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Dear Future Husband, From a Chronically Ill Girl Who's Learning to Love Herself

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Dear future husband,

It’s been a while since I’ve written you, and boy have I changed.

I am no longer the girl who is tethered to an IV pole and slowly wasting away.

I’m no longer the girl who is terrified to even think of the future, because for weeks, I had been praying that my body could just hold on one more day.

I may be sick. But I’m no longer (currently) dying.

For the first time, in a long time, I’m allowing myself to dream of my future. Because I believe I may actually get one.

As I’m dreaming of what’s to come, you have popped into my head so many times.

I wonder what you’re going to look like. How we are going to meet, or if we have already met, and what our story will be.

I still wonder what it’s going to be like for you. To love someone who will never be healthy.

To love someone who physically struggles even on her best health days and is lucky to survive her worst health days.

I wonder how you’re going to handle the thousands of unknowns that will come because of my illness. Two of them being children and my life expectancy. I fear how you will be able to handle the worst parts of my life.

Surgeries, hospital stays, blood draws, IVs, tumors, scans, medicine, brain fog, inflammation, nausea, vomiting, flares, bloating, doctor appointments, medication, side effects, insurance coverage (or lack there of), giant question marks when it comes to my health and just plain old bad news – they are all “normal” things in my not-so-normal life.

But it’s going to be a whole new terrifying world for you. And a part of me will always fear that my illness, and all that comes with it, will be too much for you to handle.

Oftentimes it’s too much for me to handle.But I didn’t have a choice in this.

You do.

I do have fears when it comes to you.

But I no longer fear you.

For years, I’ve avoided serious relationships, because I’ve feared how my illness would impact others’ lives, and how their reaction to it would affect mine.

I’ve feared that they may even fall in love with the tall, outgoing, happy-go-lucky girl with bright eyes, a silly laugh and a big smile.

But the second my chronic illness and all the “broken pieces” it’s given me start to show, I feared they would run, like so many others. Instantly forgetting the happy-go-lucky girl with the bright eyes and the big smile, and only seeing me for the things I have no control over.

So I built a wall and I guarded it with sarcastic humor and the “friend-zone.” I was determined to not let anyone get close enough to me to see my broken pieces.

But since I last wrote you I’ve realized something. Something very important…

You are broken too.

Every person on this earth is broken in some way.

Being chronically ill just makes some of my “breaks” more visible.

You may always have things you don’t like about yourself. Situations in your life are going to feel like they are way too much to handle. You are going to have battles in your life that all too often feel like never-ending wars. You are going to have weaknesses. You are going to have things about you that I have a hard time dealing with.

But loving you, broken pieces and all, is going to be worth it.

Just like loving me, broken pieces and all, is going to be worth it.

woman's hand with an IV holding a man's hand

Throughout this journey I’ve learned and I finally believe that we are so much more than our broken pieces.

We are infinitely more than the things we hate about ourselves.

So I’m working on taking down that wall, brick by brick.

So when that fateful day eventually comes…

I’ll be ready to let you in.

Love always,

Your future wife

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Originally published: July 8, 2017
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