How many of you have a Mr. or Mrs. Fix-it for a spouse?
Michael, my husband, is awesome. We have been married for 14 years, and we are truly best friends before husband and wife.
I remember when we received my positive genetic test results like it was yesterday. It was a Thursday night, after office hours, and the doctor called to tell me I tested positive – my CAG was 43 and to call when I start to show symptoms.
It was that call that would forever change my husband.
He fell to his knees and fell apart in my arms. At that point, I went into wife-action and took care of him. I didn't shed one tear. I was angry, angry that HD had caused this pain to him.
Michael is a fixer, and that means he wants to repair/fix anything wrong with me. It can be a bad day. If I'm not feeling well or can't figure out how to do something – he swoops right in and fixes it for me.
I love this about him – he has a heart of gold.
The HD diagnosis was the first thing that we had encountered that he could not fix. No matter how much research he did – there was nothing he could do to make this situation better.
So, what could he do?
The answer was simple:
Be there for me. Be there for me when I'm happy. Be there for me when I'm sad. Be there for me when I hate the world and want to scream. That's the best gift he could give me. He doesn't need to have the right answers. He doesn't even have to speak. Just be. Allow the emotions to drive our needs.
Over time, he has started to learn new ways to help me through the diagnosis. Some are small gestures like writing down instructions on how to use our appliances; others are more significant gestures like installing a second handrail in the basement, so it's easier for me to walk down. These are what speak volumes and allows him to "fix" things that he has control over.
HD attacks the whole family. I know Michael feels like it was a joint diagnosis. His world was uprooted with a positive diagnosis, as well. At times, even though we are the ones with HD, we need to be the caretakers of our spouses.
That is what will keep him strong – which is what will make us stay strong.