My friend Pattie and her husband have had a long 10 months. Last winter, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. As a result of a bad and surprising reaction to a very toxic form of chemo, he nearly died. He was unable to continue with the chemo, so ended up with whole brain radiation which was very hard on him. Meanwhile, Pattie has held down the fort, doing all the driving, managing records between many doctors, at least two hospitals, tending to a much weakened husband who has no memory of how sick he was. They are just now climbing out of the deep, black hole; however, as anyone who has been on such a journey can attest, they are much changed.
This is a post Pattie recently made to Facebook. She is by far not the only one who feels this way. Her friends are not the only ones who can learn from it:
I am tired.
I am not tired of taking care of D.
I am not tired of getting his medical records, or taking him to his appointments.
I am not tired of being his wife, but…
I am tired of people telling me to take care of myself, I do.
I am tired of people telling me I need to get out more, when I want to, I will and I do.
I am tired of people telling me to come visit them, it is just another pressure you are adding to my life, when I want to, I will.
I am tired of people telling me I need therapy. (I have, I do, but on my terms).
I am tired of people telling me the weight I gained when Drew was sick will fall right off…it won’t…it doesn’t…but right now it is the least of my fucking concern, not yours and stop looking at me ‘that way’.
In short, I am tired. Not of my life or taking care of Drew, but of everyone telling me how I should feel.
I will call, visit, or ignore you, whatever, on my terms. It is one thing I have learned through all this. I love each and every one of you, but please, stop telling me what I need.
I know what I need, I am crawling out of this hole I was put into with no choice, but I am and I will do it on my terms…not you telling me what I need to do.