Overcomming the challenges of MS

It is often said that spouses or life partners should not take on care-giving responsibilities. It could swing a husband-and-wife relationship into a patient-caregiver relationship and in doing so damage, or destroy something beautiful.

Wendy’s description of Tomi’s care made her an obvious choice for a winning spot. Upon asking them how they overcome the odds and still manage a loving husband and wife relationship, their response spoke volumes, reminding me of the importance of kindness and communication.

Change is inevitable

Toni and I were married on 22 October 1994 and I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) on 9 September 2008. When you say your vows on your wedding day, you do not expect these kinds of difficulties to occur in your life, you can only see romance through your rose tinted glasses. But as I have learnt, the only constant in life is change. A diagnosis of MS is a major change! For the person who is diagnosed and for those who must learn to live with it. Change comes, unbidden, to the person unlucky enough to have the lesions. Those around them just ride the wave, or wave goodbye. One thing is for sure, dealing with disease and disability is not for the faint hearted.

So what happened in our marriage after that diagnosis? Although there were times when I felt like the only way to deal with my husband was to throw rocks at him, he always remained kind and friendly when things got hard. When I started on my medication, it helped me to stay calm and made me feel much better, which helped our relationship as well. We have stumbled, grasped, cried, laughed and fumbled our way so far.

Full trhottle

Getting our Kawasaki ZZR1100 in 2012 was an exciting change for us. My husband modified the pegs, allowing me the luxury of riding with him. To a person who is permanently mobility impaired, the ability to comfortably ride a motorbike is priceless! It is our alone time, where we get to pray and enjoy each other’s company. Cheaper than seeing any shrink!

The future is promised to no one and there is a definite consensus among my MS support groups: Every day we do what we can, with what kind of day we are experiencing. I am so grateful that my husband is understanding of all of this and loves me regardless!