I'll keep this short (probably). I was going to write guilty, but selfish seems more fitting. My wife has been battling stage three breast cancer for just over a year. She was diagnosed on Valentine's Day 2022. Done with chemo, done with radiation, taking Anastrazole for 10 years, almost done with gabapentin. She tried twice to start Verzenio but could not tolerate the side effects so she's off that, but still going through hell with lingering side effects. Before all that, she had Thyroid cancer (2021) and went through all the emotions associated with that. Prior to that, way back in 2005, she took a bad fall down some icy steps on Thanksgiving day, had 2 foot surgeries with not great results, and now has mobility issues and is officially disabled. I have been her caregiver through all of this and I'm happy to be the one helping her.
So there's that. Then, both of my parents have varying degrees of dementia/Alzheimers and need a good bit of help That also falls on me due to one of my brothers not communicating with family and the other one tied up with eight kids of his own, and currently down with Covid. Additionally, my brother-in-law is in the hospital for alcoholism and has been given 4 months to live. There's nothing I can do for him, but my wife is expecting THAT phone call one of these days. AND, my best friends dad was just diagnosed with bladder cancer. Again, nothing I can do there, but all of these things get stacked onto the big, steaming pile of things that are on my mind. Heavy, serious, grown-up things that I wish none of us had to deal with.
So here's the thing. As the healthy one in all of this, I realize I need to take care of myself in order to be there for the ones who need me. That's been repeated over and over in all the media outlets. Caregivers must take care of themselves, etc etc blah blah blah. But I'm having a hard time getting past the mental challenge of doing that. My favorite (and only consistant) form of excercise and enjoyment is bicycle riding. Great for the body in every way. Muscles, lungs, vitals, mental clarity, and emotional well being. My problem is trying to justify going out and having a good time while every person I care about is suffering, unable to do the things they love. That's why I feel selfish. I know that's rediculous. But there it is and I can't shake it. My wife and parents encourage me to go do things I enjoy, so it's not like I'm doing things for me when I should be there with them. I have their full support. But it's tough. Doesn't seem fair that I get to have fun and they don't.
I will work through this on my own, but if anyone has some real-life caregiver experience with feelings of selfishness or guilt, and how to move past it, I'm all ears. Thanks so much.