Welcome to Be Our Guest Fridays!
Be Our Guest Fridays is a weekly feature where I feature guest posts by my favorite bloggers and authors. I started this feature as a fun way to give back to the blogging community. I are excited to share with you these creative, inspiring and knowledgeable bloggers.
My guest blogger today is Tia from Becomin Neurotic. She writes from the heart about life with Rheumatoid Arthritis, shares recipes and random acts of kindness, and hosts a Living Better series where she guests can share their life hacks, ways they overcome challenges and recipes with her readers. I’m happy to bring you Tia who shares what life is like when both she and her fiance endure pain and chronic illness.
It’s Not A Competition, It’s A Joint Journey
Life when both partners have a chronic illness.
By Tia from Becomin Neurotic
When we got my diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) three years ago, my fiance and I were overwhelmed, but rallied to make the necessary adjustments to our lives. As each new health curveball came my way, I leaned on Scotty more and more. I couldn’t get down on my knees any longer to scrub the bathroom, so he added that to his honey-do list. When weight restrictions meant no more lugging laundry to the laundry rooms, he took that on as well, along with a million other little things around our home.
Then he got sick. It started slowly, a soreness here and there. Easy enough to write off or blame on the day’s activities. Then the pain didn’t go away. It was constant, and nothing I could do helped him. After much urging (more like nagging) from me, he went to the doctor. And found out he has fractured discs in his lower back. Nothing to be done yet, but they would progress and eventually he’ll need invasive treatment.
Our lives became a precarious balance, each of us trying to hide our pain from the other in an effort to spare them worry.
We learned quickly enough that we couldn’t function as a couple that way.
What we had to learn is it’s not a competition. It doesn’t really matter which of us is in more pain, or whose condition is worse or more debilitating. We both hurt on some level, nearly all of the time. So we had to find a way to coexist with our pain, and with each other. We had to learn to be brutally honest with ourselves and one another, so that we can help each other cope.
It’s never a competition, it’s a path we both walk, together.
We learned to use our own pain scales. We learned to be gentle with ourselves and each other. We found healthy outlets for when the pain becomes too much to bear. Most importantly, we learned to lean on one another a little more gently. We learned how to accept help from loved ones when life gets to be too much for us.
I won’t lie, there are still days where it’s a challenge. Chronic pain isn’t nice, and it doesn’t play nice. There are days where we are both grumpy from being in pain, and we have to try hard to not take our anger out on one another. There are also days where we cuddle up with a movie and call it self-care and date night wrapped up in one.
I love Scotty and he loves me. I know we both would snap our fingers in a heartbeat if it would cure the other. Since we can’t cure each other, we do our best to make our lives together as happy as possible, in spite the pain.
From her website:
My name is Tia. I write about my life with chronic illness, depression, and anxiety. Some stories are happy, some are not, but they’re all a part of me.
What a wonderful support system and attitude Tia and Scotty have. They can understand and empathize with what the other might be experiencing. From the support group I am in, I hear many sad stories where patients feel hopeless because those closest to them don’t try to understand or empathize with what they are going through. They hear “it’s all in your head”, “if only you would exercise, you’d get better” or that they’re using RA as an excuse to be “lazy.” Patients lose their significant others from the physical and emotional stress that the illness causes. It makes me so happy to hear and share stories of a loving and supportive relationship. I hope Tia and Scotty’s experience encourages others to be empathic to those they encounter before making a rush to judgment. Thanks Tia for sharing the ways you and Scotty celebrate small victories, support one another and keep a positive perspective on the important things in your lives.
Do you or someone you know live with chronic illness? How do you support those around you who might be having a hard time with chronic illness? As a patient, what help and support would you appreciate from your family and friends?