14 Valentine’s Day questions about true love and MS

14 Valentine’s Day Questions About True Love And MS

Love it or hate it, it’s Valentine’s Day, and if you’ve got love in your life, this is the time to flaunt it in everyone’s face. Whether you love your kids, your cat, or your significant other, it’s nice to know there’s a date on the calendar where it’s socially acceptable to drink too much wine on a Wednesday and eat chocolate hearts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  
I myself am among the hashtag blessed who are lucky in love, having been happily married for like, ever. And my luck must be obvious, because it’s frequently pointed out to me. It’s a popular idea that women with diseases like multiple sclerosis are especially lucky should they happen to find their Prince Charming and trick him into marrying them. 
Yeah, I said lucky. As in accidentally getting something great; something random you don’t deserve, or haven’t earned. 
Lucky for me, it’s my partner who thinks he’s the lucky one. The Banker and I hooked-up pre-MS, in a life that was so long ago, I barely remember it. We tied the knot post-dx, and from the moment we announced our engagement, our relationship has been judged by some as extra-special. Of course, we smugly agree that our marriage is the bomb. We’re both proud of what we’ve built. But even after all these years, we still find ourselves explaining the whole marriage-with-MS thing, because some are still genuinely baffled that a grade-A guy like The Banker would willingly sign up for a life with, well, a utility-grade girl like me. 
Is it ever reasonable to wonder why someone would choose the sickness part of “in sickness and in health”, so soon into a relationship? Maybe. Do I have a flat pancake ass? Definitely. The point is, YOU DON’T NEED TO POINT IT OUT, OKAY? Rude. 
Literally fucking everyone knows that marriage is hard, and divorce rates are high, and blah, blah; I don’t wanna gross you out even more with the break-up stats when MS is involved – especially if the partner with MS is a woman. You think it was “brave” of someone to marry me? Well, what about me? I walked down the aisle knowing I’m statistically more likely to offer to help you move than I am to hang on to a man who will nurse me through the worst of what MS can do. This scene obviously isn’t for everyone, and that’s cool. 
I didn’t want to marry you anyway. 
My defensiveness aside, I do understand the doubters who, for their own good luck or utter lack of imagination, can’t envision this life for themselves, or even for someone else. I also know it’s easier to scoff at the ignorance of how uncomplicated our marriage actually is  because, at least for now, we are still true partners. The impact this disease has had on our relationship has been manageable. I know that could change some day, but we’re not there yet. And I’ve been trying really hard to stay grounded in the present lately. 
So today, on this most sacred and holy day, I’m here to tell you that marriage and MS can coexist. Because The Banker and I are nailing it. And you don’t have to take my word for it: I decided to interview my husband so you could see exactly what kind of person does co-sign for MS.

of course I have an adorable nickname

Thank you for coming.

This is our living room. I live here.  

Let’s get right to it. We’ve been married for like, 13 years. What’s the hardest thing about being married?

I don’t ask for help, and with marriage sometimes you need to be the one leaned on, but sometimes you need to do the leaning. I don’t always like to do the leaning. 
Are you saying MS isn’t the hardest thing?

No. It’s not. 

Wow. I would have definitely said MS, followed closely by indoor temperature negotiations, but you usually let me keep the heat jacked. 
Well, I am the more considerate one.
That’s true. Is that why you married someone with MS? Because you’re a hero?
Uhm, no. It didn’t matter that you had MS. I married you because you are you.

Okay, but, I know it’s not always easy. What’s the hardest part about loving someone with a disease like MS?
Watching you struggle when I can’t do anything. There are times when I can’t help; like, I can’t make your legs move for you, and I feel helpless.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve lost or had to sacrifice because of MS?
I don’t think I’ve lost big things. It’s smaller things, like holding hands while walking. When I’m pushing you in Optimus, it’s harder to have a conversation.
You don’t think it’s romantic to yell into the back of my head “WHAT? I can’t hear you”?
What would you say to people who believe you got a raw deal?
You do so much to help me experience life. When you’re in a marriage you do stuff for each other. I don’t see it as stepping up. We work to our strengths. I’m doing what I can to support my wife, but you do so much more for me.
I am pretty great. Let’s explore that. What’s your favourite thing about me?
It’s tough. There are so many things that I like; I can’t narrow it down to the best thing.
Yeah, but try harder.
It’s easy to point out your physical attributes, your mind, and your personality. That stuff’s easy; but like, you make me a better person, and you make me enjoy life.
If you could take on one of my symptoms for me, which one would it be? 
I think I would take on all of your symptoms, in a way to shoulder it; so like, if we could split them almost. So it’s not as big a burden for you.

What, like 50/50?
(Long pause) Uh…60/40?
60/40. You really are a hero.
It would be difficult for both of us to be fucked; so fine, I would probably take on the fatigue just to let you do more stuff. I think I can fight through a lot of tiredness; I don’t get a lot of sleep during the week anyway.
Oh NO he didn’t.
So, you’re saying you could handle MS fatigue better than me? 
(We explored this for the next 27 minutes.)
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about MS?
Apparently, it’s fatigue.
What do you think is the most important quality someone with MS needs to have?
MS is always gonna be worse than whatever the healthy person is going through
Are you saying I lack empathy for your man-cold and dislike of needles? 
This feels like a trap.
Before we wrap this up, let’s find out a little more about you. Did you always know you wanted to be a banker?
No. You know I’m not actually a banker, right? I don’t even work at a bank. 
What’s your favourite thing to do without me?
Eat gluten and sugar. 
Do you agree that drinking every day is a good idea?
Wtf does that have to do with MS?
Nothing, I was just hoping you would make me a drink.
Much better. Thank you.
Who would play you in the movie of our life?
James Franco?

Ew. The correct answer is Benedict Cumberbatch. 
Final question. How much money is too much money to spend on Valentine’s?

Valentine’s is a made-up, commercial holiday.

Yeah, that’s why it’s so awesome. You get the presents of Christmas and the candy of Easter without having to go to church.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Trippers. I love you all.

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28 thoughts on “14 Valentine’s Day questions about true love and MS

  1. Love this one too! It's no wonder I'm your most passionate groupie. Also, he seems nice. I generally don't prefer being in relationships but he seems nice. I like you two. 🙂

  2. I too am blessed . I have been married for 31 years to my best friend. No it hadn't always been easy but it hasn't always been terrible either. There was a time when I was still mobile that we would go riding our atv's some times with our 3 sons but mostly just the two of us. We have a lot of wonderful memories. Now that's not an option. But he is my rock.and I'm his. We have a great relationship with Jesus and that certainly helps.

  3. Happy Valentine's Day to the banker and you.
    Once more I will be speed dating this evening. I feel like the guy in Greek (or Roman) mythology who rolled a boulder uphill only to have it roll back down once he reached the summit. If I get a match tonight, I will have to give my boulder a nudge to start it rolling downhill. After a couple of dates, I will have to tell her I have an incurable, unpredictable and irreversible disease.

  4. The Banker and you enjoy a most blessed union. I recognize it, because I have one with my very own BigDaddy – my husband of 25 years. I don't have MS (they say!?!), but I have a myriad of other conditions that have totally changed both of our lives – and not in the winning the lottery kinda way.The BigDaddy has taken it all in stride, much better than I most days.

    I enjoy your blog. Keep it up!

  5. Maybe don't use those exact words? Instead of 'disease', maybe call it a 'situation'? Instead of unpredictable, tell her you are spontaneous and exciting. Instead of irreversible, you are committed; secure.
    Good luck Joe. Don't give up on love.

  6. I read somewhere that you're 20x more likely to be murdered if you win big in the lottery, so I think you're better off with BigDaddy anyway.
    Thanks for reading!

  7. Loved this. I can totally relate! Met my now-husband before dx and we got married a bit sooner than planned due to a good 'ole insurance situation – but boy am I lucky! Loved hearing from The Banker. You two seem to make a great team.

  8. Thank you so much for this! My husband and I dated and got married after my dx. I actually had panic attacks when we first started dating because, I just knew that when I brought it up, he was going to run! Instead, he just looked at me and said, ‘I know. It’s just one part of you,’ shrugged his shoulders and moved on with conversation! Blew me away, particularly after having been married to someone who opted out of the whole ‘sickness’ part of the vows. I really appreciate the interview with your husband. I feel like a weight has been lifted and I shouldn’t worry so much about being a burden. My husband says that we never would have gotten together if I hadn’t had MS. I would have stayed in the other toxic (toxic before MS) marriage. How’s that for a positive spin on a most negative disease!

  9. Priceless! It’s great to hear from the Banker!!
    I’m glad there is still contemplation over fatigue – I laughed out loud! You two seem perfect for one another. I’ve been married for 34 years, he is my rock and my hero. Lots of love! Happy Valentine’s Day to you both!

  10. I’m also one of the lucky ones. We’d only been dating five months when I had the attack that led to my dx. There was some sturm und drang in our relationship, none of it MS-related, but we’ll be married ten years in November. I always think that wen knew plenty about “in sickness and in health” before we ever got married. In our case, he has health challenges of his own. I like what your husband said about empathy. It’s a little easier for my husband and I to be patient with each other’s stuff because we both have stuff of our own.

  11. Wow, that was great! As a child and teenager, I saw the worst in marriage, love, and humanity. Navigating the MS maze is difficult enough but tortious when your “life partner” decides MS is not the “roomate” they signed on for. Outstanding share and blog.

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