Why I Nominate My Husband for PsAinthood
I received my diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis in 2003. That was two years after being diagnosed with psoriasis and a few months after my fibromyalgia diagnosis. At that time, I never thought about how any of these illnesses might impact my relationship with my husband.
PsA changed our relationship
After receiving my diagnosis, I never expected my life to change much. Even after being told that there was no cure, just medications that may or may not slow the progression, I was oblivious to how these illnesses would affect my relationships, especially the one with my spouse. I had a preconceived notion of what I felt our life should look like, but PsA had other plans.
Sometimes it feels miraculous that my husband and I are still together. Other times I realize that we aren’t still together because of dumb luck, but instead because we live this crazy life together as one.
We learned to adapt
One of the reasons I joke about nominating my husband for sainthood is that he has been a lot more flexible when it comes to having to work around my shortcomings. There was one moment a few years into my chronic life that I will never forget. I was struggling with the fact that I was unable to vacuum or mop the floors without sending my body into a multiday flare.
One morning while lying in bed mid-flare, I tried peeling my body from the sheets; however, my head must have been stapled to the pillow, because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get up. As I fell back asleep I heard the sloshing of the mop bucket. I thought that it was strange. I knew it wasn’t my teenage son and there was no way my 3-year-old would have attempted to mop the floor, then I realized that it was my husband mopping the kitchen floor.
Never, prior to this moment in time, had I asked him to help me with the housework. I was too ashamed as a stay at home mom to admit that I couldn’t handle my job.
We are a team
My first reaction when my husband began mopping the kitchen floor without asking if I needed help was to scream. Even though he never gave me a reason to believe he was doing it to prove how useless I was, as someone who had grown up in an abusive household that was my go-to emotion. Thankfully, I took a minute to quiet those destructive thoughts and realized that he was mopping not to belittle me, but instead to help me.
I slowly made my way to the kitchen to thank him. Next, I explained how difficult mopping and vacuuming had become for me. Without skipping a beat or making me feel inferior, he said: “No problem, these will be my chores from now on.”
And that has been our life since... When he sees me struggle, he just picks up the pieces and continues on without complaint. If I have learned anything about my relationship with my husband and living with multiple chronic illnesses, it is that together we are strong and alone we fall apart.
Do you have a sleep disorder (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your PsA?