Josephine van Es and daughter Karen van Es. (Karen van Es photo)
My mystery, too

I have had many of the symptoms described in “ A bad taste in her mouth ” [Sept. 25]. Anxiety about the disorder will make it worse. Also, many medications will make your mouth drier than it already is. A nonabrasive toothpaste will help. Chewing gum may also help if it is not minty. My symptoms were so bad that my mouth would peel and develop blisters. Staying active and busy are also very important.

Like Josephine Van Es, I am a cancer survivor. I, too, did not know if my mouth symptoms would get better. But after several years of pain, the discomfort subsided. I was 40 years old when I went through this. Menopause also made the symptoms worse. My doctor thought my adrenal glands were not functioning properly after the chemotherapy. I had to learn to live with the condition and find joy even though I was extremely uncomfortable. That was the toughest part. I also remember taking a bottle of water with me everywhere I went and talking as little as possible.

Jeanne Swink, Ashburn