This moment is one I will always remember.
“It’s really bad. The results are bad”. My heart sank and I pulled into the parking lot with my chattering toddler in the back seat. I hadn’t gone with my husband to his infusion this time, like I usually did. We were waiting on the usual biopsy results from his most recent endoscopy. This was our normal now. He had Infusions every 6 weeks, and multiple endoscopies each year. However, up until this moment, things have been improving. Not today.
When my husband and I first met, he was open in sharing with me that he been dealing with Ulcerative colitis for years. I learned about the history of what he had been through since being diagnosed in high school. He had been on tons of medication, struggled to live a normal life, even being housebound for almost a year. At the time, I had never even heard of it before. As we started dating, I quickly learned what colitis was, and how drastically it affected his life. Dates included multiple bathroom trips. I was often left alone for long periods of time when we would spend time together. He was always in pain, though he rarely let on. It was something that affected his work, his sleep, his eating, and his free time. Everything.
He was always happy. He never complained about dealing with it all. Some days were better then others, but it was always there.
It was hard to learn my place in this. To know that he was suffering, locked in a prison of a bathroom, bleeding. Always bleeding. I learned how to be supportive however I could.
I knew that signing up to do life with this amazing man meant being along for the ride of his health struggles. It didn’t matter. I was so quickly falling in love with this incredible person. I knew no matter what, I wanted to be a part of his future.
In the beginnings of our relationship, he was on prednisone. He hated it. As does basically everyone who has to take it. It made him angry, short tempered, itchy, and he had an insatiable hunger. Although his colitis symptoms were improving, there was an entire new set of issues to deal with. We continued to monitor his health through semiannual endoscopies.
Shortly after we were married, he had another test, and this time his Doctor became concerned that what we were doing to treat his colitis simply wasn’t enough. She encouraged us to consider remicade. The idea of him becoming immunocompromised was scary, but after much research and prayer, untimely something we decided to do. And thus began our new routine of Michael receiving regular infusions. It’s a jarring reality when you see “chemo” come up on a statement from your insurance company. As nerve-racking as it was to begin his treatments, we were so thankful once he began. It was incredible the difference he felt with the new medication. His newfound freedom with Remicade helped us through our first season of marriage, my first (and difficult) pregnancy with our son, and us deciding to build our first home and relocate. It was a Godsend. Not only was he feeling so much better, but his new scans were reflecting what we suspect was happening internally. His Colitis was improving! There was less inflammation, and much of his colon (apart from his left side) looked considerably different.
We were hopeful.
And then I got that call. That call, when I was going grocery shopping. When I normally would have been with my husband at his appointment. “It’s really bad. The results are bad.” We didn’t see it coming. And didn’t anticipate the journey it would take us on. But ultimately, that dark day brought on one incredible blessing: