Sadly, I’ve heard and read that many marriages don’t survive an MS diagnosis, especially if the diagnosed spouse is the female. In my case, my MS diagnosis came a year after my husband and I divorced due to unrelated reasons.
When we began dating each other again two years after our divorce, obviously I had made him aware of my diagnosis. He came to a neurologist appointment with me. He was already somewhat familiar with what having MS typically entailed, but learned more. He has been nothing but supportive over the past 2 1/2 years. In fact, given his (wonderful) personality and my lack of disease activity (evident from my infrequent blog updates; sorry!) my MS has always been almost a non-issue for us.
Despite this, when we began talking remarriage, I was hesitant. While I’ve been incredibly lucky since April of 2011 to have no relapses and mild, sporadic symptoms, we as MSers all know that there’s no predicting the future course of the disease. Overall I keep a very positive attitude, but as is human nature, I have moments of “what if”s. Yeah, I’ve been lucky so far. But what if it gets worse? What if next year/month/week/tomorrow it hits? What if I can’t walk someday? What if I can’t go to the bathroom anymore? What if he needs to take care of me? What if we can’t have a normal sex life?** What if I’m too fatigued to take care of any kids we may have? Typical doomsday crap. So I got to thinking that I didn’t want to say “In sickness and in health” in our wedding vows. Although at the time I felt I was simply being pragmatic, I’m a little embarrassed that I was pre-planning his escape route. (To be honest, I was so nervous during the ceremony that I don’t remember if we ended up saying it or not.)
There’s no predicting the course of a marriage, just like there’s no predicting the course of multiple sclerosis. My hubby took a chance on me with this second set of “I do”s, in more ways than one—and no matter what happens in life, MS or otherwise, we vowed to face it together…that much I remember.
** I’m still working on an upcoming post about my experiences with sexual intimacy and MS. Stay tuned.