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My Husband Loves Me, Chronic Illnesses and All

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As I’m sitting in bed, I watch as my husband does load after load of laundry, putting it all in its proper spot. This is after he went to the store for groceries and drove an hour each way for a business meeting earlier today.

I’ll watch as he cooks dinner and does the dishes after. And then I’ll watch as he bathes our children and then tucks them snugly into bed. We both kiss them good night and sit together as he reads a story. Then it’s back to the bed I go.

Ashley Casey

Lately, I feel like I’ve been watching life from the sidelines. I’ve watched as my husband work so hard. I keep thinking to myself, “I am not enough.” I think this despite being told repeatedly by him, “Just having you with us is enough.” But to me, it’s just not.

Having multiple chronic illnesses can strip you of your very being. It makes that negative voice in your head so loud it can become deafening. It’s exhausting just to make it through the day despite doing nothing.

I have Chiari malformation, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), multiple cranial neuropathies, intracranial hypertension, arthritis, papilledema in both eyes, daily vomiting accompanied with constant nausea and more. All of these together create a perfect storm, and it can feel impossible to stay afloat. But I’m lucky. I’m lucky because I have a support system that keeps me above water.

My days aren’t pretty, my hair isn’t done. I’m lucky to make it into a pair of clean pj pants. I never expected to live like this. I’m everything you’d imagine a man wouldn’t want, and yet, day in and day my husband stays by my side and loves me to the ends of the earth. And every single day I ask myself, “Why?”

I’ve learned these acts he does daily are a stronger show of love than any surprise vacation or date night. It’s more priceless than any piece of jewelry could ever be. He has taken over what I can no longer do, and he does this with kindness, gentleness and love.

When you meet someone, fall in love and get married, you don’t expect to take the whole “in sickness and in health” thing seriously until you’re old, your hair’s gray and your joints are weak. But we were coping with “sickness” and “health” nearly five before we were even married.

And I say “we” but I mean him. He had a choice. But he loves me. He has chosen to love me. He knows our road won’t be easy, yet he’s buckled up and ready to ride. He loves my smile, my affection and how I love our girls.

He loves me, sickness and all.

So while I feel like I’m not enough today, I’m humbled to see that I am to this man. One day, I hope I can see in myself what he sees in me when kisses me sweetly, when he brushes my hair from my face, when he wipes tears from my cheek and when he holds me nose to nose while quietly whispering, “I love you.”

Originally published: July 22, 2016
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