for better or worse

Mo and I had been engaged for 3 1/2 months when he was diagnosed with DM. Back then I was working full-time, and was planning our wedding (which is stressful enough) when all of a sudden we were thrown into the world of myositis. When I first saw him in the hospital (he was admitted for a week in order to do the battery of testing) I was scared to death. When Mo lost consciousness the day his muscle biopsy site bled out I hysterically called 9-1-1 and was a sobbing blubbering mess. From there our lives became a steady stream of doctors’ appointments, medications, home modifications, and gadgets as over the months Mo progressively lost more  motor functions and dysphagia set in. He lost more than 30 pounds of muscles in 3 months. The man I loved was literally wasting away in front of my eyes.

Friends who hadn’t seen Mo in a while were shocked when they saw him in his wheelchair. People started asking me if we were going to postpone the wedding. My mother (whom I am convinced was desperately afraid I’d die a spinster) suggested we move up the wedding with a look implying “just in case”. We knew we wanted to go ahead as planned, win, lose or draw.

Thankfully we had very progressive doctors helping us, and with the rituximab infusions, vital stim treatments, and the correct dosing of prednisone and  imuran (azathioprine), the DM was controlled and Mo was able to turn the corner with his disease.

When Mo walked down the aisle it was the first time in months that he didn’t use a cane or wheelchair. Granted all our wedding photographs have a very moon-faced groom in them from the prednisone, but that inflated visage is a great reminder of the commitment we shared even before our vows.

Mo and I chose not to have the traditional vows in our ceremony (quite honestly, the part of ” ’til death do you part” was way too morbid, and way too close to home). Here is what we said instead:

“I, Nicole, take you Maurice, to be my partner in life and my one true love. I promise to love what I know of you and trust what I do not yet know. I embrace the chance to grow old together, getting to know the man you will become and falling in love a little bit more each day. I promise to love and cherish you through what ever life may bring us.”

Saying your vows, and living them, are two very different things. When you first voice your commitment it is with utter optimism and an idyllic image of the future. Living those same words when you are exhausted, frustrated, scared, angry, or at the end of your patience or hope is something entirely more difficult and yet entirely more fulfilling.

Mo and I recently celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary, and although we don’t embody our vows every minute of every day they are a reminder to us of the people we WANT to be. Of how two is better than one, and that love can conquer all. No person and no marriage is perfect. Some days the struggle is great, and other days are effortless.

We hope that you have the strength and grounding support of your loved ones and friends, if you don’t have someone near know that we are here for you when you are better and especially those days you feel your worst.

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