I LOVE to bake...it's my favorite hobby/pastime, and although I don't try as many new recipes as I used to, I make a batch of something at least once a week. Throw in a handful of birthday cakes, some quick breads, and a pie now and again, and you've pretty much described my kitchen's activity. I baked over 10 batches of cookies last month, for example...and sampled my fair share along the way.
Interestingly, though, I didn't smell a single one. If you recall, I've never had a sense of smell, though I was tested and retested when I was a kid. When I bake, I'm attune to what the batter looks like, and what the baked goods taste like. But the smell? I couldn't even take a guess as to what a cookie, for instance, should or would smell like. I don't know if it's a sweet smell, a rich smell, or a comforting one. Frankly, I don't even know if those are the correct terms to describe a smell!
But I realize I'm in the minority. Over the past two months, more than a dozen people have walked into my house, and immediately commented on the wonderful smells wafting from the kitchen. The moment they catch a whiff, they're compelled to say something. Which is just so amazing to me...because of course, I smell nothing. The air around me doesn't have a "hint" of anything, and the smell of cinnamon or chocolate doesn't make my mouth water. But because I've never known what it's like to smell those things, I don't miss it at all. It's not even a consideration.
Over time, I found the same to be true about many of the accommodations I've made with lupus. Shielding myself from the sun, incorporating naps into my afternoons, refilling prescriptions month after month - these things are simply my way of life now. I've learned to expect them, and they're habitual. I'm no longer sacrificing - I'm just adapting.
And that's what living well is supposed to feel like. Living in concert with your illness so that you don't have to try so hard. Feeling as though this is the way life's always been...and that way is okay. It doesn't come immediately, and there are definitely stages along the way that don't feel quite so natural at all. But you'll learn areas of life to focus on, and aspects of yourself to develop, in order to make that thing called living feel natural again.
Just like I've come to focus on and develop, not my sense of smell, but my taste, sight and touch in order to thoroughly enjoy each and every one of my culinary delights. And enjoy them, I do.
So if not being able to smell seems like the most natural thing in the world to me, just imagine the possibilities for yourself!