‘Till Death Do Us Part….
Posted On July 16, 2018
This is a seriously long-overdue post dedicated to my amazingly supportive husband.
I’m in pain every day. That is not a dramatic statement, it’s a fact. There is not one single day in which I don’t have a significant amount of pain consuming me. However, some days are on an entirely different plane. I’ve had a significantly higher number of those days lately. It’s so severe that I can’t even come up with an example that doesn’t involve fire and nails. Pain has a ripple effect on my body, mind, and spirit. When I’m in this amount of pain, I can’t think properly, when I can’t think properly, I get depressed, frustrated, and angry. These feelings cause anxiety and stress which causes more pain and before I know it, I’m on a torture-induced Ferris wheel.
Unfortunately, those who love me end up becoming unwilling co-passengers, simply by way of being in my life. Nobody suffers more than my husband, Chris. For anyone who doesn’t know him, I will do my best to describe our relationship. Chris and I met 25 years ago in May, 1993; we didn’t start dating until that September and excluding save a brief break-up in 1995, we’ve been together ever since, with this Wednesday, July 18th, being our 21st wedding anniversary. I’ve never been easy to deal with, from the day I was born, prematurely, weighing 4 lbs, 5 oz., I’ve been a challenge. I was an only child of a single mom who worked her ass off raising me. I had my first child between my junior and senior year of high school, and I dropped out of community college when it became just slightly tough to manage. That same month, Chris and I started dating. Since then, I’ve evolved into a slightly less selfish person. I believe that my marriage has also helped me professionally, as I consider myself to have a strong work ethic, focusing on producing a quality product while providing an elevated level of service to my clients.
So, back to describing my husband, who is the polar opposite of me. Chris was born with a strong work ethic, in fact, he started working at age 10 and hasn’t stopped since. He’s not even slightly selfish, or self-involved; he is completely focused and motivated by taking care of others, primarily me, even before I was a total medical and mental disaster. Chris loves me beyond all reason, I’ve never once questioned the depth of his commitment to me. Let’s be clear, I don’t believe in fairy tales, we’re not a gushing, sickening sweet, excessive-PDA kind of couple, but I believe we are meant for each other. My diagnosis only strengthened my view of our relationship. Chris immediately kicked it into high gear. He immediately took a lower position within his department in order to work less overtime and be more involved with my specialist appointments, he also began remodeling our home to accommodate my current and future needs. Once my treatment plan was stabilized, he went after and was promoted to a higher position, even taking evening classes to keep moving up the ladder, and he increased his retirement contribution. Chris has always been a saver, but since my diagnosis, he has become hyper-focused on having proper benefits and money secured to allow for an enjoyable retirement. Anything and everything Chris does, he does for both of us.
So, MS isn’t just my disease, it attacked both of us. As unfairly as it strikes me with fatigue and pain, it strikes Chris as well. It’s like a pendulum, when it swings left on me, it’s swinging right on him. When I’m too tired to manage the few household chores I still do, Chris picks up my slack. When I became no longer able to manage the basement stairs, Chris started doing all of the laundry. When MS dumps an unfathomable amount of pain upon my body, it dumps an even larger amount of responsibility on my husband and he takes it on without skipping a beat.
We haven’t even touched on the act of war that MS wages upon my mind and soul. Chris is a casualty of this war in every possible way. Being physically attacked is not as easy as one would think. Sure there are medications that ease pain and alleviate fatigue, but they all come with side effects, some of which are worse than the symptom(s) they are designed to manage. For example, pain alleviating meds cause fatigue, and fatigue-reducing meds cause pain; both types of meds cause heightened emotional symptoms. It’s literally a cyclical nightmare. My husband may not have a formal medical diagnosis of MS, but I promise that he is living with it, every bit as much as I am.
I once came across a meme that said “my husband promised to love me in sickness and in health, he kept that promise” and I’m pretty sure there is no better description of our marriage. As I said before, I don’t believe in fairy tales, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t find my prince.
To all of my friends, family, coworkers, and other acquaintances, I know living with me isn’t easy, thank you for not pointing that out as often as you should. I appreciate each and every one of you, more than I will ever be capable of proving.
Until next time, thank you for reading! ~Tiffany