Life with Ladybug: Have you taken the peanut butter test yet?

By Shannon Magsam, Ladybug’s mama

It was an innocent email, but just reading it sent my heart racing.

peanut butterIt said: Have you taken the peanut butter test yet?

And then my friend linked to a study that said people who have early onset Alzheimer’s can’t smell peanut butter from their left nostril.

Since several of my relatives have the disease, and since I can’t remember CRAP lately, I have been a little freaked out that something could be wrong.

After reading the post, I worked up my courage to go to the kitchen cabinet and pull out a jar of Peter Pan.

I scooped some peanut butter onto a spoon and plugged my left nostril. I could smell that, definitely.

Then I plugged my right nostril and sniffed.


Couldn’t smell a thing.

I lifted the spoon closer and sniffed even harder, thinking maybe now could catch a whiff.

That’s when I realized that chunky peanut butter was not a good choice for this experiment.

Because that’s when a few peanut butter chunks flew up off the spoon and into my nose.

Cue coughing fit.

Next, I switched to the smooth peanut butter. I just unscrewed the top and stuck my nose straight into the jar. Still nothing out of my left nostril. I rechecked the email to make sure it was the LEFT NOSTRIL. Yep.

My heart really started to pound. I was filled with dread. You know how people say their blood turned to ice? Yeah.

I called my friend who sent the email and admitted that I was super freaked out and that I could NOT smell peanut butter out of my left nostril, only my right, and that I probably needed to go to the doctor ASAP to discuss my potential Alzheimer’s.

That’s when my friend asked if I could smell ANYTHING from my left nostril. Well, I admitted, I hadn’t thought of that. A glimmer of hope!

I then went on a smelling spree around the house. I sniffed perfume, my Scentsy candle, some leftover tuna. I couldn’t smell any of that – through my left nostril.

I felt limp with relief, realizing it was probably just allergies and it wasn’t just peanut butter that I couldn’t smell.

I still don’t feel like I’m out of the woods yet. My aunt has Alzheimer’s, my uncle who just passed away most likely had it, and I suspect there’s more where that came from.

I won’t live in fear of it, but I will pay attention to the signs just in case. I’ve instructed my husband, family and friends to let me know if they notice I repeat my stories or seem to not remember obvious things.

And I’m sure that in addition to stopping to smell the roses, I will occasionally stop to smell the CREAMY peanut butter.

If I can remember.

blue dress headshot SMALLShannon Magsam is married to a newspaperman and the love of her life, mama to a tweeny bopper and co-founder of