Unwavering support: A love letter to my husband
A grateful columnist pens a special birthday tribute to her husband, Manny
A close friend and I recently discussed how our rare diseases affect our spouses. I have pulmonary hypertension (PH) and she has multiple sclerosis. Our partners provide unwavering love and support as we manage our chronic conditions.
Afterward, I reflected on the conversation and on my incredible husband and partner in crime, Manny. How do those without such a fantastic support system handle the challenges of managing a chronic illness?
As someone with PH and coexisting conditions, I understand the importance of having a strong support system. It means having someone who understands and empathizes with you, someone you can lean on during tough times. They’ll hold you, see your beauty on your messiest days, and assist you through physical, mental, and emotional struggles.
My husband has been my rock. He goes with me to doctor appointments and treatments, and prompts me to take care of myself when I forget. He always makes me laugh and reminds me that I am more than my PH.
Manny’s birthday is in January, so I wanted to write him a letter to express my appreciation.
Today, I want to express my deepest gratitude for everything you do for me. Living with my health challenges isn’t easy, but you’ve never wavered in your love and support. Some days I feel defeated and struggle to keep going, but you’re always by my side. Your unconditional love and understanding mean everything to me. You see past my illnesses and remind me that they don’t define me.
Do you remember when we received the diagnosis back in 2005? We were clueless about what PH is or how it would reshape our lives. Since then, our lives have taken unexpected turns filled with both joy and hardship. But you, my love, have been my support.
Balancing a demanding job and the chaos of PH is no small feat, yet you manage it well. You’ve been my superhero throughout countless doctor appointments and hospitalizations, and as we learned about my various treatments together.
Your dedication as a caregiver never ceases to amaze me. You take on extra responsibilities without complaining, always with love in your heart. Even on my most challenging days, you find a way to make me laugh. We both know that laughter is the best medicine, and you administer it with a generous dose.
During the holiday season, we missed several events, but you never made me feel guilty for my uncooperative body, which stranded us on our couch to ring in the new year. I’ve lost count through the years of the plans we’ve had to cancel because of my health.
Sometimes I’ll sit back and think about how cheated you must feel. You didn’t sign up for this, and I at times feel undeserving of your love. Why would anyone want to live with someone who is dealing with chronic pain every day in addition to the other symptoms?
Despite the challenges that PH and coexisting conditions bring, you’ve never made me feel like a burden or any less of a person. Your love and acceptance have helped me see beyond my disease, reminding me that I am still the same person you fell in love with.
Thank you for the tiniest gestures, such as a Starbucks iced tea or a hot coffee. The simplest acts of kindness bring me joy. On cooler mornings, you’ve put extra blankets on me before leaving for work. Still, almost 19 years after my diagnosis, you call me during your lunch break at work.
Unfortunately, I know you will have to bid me goodbye one day. We have faced this reality many times, and I know it has been incredibly tough for you. But please know that you have done more than your share. Together, we have traversed much farther than we ever thought possible. The beautiful memories we have created will be forever etched in my heart.
So, today, I want to express how deeply you mean to me and how grateful I am for everything you do, Boo — the tiny gestures and all. You’re not only my caregiver but also my life partner, rock, and soulmate.
The future remains uncertain, but having you by my side fills me with gratitude. Thank you for being there for me every step of the way and loving me unconditionally. Your love will forever guide and protect me no matter what lies ahead.
Here’s to us, my love, and the remarkable journey we continue to embark on together.
Yours forever and a day,
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.