Difficulties Strengthen Interabled Relationships

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by Leah Leilani |

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The best relationships aren’t full of luxurious vacations and daily smiles and laughter. Long-lasting couples have been to hell and back together, growing closer and stronger through the storms.

Ups and downs because of illness and vulnerabilities, along with the need for extra support, can test an interabled relationship. But the right partner can make even the direst situations tolerable.

I have been with my boyfriend, Will, for two years. It has not been smooth sailing, but it has been one heck of an incredible adventure. To my surprise, the defining moments of our relationship haven’t been strolls near the beach or yearly staycations at a nearby hotel. Instead, my most treasured memories are strenuous times that proved our love for each other.

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Leah and Will. (Photo by Leah Leilani)

To this day, the depth of Will’s love for me catches me off guard. He never fails to comfort me or bring a smile to my face when I feel vulnerable about my disease.

A few summers ago, my wheelchair broke down at the beach. We didn’t know how we would get back to our car or when we’d be able to fix my wheelchair. I quickly began to feel stranded. Anxiety built up in my chest as I realized what a burden I must be.

To my astonishment, Will remained calm and encouraged me to explain my emotions and why I felt the way I did. After assessing the situation, Will swiftly took control by switching my power wheelchair to manual and pushing me back to the car. My heart swelled at the ease with which he looked past our circumstances and focused on taking care of me.

Occasionally, we must put our thoughts and emotions on the back burner for the sake of our partner. This rang true for Will and me last October when I had my gallbladder removed.

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Leah and Will in the hospital before her gallbladder surgery. (Courtesy of Leah Leilani)

Knowing Will’s squeamish tendencies regarding medical procedures, I decided not to have him accompany me to the hospital on the day of my surgery. But Will insisted, and when he sets his mind on something, there’s no stopping him. He remained by my side as I prepped for surgery. He selflessly set his feelings aside when they placed my IV, even with my back end exposed by my hospital gown. Will continued to dote on me until I retired to bed that night.

I value the adventures Will and I have shared, but I enjoy the little things the most. My low energy production prevents me from going out whenever I please. Knowing that Will understands and is content with spending a night indoors puts my mind at ease. Besides, spending quality time curled up on the couch and eating pizza isn’t that bad.

From the beginning of our relationship, Will has shown me his commitment and dedication, from learning to drive my accessible van to preparing my medications. I’m sure that more difficult times will test our strength as a couple, but I trust that we can come out on the other side closer than ever.


Note: Muscular Dystrophy News 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 another 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 Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.


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