Not Tax Day. Well we were not thinking about that at all. We had appointments for the 'mask'. I'd looked up what this CT mask was all about but still wasn't quite sure how it would be used.
Jackie the coordinator met us in the waiting area and sat us down for a conversation. She began by explaining how the 'mask' would work and how the treatments would be coordinated.
Rich told her the 'the guy nurse' from Oncology at the VA said that this would be a 'calk walk' for Rich because he was a Tough Guy. And that the feeding tube couldn't be put in right away because they didn't have openings.
Jackie's eyes grew a bit large and she said quietly. "No Rich, this is no cake walk. It is going to be rough and tough, there will be some bad days, but we are here to help you make it through it. Your throat will become so sore as to be nearly unbearable at times. Your mouth will get dry, you will get thick nasty mucous. You will get tired and feel drawn out..."
She then began to explain how we'd attack these issues head on. Salt/baking soda/water rinses. Special mouth wash, special creme for his neck, ... she went on to explain how to take care of the mouth and how diligent he had to be about his teeth.
Rich asked her how sick he'd be from chemotherapy. She said that the strength of the chemo is not the same as they would administer for something like breast cancer. He wouldn't lose his lovely hair. She smiled and wanted to know where I stood in all of this.
"I am his back up support. I've got his back," I said. Rich glanced over and smiled.
"Yeah, she is."
Rich then left for the 'mask' fitting.
Jackie asked me if I had questions.
"Oh sure I do, but I don't know what I am getting into." I nodded at my husband who was walking down the hall, "He really needs a lot of care, more than he thinks and I mean that... before he was diagnosed."
Jackie nodded to herself as if making a mental note. She said her card was inside the binder she'd left me and if I ever needed her, I could call. She also assured me that she would see us often during and after treatment.
I read through the booklet that Jackie left us. There were blender recipes and articles on self care.
I decided I best start by studying everything they had to give me. I was facing a potentially very long uphill battle.
Don't get me wrong. I love my husband, but he really isn't as tough as he thinks he is.
I'm not tough either. But it looks like I better start working on it.
....And my Mask too.