I never liked the game tug-o-war. The pull back and forth made me uncomfortable and pissed. What exactly were we trying to accomplish by both pulling in the opposite directions. Nonsense to me and I vowed after 1st grade I would never play that dumb game again. Well, now I feel myself playing tug-o-war on a weekly, if not daily basis. Except this tug-o-war game has much higher stakes, and it’s tugging at my emotions.
This is how I have felt since we got the “news.”
An emotional tug-o-war invades my senses more than I ever thought. Chances arise frequently for me to go out and have fun, and take my mind of Ethan being sick. While one side of my brain says it would be fun to escape for a bit, the other side tugs me the other way. Do I really want to leave Ethan to go out?
Time becomes so much more precious when you face a serious illness. Let me be real: Do I actually think that anything could ever really take my mind off of it? Probably not. It occupies my mind all the time, even when I’m aware of thinking about it.
I know many people reading this might be saying you need to do things on your own and have fun in order to be a good caretaker. And I agree with you. In fact I have spoken those words right here on my blog. But it’s hard.
It’s not that I don’t do things for myself; it’s the fact that my heart aches when I am not there. I want to be there with Ethan, I want to be there if he needs me.
This is the caretaker’s conflict.
How do you merge these two feelings together? How do you overcome the conflict?
I’ve found it’s impossible. For me, it’s more of finding a balance between the two. (I’d love to hear your suggestions and tips.)
These feelings are not new for me. Some people have warned there is more to come when dealing with Ethan’s cancer, that I am just at the beginning of merging this illness into our lives. Well guess what? I will never let cancer into my life as a permanent fixture; in my mind cancer is Ethan and my bitch. And I plan to keep it that way.
I tell cancer what to do and where to shove it, not the other way around. I have history with cancer and this is not my first go around. I played tug-o-war with cancer for 12 years with my mom. This is far from my first rodeo.
The thing I want to accomplish in this blog is to make it ok to say look I don’t want to go out and have fun, I want to stay in with my loved one tonight and cherish that time.
My friends have been precious gems in this fight with me; they are very much going through it as much as I am. Without them, I would be a pile of dust right now blowing in the wind. They are my backbone, my spine of steel that keeps me up. But sometimes the tug-o-war wins and you know what, that’s OK! We can only do what we love in life and what makes us feel good. Dealing with Ethan’s illness has made me very short tempered for crap. I have no time to suffer fools, to deal with drama, or to spend time doing things I don’t like.
So when that tug-o-war happens to you, don’t feel guilty or bad about it. Those are true feelings and emotions and its only right to honor them. In my opinion when you are a caretaker you inherit the right to feel however you want and never feel bad for it. Just always remember you are the one who decides what side wins that tug-o-war.