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Interview with Monique Selman

Monique Selman will be attending SmellTaste2017, the first support and education event in the US for people affected by smell and taste disorders. Fifth Sense’s Gudrun Lauret interviewed Monique, who has congenital anosmia, and asked her about life without a sense of smell and what she’s looking forward to at the event.

1. Why are smell and taste so important to you?

Smell is only important when I think about. I’ve been doing some research on anosmia lately, and it’s interesting learning about a subject I know nothing about.

2. Tell us a little bit about your own experience?

I am a congenital anosmic. From what I have learned recently, it appears my experience is pretty typical. I was about 11 or 12 before I knew I didn’t have a sense of smell. For instance, I didn’t know the reason why my primary school teacher knew when kids needed to go to the toilet as I didn’t understand that farts smelled!

My ex made me responsible for changing the dirty nappies as I couldn’t smell the contents. I nearly blew my house up a few months ago, as I had inadvertently turned the gas cooker top on and didn’t notice that I had emptied almost a full tank of gas into my house. My husband came home a couple of hours later and he noticed.

I have two children with fully functioning senses of smell. I can’t taste herbal tea except peppermint and liquorice Tea Pigs and wish that I could. I am a cheap date when it comes to wine as the cheaper the bottle, the better! I love yoga but hate the part at the end when they spray something on each participant as it has a smell and I am reminded that I can’t smell. I love the way smelly bathroom things look and wish that I could smell them.

3. What are you hoping to get from attending SmellTaste2017?

Learning about all things smell and current research and hanging out with other anosmics.

4. SmellTaste2017 represents an opportunity for people affected by smell and taste disorders to come together with clinicians, scientists and, of course, each other. What are you most looking forward to at SmellTaste2017?

Being with people who get it.

Many readers will relate to Monique’s story, and while the opportunity to meet clinicians, scientists and other experts is a great reason to attend SmellTaste2017, being able to meet people who understand what you’ve been through and what it’s like having no sense of smell is not to be missed.