With 50 years around the sun, Kimberly enjoys sharing a variety of her personal life experiences with others. She is a Fibromyalgia Warrior!
God bless every loving, caring, attentive spouse of someone married to another who suffers chronic illness or disease. When living life with another human being, you get the good, bad, and ugly wrapped into one messy little package.
I intend to share some of my dear husband's journey in navigating a marriage wracked with chronic illness and dysfunction.
For Better or For Worse
My husband and I make an incredible team. We have a solid foundational marriage going on 28 years this upcoming summer. Our time together has included many ups and downs and struggles. The constant battle of chronic illness has been our most prolonged standing battle to date.
It broke my husband's heart to watch his "best friend" go through so many adverse struggles and have my health decline right in front of him. The smiles and laughter that once filled our home were replaced with tears and sadness. The joy that we shared as a couple had become interrupted by the daily accounts of pain and dysfunction in my body.
My husband recounts the utter defeat he felt in the days of our deepest despair. When I sobbed in pain, experiencing zapping in my brain and electrical currents throughout my body, we were both terrorized by fear and the unknowns.
He could do nothing but remain by my side, hug me and pray for my recovery.
Together we became masters at celebrating the small wins; accumulated, they became our big wins.
My Adventure Partner
My husband is my adventure partner in this wild and crazy life. Together we enjoy the great outdoors—fishing, boating, hiking, biking, snowshoeing, kayaking, and camping.
When my body unplugged and went haywire in 2018, most of our adventures came to a screeching halt. We mourned the loss of time we would never get back and for experiences and missed opportunities that went to the wayside.
Living our Dreams of Homesteading
Together, we took a leap of faith 11 years ago to purchase raw land and build a homestead. We created an off-grid life together in which we made everything from the ground up.
My husband poured every ounce of himself into building this home for us. We resided there for ten years, living our dream. Chronic Illness forced our hands to sell and leave a large piece of our hearts there.
The selling of our homestead crushed my husband's spirit. Still, he knew it was the best option at the time for helping me in my recovery, and it was necessary for digging ourselves out of the copious amounts of medical debts that had mounted over the years of therapies, and treatments, and hospital visits.
Sacrificing our Dreams
My husband stayed by my side through this nightmare. He watched my determination and strength and tried to imagine me getting better.
He recalls feeling selfish for not sacrificing more of himself to help me feel better. In reality, he made the most significant sacrifices of all when he chose me over our dream homestead.
Cancelled Plans and Estranged Relationships
My husband was affected by my illness every time plans were changed or canceled with friends or family. He, too, was not immune to the critical, judgmental whispers behind our backs. The idea that friends thought we were reneging when plans couldn't move forward as planned.
Suddenly he felt like his word was no longer valid. Our lives had become predictably unpredictable. Canceling plans last minute became common for us during the thick of my illness, a character-busting move for both of us. Our inability to be dependable with our word was very unsettling and left him estranged from many of our friendships.
My Right Hand Man
My husband had to rearrange his schedule to take me to most of my doctor appointments, some of which was 3.5 hours of travel one way, away from home. He took notes, helped fill in the doctors of my current health happenings, and was there to wipe away my tears when the news was too overwhelming. He was my right hand man through the thick and thin of it all.
My husband took a considerable pay loss just previous to my health decline. His place of employment that was close to home closed their company doors, leaving him jobless. Together we struggled with mounting bills and not enough pay to stay afloat. The stress was insurmountable.
During this time, we began selling household items and anything of value to continue to pay our bills. We received help from family and friends to keep up. Suddenly we found our lives turned upside down with overwhelming debts and no end in sight. Receiving support from our loved ones was a humbling time in our lives. We have so much gratitude for our family and friends who helped us during this terrible hardship.
Conflict with Employment
My husband felt the weight of the world on his shoulders. He started a new job, an hour's drive from home, received less pay, and worked varied shifts throughout a week; Mornings, evenings, and swing shifts all in the same week. He worked as much overtime as he could to provide enough money to cover our overly stretched budget. The more he worked, the more the bills came rolling in one after the other. Clinics, lab work, emergency room visits, the enormous costs involved in keeping up with my supplements, cleanses, tinctures and raw food diet were all-consuming of his paychecks. My husband felt like a failure, though he was doing everything in his power to provide for us adequately.
There were days when I was in utter despair; the pain and ailments that took over my body left me in agony and tears, and I begged him not to leave me. I felt as if I was dying, and fear had plagued my whole body.
My husband was emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted. He battled a dysfunctional home life as well as a complicated new job. His conscience felt torn between the need to work and an overwhelming desire to be by my side.
After running out of sick days to take off to care for me, he eventually got written up at work after choosing to be by my side in my times of greatest need. My husband had always been a dependable employee. He felt utterly distraught.
His employer's union reprimanded him, producing an all-time low in his work performance. He was encouraged to contact FMLA and take a personal leave of medical absence to care for me. However, Fibromyalgia is unlike other diseases. He couldn't just take time off as Fibro-Flares are unpredictable and not something you can plan around.
The unimaginable heaviness that weighed on my husband was incomprehensible.
Receiving my Son's Care
Eventually, we were able to make arrangements for my youngest adult son to stay with me. He became a tremendous asset to my care and freed my husband from some of the immediate day-to-day stressors.
My heart is filled with thanksgiving over every person who has contributed to making this laborious journey of Chronic Illness into a Victory today.
Gratitude and Respect
My husband showed more strength and resiliency than most people I know. He didn't let my battle of chronic illness take him out of the game. Instead, he pressed in, and together we have overcome so much.
I have an immense amount of respect for his heartfelt decision not to give up on me. He took the road less traveled and always put my needs above his own. I will always cherish my husbands' choices in choosing me over anything else. He is my real-life HERO!
Spoiler Alert: Life gets better; we are finding more enjoyment out of life these days.
I hope you'll continue to follow the journey.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Kimberly