Loving you through thick and thin (and itching and burning)
Over the past seven years, Luke has found a constant support system in his wife. Read more about how rashes have impacted their relationship.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I was single and trying to meet someone. What would girls think of me with my face covered in red scaly patches? Would they talk to me? Would I have the confidence to go out to bars and clubs? Would I even try speaking to girls?
I’m lucky to be married to an amazing, supportive and understanding woman. My wife, Andrea, was blessed with incredible beauty and perfect health. She did not know what it was like to live with a disease or be with someone who has a disease until we moved in together.
We’ve been married for three years and have been living together and travelling the world for more than 7 years. I’d say Andrea is nearly an expert on urticaria and probably understands the disease better than many out there. It wasn’t always like this – we’ve been through our share of turbulence in our relationship at the hands of my urticaria.
Normal life vs. Urticaria
While in the United States for a 6-month visit, we only had travel insurance and I was not on any medication. My condition was nearly the worst it’s ever been. Both my skin and joints flared like crazy and I was suffering physically and psychologically. We decided to try a new diet, which Andrea did alongside of me. It was stressful; I was depressed, and could barely get out of bed in the morning.
Andrea would constantly encourage me to get out of the house, do yoga, walk or just get some fresh air. Those were dark days and leaving the house was a challenge. She was only trying to help, but I wanted to be left alone. I thought she couldn’t possibly understand what I was going through.
Perhaps the most difficult thing is being intimate. Communication and expression of intimacy are potentially the foundation of any successful relationship. There are times when I’m not physically able to do anything and other times, I’m not in the mood. This, as you can imagine, weighed heavy on me, as it would anybody.
Talking, and then more talking
The solution? The simple notion of talking to one another is the key to powering through the struggles of urticaria. We’ve spent countless hours discussing treatment options, clinical trials and long term side effects. We talked about how these would impact our chances of having children and other major life decisions. We also talk about how I’m feeling: whether I’m angry, depressed, stressed out or tired – all of the emotions that can come with urticaria. Although it doesn’t alleviate my symptoms, it feels amazing to talk to someone.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to live with someone with urticaria, or any disease for that matter. I’m extremely lucky to have such a patient and understanding wife, someone who can see straight through my ugly scars and scales, especially when I cannot. It definitely adds another dimension to the challenges of relationships. As long as we remain open and honest about our fears and frustrations and harness our infinite love for one another, we’ll be alright.
If you find yourself in a new relationship, these fierce conversations can, and will be tough. The best piece of advice I can give is to be open and honest with your partner – I’m a perfect example of how that can have a positive outcome.