that last post. I'll blame them on the stroke, only because it's a convenient excuse.
During my extended hospital stay following the stroke, I occasionally wondered if the damage the stroke had done to my brain might somehow effect my anosmia. Would I develop a sense of smell, even if only partially, perhaps only via one nostril? Would my anosmia be even more pronounced on the left side of my body? (how more prounced that "non-existant could it possibly be? The answer, in my case anyway, was that the stroke has caused no discernible difference in my anosmia one way or the other. But had my stroke imapted another area of my brain (the area dealing with sense of smell), who knows what might have happened?
On August 4, 2008, I suffered a MASSIVE stroke. It put me in a coma-like state for two months, and in various hospitals, physical rehab centers and such for a total of eleven months, and made me a "left-side hemiplegic" (I have very little control over the left half of my body), and I've lived my life in a motorized wheelchair ever since. Fortunately for me, I have The Bestest Wife In The World, My Susan. She possibly saved my life, and at minimum saved me from further brain damage by immediately calling 911, despite my objections ("Don' call 911. Ahm prfckly fahn...") She was my tireless healthcare advocate for those eleven months I was in hospitals and such, and has been my tireless (okay, she tires now and then) caregiver ever since. I'm not a religious man, but if I were in charge of the dictionary, The word "blessing" would have a picture of My Susan next to it. I mention my stroke here because I think it was caused, indirectly, by my Anosmia. As a child, I learned that food tasted better to me if I salted it. I ended up salting the bejeebers out of EVERYTHING I ate - compensating, I think, for my anosmia's blunting the flavor of food. Over thedecades, this sodium intake resulted in an insanely high blood pressure (300/180 at one point). I also think that anosmics tend to attach far more importance to food's texture than other people do, perhaps compensating for the missing "aroma" piece of the Flavor Equation. For me, the preferred texture was CRUNCHY. This translated to a love of fried foods, which, along with my huge sodium intake, made me pack on the pounds. At the time of my stroke, I weighed 398 pounds. For a 6'1" tall man, that put me beyond Morbidly Obese. So, a morbidly obese 50-year-old man with insanely high blood pressure made me a stroke or heart attack just waiting to happen. So yes, I believe that my stroke (and my subsequent heart attack this year) is definitely liked (though indirectly) to my anosmia. I'm not saying that it is a foregone conclusion that an anosmic will eventually have a stroke or heart attack. Not all anosmics have the love of salt and fried foods that I had for nearly 50 years, so not all anosmics are morbidly obese or are hypertensive. But I think other anosmics (especially young ones) could benefit from the above cautionary tale, which is why I have shared it here.
Hello all. My name is Robert S. Lancaster. I was one of the moderators at The Congenital Anosmia Forums (www.Anosmia.net) before it got shut down in 2008. I'm a 53-year-old man, living in Salem, Oregon with my wife Susan. What follows is a post I created on another, non-anosmia-themed forum, to explain to those there about my anosmia. I am posting it here to get the reactions of fellow anosmics. ====================================== MY ANOSMIA I am congenitally anosmic. This means I was born without a sense of smell. I have not smelled anuthing in my life. Ever. Here is a FAQ, based on the usual questions I am asked when a person learns this about me: ========== FAQ ========== Q: You can't smell ANYTHING? A: No, I can't. Q: What about perfume? A: No. nothing. Q: Flowers? A: Nothing. [b]Q: Dog poop? A: Nothing. Not. a. thing! (This sometimes goes on and on, with the questioner listing what are, evidently, fouler and fouler smelling things, with them usually ending with something like Q: What about a broken sewer line? A: NOOOOO!!!!! There have been times when people have stuck something under my nose saying "This smells so bad you have to be able to smell it!!" I wonder if these people ever place, say, an awful painting in front of a blind person and say "This is so ugly you have to be able to see it!!" Q: What about smelling salts? A: Oddly enough, you really don't "smell" smelling salts. it is a fume which is not sensed by your olfactory (smelling) senses, but by centers higher up in the brain. So I will react to smelling salts, but no, I don't smell them. Neither do you, as I understand it. Q: So then you cannot taste either, right? A: wrong. taste and smell are two different senses. Taste consists of Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Salty and Umami. Q: What is Umami? A: It is best described as "Meaty" or "Savory." It is the taste of MSG. Anyway, you do not need a sense of smell to taste Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Salty or Umami. For instance, even if your nose was so stuffed up you couldn't smell anything, you could still taste the difference between a spoonful of sugar and a spoonful of salt, couldn't you? Q: Yes, but what about... A: The thing is, you probably think that a person needs a sense of smell to taste things because things taste very different to you when you have a stuffed-up nose, right? Q: They do! So why... A: you are confusing Taste with Flavor. Q: Huh? A: Taste, again, consists of Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Salty and ... [b]Q: Unami. A: UMami. right. Q: So what is "Flavor?" A: The Flavor of food consists of its Taste (Sweet, Sour, etc.), Temperature, Texture (wet/dry, crunchy/soggy, smooth/lumpy, etc.) and Aroma. And, you have roughly a thousand times more olfactory (smelling) sensors than you do taste buds, so Aroma plays a HUGE role in flavor to you. So, while my sense of Taste is as good as yours - maybe better - My appreciation of Flavor is severely blunted compared to yours. Q: What did you mean, your sense of taste may be better than mine? A: May be. You've heard it said that blind people sometimes develop more accute hearing to compensate? Q: Yes, but... A: Well, that may be an Urban Legend perpetrated by popular culture, but if there is any truth to it, it seems feasible that an anosmic person might compensate for their lack of a sense of smell by developing a keener sense of taste. I know of no studies done on this though. Q: When/How did you learn you were missing your sense of smell? A: typed in a long answer but lost it. will retype it later. Forumites: any questions? I will be glad to answer them. I didn't even know the word for the condition until around 2000, when I did a web search for "no sense of smell" and found anosmia web sites. One which I found was The Congenital Anosmia Forums (anosmia.net). Not only did I now know the word for what I had, but I found a whole community of others who had the same condition! I had never met another congenital anosmic, and it was fascinating to read their stories, many similar to my own. I ended up being a moderator there, and was until the site shut down for reasons unknown to me while I was in the hospital following my stroke.
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