Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How MS helped my marriage

I know that some people are going to take this the wrong way. But I want to express this because, sadly its true. My husband having MS has opened my eyes and possibly saved my marriage.

Over the past few years, there have been quite a few times where I have thought that I was done. His moods were out of control at times. I thought he was bipolar. Times would go where he would be on the ball with helping around the house and then there were other times, where it seemed like all he did was sleep. Times it seemed like everything bothered him and no one wanted to talk to him. He would blame me for anything and would take responsibility for nothing.  We would do everything separately, just to keep the peace.

Then he ended up in the hospital with stroke like symptoms, due to his high blood pressure. He was on meds for it, so they did testing to see why this was happening. During this, I would not leave his side. Which helped me realize that no matter how much he drove me nuts, I did care. (which honestly I was in doubt of). He was told that he might have MS, but needed to get his blood pressure under control and re-do the MRI six months later.

Over this 6 months, knowing there very well could be something wrong, but not knowing for sure, my emotions were up & down again. Hated him for sleeping so much. And when he wasn't sleeping, he was working long hours, leaving me with the kids all the time.  And then there were times where he was so helpful, and wanted to spend every waking moment with us. I tried to push my feeling aside but they slowly resurfaced again. This again, made me re-think if I cared anymore.

Then in May the diagnosis came. And by this time, the MS had progressed enough that about the same time of diagnosis, he got his first flare up. He couldn't really walk AT ALL. We have a 2 story house and the stubborn man he is, would not stay upstairs. I was following him around like a toddler trying to walk. Since this was new to him, his balance was horribly off. He couldn't lift his leg at all and at times needed my help getting dressed.  This lasted close to a week.

I could see the frustration in his face. My husband doesn't cry at all, but I swear he was on the verge a few times and held it back. So I did the crying for us both, after everyone was in bed.  There was nothing I could do. I didn't know exactly what he was going through. I can't feel what he was feeling. I could only assist in any way I could.

At first my thoughts were "I fell more like a nurse then a wife."  The fact that I felt like this killed me. But even still I was right there. I mentally took on everything. I made it in my mind, that he couldn't do anything. I was willing to do everything. I started pricing rancher style houses and figuring out expenses as if he had to go on disability. Then I realized, I was doing this all, so he didn't have to...he had enough to do deal with. he had to learn a whole new way of living with this new disease.  Then I realized...if I am willing to stand by this man, and push all my feelings aside, I care enough the go through this with him. I married him for better or worse and I am not a quitter, as he isn't either...he is still here too.

He made it through the flare up, and was able to ease back into work. But through reading about MS symptoms, and thinking back.....WOW....he's been dealing with MS for almost 5 years and we didn't know it. His symptoms were making me hate him. How messed up is that to think about?? My marriage could have ended because of things he could not control and was not aware of what was happening.

Knowing all of this now, helps me keep a little calmer when I am getting frustrated. I have come to terms that he can't go go go, do do do. Now I when we simply go run a few errands, yes he may NEED a nap, its not him just being lazy.   When he comes home from work early, I don't get annoyed at the money he is missing out on, I see it as "he's having a bad day and needs to rest".

Through this I also think its helped my husband realize that when he is having a good day, he can take advantage of it a little and take the kids to the park or help with housework. He doesn't think as much as before "it can wait" or "ill do it later", which in turns has helped me appreciate what he does more often then not.  I am learning Patience with him and he is finally learning to open his eyes to many things and actually 'listen' now when I try to communicate with him & not shut me out as much.

Like now, he is taking a nap.  In the past I would get annoyed and think...why go BACK to bed after you have already been awake, just stay up and get shit done. But I let him sleep because although I was trying to fix toilets at 2am...he had morning insomnia...and did a little grocery shopping for me.

This man, fighting with a new diagnosis, still does more then a lot of other men I have seen and heard of. He is trying his best to not let this keep him down. And for that I cannot complain.

Sad but true, too often we see illness make people finally open their eyes, and not let the little things in life get them so angry anymore.