My husband should probably be named the Go Red for Women Spokeshusband for all time. He stole the show in the video, charmed and inspired at the luncheon, and wrote the second most-read post of all time on this blog when he told his story of the day of my heart attack. I asked him if he would write again this year, because he lives with this disease every day too, battling his own fears and heartache while trying to help me with mine. He is amazing, and I am the luckiest girl alive to be married to him.
To watch, helpless, your loved one to first battle the initial evidence of heart disease is terrifying. You are not sure if she will make it or not. What words would you say to her boys if she didn’t? What would your life be like without her? What would my boy’s life be like without her? These were just some of my thoughts while waiting for the doctor that night. Thankfully, I didn’t have to tackle these tough questions. She is alive and taking on her disease with immense courage each and every day.
To watch, helpless, your loved one battle the reality of her heart disease each and every day is frustrating, terrifying, and saddening. What words can I say to her to make it better? What words of hope can lift her spirits? One of the cruel realities of any major disease is the realization that it isn’t temporary. How many decades will she be taking multiple pills? How many more stents will she get in her lifetime? I hope and pray that she can feel some sort of reprieve from the disease, even if just for a few hours.
One of the emotions that is very real for Jen is anger. Why is this happening to me? Why do I have trouble sleeping? Why does my chest hurt? As the spouse of the heart disease victim, I have some anger too. Why is this happening to her? Why does the disease need to mess with her head? Why doesn’t the pain stop from coming back? Why can’t they fix her?
When anger isn’t foremost, the most important emotions have been calm and hope. I might drive myself nuts if I try to fix her. I might have a panic attack if I focus on how young and unfair the onset of this disease is for Jen.
But what good would that do, besides feeding the raw insecurity and hopelessness that a spouse of someone sick feels?
So I try to be thankful for how young and strong she is. I feel hope for what medical advancements could be made. And I feel so grateful that my life’s partner is still by my side and here for her boys, today.
Today is the day to focus on.