Five years. I feel like we’ve lived a lifetime in these last five years. It’s crazy to think how little we knew then.
I know we’re not alone in how our journey started. When you were first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), I had no clue what it was. I remember being scared, and the anxiety and fear become glaringly apparent. Would you end up in a wheelchair? How would this affect our relationship? How would it impact our finances? What if I’m not able to provide what you need? Questions swirled through my mind, and I know you had your own questions too.
Since then, we’ve had to make sacrifices, but each decision has made us stronger. We moved from our beautiful two-story loft: the stairs everyday were too much and the monthly payments were just too high for our uncertain future. We selected which events or get-togethers we could attend and truly be present for. We learned how to talk to each other, not just as a couple, but as partners who wanted each other to be strong and healthy. We had conversations that many couples in their twenties don’t typically have.
Through all of this, I’ve watched you overcome your fears and challenges and become stronger than I’d ever seen. We navigated the healthcare system and incorporated lasting lifestyle choices that improved us both. We conducted an overwhelming amount of research to understand the diagnosis, but once we found resources and a large community of others going through their own journey, we found hope. We had to navigate something so life-changing, yet so entirely new to us that it’s impressive to see how far we’ve come since then.
Five years later, we’re stronger together and we’ve come to love our new home. Now, we are ready to start a journey of giving back.
We want to give back as much of ourselves as we can to those who are newly diagnosed, to hopefully ease some of the worries about their new reality. You’ve helped shape the advice I give to spouses and couples that are in the same spot we were in just a few years ago.
When you were first diagnosed, my role as a spouse began to blend into the realm of caregiver. That can look different and unique to each couple, it can even look different between family and friends. One day, I might be there to support emotional challenges; the next day, I might help you balance on our walks in the park. Other days, you may not need my help at all. But you know you can always ask, and I’m here for you. I hope to use our experiences to help inspire other couples, especially those who have a partner dealing with a new diagnosis.
It took a few years for us to get to this point as a couple. By sharing our journey online, we hope that it can help others reach a point in their journey where they find peace as a couple. It may feel like we’ve lived a lifetime in the last five years, but it took us on a journey that helped us to really live. To really appreciate what we have. And I can’t wait to see where the rest of our lifetime takes us, together.
Enjoyed Marc’s letter? Read Richard’s letter here.