So, a funny happened a few nights ago, I asked my husband of 6 and a bit years to marry me. I am fully aware that we are married already but I don’t feel like the same person I was when we got married.
When we got married in 2011 I was a highly ambitious regulatory compliance executive in financial services. My working days were usually between 10 -15 hours long not including a couple of hours commute into the city. My spare time consisted of working on my PhD, practicing martial arts and riding my motorbike. I had a Margret Thatcher philosophy of only sleeping for between 4-5 hours a night. A far cry from where I am today.
Nowadays, I am unable to work, unable to ride my motorbike, unable to sleep (this list could go on for a while!) but I am still working on my PhD. To date I have had 21 operations. The vascular side of things means I have 15-25 angina attacks a day, Reynaud’s in my hands and feet to the point where I get frostbite blisters on my feet in winter. I also have vascular spasms all over my body, including in my brain which causes migraines and parkinsonism’s. I have an immense amount of pain, in my joints, vascular pain, and neuropathic pain and I honestly cannot remember the last time I wasn’t in pain. As Ehlers Danlos is a progressive condition I am trying to get used to the idea that this is never going to go away and it’s going to get worse not better.
Of course, that is just the physical impact on me, obviously there is a physiological impact on both me and my husband and of course my illness impacts his life heavily. It’s not exactly what he signed up for when he married an ambitious corporate executive. I am not the person I was and whilst I realise everyone changes I honestly feel like I haven’t just changed in the normal getting a bit older. I feel like I have changed so radically that some days I barely recognise myself. Part of the journey of getting used to be ill is accepting it, accepting yourself and learning to love the (new) skin you are in. Of course, it is not just me that needs to do get used to this new life - it is my husband as well. Renewing our vows is my way of including him on that journey of acceptance
In our vows we agreed in sickness and in health and we meant it, but I don’t think either of us quite imagined this. So, as I am now, illness and all – I asked my husband to marry me. Thankfully he said yes and we are going to renew our vows next year on our anniversary.