Full Circle

My fiancee Tracey and I have been together a little over 10 years. She was diagnosed in 1994 with RRMS, which progressed to SPMS after 18 months. We met online, where I replied to her very angry post, almost daring someone to reply to her. I did, and we hit it off right from the start.

I, too, have a disability. But I do not consider myself disabled. I have had a very rewarding life: professionally and personally. Tracey and I got together after a couple of weeks of e-mails and texts, and I found her to be absolutely charming. After dating for about a month, we decided to go away for a long weekend. When we arrived at our hotel, I knew something was not right. As I lifted her out of my car and into her wheelchair, I could tell that she had an "accident". I already knew of her urinary incontinence, but this was my first experience with bowel incontinence.

When we got to our room (I had requested an accessible room), she asked that I put her on the bench in the shower. After I did, I asked her if she needed any help, any her reply was a defiant "No!". So I left her alone, but after a few minutes, I listened in and could hear her crying. I stripped down completely naked and walked into the shower. She was totally embarrassed, but had such a vulnerable look that said "help me, please".

I cleaned her up, carried her out of the shower and into the bed, and we made love for the first time. The look in her eyes made me fall in love, and after we returned home, she told her daughter: "That's the man I'm going to marry".

For the last 10 years, our love has grown stronger and stronger. Five years ago, in addition to the progressive effects of MS, she developed five stage 4 bedsores. Since then, I retired from my job and became her primary caregiver. Slowly, she has recovered from this, but her MS has progressed to the point where she has very little use of her voluntary muscles, and is completely dependent on others for all of her needs. But the MS has not affected her mentally, her mind is as sharp as when we first met.

The reason I love her so much is her outlook on life. Despite having an overall successful and fulfilling life, before I met her I would often get frustrated at the things I could not do because of my own disability. After seeing how she copes with her MS, It really put things in perspective. I see now how I need to improve myself so that I can take care of her, and I am overall a better person because of this.

I titled this story "Full Circle" because of an incident from earlier today. As I was changing her and her wound dressings, I saw that something was not right. She suffers from long periods of constipation followed by a few days of extreme bowel movements. This morning, she delivered four separate bowel movements ranging in size between tennis balls and baseballs. As each one passed, I announced "Congratulations, it's a boy!".

We laughed so hard by the time it was over that we both needed a rest.

We have come full circle.

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