In the spirit of Valentine’s Day I thought it would be fitting to share my gratitude for the man who I’m lucky to call my husband and best friend. The man who’s stood by my side through so much—whether it was holding my hand for days on end as I laid in a hospital bed fighting a flare up…or stepping up throughout my pregnancy when I am too tired to take my socks off. Caregivers have a tough job. Of course it’s difficult to be the patient or the “sick one”…but, I think it’s the supporting cast who really deserve the credit.
As someone who’s battled chronic illness for nearly 12 years there are not enough words, cards or gestures to truly capture my heartfelt appreciation. I told my husband Bobby when we started dating that I had Crohn’s so that he’d have an out before he got too invested in getting to know me. Rather than run for the hills—he showed compassion and to this day constantly assures me that despite my struggles, I’m still a healthy person overall.
It’s the moments when I’ve been at my weakest that now shine as some of our best times as a couple. I can envision him resting his head on my bed in the ER, bent over in a chair for hours into the night…as I go through tests…never letting go of my hand or complaining. I think about when I’m NPO (not allowed anything by mouth) because of procedures and how he gently dipped sponges into a cup of water to wipe on my gums when I was thirsty. When I have trouble falling asleep now because of discomfort with the pregnancy I drift off by counting down from 200…something he taught me while fighting a flare in the middle of a dark hospital room years ago.
Now, as we gear up for the biggest adventure of our lives—becoming parents(!!!)… I’m comforted by the fact that going into labor—whether I deliver vaginally or by c-section isn’t going to be so scary, because I’ll have my rock star teammate by my side through it all. This isn’t our first…and surely won’t be our last rodeo in the hospital. While I’m still anxious and nervous about delivery, it’s so comforting to know how he responds in medical situations. Bobby knows how to calm me down, he knows what to say, how to act, what to pack, the questions to ask, you name it. When he looks in my eyes when I’m going through something painful—we’re able to communicate in a way that makes it all ok.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—your support network, your caregivers… are your lifeline. Make sure you express your gratitude and realize how lucky you are to have them by your side. There is no reason you should ever feel like you need to take on anything alone. Whether you’re the patient or not—help is out there for you as you navigate the unknown. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) offers an online support network for caretakers, too! Click here to learn more.
Bobby—you’re an amazing husband, partner in crime and best friend…I can’t even begin to imagine what a phenomenal dad you are going to be. It brings me such joy to know that our little guy will grow up with YOU as a role model. As we get into the 34th week of pregnancy and get ready for our lives to change forever, I’m so glad I have you by my side for each and every experience. Having a man who “gets it” and never makes me feel guilty for my condition, gives me the confidence to know that while Crohn’s can be debilitating, it’s not going to break my spirit…but only make US, stronger.
Wishing everyone a super sweet Valentine’s Day and a life shared with someone as wonderful as my Bobby! XO