I feel like I am talking a lot about myself and my issues these days. What is this? Spring Cleaning for the Soul? Maybe. I don’t know if my health-related posts are helping anyone out there, but according to Google Analytics my blog visitors hold steady and even rise when I talk about this stuff, so it’s giving me hope that maybe someone is listening or learning or relating.
Anyway, today I wanted to discuss the part my chronic health issues have played in my new marriage, because it certainly hasn’t been a cake walk. It’s not all bad, but definitely different than my “previous” life. (I like to call life before my health issues my “previous” life. Dramatic much?) Chronic illness is a marathon, not a sprint. It wears you down. It f*cks with your mind. When you feel like you’ve made it over a big hurdle, another one presents itself, an old problem comes back, or the treatment doesn’t work.
I also liken it to treading water. You are working really hard but not really getting anywhere. You are subsisting, but, at times, barely holding on. On a good day, things are pretty normal and calm. On an even better day, you remember you had dreams, aspirations, and goals. You remember how things were when your life wasn’t defined by illness; when you felt good every day, and things were always moving forward, almost effortlessly. Sometimes you cry. Other times you are angry. But mostly you are just waiting for the day that you feel right again.
Even before my surgery last October, I dealt with a lot of pain and out-of-commission days. Five days before our wedding I was in the E.R. with the worst menstrual cramps I had ever experienced. Most likely, it was due to the stress of the wedding, but given all of my period problems, who knows?
Needless to say, I am not the same carefree, wind in my hair college girl that L met back in 2003. I have had to grow up, and deal with grown up responsibilities, namely my health. This is not unique, I know everyone has to grow up at some point. I was simultaneously dealing with some family issues, and the end of my parents’ almost 30 year marriage. But my real jumping off point was when my health got scary.
So here I was a young woman of 27 years old (feeling like I was 55), and there was my fiance, a young man of 29 years old forced to be 55 years old. I mostly stopped drinking alcohol, was tired all of the time, and in pain at other times. We used to leave town at the drop of a dime. Screw the finances, traveling was always a top priority for us until I started feeling lousy. I had (and still have) anxiety about being away from home for too long, because I constantly worry how I will feel. Eventually it takes it’s toll. Heavy menstrual bleeding, cramping, and pain. SEXY.
Depression, fatigue, anxiety. EVEN SEXIER.
Think my husband was getting lucky on those nights? Think again.
And it isn’t just the intimacy part. Sadly, intimacy is the last thing you think about when you don’t feel well (which really sucks for my husband). But, we have also lost emotional connection with each other on several occasions.
He lost his patience. I lost my identity. We have fought, sometimes hard, mostly due to frustration. We have had to carve out a whole new relationship for ourselves. It is one where we don’t know what the future holds. We have to think positively. We have to keep moving ahead, because it we don’t, we are doomed.
I remember when I was having a particularly bad month, right after we got married last year. I kept telling my mom, “Newlyweds aren’t supposed to be like this. Newlyweds are supposed to wake up with smiles on their faces. They are supposed to seize the day together, and have not a care in the world.” My mom felt so bad that she didn’t really know what to say. But she kept telling me that it’s different for everyone. I had to let go of my expectations of what being a newlywed was all about. I had to somehow come to terms with what life had handed me, and learn what that meant for me and for my new marriage.
Sure, we may have more obstacles than the average newlywed couple, but we are finding ways to make it work. At times, it is so far from perfect that all I can do is laugh.
I have a new husband, aspirations for my career, and a new life to make for myself. I’m still trying to figure out how it all works. I am still trying to find that balance. But, in many ways, aren’t we all?

thelessthandomesticgoddess

8 Comments

  1. Reply

    Michelle

    April 8, 2010

    I've only recently started reading you blog, but I can totally relate with the heavy cramping, bleeding etc… My FI and I have been together for 5 years before then I had never had any problems period wise, then I went on the pill,the first one I had caused horrible cramps… the second seemed to fix all that.. then a couple years after we were together he had a vysectomy( no I dont want children, and he already has a beautiful daughter) after 6 months or so I no longer needed to be on the pill so rather then spend the money I just went off of it… all was good until this summer (about 2 years later) I just randomly started bleeding for three weeks at a time.. scary it was.. I went for numerous pap tests etc… my dr. put me on a pill which didn't do a thing…I was getting so scared the stress was bad and my FI was obviously getting the brunt of it. I'd feel terrible about the way I treated him but at the same time I couldn't control my emotions about the situation. I have since seen a Dr. at the ER and she seems to feel that my progestrone level is off and perscribed me a new BC pill so far all has been good and life seems to be returning to normal. I haven't read you old posts about your health concerns so I dont know if you've figured your problem out yet but I just wanted to know that someone understands exactly how you feel when it comes to keeping your "expectations" real in a relationship/marriage.

  2. Reply

    My Dream Ring

    April 8, 2010

    {{{HUGS}}} to you sweetie. I can't relate but I can offer you hugs and encouragement. Your hubby obviously cares about you very much. I have been with my hubby for 11 years and only married for 2 weeks. Our relationship is far from perfect and we have no medical issues (knock on wood) in the way. Reality is that all relationships are not like the ones that we see in movies like the Notebook or whatever, they're reality and the reality is that they are not perfect and we have to work very hard to keep them afloat. I really hope you guys keep making it work and hope that you get better πŸ™‚

  3. Reply

    Heidi

    April 8, 2010

    I really enjoyed this post and appreciate how open and honest you are. I agree with you on the "being a newlywed is supposed to be wonderful" but often times its not. Although we haven't had any big fights yet, the next few months are really going to test us. We are both quitting our jobs (hopefully finding new ones) and moving from CA to MN. Its going to interesting and I can't wait until August b/c I'm hoping we are reasonably settled at that time.

  4. Reply

    junghwa by amy stewart

    April 9, 2010

    Carly, I am definitely wishing you well. It isn't easy loving someone all the time. And fights… well they'll happen regardless. I hope that you and your husband do keep moving forward. Thank you for sharing this part of you life.

  5. Reply

    michelle @ blissful musings

    April 9, 2010

    Thank-you for being so honest and open. I can definitely relate with my own health issues in the last year and half. It's so hard when suddenly I feel aged with tiredness, medications etc. when we are so young.

  6. Reply

    thelessthandomesticgoddess

    April 9, 2010

    @Michelle: Thank you so much for your comment. It helps to know that others are going through similar situations and have found solutions! I'm sorry you had to go through what you did. It sucks, no? Basically, I have not found my cure-all yet, but after meeting with a health scientist, I feel like I am going to be on a good path. Fingers crossed. Thanks again for sharing your experience with me and the blog.
    @Heidi: Best of luck! That sounds like a really big life change for both of you. What an adventure! Can't wait to hear how it goes.
    @junghwa: Thanks for the support. Your sweet comments are very much appreciated πŸ™‚
    @michelle @ blissful musings: Being young, I think, adds a whole new dimension to it. Not that being older means you are prepared to deal with illness. But it's tough when the majority of your friends are vibrant and healthy, and just can't understand what you are going through. Hang in there, we can be each other's online support systems! πŸ™‚

  7. Reply

    -J.Darling

    April 9, 2010

    For YEARS people used to tell me how I seemed to have it all figured out. Truth is, I didn't have it more figured out than anyone else, but chronic illness teaches you to tough it out. There are days where you are your illness. You feel like a huge bleeding sore. There are days when you're beyond your illness and in a "I will NOT allow this to define me!" mode (I'm pretty good at seeking this one when I start to feel like the gross bloody disgusting sore). And then there are days when you almost forget you're sick.

    It's a tough road, but that IS what marriage is all about. NO ONE said marriage is all about being "happy". "Happiness" is, like any emotion, transitory. Marriage is toughing out the rough patches. It's choosing to be there when the other needs you, NO MATTER WHAT. Happiness is a state of mind that will be there (hopefully) most of the time – and seeking it isn't bad, but it's not what's at the core of marriage. That's the adult world. That's what you're learning. And kudos to your and L for toughing it out.

    There is only no hope when you give up.

  8. Reply

    Chicken Wing

    April 12, 2010

    Wow, DG! I am sending massive hugs your way! I am sorry that you guys have had to deal with this, but I think you are doing so with grace and poise, even if it might not feel like it to you. And you know what else? I sincerely believe that you and L will be all the better for it! Every time you overcome an obstacle, the stronger you are. I know that if you continue to put in the work, you will reap the rewards and be closer than you've ever been.

    My mister and I have not had to overcome physical obstacles, like you're dealing with, but emotional ones from our pasts. I can confidently say that, while it's been in no way easy, we are much stronger today than ever. We're slowly but surely becoming who we want to be, and I know you and L will be the same! We're all here for you, and you can count on the fact that I'm cheering you on! πŸ™‚ Thank you for always being so open and honest in your sharing – it's ladies like you who will successfully educate people on the amount of work that marriage takes! Get it, girl!

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