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I attended a call a couple of weeks ago for WIN, a group where women can feel safe and support each other at workplace, with two guest speakers who spoke about balancing work and normal life. One of the guest speaker’s inspired me who brought forth her life’s trials and tribulations, balancing work, with three children and a husband who was diagnosed with cancer.
This got me thinking of the situation I am in from my perspective as a carer. My husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, this is where the nervous system attacks the spine. In his case his left leg is gradually losing sensation, there is no pain, but numbness. In the early days of his diagnosis, we had a chat about him wanting to call off our engagement, I clearly remember his words like it was yesterday, “If you want to leave me, you can and I will not hold you back, you deserve better.” I looked deep into his eyes and said to him, “what if the roles were reversed? What if I was diagnosed with an illness, would you have left me?” and his response was no because he loved me. I suppose he got his answer.
And so began our journey, we bought our beautiful home that we both dreamed of together and got married. In the process, we were both doing our independent research on the condition, him looking at the medical and science side of things and I turned to holistic methods of ways to help. I recall speaking to my Qi Gong master, Alex Wong, about him helping with working on Husband’s chi to help with the healing process. Alex explained that MS was a difficult condition to heal from his experience, he has seen one of his patient’s condition deteriorate when he stopped the holistic treatment for a month.
But I did not give up, I began to give husband reiki healing every two days and I could see that there was an improvement in his walking, then I travelled to Kenya for a few weeks and when I got back, I could see that his MS had progressed, and he had started using a walking stick, this confirmed what Master Wong was saying all along. However, I looked for other ways, for instance his diet, him being a vegetarian, I included types of foods that are good for him and I used an extra special ingredient, LOVE. Later in one of his hospital visits with his consultant, I asked her what sort of diet is best for his condition and she recommended a Mediterranean diet.
Husband loved walking in his younger days, and he fondly spoke of the times when he would spend hours walking and explore places. Before the lockdown, he began to slow down with his walking, a trip to the local shop that would take him 10 minutes was now taking him almost 40 minutes to complete. With further research, the only way to keep his independence was to get a mobility scooter to go out and about. Which motivated me to start riding a bicycle and we both head down to the beach whenever we get a chance.
Then the depression set in during the lockdown, I could not tell the signs, but his mum picked that up and she took it upon herself to help him. His mum played a major role in trying to get him the help he needed, since she had been through this herself, she went ahead and got him an appointment to see the GP, get him on antidepressants and contacted relevant people to recommend support groups that could help him. Whereas my role in all this was to be as supportive as I can. He had good and bad days, on the bad days we would sit together and let him communicate about his feelings, frustrations and outbursts. We would hold each other and cry and grieve for his health, the MS and how this dis-ease has taken over our lives.
As a carer, I felt helpless, when he had his breakdowns, it broke my heart to see him suffer and pray for a miracle. All I could do was give him a hug and sit with him, many a times I would just hold him and be strong for the both of us. My outlet was speaking to my family and friends over the phone and let out my fears and frustrations. My siblings advised, if I feel emotional, I should let it out and no one is expecting me to be strong. Whenever I need a release, I spend time in nature, I end up having a good cry until there are no more tears to shed. I now understand the term, "fill your own cup before you fill other's", And I have begun to get some "Me" time, purely to come back healed and stronger to face the deck of cards we have been dealt with.
I may not understand what he is going through, sometimes I will sit and cuddle him and sometimes I will give him tough love where I will push him to the limits physically, emotionally and mentally to help him keep on going and not give up the fight. In the process I have learnt a lot about myself and my soul's journey.
by Kiran Kaur
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