Near Fogo Island, Newfoundland – some of the prettiest skies you will ever see.
We made it to the family dinner. It was a good outing to see family and share a meal. It was physically a push as his leg remains quite painful but it was well worth it. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see everyone but that is the reality of families today – we tend to spread out geographically and only on rare occasions is everyone there.
We had a lovely meal that included turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, scalloped potatoes, kale, brussel sprouts, green beans (they got left in the microwave), dressing, and on and on. A variety of desserts and nibblies too. It was a veritable feast! However, for my hubby it was just a lot of food in one place. His taste buds continue to take the joy out of a good meal. It was quite evident the food wasn’t doing it for him – he had a little bit of this and a little bit of that and didn’t eat it all – and this is a guy who really does love food. Afterwards he said that only two foods were enjoyable for him – the sweet potatoes and the pumpkin pie – such a shame because it all was quite tasty!
We will continue to try and find something that appeals to his taste buds. The desire to enjoy food is there, it is just a different reality when he gets around to eating it. Some smells will put him right off as well. This is normal for most people, there are things we like to smell and others not so much. But with my husband it can be just about anything – frying bacon – one day it smells great, the next day I am opening all the windows; the turkey roasting – normally a really enticing smell, but not this time – too much smell for too long. I know that this disconnect between his taste buds and his brain will pass and he knows it too. Knowing it doesn’t make it any better. Neither does telling him that it is all part of the process – he is well aware of that too.
I was thinking of all the little twists and turns we have faced through this journey, over and above the big ones. Two additional things stand out – the change of taste and the rash.
I don’t know how I missed these, perhaps because it happened fairly early on in this experience. One of the first things to happen was his taste changed. Flavours intensified, sweet became sweeter and salty became saltier. It became a challenge to find things that would quench his thirst – everything had to be cold. Ice cubes in his milk, water, juice – you name it. But it didn’t seem to matter. The taste of the beverage – even water became intolerable. His favourite foods became barely tolerable – bacon was too salty (even the low sodium stuff), the favorite fiery cheddar cheese became too hot, bread was off putting, he couldn’t stomach the oily taste of fats so no butter, salad dressings and the like. Coffee and tea all tasted awful. The dieticians have helped with this one somewhat. Lemon juice, sugar and salt have now been incorporated in our diet. Things that are too fatty tasting we sprinkle a little lemon juice on, too salty – we add a pinch of sugar, and likewise too sugary – we add a pinch of salt. It has allowed us to bring more foods back into his menu, but hasn’t changed the fact that his taste buds are definitely off right now.
The rash was another delight. After the first chemo treatment he developed a rash on his torso, buttocks and upper thighs. Not a weepy oozing rash, just an itchy scratchy rash. We tried a variety of things to address the rash including the basics like talcum powder, a barrier cream, an over the counter antibiotic cream. The doctor did a home visit that first week and took a look at it. It was not a fungal infection, which was a possibility; it appeared to be an allergic rash. The solution that we implemented was to double wash all his clothes, the bedding, towels, anything that touched his skin with hypo-allergenic unscented, pure laundry soap. Wash once with soap, rinse, wash again without soap, and rinse. This did the trick and is something that I will continue to do throughout his treatment.
I have learned to never wonder what else can possibly happen because sure enough a curve ball heads our way!