8. In Sickness and Health: How to Thrive Romantically

Me and Ian, March 2017

The Intimidating Combo of Romance and Illness:

Ian and I met immediately after my Lyme diagnosis, but it was another six or seven months before I got really sick. Suddenly all of the adventurous stuff we had bonded over was no longer accessible to me. I remember panicking with my rapid decline: How could I keep up a relationship with seemingly nothing to offer? Who would want me? Surely Ian would leave me soon enough. I didn’t have any of my old tricks to keep him around. But he didn’t leave. Beyond the obvious foundation of young love, there are reasons why we made it work. Work being the key word, unfortunately. It was hard, but it was worth it.

I get asked the question of “how to romance with extreme illness” a lot. So much so that when Eva Fisher and I started Wellness Companions, we were quick to add “Navigating Romance” to our service roster. Having both been in serious relationships within our (serious) illnesses, we knew the strategies that deeply served us and our partners. And, the good news is that many of our tactics were identical. While I always preach finding what works for you personally (and this area is no exception), I can say that I have found that some of the things mentioned in this episode have worked for multiple couples.

I’m quite passionate about the subject. I wrote about it over a year ago when I was getting faced with the judgmental question of how I could be OK with Ian doing an extended trip while I was in IVIG treatment. And I talk to friends and clients about it often. I decided to close out 2017 with this episode— with me and my partner, Ian Jewett, casually discussing what it was like for us to voyage through the worst and the surprising feelings that came up on the other side. I hope to leave you, as always, inspired and informed as the new year approaches and certainly new goals accompanying it. That being said, please share about your personal romantic experiences and your personal “tips” below if you’re so inclined. Also note that we were not able to cover close to everything in this episode and feel free to write with any questions.

Listen to this Episode if you are Especially Interested In:

  • Tips to thrive romantically from both me (the one sick) and Ian (the care-taker). It takes two!
  • Why illness did not derail our relationship
  • What a person from Lyme, Connecticut (yep, Ian is from there) thinks of Lyme disease
  • What happens when what you bond over initially is taken from you with illness
  • Bicilin intramuscular antibiotics
  • How to “be there” for someone when it’s all you feel you can do
  • How to take the pressure off of your relationship when you’re super sick
  • Why I’m grateful Ian didn’t make it his job to cure me
  • How to stay empowered
  • Different ways to make staying-in-bed-all-day fun!

 

Happy Listening and Happy Holidays!!!

 

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