I’ve been rather isolated over the several months, trying to keep my sanity and find ways to be productive as my body struggles through the fatigue, nausea, and impending threat of coccidial meningitis.
The other day, I read a quote from Yara Bashraheel that really resonated with me: “Maybe home is nothing but two arms holding you tight when you’re at your worst.” Home is finding someone who is there alongside you through all the highs and lows, and somehow still loves you unconditionally.
The quote feels particularly relevant seeing as that we’ve been out of our house since the end of April. Over the last three months, I haven’t had a physical “home,” so my boyfirnd has been the place I go when I’m tired, fearful, or inconsolably sad.
The other day, I went to sleep early in the afternoon after being awake for three long hours, apologizing profusely for my fatigue as I quickly dozed off. I woke up the next morning to a bouquet flowers and a card stating that things can only get better and that he will always be there for me, through all the highs and lows. Double underline beneath “always.”
Over the last several months, my biggest consolation has been those two loving arms holding me tight as I sob, complain, and struggle to accept my new normal.
For nearly four years, I’ve snapped at my boyfriend when he’s suggested there may be something wrong with my cognition. In lieu of recent findings, I’ve struggled to say, “You were right, dear. I should have listened to you.”
He still loves me despite the bags under my eyes, the bruises on my legs, and the small bald patches I’m developing on my scalps thanks to my anti-fungal medications. Not only does he embrace my new imperfections, but he find ways to help me laugh about the challenges of approaching the big 3-0 (ha!) and helps me foster hope for a better future.
He cooks for me, helps me walk when my knees start to give out, lays down with me when I go to sleep ridiculously early, and is learning to decipher the nonsense my brain has been spewing lately. He’s driven me to nearly all of my appointments, interjecting with anything important I’ve forgotten, and he took me to visit my parents’ dog almost everyday during his final week. He reminds me to take my medication and takes my blood pressure and pulse several times per day.
When I get my spinal tap later on this week, he will be there to keep me company all day and he won’t complain. If I do have meningitis, he’ll smile widely and say, “Been there, done that!” When I cry because I just want to hike again and I don’t want to be on anti-fungal medication for the rest of my life because it will rob me of the choice to have the kids I never wanted to begin with, he will assure me–once more–that things will get better and I’m doing everything within my control to promote recovery.
Over the last five years, we’ve had our share of ups and downs. With each ebb and flow, we’ve supported one another and come out stronger and more committed for it. My health is the worst it’s ever been–frustratingly, due to something that healthy eating and exercise couldn’t have prevented. My heart hurts after the loss of my beloved dog and the disappearance of nearly all my friends. My emergency savings account is looking pathetic after countless specialists, diagnostics, and treatment regimens.
Yet, through it all, my boyfriend has been at my side. More than ever, I am coming to the realization that perhaps it’s true: maybe home is nothing more than two arms holding you tight when you’re at your worst, with the promise of unconditional love and brighter days ahead. And, for that love, I am truly and eternally grateful. I am convinced now that we can weather any storm together.