The Care Giver

Several friends and family members have written to tell me that as a care giver, I must remember to take care of myself.  Of course they are right, and I thought I was doing well at that.  I’ve been  eating properly, and I’ve been walking. I’ve been sleeping better. Writing this blog is a release for me. But yesterday I developed an awful sore throat, and my lips and tongue  are covered with white, painful bumps. It looks like Nick’s thrush, and it very well may be. Why is it that I always seem to need my doctor on a Tuesday, his day off?

I’m back from the doctor’s office. It’s thrush. Thrush is  not   contagious. It’s typical among people whose immune systems are compromised, which accounts for Nick. Other people who commonly come down with thrush  are smokers, denture wearers,  diabetics, those who are pregnant or those under stress. Only one of the above applies to me.  I don’t smoke, wear dentures, or have diabetes. As for pregnancy,  as my daughter would say, “That ship has sailed.”  I guess my body is telling me that it feels stressed.   Each day is one  day closer to July 15, after which I will breathe a huge sigh of relief that this “adventure” to destroy  the cancer has been completed, and the recovery from  the adventure will begin.

Those who choose the field of oncology are obviously very special.  The people  Nick deals with, including his doctors, nurses, technicians, and even the parking attendants,  are warm, friendly, and cheerful, treating everyone with patience and kindness.  I hope they all have ways of coping with the many stresses their jobs bring. They are unsung heroes.

Nick had a message for me to share with our doctor (we have the same internist, Dr. H.). Because of his weight loss, his cancer team has started talking about giving Nick a feeding tube. Nick wanted our internist to weigh in on that, no pun intended.  Dr. H. had this suggestion: if Nick maintains his current weight, then he wouldn’t get the feeding tube, but if he loses any more weight, he would, even for just a few weeks. He is adding more Boost to his diet and asked for a full cup of milkshake last night. Thanks for that suggestion, Judy!

Nausea is complicating Nick’s desire to consume more calories. I just picked up a prescription for that. Also, Nick wanted his pain medication changed. Three trips to CVS today! The pharmacy techs  know me.

All of you who have called,  sent cards, e-mailed, prayed, and have sent positive wishes and offers of help to both of us are care givers, as well. Your kindnesses and caring mean more to us than words can say.

2 thoughts on “The Care Giver

  1. Thank you for the updates, Barbara. No one can imagine what you’re going through, but these bits if info can give us all a clue. As anyone who has battled any life threatening situation, the hardest thing to maintain is the most important – a positive point of view! You Guys have fought this battle diligently and that perseverance will pay off. Two more weeks and it’ll all be behind you! Then the real healing process can begin.

    I wish you peace and calm, patience and will, many more perfect summer days like this gorgeous 5th of July, and lots of calories to fatten up the patient. His nausea will subside, his appetite will return, you will both get through this! We are all routing for you!!

    xo, Michael

  2. Dear Barbara and Nick,

    Hang in there–the end is in sight! Your blog and the pictures of radiation treatment are reassuring to those of us who have gone through, or may very well have to undergo similar procedures.

    Keep swigging down those milkshakes and the “Boost Plus”, Nick! Did you try the vichysoisse soup (potato and leek)?

    As I told you, Barbara, I had thrush in college and the dentist said he sees a hugh increase in cases at exam time–so stress is definitely the culprit! Please take care of yourself. Love, Mari

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