It’s true that having a partner in life can be a gift. Sharing the celebrations and sorrows makes life sweeter, especially when you’re living with CF. However, many people with CF struggle with the guilt of asking someone to tackle CF life alongside them. A relationship that includes CF almost always consists of a level of uncertainty, extra financial responsibility, necessarily flexible plans, physical limitations, and not-so-cute hospital dates. While it’s not easy a lot of the time, we all deserve stability and love. Finding a desired partner is your right, chronic illness or not.
Your CF partner should have a unique role in your overall care. Some say it takes a special person to love someone like me. I don’t think it takes a special person to be committed to someone with CF, but I do think it takes a person who can make you healthier.
I need support to live with CF, and I thrive – physically and mentally – when I have support from a partner. Thankfully, I have a helpful husband who encourages me to prioritize my health. However, while he’s handy in various ways, medicine isn’t his thing. Once upon a time, he did learn how to access my port, but I don’t think I would trust him advancing toward me with a 1-inch needle now (sorry, babe). One area where my husband excels is in taking responsibilities off me so that I have more time to care for myself. By redistributing the load, he undoubtedly contributes to my well-being. He’s organized in the midst of my chaos. For instance, he modeled my treatment cart arrangement to make it easier for me to complete my daily regimen.
Maybe your partner’s support isn’t as tangible as administering late-night IVs or cleaning nebulizer cups, and that’s OK. I like to be independent. Support from your partner can come in many different forms. Perhaps he tackles the bulk of the housecleaning, like mine does, leaving you more time for treatments. Maybe she does the grocery shopping or picks up your medications to save you a trip outdoors during cold and flu season.
Your partner may be emotionally supportive and encourage you to comply with your treatment. Maybe he knows how to reassure you during anxiety-provoking procedures. Perhaps he makes you laugh — laughter is great airway clearance! There are so many kinds of support that can result in a healthier “you” and each one is important.
Bottom line: If the relationship isn’t helping you to stay healthy in some way, it’s not beneficial in the long run. For all of the supportive partners out there striving to make us healthier, we thank you!
Note: Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cystic Fibrosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cystic fibrosis.