Sunday, December 21, 2014

In sickness and in health

"My illness has always made me value relationships and be wary of fickle people. In dating, I had to choose the right moment to mention my illness and if it was an issue, I would walk away. One man reacted in a bizarre way. He said he felt he'd been cursed, falling for someone who was ill. So cystic fibrosis has one advantage - it sifts out the nice guys from the idiots"--(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-517754/Living-cystic-fibrosis-My-life-expectancy-31-Im-29-So-thats-years-parties-extreme-sports-romance-.html)

I love this quote. When most people say their wedding vows, "in sickness and in health" is just a phrase. They don't usually think about the practicality of being there for someone they love deeply when that person is struggling to take the next breath. They usually think they have years, maybe decades until the "in sickness" part of the vows kicks in. But with cystic fibrosis? When people choose to marry a person with CF, they must be fully committed to their spouse in sickness AND in health from the get go. You don't get to say the vows and forget about it the next day. CF puts you to the test! 

I've heard countless heartbreaking stories from the CF world about relationships--fathers leaving mothers when they find out their child has this terminal illness, engagements breaking off because fianc├ęs couldn't handle the disease like they thought they could, dating relationships ending because the CF person went in the hospital and the other person freaked out. This is not uncommon in my community, and I hurt for my fellow cysters and fibros. For instance-the guy in the above quote saying he'd been cursed for falling for a girl who was ill? That's a confidence booster for any CF woman (in case you didn't catch it, that was sarcasm). I ache that CF has caused so much relationship pain, and honestly, I don't think "normal" people will ever truly understand how much their words regarding our illness affect us. Pages of forums and blogs have been dedicated to CFers asking, "Am I worthy of love?", "Could anyone actually choose me, with all the baggage I carry?", "Why do all my relationships fail?" and "How can I justify getting close to someone when I know that CF is a progressive, chronic, terminal illness?". Dear friends, trust me, I have asked many of those same questions in my darkest times. But I know and hold on to two things that are true:

1. You (Cyster or fibro) are loved and treasured and adored by the One True God more than you could ever imagine. You are seen as beautiful in His eyes, and your CF doesn't make you any less worthy. God Almighty sent Jesus to live a sinless life and die a horrific death so that you could live eternally with Him, free from guilt, shame, sin, and sickness! You don't have to question if you will ever be loved; YOU ALREADY ARE. 

2. As far as a marriage goes? You read at the beginning of the blog "cystic fibrosis has one advantage-it sifts out the nice guys from the idiots". And while it does definitely do that, it also sifts out the strong men and women from the weak. It separates the determined and committed from the lazy. It brings forward those with an ability to love fully and completely and sends away those who struggle to love others unconditionally. It parts the selfless from the selfish. A person who chooses to marry a person with cystic fibrosis, whether the CFer has fantastic health or is on the lung transplant list, is someone to be immensely treasured. Granted, they won't be perfect, but they will jump all in, seeing you for you while desiring to care for you, love you, and support you for all your days. I have no doubt in my mind that people like that do in fact exist. We as people with CF may have to search a little harder, but in the end, we will be extremely and unimaginably blessed by the person who stands by our side--

in sickness and in health. 

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