Friday, February 3, 2017

Selfish

I can't stop getting sick it seems. I honestly can't remember the last time this happened but January came at me hard and it's continued into February. As I'm typing this I feel so horrible. I had a viral infection that turned into a sinus infection and then I got better. Or so I thought. Because I'm back down with a monster cold and I've pretty much stopped any hard core cardio. The internet tells me I can run with a cold but my body says no, don't do it. And frankly since I'm not an elite athlete, I think I can take the time off. I'm probably going to skip my long run on Sunday which makes me feel super guilty but I have got to get well. I'm a little worried about the half marathon I have in March but I'll manage and probably only train up to 11 miles but it's fine. I have so many other responsibilities beyond running that I need to be well for those things over anything else.

Somewhere I decided that this was going to be year of bravery, a year of learning and trying new things. I think I hold myself back and I don't want that anymore. A lesson that has come from my husband's terminal illness is that I don't want either of us to die saying "I should have." I want us to have lived our best life. And some of that is together and some of that is apart. I have a bucket list of things I want to do with him. I want to look back and say we made the most of our time together. I want to have no regrets that I didn't try to maximize our time together. I told a few people the other week that I feel sorry for anyone who has to say at his funeral that they wish they had come visited more or that they wished they had done X,Y, or Z. Because the opportunity is here and now and there is no reason to not take advantage. I won't be one of those people. I know that 100%.

But beyond my husband is me. I feel like this need to try new things is my way of maximizing the time I have where I don't have to be his caregiver all of the time. One day I know things will be harder. He will need more care and time. The things he does now like cooking dinner every night he won't be able to do anymore. So in a way I'm taking advantage of the stage he is in now to fulfill my own personal bucket list. Swimming was a start and I'm so happy I started that even if it is part of the reason I am sick now. I've added kayaking and spinning and baking to my list. There may be a run-kayak duathlon at the end of the year I'd like to do. I'm taking a spin class next week and one day I'd like to sign up for a cake decorating class. It seems this year's mantra is Why not? All the excuses have gone away. Here and now because the future is so unpredictable.

But this newfound bravery does leave me with the feeling of being selfish. A part of me feels like I should dedicate all my time to my family and to my husband. I'm mean he's sick, like really sick and I don't know how long I'll have him like he is now or just how long I'll have him. Am I really maximizing our time when I go off to swim for a couple of hours a week? Shouldn't I be with him watching the kids and making sure everyone is okay? Everything I've read on caregiving says that the caregiver has to take care of themselves first. Because it is a hard thing to do and also very easy to get lost in the process and I don't want that. But I don't want to be negligent either. Running is easier in a way. I can just lace up and go run outside. I don't have to do races or anything that would pull too much time though I'd like to continue and I don't think it will be a problem. Anything I have to drive to seems like I'm asking a lot. I don't know why. But there has to be a balance somewhere, right? I wonder how other spouses or caregivers handle these types of things. BT doesn't mind me going. He understands my reasons why. It's all an internal struggle that makes me feel like choosing myself is somehow not choosing him or them. And that's not the case at all. I just don't want to come to the end of my life and say "I wish I had." I want to say "I'm glad I did."

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