chronic illness

My Turn Being The Spouse, Not Patient: Importance of Caregiver Support



My husband and I are both spoonies. John has been type 1 diabetic since he was 8  years old and has spent every summer for the last 20 years at Camp Carolina Trails, a summer camp designed to educate and empower young people with diabetes. He started out as a camper and is now the assistant director. One of the things that inspires me the most about my husband is his dedication to raising awareness and and support for those living with diabetes. His motto is “diabetes is a gift, not a curse” as he sees his diabetes as a way to minister and serve others. Health activism is something we feel deeply passionate about and it is awesome to share this passion and support and encourage one another along the way.

In the 12 years that John and I have been together, we have been lucky to not encounter any major scares outside of the “normal” highs and lows that accompany life with diabetes. No passing out from blood sugars that are too low or hospitalizations from ketones. We have never even had to visit the ER.

Until last week.

After entering the wrong bolus amount on his insulin pump, we were very concerned about the possibility of a dangerous low so we headed to the ER to be safe. Thankfully other than Zofran for nausea, John did not require any other intervention but were glad that we made the trip just in case.

Even though it was only an IV, I absolutely hated seeing John poked and prodded and not feeling well in the hospital bed. I just wanted to make him feel better and would have easily taken his place if I could have.

It was in that moment that I realized what John has had to endure during my many surgeries and hospitalizations over the last 12 years. It hurt to watch my husband get an IV but in the scope of things, I had it easy.

I never had to kiss my husband goodbye and watch him get rolled away to the OR. I never had to sit in the waiting room for hours waiting on a call from the doctor to give an update on my husband’s surgery. I never had to sleep in those unbelievablely uncomfortable chairs while my husband was in a hospital bed and hooked up to machines. I never had to get a phone call telling me to get home as soon as I could because my husband had just been readmitted due to complications.

I cannot even begin to imagine what it must have been like to be in his shoes not only once but time and time again.

I know what it felt like to go through countless appointments, treatments, surgeries and hospitalizations. I know what the physical pain felt like. I know how emotionally, mentally, and spiritually exhausting chronic illness can be. I know what it felt like to be the patient.

When you are the patient, I think it is easy to overlook the experience of the caregiver because we can so easily become wrapped up in our own. It is easy to underestimate the burden and exhaustion that comes with being a caregiver and the helplessness one feels when you have to see a loved one suffer and not being able to fix it. It is easy to not see the loneliness that comes with the job of caregiver. The pain and grief of chronic illness is not limited to the patient.

Last week served as a powerful reminder of the importance of caregiver support and deepened my already vast appreciation for John as my husband and my caregiver. I am positive he never imagined that it would be  a role that he would have to take on so early in life but the love, attention, and support he provides is what gets me through the day. I am so thankful for him every minute of every day and thank God that He gave me such an amazing partner to walk through the journey with me and even carry me when I couldn’t move forward on my own. There are not enough words to describe how lucky I am to have him as my husband, how proud I am to be his wife, and how inspired I am by him each and every day.

Have you ever had to take on the role of caregiver? If so, how has it changed your perspective of chronic illness?


Our Secret To A Happy Marriage

This post is part of the Happy Wives Club Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with hundreds of inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! 

May 21, 2014 will mark our ninth wedding anniversary which by no means makes me an expert on the subject but in these nine years, we have had to overcome more hurdles than some couples may face in a lifetime. Infertility. Losing a daughter with a failed adoption placement. Six surgeries. Weeks of hospital stays. Countless treatments with no success. Disability at 31.

Many marriages do not withstand these challenges unfortunately. The divorce statistics in marriage dealing with chronic illness is 75%.


I am proud to say that while we have our struggles, our marriage is as solid as ever and I even got my husband to say “I do” again in September!

Want to know our secret to a happy marriage?


If God was not the center of our marriage, I’m not sure we would have been able to handle some of the things that have been thrown at us. The verse we used as the theme of our wedding was Ecclesiastes 4:12, “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” God is our third strand.

I know what you may be thinking. The divorce rate among Christians is just as high as couple outside the church at a staggering 50%.

But there is a difference in having a belief in God and allowing Him to be the center and foundation of your marriage. Without God, I don’t think its possible to understand how to fully love someone else. Without experiencing the love and grace of our Creator, I would not know how to share that with another.

I don’t believe that love can fully be understood and experienced outside the context of God. God is love.

One of the most popular verses used during wedding ceremonies is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

I think in order to best comprehend the depth and meaning of this verse, we need to replace love with God: “God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. God does not dishonor other, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preservers. God never fails.”

With God as a foundation, we are able to strive to make each one of this facets of love a part of our marriage. I truly believe that it is when we grow closer to God, we are able to grow closer to one another. He is the top of our triangle. He is the third chord in our marriage. He is our foundation upon which we can build our marriage. When we look through this lens, we can see things in a whole new light.

I am not at all saying that I have the perfect marriage as it is made up of two imperfect people but we have a strong foundation and every day we strive to be more like Christ and love like Christ. When you do that, it changes things. It doesn’t make the challenges go away but knowing we are not going through it alone gives us the strength to get through it and the faith to know that God has a plan for our lives even when we don’t know what it is.

May 21 2005


May 21, 2005

September 2013

September 14, 2013

I may not know where the next nine years will take us but I know who will be beside me.

Fawn Weaver, the founder of the Happy Wives Club wrote a book about the best marriage secrets the world has to offer. They say the book is like “Eat, Pray, Love meets The 5 Love Languages.” To say that the book is inspiring would be an understatement. I felt so refreshed and encouraged and I know you will be too! You can grab a copy HERE.

chronic illnessmarriage

A Cord Of Three Strands

I shared with you last week about my top secret project our surprise vow renewal and this weekend I received the pictures from my amazing photographer Mamie! I was bed bound most of the weekend so I worked on putting together a video slideshow to share our magical memories from the day! It is definitely an experience I will never forget! Having someone by your side to support you and fight for you when necessary is the best treatment for chronic illness on the market! I just cannot imagine doing this alone!

Some quick background on the song – It is “Time of My Life” by Mark Schultz. It has always been a favorite of ours as it seems to tell our story! My husband and I met his first weekend at college when he was 18 (I was 19) and while it wasn’t the front porch swing, it was the Decker swing (my dorm) where we spent hours talking and where our relationship blossomed. I completely felt like a princess on our wedding day and I cannot wait to grow old with John and be able to look back on our lives together! It is not a well known song so I wanted to give some background on why I chose it


Chronic illness cannot stop our love


I have absolutely no idea how I am going to chose favorites to have printed to hang up in the house! We are in the process of redoing our master bedroom and are doing a gallery wall with our wedding photos and these ones!

Which ones should I pick?