Rich left for Madison this morning.
He has surgery to put in his PEG or also known as Percutanous endoscopic gastronsonomy tube.
This is for later on for when he has trouble swallowing due to the Tomo Therapy aimed at the cancer tumor in his throat. It is a procedure that is not difficult but will require him to stay overnight at the VA hospital. He was told he could drive himself and then come home at some point after release tomorrow.
It is a big step for us. I say 'us' because we are both going through this. No, I do not have cancer and I do not have to go through what things he is going to go through.
But I am his support and his wife so every step of the way feels as though it is also happening to me.
I spoke to one of the Veteran's Wives support Social Workers today and she told me that this was an okay way to feel. It was a 'we' not a him. Although he would have the procedures it was important that I be his back up. Well that is how it has always been with us.
I took the day and cleaned closets, and sorted things. It was a good day to be busy inside and try to organize all those things I've been meaning to take care of.
It feels oddly quiet around here and pretty peaceful. I am having one of my first days of not having to worry about what is happening to him. Well, not entirely after all he is having surgery.
I almost feel guilty for having a day to myself.
Margarette [Veteran's Wives Social Worker] told me it was important as a Caregiver to take time for myself. She is sending me a packet of information regarding Support Groups for me. There is even an online support group just geared for wives who are married to veterans with PTSD. I can sign up for a 'Caregivers' course online and learn some coping skills. I wished I'd known this a few years ago. After treatment is over, I can become an 'Alumi' and stay with the group.
I 'read' this from her conversation, that I too support others with experience gained from cancer treatment and dealing with severe PTSD.
I am very willing to do this.
I may even be able to get some 'respite' help if things are difficult and I just need to do some me things. This would come from my local county Family Services.
I told her that I had a good ... and very small rural community that has already reached out for some of this along with Rich's daughter. I started developing a community support group as soon as I learned his diagnosis.
I explained to Margarette that one of my self care things to do was hike, take photographs, be in nature, and ride my mule. I told her this was something I'd discovered early in our marital relationship and that Rich sometimes resented it, but also understood it.
My biggest concern was not knowing how things were going to go. But knowing I have people I can call on and even talk to via the internet is a relief. Whew.
Steph, my stepdaughter is on board with me. I can't say enough how supportive and helpful she is when I call her up and just complain and babble. She listens and she understands. After all, she grew up with Rich being her dad and developed her own coping skills.
My neighbor called this morning and asked if I could watch her kids tomorrow night...what a delight, I love doing it. I told her that I would be alone this evening and perhaps I could walk up to her house and we could just hang out a bit....and she invited me for an early supper. How excellent, because I just opened the frig and for the life of me, could not figure out what I might even think of having for supper...!
People can be awesome!
I am working on me.
Oh. All the chores went smoothly in the rain and cold. I just went out and did it with my mind on chores and the worries of all other things sort of melted away as the Dexter Cattle bellowed, the mules and donkeys brayed, and the hound dogs barked.