As a caregiver for my wife who was diagnosed with MS in 1988, I would like to express my appreciation to all of you who have contributed your stories. Your unflinching truthfulness has helped me understand my wife’s struggles to a much greater degree, and has thus been a source of encouragement.
Since this is my first story I would like to briefly share our journey of the last 30 years. With her first diagnosis, we mutually decided to opt out of any drug therapy and to educate ourselves on healthy diet, vitamin and herbal supplements, and the wide scope of alternative medicine. Additionally, at the time of her diagnosis we were in full-time ministry and pastoring a small church. It was quite natural for us to seek the Lord for healing and, more importantly, wisdom on what to do.
For the first fifteen years many symptoms would come and go. However, life was fairly normal as we adjusted to the erratic nature of this disease. But the last fifteen years have been more stressful. I needed to resign from full-time ministry as my wife’s personality began to change in negative ways, and she simply could not keep up with the demands of this type of work. This brought a lot of stress into our lives and marriage, but we learned to adjust and keep loving each other. The last ten years kept her attached to a walker and could no longer drive.
This last year has been much more difficult than all the previous twenty-nine years. Her memory and cognitive issues having greatly increased to the point of having symptoms very similar to when my mother was dealing with dementia. At times she is barely able to get around in our two-bedroom handicap apartment. Any trip outside of the house is becoming much more frequent in a transport chair. Because of these problems she confines herself more and more to staying at home. I understand why, as her home and all the familiarity of it is security for her.
That’s why I want to say thank you for your stories. The sharing of your struggles and victories helps me to deal with my wife’s issues with greater patience and understanding.