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What I'd Like My Husband to Know About My Chronic Illness

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When we met, we were so young and had our whole lives ahead of us. Getting married, having two sweet daughters and buying our first house were like dreams come true. Don’t get me wrong, your sharp tongue and my inability to let things go made for some pretty good fights. But we were still so happy.

Then I got sick. In literally one day, our lives completely changed. That life we had, the one that made me so happy, was gone. You kept telling me that it wasn’t gone, and that it had just changed a little, but I was sure it was gone. Gastroparesis had taken my life and turned it into painful, dehydrated, weak, lonely and depressing days.

Laura Keating.1-001

I became completely lost and couldn’t stop thinking about who I used to be: a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a teacher, a neighbor, a friend. All I could see was a woman who could no longer work, take care of her kids alone, eat anything or drive herself places.

It’s been two years since our lives were turned upside down. And guess what? You’re still here. You stuck it out. Every time I questioned why you would stay, you looked at me like it was a crazy question. Thank you for that.

And thank you for all of the small things you don’t even realize you do that make my heart feel full.

Thank you for making our bed in the morning after you get up. It’s my “office,” and it’s nice to see it clean.

Thank you for changing our busted TV to the channel I like before you turn it off. That way, I don’t have to watch your sports shows while I wait 20 minutes for the remote to start working.

Thank you for holding my hand when I’m in the hospital. I know how holding hands “isn’t your thing.” But when you grab my hand in the hospital and hold on for dear life, it helps heal me even though I may be too sick to say anything.

Thank you for cheering me on when I poop. Who knew we could find so much joy and giggles from something so smelly!

Thank you for laughing at me when I lose my self-control and eat something I shouldn’t have instead of yelling at me and saying, “I told you so!” It sort of eases the pain.

Thank you for understanding when I get mad at you over nothing. I’m still learning how to control the monster that comes along with chronic illness.

Thank you for turning the shower water back on after you get out of the shower and it’s my turn. I don’t think you realize why showers aren’t fun for me anymore because of my central line. So stepping in for my “quick” shower with warm water is amazing.

Thank you for carrying my TPN and supplies upstairs from the basement refrigerator every night. That saves me tons of spoons.

But mostly, thank you always loving me. Thank you for sticking around even when I tried to push you away. Thank you for sticking around even when I wouldn’t stop trying to pick a fight. Thank you for sticking around when I was too depressed to shower and smelled pretty gross. Thank you for sticking around when all I did was whine and complain.

Thank you for giving me hope, joy, support, comfort and love. I wouldn’t be here without you. I love you.

Laura Keating.3-001

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability and/or disease. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: December 23, 2015
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