To My Husband Who Has Loved Me Through My CRPS Journey
I’m not sure why he chose to marry me. When we met in high school, I had just gone into remission after my first year being diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). When we started dating in the summer of 2006, as young college kids, my CRPS had been in remission for years. We had known each other for four years, but he never knew me with the severe, burning pain of the CRPS monster.
Then I relapsed. After years of dating, CRPS came back with a vengeance, and for the first time, spread from just my left foot. I not only had to learn how to deal with chronic pain all over again, but also had to learn how to deal with it in both feet and legs. He had to learn how to date someone with chronic pain, and I know that couldn’t have been easy.
Outings turned from going to the bars to going to the doctors. Date night went from sushi at our favorite Japanese restaurant to Disney Pixar movies, take-out and Sour Patch Kids in bed. We went from day-long hikes to day-long travels out of state to try different treatments to put me back into remission.
We dated for seven and a half years before he proposed. I was frustrated that we weren’t married yet, but I wasn’t seeing it from his perspective. He had to figure out if he could live with my medical “crap” for the rest of his life. Marriage means “in sickness and in health,” but what if that means sickness for one half of the couple, and health for the other half?
Being loved by him through my medical journey means the world to me. His love is shown by all the little things done during the day – giving me a piggy-back ride up to bed when a day has just been too long for me or grabbing my medication from another floor in our house when I forgot to bring it with me. He shows his love by bringing our kitties to snuggle with me because he knows I need the company when he leaves for work in the morning. It means having a smile put on my face on a bad pain day because he brought home a pint of my favorite ice cream.
He brings me to my treatments two and a half hours away from our house so that I can get a little relief from the pain for a few weeks at a time. He holds my hand, runs his fingers through my hair and tells me that I’m safe when I’m having bad hallucinations during my treatment and bad anxiety for days afterwards. He tucks me into bed each night and tells me that he loves me.
He loves me despite my limitations. He loves me despite the fact that I can’t go on most of his outdoor adventures with him. He loves me despite having met a perfectly healthy girl back when we were 14 years old who, as a 30-year-old, can’t be as carefree as she was then.
I don’t know why he loves me. I don’t know why he chose me when there are millions of healthy girls out there for him to love. What I do know is that his love is real. Together, our love is deeply-rooted in the knowledge that we can do hard things. For that, I’m forever grateful that he is able to see past the CRPS monster and know that I’m still a person deserving of love.
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