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How does your spouse/ significant other handle your MS?
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How does your spouse/ significant other handle your MS?

My husband is a very "get the job done" kind of guy. He is not the type to let things get him down. But, this past Friday he had what the doctor called a "classic anxiety attack". He called me mid-morning and said he wasn't sure what was wrong but he couldn't bring himself to pick up his work phone and call his customers.

I think this has been a long time coming. In the last 3 years he has lost his job, ended up taking a 50% pay cut just to have a job, so financial worries are always there. His Aunt had a stroke in April. She was showing signs of dementia before that, and the stroke made it so much worse. She is now in a nursing home and does not remember what happened to her, why she is there, or who we are. She does not remember DH, or that he visits her, but he does visit every week. And the whole visit she is asking what happened to her, why is she there, and saying she wants to kill herself.

Add on that DH is working at a job he is bored at and seriously dislikes, but there are not options for him to leave, so he feels stuck. He will probably be promoted, but that is 6-12 months off. Also, his job is very weird about time off and so he feels like he can't take care of me if I have an issue and can't drive myself to the doctor.

I think that I had lots of time to prepare myself for an MS diagnosis, but DH didn't really prepare himself for it, and I think it kind of hit him that this is a forever thing for me (and that made him feel bad again that he can't protect me from this or make it better)

DH was doing better this morning, though embarrassed to go back to work. I did make him take the anxiety pills with him.

Obviously, I think he got to the point of an anxiety attack because of everything that is going on, not just me...but I'm wondering how other spouses and loved ones have handled MS diagnosis?

~Jess
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8 Comments Post a Comment
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400099_tn?1282958464
My husband of 6 years wanted to know if I knew I had it and tricked him. We had been married 3 years at the time. But, then, he acts like it's not there. He's basically a jerk about my having MS. He's not well and the world revolved around him. So, that's how he handles it. I put my foot down and told him he better shape up and he's gotten a little bit better about it. The rest of my family? My brother just came to the neuro with me and I think he got a wake up call that this is serious stuff. He is also my best friend.  Everybody else in the family ignores it like it's make believe. I figure they called my a hypochondriac for so long that to admit I actually have MS makes them accountable for their assinine judgements and ridicule.
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Avatar_m_tn
My wife was diagnosed 2 years ago with MS and I was diagnosed in July. We both are on copaxone and we both understand what the other one is going through. Our symptoms are totally diffferent and she is doing very well since she started the copaxone last year.
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667078_tn?1316004535
The NMSS has a teleconference for couples I highly recommend. Our local chapter had it as week end workshop with a couples therapist leading it. The workbook itself is invaluable. The week end with hotel and meals was $5. Just like everyone deals differently with MS at different times so do spouses.

In this job market most people are stuck. My husband lost his job in December 2001 with no compensation, we lost our retirement when his company went under. We started over and make 40% of what we made in 2001. He does not get raises and health care costs are skyrocketing.

The economic problems are very real and it is scary. The best thing I can do is learn to live in the moment and do not dwell on the scary stuff. Being able to have calm conversations helps. The Serenity Prayer helps me know what I can change and what I can't. What I can't I leave to God. All I can change is how I think about things and how I behave.

My spouse has a right to feel how he feels. He did not sign up for MS anymore than I did. Sometimes I put too much on his plate and I have to try to do what I can to help him. I can't imagine the complication of a family. It is hard.

Alex




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Avatar_f_tn
My husband does not deal well with illness.  His mother has pretty severe RA (she's had it since she was 3, so her children all grew up with it.  She's a very tough lady, though, and I don't think her kids knew how sick she was, if she could avoid it (I tend to do that, too)).  He ignores it most of the time.  

I feel blessed that we both have good secure jobs right now so financial strains are not one of our worries.  However, we have three children and have multiple health/mental health issues we're dealing with, beyond my sx.  I also have a grandmother in another state that has dementia.

I guess I would say he doesn't handle it well, but he doesn't really handle most stress well, so I tend to only push him on the most important things.  I think my recent ER trip with TN was a bit of a wake-up call.  I've had it for 1.5 years and he's never read anything about it and is finally beginning to realize what it is and how it might affect me.
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1382889_tn?1404599226
  Great question Jess.  First let me say, sorry that dh is having a tough time. He sounds like a sweetheart.

   Since I am newly dx, not sure I can fully answer this yet but based on my past I am expecting my dh to deal with this well.  From an experience stand point he didn't have any personal exp with serious illness or diseases until me.  Even so he doesn't seem to be resentful just a bit confused by it all sometimes.

  He is from a family of all boys and you just got over things quickly.  When I have had normal flu type bugs he is sometimes oblivious to my needs as he rarely gets sick and when he does it is so mild.  So, I remind him of what I need and try and not to expect him to read my mind.

  He normally is very good in very stressful situations b/c he is so even in his emotions.  Nothing rattles him but me he says frequently.  Idk, this dx may be different but somehow I don't think so.  Neuro suggested appt with me, dh and him to go over details and answer q's about what I have so everyone fully understands.  We may do that.

Hope things get better for you dh Jess.  Sounds like he needs to be reminded to take care of himself.  Life is tough and it can beat you down.  Alhough we are all the one's with dx, our spouses need a soft place to land sometimes too.  Keep looking out for him and keep him on track.

Julie
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987762_tn?1331031553
I dont have a dx and i dont think my dh wants me to have one, the dx would make everything more real and confronting. Just moments ago he told me how much he loves me, even said i was still sexy lol yes how that works is beyond me. He's not blind to whats happening to me, us, i think like me, he just wants it to go away. He's always been very sensitive, falls into depression and anxiety easily, it went out of control a bit when he put on a lot of weight and his health suffered, sleep apnea just made everything more difficult for him to handle.

Seeing me deal with this thing has been good for him in a lot of ways, he has needed to get help for his health and take responsibility for his actions or lack there of lol. He's still the same but can i say a better model now, more in control of himself and not so introspective, more the man i married! We laugh a lot, sarcasm and black humor in abundance, maybe seeing me cope by not taking my self and my situation seriously has helped him relax and not be so stressed by things out of his control, maybe.

We had to vote last saturday (whoopie an outing) he made sure we parked as close as posible, laughed at our date and i was doing ok. About 10 minutes of standing in line and he was ready to prop me up as i wobbled, just a gentle hand on my back, he knew I was loosing control before i did. He knows me better than anyone and knows i will fight it, by 30 minutes I notice his arm is out ready for me to grab, when did that become normal?

It continues like that for the next half hour, as we slowly creep along, the conversation and laughs are getting less as my words and staminar deminish. He's there right by my side, i hardly take in the people around me too focused on staying on my feet and getting the stupid things to make the next step and the next. Did it bother me that the attendant didn't ask me anything, asked my dh instead like i was invisible..........yes!!!

Funny but even when im standing in the privacy booth next to his, his hand is still there holding me up. I'm releived when its all over and cant wait to get back in the car to sit down, he's there holding the door, lifting my leg and kissing me and telling me how much he loves me, does he know how hard that was to do, i think yes.

How well he's doing, i give him 10 out of 10, they say illness can bring out the best or worse in people, even close family, to true. I think i'm truely blessed to be so loved!!

Cheers........JJ



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1253197_tn?1331212710
My hubbie does not do illness/stress etc. Having just returned from war in Afghanistan and seen his soldiers maimed in hospital, I think he just wants life at home to be normal.

So not many surprises and as he has lost all his whole family through different tragedies/illness in the last 10 years, he is absolutely not up to facing that his wife has a chronic illness.  What he cannot see he does not want to discuss. Luckily I am blessed with wonderful friends and other family and he just needs some time to get used to civilian life again.

Interesting post and it seems that many of us seem to share similar experiences so if you are one of the lucky ones who has an empathic understanding husband, then makie the most of it! By the way what does dh stand for (darling husband?)

Love Sarah x
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1207048_tn?1282177904
It has been very interesting to read everyones posts. Thank you all for sharing! It seems I need to keep in mind that DH will have emotions about my issues and I need to be sure I am having him talk about them, whether to me or someone else. I think he feels he must be strong and support me and maybe thinks talking about his emotions would make me feel bad?

Back in April when I had my first episode of vertigo, which lead to my first round of steroids, I was a miserable mess for the first few days. I could barely walk, the steroids give me a huge headache, and I didn't know enough to ask for meds for the headache. Add in barely sleeping, and it was just a bad time. At one point, DH said "I know this is nothing compared to what you are going through, but my head is killing me." Well, I put a stop to that kind of talk real quick! I told him just because I'm having a tough time that does not mean he is not allowed to! If anything, the added stress of worrying about me, taking care of me, and full responsibility for the kids & house would be adding to his headache and he has every right to complain.

JJ, my DH is like that too, always making sure I'm ok. At the beginning of the summer he bought a lawn chair with a sunshade attached for me, and he makes sure we have it anytime we are outside. He also bought me one of those misting fans and he will fill it with ice water before we leave.

My parents have offered to watch the monkeys for us next Friday, overnight if we would like. We are trying to come up with some inexpensive day trip or activities we can do. I'm thinking discount movie theater, diner for dinner, and a local motel. I'm a cheap date LOL

Sarah, to me DH means darling husband/ dear husband :-)
~Jess
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