My hubs and I had our 18th dating anniversary on Monday. So, in this post should I refer to him as my boyfriend?! Anyway…
18 years in the scheme of life isn’t that long if you’re lucky enough to make it to your 80’s but 18 years when your not yet 40 (Me.) is a long time. He is very good at math and he told me on my next birthday, I will have been with him longer than I have been without him.
As we inch closer to my MSiversary (my MS anniversary) in July, I start to think back to when I was originally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2012. I was in the hospital for 5 days getting steroids. When I came home, I was on a walker and no one knew what the future would bring when it came to walking unassisted ever again or not. I was worried it would get worse and I would end up full time in a wheelchair. I couldn’t do ANYTHING without help. We got intimate in ways I would never have imagined and I am not talking about sexy, fun-time ways. I’m talking about helping me to and from the bathroom. Helping me IN the bathroom. Helping me shower and get dressed. Cutting up my dinner into small pieces because my tremors were really bad in those early days.
I think on the 3rd day of me being an “invalid” I told him he could leave and I wouldn’t blame him. I would sign the divorce papers and he could move on with his life. We would split the kids time with us up 50/50, we’d still stay friends and hopefully in time, he would find someone else to love.
He was SUPER pissed I would even say that to him. Like, he was so mad, I honestly thought he might punch a hole in the wall. I’m not sure I had ever seen him so mad and especially not AT ME.
Listen, I know in retrospect it sounds over-dramatic that I would tell him that. We had been married 6ish years by then and together probably close to 10, but I was staring down the barrel of an incurable disease. In my mind, I was doing the KINDEST thing possible by telling the love of my life, that he could leave.
Of course, he stayed and here we are today 18 years and 3 days later. We have been through many ups and downs in our lives but always fighting it together as a team. It’s not always easy. It’s not always without argument but it’s always the two of us, figuring it out.
I know when you are first diagnosed, simple, daily things seem so amplified that you’re just not sure how you are going to get through it. In those moments, find your person so they can carry you when you can’t carry yourself. It doesn’t have to be a significant other. It could be your parent, your sibling, your pastor, your hairdresser. An actual therapist. It could be the person who would help you hide the bodies. It could be the friend that won’t judge if you want to start day drinking at 8 am. The person who will hit you between the eyes with the truth, even if the truth will sting. I encourage you to find at least one person that will help you get through the really overwhelming times. Once you’re on the other side of it, don’t forget to be that person for someone else too. (Chronic Illness Warrior or not!)