By: Bethany Lowe

Although “in sickness and in health” is part of the vows you state when you get married, it’s sometimes easier said than done. My husband, Louis, and I have dealt with this since before we were engaged or married because he met me right after I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. He has always known that a chronic illness was going to be part of my life and when we got married, part of our life together. However, neither one of us knew how bad things were going to get.

When I started my ostomy journey in August 2018 and found out it was only going to be temporary instead of permanent, like my surgeon and I originally planned, my husband knew there were going to be many more moments spent in my surgeon’s office and in the hospital. Little did we know, my reversal surgery would take place right before our 4th wedding anniversary and we ended up spending that day in the hospital as I recovered.

We both feel that there is not much you can do to prepare for these moments except to fall back on the vows you made to each other, and for us, to rely on our faith and to trust that things will work out even when it’s not the plan we had in mind. We also both agree that this journey and spending these important moments in a hospital have brought us closer together, because we have had to celebrate in a place in which it’s often hard to feel joy.

We have ultimately leaned on each other for strength in the difficult times and learned how to motivate one another to continue celebrating things like anniversaries, even when I was stuck in a hospital bed. Louis and I think that it’s so important to remember to celebrate life even in the midst of hard times because we have witnessed light at the end of many dark tunnels and we know that if we continue trusting each other, we will always make it through.

So, for now, we continue celebrating big things like anniversaries but also small wins, like me going out to eat for a date night and not having an emergency trip to the bathroom.

There is always some light in the darkness that can be brought on by having a chronic illness, it’s just up to you and your partner to trust each other to find that light and keep moving forward.

What’s up next for me and Louis? We are not completely sure, but we are enjoying this new season of health and happiness and are thankful for those hard times bringing us closer together, because we are stronger now than ever before.