Saturday, January 23, 2010

In Sickness and In Health

Janet writes: There is an excellent thread posted on the MS World message boards about how to adjust to MS in a new relationship. The original poster asked for advice regarding his recent marriage and his wife’s new diagnosis of MS. Many people in long term relationships who have dealt with MS for years responded and actually help the gentleman talk his way through the ups and downs of his situation – an online counseling session, really!

Reading this thread made me realize how important it is to be up front with each other when a diagnosis of MS comes into your relationship. Most of the people who posted replies to this post have solid, long term relationships. Some knew about the MS before committing to the relationship. Most take their marriage vows seriously – “in sickness and in health” – and whatever comes with it. I read so many threads on these message boards that talk about spouses and significant others not being able to deal with the disease and bailing on their marriages or relationships, so this thread was really refreshing to read.

Tim told me about his MS on our first date. He didn’t want to get into a relationship with me, only to have me walk away once I heard the words “multiple sclerosis”. He was relieved to find out that I already knew about MS and what its potential effects were. That being said, I did have to seriously consider what I was getting into for about a month before I committed my heart to Tim. I have my own health problems and I wasn’t sure if I was up for what could lay in our futures. I did finally come to the conclusion, however, that the man was more important than the disease. We have now been married a little over two years.

We don’t have it easy. Tim went through a change in doctors and several trials of medications before stabilizing on Tysabri. My health is fragile and that is affecting my ability to work right now, so money is tight. Add three college age children and a new grandson into the mix and we pretty much live in chaos. What keeps us going is our faith in God and our love and respect for each other. With those two things, plus open, honest communication between the two of us, we find that we can deal with a lot of things that neither one of us could deal with alone.

So if you are experiencing difficulty in your relationship due to the wonderful world of MS, please seek out your local MS support group. You are likely to find couples there who know how to face this disease head on and are able to keep their relationships solid through it all. If your problems are heading you to a break-up, please find some counseling help as well. Your relationship is worth it!

To read the thread I did, log in to MS World, go to the Relationships and Carepartnering message board, and click on the thread titled Recently married – wife diagnosed with MS – future? For marriage and relationship advice that will make you bust a gut laughing, go to Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage.

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