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To My Mother-in-Law, Who Has Supported Me Through My Illness

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When I first met my husband’s parents while we were dating, I had all these scenarios running through my mind about how his mother would react when I’d tell her that I have Crohn’s disease and an ostomy. One scenario would be that she’d think of me as being a liability for her son if we ever got married because I came with “baggage,” I’m “damaged goods” or she’d have me leave her home for fear that I’d clear the entire house out.

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

I don’t remember the exact moment when I made it known to Pam as it was so long ago, but what I do remember is she had mentioned that her cousin’s daughter has ulcerative colitis so she understood what Crohn’s disease and an appliance were. What a relief that was! I felt so much better that she wasn’t like other the other moms I had met while dating where they used to watch what I ate at meals or they’d bring up my illness at gatherings and embarrass me.

After I married Philip, the relationship between my mother-in-law and I grew. We’ve been through many “adventures” together such as volunteering for the CCFA Walk for several years and her rushing me to the ER when I had a bowel obstruction. I looked like a monster with no make-up, unkept hair and morning breath. If that didn’t scare her off, nothing would. Then there were times I just needed a friend for some insight on a dilemma I was facing. Pam would always take time to listen and offer her opinion without being judgmental. That’s just who she was.

woman and her mother-in-law

After I had my stroke, my in-laws took me to my appointments when Philip had to work as well as checked in on me daily to make sure I was OK since I was very scared of having a second stroke. Whenever I needed anything else, Pam would offer to vacuum, make meals and even run to the pharmacy as I wasn’t allowed to drive for an entire year. Several years later, my in-laws moved down to Florida to be near their daughters and grandchildren. While I missed them terribly, I knew I could always call anytime to chat.

My mother-in-law is my best friend. Even though we are miles apart, I can still pick up the phone and talk to her about anything and she’ll still offer encouraging words of wisdom.

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Originally published: May 15, 2017
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