Saturday, September 3, 2011

What Couple-Related Decisions Have You Made Because of Illness?

There is so much uncertainty that accompanies illness, but one thing is certain -- illness brings change into how you think about yourself and your relationship. Illness can be a suppressant, but it can also be an activator. Illness can become a box into which you and your partner put your dreams; or it can be a catalyst to accelerating plans and making new decisions.

My illness led to our getting the most amazing dog in the universe (as is yours). It also led to writing a book about couples and illness. And it deepened Richard's and my ability to talk about the hardest topics.

Below is an excerpt from an article about a couple who decided to get married because he was about to undergo surgery for a cancerous tumor.

Geneva couple marries days before life-threatening surgery

by Frank Vaisvils, 8/31/11

David Bieszke of Geneva wasn’t going to give up on asking his girlfriend of 18 years, Jennifer Pedersen, to marry him, and she returned that persistence by insisting doctors treat her would-be husband for his chronic illness even when they were told nothing was wrong.

David’s health slowly deteriorated in recent years, and his family doctor was perplexed about the cause. Meanwhile, David experienced chronic fatigue and pain began growing in his abdomen.

In April, Jennifer’s persistence led doctors to diagnose David with a 10-inch cancerous tumor choking a major blood vessel in his chest.

He underwent a six-hour surgery on April 29 at Loyola Hospital in Maywood.

Fearing she might regret not marrying him if anything happened during surgery, Jennifer finally said “yes” to David and the two were married in front of a Kane County judge three days before the surgery.

At a time when most newly married couples would be celebrating their future together, this pair’s fate was anything but certain as David entered the operating room.

What significant positive plans or decisions have you and your partner made because of illness?


Anonymous said...

Seven years ago, my husband and I semi-retired early, because of my job burnout and my husband's inability to keep a job. We moved to a community we loved, and where could afford to pay cash for a house, hoping we could work enough part-time to support ourselves. For 4 years, we struggled to support ourselves until we finally got diagnosed. It turned out my husband had early onset Lewy Body Dementia, and I had Chronic Fatigue. His so advanced he qualified for disability, while I know work part-time from home teaching online. It hasn't been easy, but early "retirement" was the best decision we ever made.

Barbara Kivowitz said...

Sounds like you made a great decision for yourselves - at the time, and years later it became even more the right decision. I hope you have found a rhythm that works for you both.