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How My Relationships Were Affected by the Journey to My Lupus Diagnosis

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Being in my mid-30s, I have had three long-term relationships. The first was “my first” everything. I was head over heels until I grew up and moved on. I dealt with some minor flares that lasted a few days and then passed, but I always blamed it on staying out and drinking too much or not sleeping enough. Never really brought alarm that something could be wrong with my health.

In 2004, between my first and second relationships, I began to show signs of hypothyroidism. Trembling, memory problems, weight gain and all over uncomfortable. I began taking meds and felt great, but into moving out west and getting married, started seeing my health slowly deteriorate. I started having problems breathing, fatigue, pins and needles in my arms and legs, loss of feeling and numbness. I would even get constipation and discomfort when I ate. Needless to say, I was a mess. After seeing specialists and having multiple tests done, I was, as a last resort in 2007, diagnosed with fibromyalgia. (I say last resort since my doctor stated that she could not find anything else wrong with me.)

Needless to say, it tore me and my marriage apart. I couldn’t fathom him being near me nor could I stand to go anywhere or do anything. Lastly, he found a new love and I moved on and back home to the midwest.

When I came home in 2010, I dusted myself off and set myself on a mission to get better. I would have a few bad days here and there, but I tried hard to work past them. I met my now-husband, and set a plan to start a family. I felt great for a few years. I would have a night a month that I was sore or tired, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I ate great and worked out. I had the world in my hands.

We decided to get pregnant in 2013 and when having my son in 2014, I knew something wasn’t right. I started having tightening in my chest, I was uncomfortable and tired all the time. The stiffness would kick in and I couldn’t shake it. My husband would try to help, but I began pushing him away. I started losing control so I started hyper-focusing on the small stuff.

I would carry on and think it would pass, but in the summer of 2016, I had a huge flare I couldn’t kick. The pain was unbearable, physically and mentally, and I had a meltdown. I realized I was sick and, with a blood test, was diagnosed with lupus.

I grew up watching my grandmother deteriorate and then pass from lupus. I was devastated. I told my husband to leave. I told him he was better off just going on with his life and leaving me to suffer. I didn’t want him to feel my pain or have to watch me suffer. He deserved to be happy.

Thankfully, and to my surprise, he refused. He said he made a vow and a promise. I was in utter shock. To be in your 30s and to have a sick spouse, it would be easy to take the high road and walk. But he wouldn’t.

Every day changes, as with any chronic illness, and some days I feel great. We do things together and enjoy going out with our son. We take those moments for granted since we never know if we will be able to do it again. On my bad days, he helps me and takes care of things while I rest. He makes sure I am comfortable and gives me the time I need to recuperate.

Our relationship has evolved and had its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, we love each other. It’s still shocking to me that he stayed, and it really shows his true character. Thankfully, I am not seen as a burden, as I originally thought of myself. He has shown me I am worthy of love, even with chronic illness.

Photo via Palana997 on Getty Images

Originally published: January 9, 2018
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