The patient partner

This is one of the posts that I debated about writing. Not so much because it intimately highlights my partner, but because it truly exposes me. But at the start of my blog, when it was in its baby phase, I always said that I wanted to talk about the real things that happen to me. Even if it makes me look like a sad hot mess.

In 2016 I was diagnosed with Lupus. Very few people know that this is something I have suffered with for years. A short little health lesson. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that has no real cause for how it develops and no cure. To sum it up, my body looks at healthy cells and tissues and attacks them as if they a foriegn. In other words, I am kicking my own ass.

Some of the awesome symptoms of my Lupus are difficulty breathing, low blood sugar, circulation issues, fatigue, swelling, arthritis and joint pain. All of that sounds like so much fun, doesn’t it. Having Lupus makes you good at a variety of things. Having to reschedule plans with friends, being tired by 6 pm, hiding your pain from others, tons of blood work and my personal fave, countless doctor appointments.

I told my fiancee when we first started dating about my health issues. But I never went into great detail about them. Dating should be fun, right? So I didn’t want to bore him, or worst yet, scare him away with my health crap. Over the almost two years we have been together, my symptoms have unfortunately become worse. Date nights happen more often at home. Staying up late isn’t really an option. Intimacy has changed and I can’t hide the pain as well any more.

Last weekend was an eye opening moment in my relationship. I had what we like to call a “Lupus flare”. It is when you have an onset of multiple symptoms that hit you like a wrecking ball. I spent 8 hours on my couch wrapped in a blanket with a heat pad in absolute pain and exhaustion. When you have a flare, all you can do is rest and ride it out. The crazy part is that I looked fine. That’s a common trait for most autoimmune diseases. You look “normal”. But my body felt far from fine.

My fiancee remained calm and nurturing. He made sure I had my meds, forced me to rest, watched crap tv with me. He made me laugh and did a ton of other things to get my mind off the pain. Of course, he too can’t hide anymore. Once in a while, I would see him looking at me with such fear and worry. 2 years together has also seen 2 hospitalizations that lasted over a week. He actually proposed three days after my first hospital visit. As he put it, “I couldn’t lose you, so I couldn’t wait to ask you!”

For many of us who suffer from an autoimmune disease, we carry such worry, pain and fear for those who love us. We never want to add more stress to their world and if we could, we would wish it all away. But a true partner will love and stick by you, in sickness and in health. I know the past few months have been hard on my fiancee for a variety of reasons, my health being one of them.

But we have to remember, that the real test of any relationship, is how you endure through the hard times. Whenever I have a good day, I try my best to make it a great one with him. We go out, we have amazing whiskey, we laugh hard, we remember why we fell in love. I cherish those days so much and I hold on to them, when other days feel less than great.

So for the loving and patient partners out there, let me say thank you. We know that you would take our pain away if you could. And we are forever grateful for your love and support.

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