L: Love


I have other plans for “M” so this post goes here.  And since marriage isn’t an equal right *yet*, it is unfair to put this post in that category.

Chronic illness wreaks havoc on one’s love life.  It played a pretty major role in the devastation of my first marriage.  I think I would have eventually figured things out, but my diagnosis definitely helped me see his true colors a lot sooner.  So in that case it was sort of a mixed blessing.

With my second marriage, my husband knew me in all stages.  Pre-illness #1, pre-illness #2 and he has loved me and stood by my side as a friend or lover through all of them.  I remember talking to him on the phone while hospitalized during illness #1 (while married to husband #1).  He was puzzled why my husband at the time wasn’t there talking to me. That should have given me all the answers I needed right then.  Not once during that hospitalization or subsequent ones did he EVER stay more than an hour or two in the hospital.  Including the birth of Sunshine and HER brush with illness when she was three months old.  Some people just don’t do well with those types of situations.  You find out who they are after a life altering diagnosis.

But this isn’t a “bash my ex” session, I have another blog for that.

Relationships are difficult by nature.  Just look at the divorce rate.  Add in the stress when one (or both) parties are sick and that divorce rate can skyrocket.  It happened to me.  I was told after we split “I fell out of love with you when you got sick”.  And that is a direct quote.

I am lucky that a friend who has been by my side FOREVER wanted to be more than a friend.  I was lucky that he accepted my illness that I had at the time and still wanted to marry me even AFTER I got yet another diagnosis.  I was diagnosed with the autoimmune in my eyes literally days before our wedding.

It isn’t always hearts and flowers.  Right now we live with my parents because I couldn’t work for 18 months.  My meds are expensive.  When I was on steroids my mood swings were legendary.  My migraines are horrific.  I gained a tremendous amount of weight on the steroids that I’m still trying to work off and for awhile I resembled Shrek.  Our first year of marriage mainly consisted of doctors visits, eye injections, chemo injections every weekend, nausea and weeping thanks to the dreaded steroids.  We didn’t even go out to dinner for our first anniversary because we couldn’t afford it.

So many times I was terrified he would say “I can’t deal with this bullshit.  I’m gone”.  I even told him right before our wedding that he didn’t have to go through with it. That he deserved to be with someone healthy, that he had a free pass and we could still be friends.  He still married me and he has stayed.  He has been everything I ever wanted in a partner.  He is (mostly) calm, very compassionate, very intelligent and inquisitive about what is going on, willing to help out with everything that I can’t do.  He understands my limitations.  He doesn’t expect too much from me.  He actually asks how I’m feeling, he knows what exhausts me.  He encourages me to rest ahead of activities that he knows drain me. I’m very lucky.

Is it perfect?  No.  Do we argue?  Yes.  Do we get sick of each other, of the situation, of everything? Yes.

What helps that he is a scientist.  He has a degree in chemistry.  It is in his nature to understand my conditions and to understand why I am taking what medication and when and what it is supposed to do, what its side effects are.  He even read up on my conditions when we were friends and when he had absolutely no intention of spending eternity with me. That was just because he wanted to understand me better as a friend!  He gently reminds me to take care of myself.  He knows I forget to do that because I’m a nurse, it is in my nature to take care of everyone else first.  I will forget my meds, forget to call in refills, forget doctor’s appointments.  So he makes sure I take care of myself.

He goes to most of my appointments with me.  He is my advocate.  I forget things that he might mention and he sees things that I may miss.  I may be an awesome nurse, but I am an awful patient.  My husband will likely mention something to the doc that I have forgotten and it usually makes a difference.  And it is so wonderful to have him there as a support.

And when we do get fed up (especially now living in such close quarters), we talk about it.  Usually over text.  Communication seriously is the key. I know it sounds cliche but if he knows I’m acting a certain way because I’m late on meds (again) or because I’m having more pain because I’m not sleeping, that helps him more than him thinking I’m mad at him for no reason.

And I know that for me personally, having someone that dedicated and committed to me and my well being is paramount to my health, emotionally and mentally.  And that in turn helps me physically.

Maybe all you need is love after all.




Day 27

Something you miss

When she visited me in Texas, 2010

When she visited me in Texas, 2010


I miss my best friend.  I’ll call her Pooh.  We met in 1990 on a playground at the first day of my new school.  That was third grade.  We’ve been friends ever since.

We have been through some shit together.  We were both teased mercilessly in grade school.  I think that is what cemented our bond.  As we got older, we got in trouble together.  Summer of 1996.  That’s all I will say, and she will know EXACTLY what I mean.

My first wedding...to Sunshine's Dad, 2004

My first wedding…to Sunshine’s Dad, 2004

She was the maid of honor at my wedding to Sunshine’s dad.  She was there the day I gave birth to Sunshine.  She babysat exactly one time, and I’m pretty sure that Ms. Colic 2006 kept Pooh and her eventual husband kid free for a few years.

When I decided to leave in 2009, Pooh was in the middle of planning her wedding.  I was to be the matron of honor.  Instead of turning into bridezilla and having a fit that her matron of honor was moving 1500 miles away, she told me that I needed to do what was right for myself and my daughter.  She was also instrumental in helping me make the ultimate decision to leave and to remain in Texas.  She had some info about my ex that was proof of infidelity.  She didn’t tell me when she first found out about it because I had just had Sunshine and I was no shape emotionally or physically to deal with that kind of information.

I remember going over to her house, absolutely livid about what was going on in my life.  She calmly sat me down, explained what she knew, when she knew and told me that she would love me no matter where I was.  She probably saved my life.  If I would have gone home to my ex, confronted him about what I knew, I may not be here right now.

I returned to Pittsburgh for her wedding.  With the man that is now my husband.  And it was magical.

Her wedding, 2009

Her wedding, 2009

Since that time, she has had two babies.  I got married (again), and she made the trip down here to be at my wedding.  She was the only person from out of town to do so.  No one in my family (including my brother) or my husband’s family made it.  Her being there with me was so special.

We have remained close despite the fact that we live so far from each other.  We talk about once a month, but we text, FB, all of those things.  And every time we’re together its like nothing has ever changed.  She knows me so well, she knows my family, my husband.  Its the kind of friendship that she has no problem telling me when I’m wrong, when I need to chill out, when I need to look at things a different way.

With our baby girls, 2013

With our baby girls, 2013

When I was up in Pittsburgh this past summer, I got to see a lot of her, and meet her kids.  I swear, their cuteness rivals Sunshine’s.  We cried when we had to leave each other.

So I miss my Pooh.  I would love for her to move down here one day.  Or have the funds to visit more often.

We were supposed to take a cruise for the 20th anniversary of our friendship in 2010.  But she was preggers at the time.

So maybe it will be for our 25th.  Next year.  Wow.  I’m old.

Day 14

Memories:  Been to any concerts?

I absolutely love live music.  I haven’t been to many concerts, not like my husband, but I’ve been to a few.  My favorite live act is Pearl Jam.  They are incredible live.  I’ve seen them at least three times.  I’m pissed I couldn’t afford to see them on this latest tour.

My favorite concert memory is attending a Metallica show in 1999 with the man who is now my husband.

He was visiting me, and he had just seen Metallica in Philly the week before.

He heard that they were in Pittsburgh, and wanted to see if we could get lawn seats to the show.

We ended up in the front row.

In the middle of the show, a thunderstorm rolled through the area.  It was amazing hearing (and seeing Metallica) and have Mother Nature put on a show as well.

Even though I was there with my boyfriend at the time as well, that show holds special memories for me.

And my boyfriend at the time and I are still friends to this day.


Day 10

Share an old photo of yourself:



This is me and my husband at my winter formal dance in December of 1997.  I was 15, he was 18.  That dance was absolutely magical, and always stayed with me even after we both “grew up” and married other people.


Day 7

Memories:  What’s your earliest one?

My first memory is actually of visiting the great state of Texas when I was three. This was in June of 1985, a few months before my brother was born.

I vividly remember playing with my cousins (whom I hang out with today), visiting friends, family and the lake.

I remember being on the plane, and watching the people and cars get smaller and smaller.

The next most vivid memory I have is of my brother being born.  I remember my aunt and uncle coming over to watch me while my parents went to the hospital.

I remember my dad taking me to the hospital (the one in which I later had Sunshine) and meeting my brother for the first time.

I wish I had a better relationship with my brother (my only sibling).  He lives in Pittsburgh and hasn’t been to Texas in over two years.  He rarely responds to my text messages.  But I’ll keep trying.