To marry a CFer. . . you have to be a really special person.
I would be interested to see a study done on the divorce rates of CFer’s and their spouses. I may be wrong, but I have a feeling they would be lower than the national average. Why? Because to marry a CFer, you have to really really be in love with that person. Because by the time you reach marriage, you have probably gone through some really rough times. Because you go into marriage both realizing how precious life and love actually is and you are determined to make the most out of your time together. Because who did or didn’t forget to take the trash out last night is hardly as important as the other million things going on in life for a CFer and his/her spouse. The list could go on and on, but I think you catch my drift.
My husband is amazing. Plain and simple – amazing. Again, to marry a CFer, you pretty much have to be amazing. I’m not saying that we are a horrible choice (on the contrary, we usually appreciate life in ways many others can’t fathom), but we certainly come with a lot of “baggage.”
By the time my husband and I were married, we had been through one hospitalization and two surgeries. He was by my side with my (2nd) PICC line, and he was there when my diabetes diagnosis came through. This all happened prior to exchanging vows. In addition, he was used to me coughing up green phlegm at all hours of the day, having to routinely ditch out on activities because I was sick, and he lived with my flatulence and bowel movements, which as other CFers can attest, is NOT an easy task. We talked about my life expectancy in depth, we talked about the financial strain CF will put on us in depth, and we talked about the expected hospitalizations that occur when you have CF. Not only did he still propose and walk down the aisle, but he jumped in with both feet.
After our marriage, he dealt with my first instance of hemoptysis, which was absolutely terrifying, but he handled it all in stride. He also has been the rock beneath my feet when it comes to my treatments. He is the reason I am compliant with them and despite his busy schedule, he makes sure I’m doing everything right to take care of myself. Even when I’m exhausted, he’ll push me to do a treatment because he knows it’s best for me, and he takes my yelling and pouting in stride. I must say, some days I am NOT the best wife, but he treats me like I am an angel.
This year, we made the decision to have me stay at home to help keep my risk of infection down. Since we are trying to conceive, it seemed like a logical choice. I will continue to sub when asked but I won’t hold a full-time job. So, all the pressure to provide for us comes on him and when you are a one-income family living off of a teacher’s salary, it makes it a little difficult. Again, he handles it beautifully. It just blows me away how wonderful of a person God gave me to spend the rest of my life with – I am truly blessed.
So then, back to my divorce comment: I believe that by the time many CFer’s spouses actually walk down the aisle, they have dealt with some of the hardest things a marriage can have thrown at it. Typically, they have dealt with illness, surgeries, weeks to months of IV antibiotics, and financial strain or at least a realization of the financial burden, and yet they still vow to be by the person’s side through sickness and health. That’s a big statement for a CFer spouse, but they already know what they’re getting into before the vows.
So, while some marriages break apart when finances are rough, or an illness causes one spouse to be less capable than before, or because of petty bickering, I think often a CF marriage pulls through with flying colors. When you marry a CFer, you learn to value life a little bit more than the average person and petty things don’t tend to matter quite as much.
I think all the spouses of cysters and fibros should be given a pat on the back and a giant thank you. It’s not an easy life but it’s a wonderful one and I’m just grateful I have someone walking by my side, holding my hand for the entire ride.