Last June 28, I had an accident in Interlaken, Switzerland, that led to surgery on my ankle. I had two plates and three screws added to my leg and came home to recover. I was laid up in bed for three months because of severe swelling.
While I was recovering and still bedbound, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and needed a shoulder replacement. She asked me if I would be ok to help her out for some of her recovery. Her shoulder surgery was scheduled for the middle of December, and I told her I should be walking by then. It broke my heart that I could not be there for the lung surgery, but I did make it to San Diego while she was recovering from having a titanium shoulder put in her body.
Although I was walking and able to walk because of many physical therapy sessions, I was told that I needed to have the hardware removed because I was having difficulties walking a lot because a screw was loose (thank goodness they did not refer to my mental state.) Without the surgery, I was not going to have full range in my foot.
I left the doctor’s office, telling them I would consider it. I had been held up too long and knew I needed to give more support to my mother.
That same day, my husband went in for a cat scan because his stomach was hurting. We thought it was nothing, but we discovered some not-so-good medical news about him on his way home. He was told that he needed to drive straight to the hospital for what ended up beginning a battery of tests. He had a lot of blood clots throughout his abdomen.
While in the hospital caring for my husband, I thought about helping him through his medical challenge and being present for my mother during her recovery from shoulder surgery. Taking care of both of them would be a lot of work. I started to think that I could not go back under the knife and fix my foot because this could limit my ability to help two significant people in my life.
This is Caregiver disease, and it can be perilous. You ignore listening to your body and ensuring your health is in shape. If you are not working at your 100% level, your energy is impacted, and you cannot be a good caregiver. I must put my mask on first to help my mother and husband. I decided to make sure I completed my surgeries to be mobile. This is the best thing I could do for my loved ones.
I ended up getting my surgery, and I completely recovered now. I am so happy I did not allow Caregivers Syndrome to affect me.
We are still awaiting more answers about Lance’s medical condition, but so far, no news is good news. No matter what we find out, I can support him because I can walk and stand up for an extended period.
Mom is still recovering from shoulder surgery, and we will try to travel together in a few weeks. The lung cancer reminded me to make magic moments with her.
If you are a caregiver, don’t put off taking care of yourself. You need to be the best version of yourself.