Often times I lay in bed in awe of how fortunate I am. Even with all of my health struggles and countless hospitalizations, I feel blessed.
There was a point in my life when I thought no one will ever love someone like me. I felt as though my diagnosis was a death sentence when it came to relationships.
Who would want to deal with everything going on in my life? Can anyone ever accept the fact that I may never be able to have another child due to my medications? Who’s going to want to put up with my constant complaints about my health?
I think it’s safe to say that many of us who live with chronic pain have asked ourselves these questions at one point or another.
Looking back at my journey with auto-immune diseases and chronic pain, I see a very sad, lost and lonely person.
But at one point in my life I decided to take control and regain my confidence. I wasn’t willing to go down without a fight and I knew that I was somebody worth having.
On my second date with my, now, husband I gave him a print out with information about all of my diseases. I told him to think about whether or not he wanted to be with someone who was as sick as I am. I felt that it was necessary for him to know about my conditions from the beginning, so that neither of us wasted our time.
Not only did I have medical issues, I also have a daughter from a previous relationship and I had gone through a very nasty divorce nearly 3 years prior.
It took him less than a day to decide, not only did he want to pursue our relationship but he knew he was going to marry me since our first date. A week later I ended up in the hospital and he was the one who drove me there. He stayed with me the entire time and even watched as I got my first spinal tap.
For him to stand by me the way he did was probably one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever had someone do for me.
That day I realized how wrong I was about the way I perceived myself. Just because I was sick, divorced and came from a complicated background didn’t make me less valuable. I was still “me.” Outspoken, opinionated, loud, full of life, and very passionate.
Our diagnosis shouldn’t control our lives. It doesn’t depreciate our value as a person and it doesn’t change who we are inside.
We should never give up on the thought of finding love just because we don’t have a perfect health record. We can find it within our family, friends or a significant other.
I was fortunate enough to have met an amazing person who loves me entirely, in sickness and in health. He took on the role as a father figure to my daughter and we were even able to have a child during my remission.
Nothing is impossible if you have faith and learn to take back your life.
Arlene Grau lives in Lakewood, California with her family. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s disease.
The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that! It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.