My husband, Brian, is my best friend and the most selfless person I know. I don’t know how I would have been able to navigate the past three and a half years without him by my side. I’ve told him from the beginning that I wouldn’t trade places with him for all the money in the world… it’s much harder to watch someone you love be sick than it is to go through it yourself. His job as caregiver is often thankless, filled with worry, and stress. Not to mention as our chief breadwinner of the house, he has the burden of providing for our entire family and seeing that we all have everything we need. He laughs when men talk about their hobbies or needs to have “me time”… Mainly because he loves to spend all of his “extra” time hanging out with us. I mean it when I say he’s my better half! If I could only be half the person he is!
I asked him to write an honest post about what it’s like to be a caregiver. If you are newly diagnosed with MS or any disease, this would be a great post for your loved ones to read.
My wife has MS. I would have never imagined saying those words when I met her nearly 15 years ago. To be honest, I had heard of MS but really did not know anything about it. How would I have known? Most people don’t research diseases unless they are affected by one. So, as you would expect, hearing the words from the neurologist was a pretty hard pill to swallow.
I didn’t know much about the disease except that it had no cure, so my instant reaction was pretty simple. Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the future. And the thought of what was going through my wife’s mind in that moment caused me to crumble and fall into her arms. To hold her. Not knowing what words to say. But that fear quickly turned into determination. And I told her, “we will beat this”. I didn’t even know what we were going up against, but I knew we were going to figure it out.
And we did. We researched and changed our lifestyle and became healthier. And all of those things are good, but some days, those thoughts of fear still creep in.
I don’t like to think of myself as a caregiver, but in a lot of ways, that’s what I am. I make sure my wife takes her medicine.
I try to do things to reduce stress and not create stress. But as much as I try to do these things, my wife still has days where she struggles, and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I feel a bit lost at times, because you can’t always help someone suffering with this disease, it’s impossible. It’s out of your hands and you feel helpless, frustrated, and sometimes angry.
As the husband, the “man of the house”, the “leader”, I am supposed to protect, to lay down my life, do whatever it takes to protect my wife. But in this situation there is nothing I can do. It’s very difficult to describe, I feel like I’m just powerless to do anything. It is like the control has been taken from me. Now, understand that I am not a controlling person, but I don’t like the fact that no matter what I do, say, or research, I cannot take this ugly, scary disease away from my precious wife. But I will continue to press on.
If anyone reading this is currently a spouse/caregiver to someone with MS or any other type of disease, just know that it’s normal from time to time to be frustrated and angry, but do not let that distract you from the most important thing–taking the best care of the one you love.
Isn’t he amazing? If you are a caregiver or if your caregiver is struggling and needs someone to chat with, please send us a message. You don’t have to navigate this road alone.