Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I may have mentioned before that I have a chronic illness called Rheumatoid Arthritis. I haven't written much about it but I'm going to start writing about it more and more, not only because I feel it really affects my role as Dad's caregiver and that might be something that others are also experiencing, but also because it has really moved itself to the forefront of my life lately. It has really made me start to feel my own mortality, and that's been difficult, especially when placed next to Dad's increasing mortality.

I had a sort of flare up a few months ago, characterized by even more fatigue than I normally feel, some extra pain and stiffness, and some other, minor symptoms. It's been a long time since I had a flare up and I was in denial about it for a while, until my doctor really noticed and put me on a newer medication. Thankfully, the new meds have started to help, very slowly, but I'm still feeling sluggish and a little depressed, which for me, is strange. I'm dealing with the fact that this could get a lot worse in time and I'm struggling.

Having a chronic illness of this type makes being a caregiver, even a part time one like me, more difficult. I'm sure there are many full time caregivers out there who are struggling through their own disease processes to help a loved one with theirs. Everything takes just a little longer, a little more effort, and it may cause some resentment that precious energy and time are being spent on the health and well-being of someone else. I know it has for me. I watch my Father's long slide into old-age and death with pity and sadness;and with the knowledge that once he goes, I'm on the front lines of Life - there will be no one else between me and the same fate.

To all those who are fighting the good fight for your loved ones, while fighting a health fight of your own; you're not alone. Don't forget to take care of your own health first, as hard as that might seem. And don't be ashamed of negative feelings - you're entitled. This is a tough road to walk for anyone, but it was made a little tougher for you.

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