Monday, August 1, 2011

Marital Monday: Embrace the Journey

Last month I did a series on picnics, but this month we're going in a totally different direction. I have invited some of my *best* blogging buddies to share with you their story of love every Monday in August. What better way to start the week than with a sweet story of love?! Nothing will put a smile on your face like a good love story :-) We can learn so much from the stories and struggles of others, and I hope that you find these stories as special and precious as I do.

This week Danielle from Embrace the Journey is visiting, and sharing her beautiful love story with husband Nick.  Danielle is a wonderful godly woman whose friendship and encouraging spirit I have come to cherish.  I know that you will adore her as much as I do!
Growing up, every little girl dreams of what their husband, aka "prince charming"/"the one", will look like, be like, how he will treat her, how their lives will be together.  However, one of the main questions we ask is, "how will we know when he's the one?"  The answer is, as cliche as it sounds, "you just know."

When I met my husband, Nick over 8 years ago, I just knew.  Some people don't believe in love at first sight, but I will tell you, I do.  I have every reason to.

Nick and I grew up in the same school, but he was three grades ahead of me.  When I finally got to high school, I had my eye on him.  Of course, he was a senior and I was a freshman.  I always joke with him that he was "mean" to me and it made me stop liking him.  I think it was just the whole freshman/senior thing.  Life went on, and I kissed a bunch of frogs.

A few years later, July 2003, two months after I graduated from high school, I was at a festival in our town and I met up with some of my friends, who Nick also happened to also be friends with.  Long story short, we started dating.  Almost four years later, March 24, 2007, we were married and we had no idea what road lay ahead of us.

Nick and I were fortunate enough to build a house on some land that my grandparents had given us.  We moved in a few months after we got married.  Two months after we had moved in, Nick got laid off from his job.  At the time, we were both in school, I was getting my Bachelors in Business and he was getting his Masters in Accounting.  I put school on hold, quit the part time job I had, and got a higher paying full time job while Nick searched for another one.  Luckily, only a few weeks later he was able to find a job.. a much better job.  I continued working the job I had found, still putting school on hold.

About a year later, I decided it was time to get back into school.  My boss at the time, however, decided that it wasn't in his best interest to work with my schedule, being that this job was 45 minutes away, and I would have to leave early to get to my night class, another hour and fifteen minutes away, so I ended up having to quit.  School was just more important and with as supportive as a husband as Nick was, of course he was behind me 100%.  So, I got back into school and found a job that was closer to home.

In the midst of this happening, I had been going back and forth to our family doctor and a local hematologist, with some anemia issues.  They tried all the vitamins they could think of, and tested me for every thing under the sun.  One morning I woke up exhibiting a strange symptom and when telling my doctor about it, he tested me for a few blood disorders, most of them being very rare.  We didn't put much thought into it, because of them being so rare.  About a week later, Halloween 2008, I got my test results.  I HAD one of the rare that scared all of us too death.

Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH).... the words just sound scary, don't they?  (Don't go looking it up, since most information you will find is old and somewhat inaccurate.)  We knew that after this diagnosis, I needed to get to a better doctor.  Through word of mouth, we found out about a doctor in Memphis and made an appointment with him immediately.  After seeing the doctor, we were all relieved to find out that I could live a mostly normal life.  I would still be anemic, but I would get a treatment and blood transfusions as needed.  In March 2007, a new drug had been released for treatment of PNH.  It was the first drug of its kind.  Before then, there was no treatment for this disorder, only management.  The treatment would be a 35 minute i.v. infusion, every two weeks.  

I started my treatments, and even knowing I could still live a normal life, it was a very difficult adjustment to make, (some days it still is).  Just when I was getting settled in with my diagnosis and my treatments, the place I was working at, decided to let me go.  I know that I can't prove it, but I'm 99.9% sure that it was because of my illness and having to miss work more than I could even help.  Oh, I left out another important college graduation was only two weeks away.

So, having a new, life changing diagnosis, being laid off from my job, and graduation only a couple of weeks seemed as if Nick and I could not catch a break.  Nobody ever thinks that when they start their lives together that it will ever be hard.  Sure, you expect bumps in the road, but never quite so many, and never such difficult ones.  Having said that, I wouldn't change a bit.  I know that probably sounds crazy, but who can say they have been through such difficult times and chose to fight through it, instead of giving up.  Nick never left my side.  He was my rock through these times, even though he did not feel up to it himself.  So, in December 2008, Nick and I graduated on the same night together...what an accomplishment that was.

Everyone knows the economy was on a major downslide after 2008.  Of course, this affected my ability to find a job, even with a Bachelors degree.  So, for a year, I stayed at home.  When I look back, I believe this was God telling me that I needed some time to rest and adjust to my life changes.  Nick never once said anything about my not being able to find a job.  We just made it work, and we did it well.  A year later, I finally found a job, very close to home, and working part time.

Earlier this year, Nick and I decided that it was time to start a family.  I had been told that it would be quite risky for me to get pregnant, so we decided we wanted to pursue surrogacy.  For months we worked with it, but it just never worked out how we expected it to or wanted it to.  The whole time, I was never completely happy with heart always ached for something else.  So, one day, we sat down with my doctor and spoke with him about my trying to get pregnant.  Although risky, he said they would be with me the whole way, if that's what I wanted to do.  I felt a million pounds of wonder and worry lift off of me.  So, we are still waiting for that to happen..... practice makes perfect, right? ;)

Reading all of this, I know I am even astounded that all of this has happened to us just in FOUR years.  I'm sure you are saying the same thing.  I know that it's not for me to judge every situation, but I've seen so many marriages fail and I just wonder, what made it so hard that you couldn't fight for it?  (Infidelity is not necessarily included in that).  So many young couples get married these days and it seems that they think if things just don't work out the way they want them to, divorce is sitting right there for them to access so easily.  When Nick and I said our vows, we made a pledge to not only ourselves, but to God, that we would never give up.  We have certainly tested the "in sickness and in health" vow, but our marriage did not waiver, ever.

I'm here to tell you that no matter what happens, you can work through it, together.  God puts us through these storms only to make us stronger, and show us the rainbow at the end.  Granted, we all have our disagreements, and no marriage is perfect.  

Things are going good with my disorder..I take my meds, get blood when I need to, and just take it easy if I feel the need.  Along with other patients, I believe that there will be a cure someday, as they have had so many advancements in medicine, including in the area of our particular drug.  We know that a baby will come along when it's supposed to, and like I said, we will just have fun practicing in the mean time.  I am still working at my part time job, but I am pursuing a career that I can put all of my hard work towards. Nick is still working as an accountant and a blogger/entertainment website columnist on the side.  We have 5 dogs that are our fur babies and we couldn't possibly love them more than we do.  Since building our home, we have added on to it as well (another marriage challenge in itself)!  

We wouldn't change anything about the past few years.  Of course, we would have liked for things to have been easier, but we've been through more than some can say they've been through in a lifetime together.  We will continue to support each other in every possible way--no matter what life throws at us.  I'm not saying our marriage is perfect, but we work to make it as perfect as we can.

March 24, 2007

July 26, 2011

"And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, 
there would be no rainbow." Gilbert K. Chesterton
xoxo Darby


Danie said...

Thanks for giving me the chance to tell our story. =)

sherri lynn said...

This is an awesome story! So encouraging to remember that no matter what you experience throughout your marriage, what your promised in your vows is what is important and you stay by each other's side through it all! I am liking this series already, Darby! :)

Unknown said...

This is so sweet. I'm holding in my tears right now.

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