Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dwain Has a Sixth Sense When It Comes To Chemo Care

I just have to brag on Dwain (my husband).  How do people get by without a Dwain?  Case in point, I read a book recently called, The Empty Cup Runneth Over; Answers about Breast Cancer from the Experts.  And let me just say, if you have questions, this book has answers -- answers that are elementary, easy to read and understand.  

Anyway, there is a chapter called, The Love of My Life is in Danger; written by a husband whose wife has breast cancer.  He makes a valid point when he said:  "I had no idea what she wanted.  It was not easy to watch her in so much pain, and I realized that I could not give her the support she needed because I had no idea what she wanted.  I became frustrated and didn't know who to talk to. There was no information available about how to help your wife deal with breast cancer, no other men I could talk to." 

I told Dwain, after this second round of chemo that I had last Friday, he should give suggestions about how men could best take care of their wives.  He's honestly good at it.  It's like he has a sixth sense.  He knows where to look for answers, Chemocare.com.  That's where he found a simple mouth rinse that helped not only my sore throat but a tender spot that is developing on the roof of my mouth -- 8 oz of warm water, 1/4 tea. soda, 1/4 tea. salt.  That's it. Mix it up and swish it around or gargle or both.  

By the way, this second round of chemo hit me hard in the nausea department.  I won't dwell on it right now in this post.  But let me just say HOOO WEEE!

Chemo patients are supposed to drink a couple of liters of liquid (no caffeine) every day to wash away the toxins.  Everything tastes like the smell of a chemical of one sort of the other, especially water.  Oh, and water is urged.  Drink lots and lots of water.  Yeah.  Right.  And I'll follow that up with some bleach and ammonia.  Sometimes water tastes like it might have come straight out of the goldfish bowl, you know?  Kind of slimy.  But good ol' Dwain found something that not only tastes delicious but is 100% good for you.  It's called V8 Fusion.  It's 100% fruit and vegetable juice.  No corn syrup or dyes or anything bad like that.  I could drink it all day long.  If I can't eat real food, so what?  I'm getting my daily supply of vegetables and fruits in every 8 oz. glass.  Yesterday I drank an entire liter bottle of Peach Mango.  Today I'm working on Pomegranate Blueberry.  Dwain's also been cooking up a wide variety of brothy soups made of chicken stock -- heavy on the broth part.  That tastes real good right now, too.  And here's the real kicker, no one believes this, but Dwain bought a head of cauliflower, came home and cooked it until it was tender.  He put a little butter and salt on it, stuck a fork into a piece, came into the room where I was resting, waved the fork under my nose and said, "sniff this and see what you think."  At first I didn't think my stomach would tolerate it, but you know what?  I did.  It was really, really good.  That night I actually ate something solid -- cauliflower and halibut, a mild white fish, that Dwain microwaved with a little butter and salt.  It was just perfect. I ate the same thing again the next day for lunch. 

We called this a monochromatic all-white meal with just a splash of V8 Mango Fusion for color.
Men, you want to know what you can do to help your wife when she is on chemo or had a devastating surgery, like a double mastectomy?  Do the laundry.  And hey, there is nothing sexier than a man pushing a vacuum cleaner.  Experiment when you cook.  Take a chance at the grocery store.  Think of the mildest, blandest food and cook it that way. And as Paula Dean says, "use some butta."   Have her lay next to you on the couch with her feet propped up on a pillow.  Cover her up with a blanket.  Read to her whatever it is that you are reading (like the newspaper or the weather report or Facebook) because she won't feel like reading.  Just let her hear the sound of your voice.  It's very comforting.  Let her know that come what may, everything will turn out all right.

And for heaven's sake, buy her a brand new turtle-neck sweater so that she doesn't develop a sore throat.   But only if it's February and you live where it's cold like we do. 

Maybe tomorrow or the next day I'll feel like going back in time and talking about chemo number two. 


  1. I'm so glad you have Dwain!
    Hope you're feeling much better tonight ...
    God bless you both - stay warm!

  2. It makes me cry to read your post because I can relate so much to it. It's hard to discribe how food, drink, smells change while going through chemo. I can't tell you how many times Bryan has made me something that sounds good, only to take one bite and throw it in the trash..... We are so blessed to have such great men looking after us. Hope you feel better. Hugs.... Connie

  3. Mom! I am LOVING that sweater and knit hat combo! The blue looks great on you. And thank Dwain a million times and give him about a million hugs....from me. Everyday I am so greatful you have Dwain. Love you!! Love you both.

  4. I agree with Connie --- it is so hard to describe food with the tastes and smells during chemo. But as I read your descriptions of what you could eat, I had to agree. It boiled down for me to simple flavors. Not a lot of mixed spices or ingredients. And butter!!!!! I could not have made it without butter. Butter on my oatmeal. Butter on my cream of wheat. Butter on plain old noodles. Your description of water is right on,too! I found hot tea to be good, but ice tea was just .. . . well, horrible! Loved your sense of humor here, and thank the Lord for such a wonderful husband!!!!! And you are right --- he should journal HIS way through this. Caretakers would jump at a chance to know what to do for us!