Post # 1
If you are marrying someone with a serious health problem, I’d love to hear from you. I’m marrying a man with MS (multiple sclerosis). He was diagnosed when he was 26, he’s 37 now, and we’ve been together for over 3 yrs. He’s never been married (I have) and I’m 15 yrs older than he is. His illness has been very slow progressing and he’s got few symptoms but it’s there. He gets some overwhelming fatigue, has some numbness in parts of his body, has some very occasional balance problems and some fine motor control problems. We live with it, fear it and worry about a time when he may become increasingly incapacitated by it. He’s has almost no exacerbations and that gives him a good prognosis. I believe that along with his intelligence and easy-going nature, his illness has a hand in making him who he is. His outlook on life is amazing and we live much more in the moment than people I see around us. It has a definite affect on our relationship. Ironically, my parents also faced serious health issues when they were first married from my father’s multiple illnesses and I believe it made their marriage stronger. They got to be together 43 years. Anyone else dealing with something like this in their relationship? If so, how does it affect you and your outlook on lie together?
Post # 3
My FI has schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. He was diagnosed 4 years ago, and is 29 now. It is definitly tough – in the past three months he’s been an inpatient twice. Today, one of his meds was increased to the highest legal limits.
Our biggest struggle right now is kids – we both want children in a few years, but I’m not 100% sure about FI being alone with kids when I’m at work. I’m considering working 1/2 time as an accountant when we do have kids, at least until they are in school. He has suicidal thoughts, so it’s scary for me to think of what will happen if he has a schizophrenic attack or becomes suicidal with him. We have discussed a home security system for that reason, where he can just press the red button when he needs help.
Right now, we’re just focusing on getting his meds stabalized, and will worry about the future when it comes.
Post # 4
@nyscpa2be: Wow, I give you credit because I can only imagine how difficult it must be to live with someone with an illness like this. How does your FI do on a daily basis? Socially? (Sorry, I’m in healthcare and am curious!)
Post # 5
I can’t relate directly with you, as FI and I are both heathy, thankfully. But I can say I relate a bit, as my mom has MS. She was diagnosed 10 years ago, and has done amazingly well so far (sounds similar to your FI). I can also relate to going through serious medical challenges together, and the powerful (positive) effect it can have on a relationship. Our baby girl was hospitalized when she was 7 weeks old, and because of how rare/complex the issue was, she was there for over 6 months. There were several moments where we didn’t think she’d make it. Thankfully, she did. I don’t think I could have gone through it all without my FI. It’s something that has changed us forever. Happy to hear you have such an amazing relationship – things like these teach us not to take things for granted. 🙂
Post # 6
@nyscpa2be: This is a tough one. Believe it or not, I was married briefly when I was in college. Undiagnosed bi-polar disorder destroyed us because we had no idea what was going on although we should have since his father was in-patient for years with what was then called paranoid schizophrenia and manic depression. We lasted only 3 years. Many years later (25+) he found me and contacted me to tell me where his life had gone since and to apologize for “effing my life up”.It had taken him 10 years after we split to get diagnosed and medicated. Keeping the medication balanced has been a life-time effort. It runs particularly strong in his family – he has a sister & a nephew with it. Good luck to you both – things are much better now with medication and public knowledge.
Post # 7
When I got married the first time I was fighting stage 4 cancer. We had met as healthy individuals and shortly after getting engaged discovered I was sick. It was tough on our relationship and there were lots of resentments that came along with it. I did lots of research regarding how illness can impact relationships, and found out that people who start a relationship with one person already being ill, have much better odds than those who have an illness develop. We fell into the negative stats, but we were alsoquite young and had lots of things against us. That relationship ended in divorce.
However I am as happy as a clam now 🙂 DH and I have had lots of discussions surrounding my death. I know this sounds awful but I’m just a very logical person that understands my risk of dying early and getting cancer again in my future is very great. I just want to make sure that if anything every happened to me that he would be ok. He gets upset when my mortality is discussed, but it’s part of our lives.
I am currently healthy.
Post # 8
Actually, I’m the one with the serious medical disorder and he’s marrying me. I have a genetic disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. My joints slip out and dislocate often and I am in constant pain every minute of every day. I won’t be able to have children without serious help from many specialists and I risk a lot of injury with the most simple tasks. But my man has stood by me through the diagnosis and coping and it has meant more to me than anything. He has made this challenging time more manageable. I commend you ladies for being the support your men need. Just a thought from someone on the other side of things.
Post # 9
@lorie: I have Bipolar disorder (Manic Depression) and anxiety. I was diagnosed when I was 10 years old and was 14 when I finally found the right meds. I was litterally at my breaking point when I met my fiance. My meds of 8 years had completely stopped working in a 1 month peroid due to normal bodily changes (every 7 years your body changes naturally) It took me almost 2 years to find new meds that I am on now and they still aren’t perfect. I was unemployed as I had just graduated with my Master’s degree when I had to move back in with my parents due to financial reasons. (Man was it hard to finish 4 months of Master’s Degree classes when I was severely depressed) I was at my bottom when I met him, in a severe depression that lasted an entire year, sucicidal thoughts and everything else you can think of. I was still in a depression for 6 months after I met my fiance. He helped me through a lot. From a depression while unemployed to depression where my boss was the most aweful person I have ever met and it seemed that her one goal in life was to make my life hell. She made my life so miserable I was ready to have a nervous breakdown. As I found meds that worked better little by little he was always there for me no matter what. I know when I get depressed he physically makes himself sick worrying sometimes but its only cause he cares.
We have talked about children. There are not a whole lot of bipolar meds that you can take while you are pregnant. and who’s to say if they will work for me even if I can take them… But I know whatever happens he will always be there for me.
Unlike many other people I know who have bipolar I am fully functional, work a full time accounting job. As I said I graduated with my Master’s too. but who knows what will happen in the future. All I know is that I will never have to go it alone as long as he is here on this earth. 🙂
Post # 10
@nyscpa2be: My FI has been diagnozed with schizoaffective disorder too.
When we first started dating I had no idea. But he was moody and was very anxious when we were together. I thought a lot of it was nervousness/social awkwardness. Well, we went out a few times, then he started flaking on me, saying he didn’t want to go out so much with me etc… So I let it go, I started dating other people. A few months went by and I got a call from his dad (who i had not met at this point), and he said that M (my now FI) was in the hospital, he had a breakdown and he agreed to sign himself in. He said that M kept begging his dad to call me and ask me to call him. He couldn’t call me from the hospital because my cell phone is in a different area code. So, I did call him, and called him every day he was there. He eventually got regulated on meds and got out and we started dating again.
He still wasn’t quite “normal” he would still get very anxious, get depressed, not sleep, etc… But they were phases he would go through. He semi-moved in with me. He was here more than he wasn’t. about 7-8 months go by and I was on my way to work and I get a call from his dad saying he had to take M to the hospital again. This is when things got real. I did a lot of soul searching about the future and if I could deal with this for the rest of my life. I called him everyday, and I visted every day that I was allowed to. I missed him like crazy. I didn’t realize how much i cared about him till he wasn’t around anymore. And I decided that I would rather him be in my life and deal with his illness, than him not be in my life.
That was the last time he has been in the hospital. After he got out that last time, they started giving him shots twice a month instead of pills everyday. And as of today he hasn’t had any symptons in 2 years. He grew up a lot sicne then, is more responsible, and has done a complete 180.
I think he is somewhat embarrassed to have a mental illness, and he wants to stop getting the shots because he thinks he is better now and doesn’t need them. But I told him that is a deal breaker, and that the reason he is better because of the shots. There is a lot of stigma about mental illnesses and that is unfortunate.
Post # 11
Wow… You guys are so brave. I’m so sorry that you all have to deal with this, those that are sick and those that are with people that are sick. Life is just really hard sometimes, but how we choose to deal with it speaks a lot about someones character. Obviously you are all incredibly special women. For now I am fortunate in that my FI is currently healthy. But I’m scared every day. His dad just got diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. He’s only 62. He was forced to retire early because of his progressing symptoms and in just these short years, he has become a shadow of his former self. FI’s grandfather was diagnosed in his late 70’s and became a shell of a person. So hard to watch. He died last year in his early 90’s. I am terrified that FI will get it eventually. While it’s not 100% inherited, there has been well documented correlation between family history and getting it. I’m mostly scared of every generation getting it earlier and his health habits. A lot of research suggests that a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, dietary choices, and low stress can be fundamental in preventing or slowing the disease. Let’s just say that FI is not that guy to say the least. I get angry sometimes because I feel like he’s digging his own grave, but I love him and this has hit him hard. We’ve been together 10 years, 4 of those long distance. We are highschool sweethearts and have literally grown up together. I won’t abandon him and we’ll face whatever happens together. But this has really shaken me. I come from a family of mental illness. My parents and sister all suffer from severe depression, my mom was abused as a child, my dad is a recovered alcoholic, and my sister is completely unstable and violent and unpredictable and refuses to get treatment. It’s been unbelievably hard, and FI in a very real way represented safety and peace and healthy security for me. I feel like that illusion has been shattered and that now I’m just waiting for the ball to drop… I don’t know. You girls are dealing with things right now and for me, that time might never come. But the uncertainty and fear just won’t go away.
Post # 12
I am not marrying someone with a serious illness, but my FI’s father (FFIL) is bipolar and suffers from ADHD, and severe anxiety disorder. He was diagnosed as bipolar after a huge life-altering event about 8 years ago that caused him to have a nervous breakdown. The disorder lurked in him until something triggered it, and he has not ever been the same. I never knew him before all of this happened, so I only know him as the difficult, heavily medicated bipolar person he is now. He is very difficult. I don’t know if his doesn’t “take care” of himself the way he necessarily should, I think he has a lot of anger and bitterness about what happened to him to trigger this. I don’t know how my FMIL deals with him, he’s paranoid, angry, tends to rant for long periods of time, deliberatley ignores important tasks like paying taxes, getting oil changed, paying bills. He has spent recklessly and put them into serious debt and maxed out credit cards, and totally ignored a suspended lisence issue that had cops at their door one night to take him to jail for failure to appear in court. He is a very difficult person to be around. He is incredibly awkward and hard to talk to…he cannot focus during a conversation and is prone to narrowing a conversation down to one issue and then ranting about it. I had not had any interaction previously with anyone with this condition and it’s very difficult for me to really understand it. He makes me incredibly uncomfortable to be around him because of his disposition. As a child he suffered a really tense, stressful, and abusive upbringing. He also served in the army and suffered from an addiction in his late teen years. His mother suffered from mental illness, so it was hereditary for him but he had nearly every single one of the other factors or triggers associated with bipolar disorder.
I have to admit, I have considered before what it would be like if FI suffered from this same disorder. I honestly don’t know if it’s something I would be able to handle, though I’d try my hardest. Seeing what FFIL has put FMIL through and his complete recklessness is baffling to me and he’s put her through a lot of turmoil.
FI and I have talked about it and luckily, heredity is the only factor FI has (which is not at all an indicator that he would ever suffer from it). He does not suffer from anxiety, nor does he have ADHD. He’s never suffered any PTSD, any absuive or addictive situations, any near-death experiences or nervous breakdowns. I don’t think this is something FI would suffer from in the future.
Post # 13
@LovelyLaura8: I am very similar, I have severe depression (although not Bipolar disorder) and i have suicidal thoughts almost every day.
My FI has been incredible through all of this, just started on antidepressants for the first time today (got diagnosed yesterday), and he has been very understanding how difficult my circumstances are for me. he is very supportive and tells me every day how beautiful i am to him, and how much he loves me, and how worthwhile i am in his eyes. so even though i don’t feel beautiful or worthy him telling me i am does help, he has been so amazing, sticking by me through all of this and i know i can rely on him to stay with me no matter what. 🙂
Post # 14
I’m sorry to hear what everyone is suffering from and how it affects their lives. I hope that everyone can have the best and happiest life they can.
I am the one with a medical problem. I’m kinda lucky since it is for the most part treatable. It doesn’t affect me day to day as I kinda pretend it isn’t there since worring about it will not help. I have a rare genetic disorder called Gardner’s syndrome that one in a million people have it, so I like to joke that I am one in a million . I develop polyps earlier than most people mainly in my stomach and large intestine. I was diagnosed when I was about 13 and have been getting colonoscopys at least once a year since. I fear about having children as there is a 50% chance of passing it on and I would feel horrible knowing they have it because of me.
Post # 15
My FI has axiety disorder and takes some pretty significant meds for it. At some times it is hard I will admit, and I’m still trying to figure out how it all affects him. We do discuss it some and have learned a few things the hard way, but we’ve both learned how best to handle this aspect of his life. I’ve learned that really things like encouraging him work really well in our relationship. I’ve always taken the attitude when you say your vows you say for better for worse in SICKNESS and in health and I mean them! Life isn’t always a bed of roses. We’ve been through a lot in our relationship (he lost his job and was unemployed for a while, I have a somewhat stressful job), but we’ve weathered the course, not to say that we won’t have challenges in the future but we are both in this for the long hall.
I also wanted to say that one of FI friends was just diagnosed with MS last week and he and his wife have been married for a couple of years so they are going through the same as you.
Post # 16
I was diagnosed with MS 2 years ago. We’ve been living together 2 years by then. It was a hard time accepting the diagnosis. My family went through a lot since decades! And I thought ” Why is this happening to me!? And to my family again!” My (then) boyfriend was really supporting. Never had a doubt that he won’t stay with me. The last thing I needed was somebody who showed me pity and say to me how sorry he is! And he just gave me strength and helped me not to see the worst in this diagnosis. I’m fine so far, and I’m sure I will be! Don’t wanna accept that perhaps someday the illness will show up properly. Now I just have a dull feeling in my right leg. I can live with that. And MS does not necessarily mean that you end in a wheelchair. There are a thousand different progresses and some people life with it without any restrictions at all. I’m really looking forward to our wedding, our honeymonn and the rest of our lifes together, as “healthy” as possible:-)