Prioritizing and Caregiving: Finding time for lupus, cancer, and all the rest!

With the new year well underway, I thought it appropriate to do a blog post about priorities. That said, having written only a handful of posts since September, I bet you can guess where my priorities have not been. Blogging has clearly fallen to the bottom of my list!

Since I started caregiving for my dad this past summer due to his brain cancer diagnosis, I have had to put my blog on the back burner. I miss it terribly, and every week I jot down blog ideas from my experience of nursing him through his fight with his brain tumor, glioblastoma.

But I have learned so much about myself, my family, and what really matters during this time. I am reminded of those early days with lupus, when I really had to choose - what I did, how I did it, and when. Back then, everything became a matter of "if I do x, then I can't manage y." It was very frustrating to have my own body cause such limitations on my time, abilities, and activities.

Thankfully, I am healthy enough today that lupus limits very few activities. I still have my daily afternoon nap to contend with, but it's manageable, and keeps me stable and strong. And thank goodness, too. Caregiving is not an easy task!

Today - the juggle of priorities is not due to my own health concerns, but rather caregiving, as my father navigates his own. I found early on that my own long list of daily "must do's" - for my business, my personal life, etc - weren't quite so urgent. In fact, as time marched on, and his treatments ramped up,  I discovered that just a few things on my own list actually had to be tended to. Compared to the pressing needs of managing my dad's daily well-being, almost everything else could...well...wait.

I likened the shift to an upside triangle, divided horizontally into three parts:

At the top, where the longest edge is, were my dozen+ priorities,  each one as important as the next. But of the things I'd always thought had to get done daily, only about half seemed pressing anymore, compared to what my dad needed to literally stay alive.

So those half dozen "urgent" needs fell to the second section of the triangle.

But then days and weeks passed, and my dad needed more and more assistance. So of those 6+ tasks, I found only a few absolutely, positively needed to happen.

It is those select few - caring for my dad, keeping myself healthy, and managing my household (kids, husband, etc.) - that fell to the teeny, tiny, tip at the bottom of the upside triangle.

And that, my friends,  is where I am today. Happily sitting with very few "musts" on my plate every day. But oh, how vital those to-do's are.

As the year progresses, alonside my dad's terminal illness, I have vowed to focus on two personal items each day: daily exercise and a solid nap. I think those two things will enable me to be the best caregiver, daughter, mother and wife I can be. If I can stay healthy, I can be there for my dad. That is the goal for 2019.


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