Being an MS Care Partner: The Power of Your Presence By Care Partner • November 15, 2018
Hi, I’m Jason. My wife Kimberly and I celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary earlier this year. Fifteen years together. Fifteen years to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer and for poorer. Fifteen years in sickness and in health. Fifteen years with relapsing MS.
Unlike many couples, we weren't surprised by Kimberly’s relapsing MS because she was diagnosed years before we met, as she has mentioned in her blog. We shared our vows fully aware that relapsing MS was a part of our journey. However, there are many days when that early knowledge provides little comfort.
Life as a relapsing MS Care Partner consists of both challenges and celebrations not usually distributed in equal portions. I tell people that I don't have relapsing MS, but I live with it. And it's true. I don't feel all the pains and twinges of MS, but I ache every time she hurts.
There are many days that I wish I could snap my fingers and cure her. Not a week goes by where I don’t wish that I could find that elusive solution to eliminate her relapsing MS forever. Sadly, I know that a magic cure doesn’t exist.
It's easy to feel powerless in the daily fight against relapsing MS. I am not a doctor, so what can I do? The question often stumped me until I realized one very important thing I can do to help—be there for her.
I realize I may never have the wisdom or words to fix my wife's relapsing MS, but I can always be by her side in the fight. For example, there are nights when Kimberly climbs into bed exhausted from another day with relapsing MS. Often the best thing I can do is lie next to her, take her hand, and let her know that I am there with her.
Or those days when she was in the hospital, hooked up to medicine and monitors, and getting constant visits from nurses. One way I could help was to sleep on a pullout couch in her hospital room every night and let her know I was there for her.
Then there were those times when Kimberly visited her neurologist, afraid to hear that the news might not be good. I found the only thing I could do was to drive her to the office and wait with her patiently, until we were called into the neurologist’s office.
Fifteen years with relapsing MS has filled our lives with plenty of ups and downs. Kimberly takes on relapsing MS with incredible strength, but some days, it leaves her feeling like she doesn't have much left to give. Your partner, friend, or family member may have days like that too.
Those are the times when you, as a Care Partner, may never find the right words. But you don't have to. Often the best thing you can do is be there and let them know they do not fight alone. That's the power of your presence.
- CARE PARTNER
- LIVING WITH RELAPSING MS
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