My Fiance’s Letter to His Pre-Autoimmune Self: “Congratulations! You’re About to Get Real, Real Messed Up”
In October 2014, my then-boyfriend, Andy, showed the first signs of dermatomyositis, an autoimmune disorder that affects the muscles, skin, and joints.
We were just moving in together, so we were ready for more, but the consequences of this sickness forced increased intimacy on us at a speed we weren’t prepared for. There were Andy’s physical and mental challenges, of course, but the stress and anxiety on us both — the question marks of what? why? how can we make this better? — were just as relentless.
It was clunky and crazy the way we rode this thing out. Not that it’s over; with autoimmune, it’s never over. But it is at bay and Andy is doing worlds better.
We make a good team we like to say now, referencing everyday problem-solving, but the origin of this sentiment feels rooted in the way we faced my now-fiance’s illness together, even if it was hanging by two tangled threads.
Straightening things out in the aftermath, though, felt somewhat separate. I think because we finally found some sense of security in the unfolding normalcy — it no longer required holding onto one another for dear life.
Both of us are writers, so that way of processing things was a big part of the healing process. I’ve shared a bit about my experience, but what Andy shared with UnderstandingMyositis.org is comprehensive — a letter “to that version of Andy standing there in the doctor’s office, completely unaware of what’s to come.”
Get ready for an honest, witty read: A Few Words for the Moment Before Myositis.