MS and Caregiving: #100outof100

Dr. Phil shocked many viewers this past spring when he stated that “… 100 times out of 100 this won’t work” if partners care for partners with disability.

Whoa. It’s painful to even read that sentence, isn’t it?

Many of you watched the episode or heard about the comment and had a strong reaction. To open up the conversation about MS and caregiving on the MultipleSclerosis.net Facebook page, we posted an article by Dan and Jennifer Digmann that was a response to Dr. Phil’s inflammatory comment. More than 100 of you reacted to that post, and nearly 40 of you commented. Here’s what you had to say.

“My wife is the love of my life. I will love and care for her FOREVER.”

The overwhelming majority of members in the community disagreed with Dr. Phil. Many of you stated that you are caring for your partner, and nothing would change that. You took a vow and you meant it. Life comes with ups and downs, and perfect health is far from guaranteed. What we can control is how we show up for our loved ones, and many of you remain committed to showing up and doing the deal.

“I am my husband’s sole care giver. He was diagnosed more than 30 years ago, when we had only been married five years. Over time, my warrior has needed more help and it has progressed to the point where I do everything, literally. Without the love, I couldn’t do this. Dr. Phil McGraw needs to do some research—he is entirely off base with his glib comment.

“My wife is the love of my life. I will love and care for her FOREVER.”

“Dr. Phil is wrong on this one!! My spouse is my EVERYTHING!”

“At times caregiving becomes a chore, but not all times. It can be hard, yes, but it can be funny. It can be heartbreaking or heartwarming by turns. So, to Dr Phil, stuff it. You missed the mark by a wide shot this time.”

“My husband is the best caregiver. He is so patient with me on days that I want to give up.”

Many of you in the community who live with the diagnosis also spoke up. You are grateful for the care and support, yes, but you also shared another side of what it is like to receive help. To live with a partner who encourages you not to give up. To share a life with someone who stays in the ring with you. It’s as much about physical care as it is emotional encouragement and understanding.

“I was diagnosed two weeks into my relationship with my now fiancée, and we’re getting married this year. He is my main caregiver and no matter what challenges MS has put us through, we have been battling it together. Seven years, and counting!”

“My husband is the best caregiver. He is so patient with me on days that I want to give up.”

“After 33 years of marriage, my husband left me.”

Sadly, not everyone knows the comfort of having a partner stay by their side. Those who have partnership can see this as a reminder to be grateful for the love and the connection they have. For others in the community, it’s the opportunity to see that if your partner has left because of MS, you are not alone. Not every partner steps up to the plate. As for moving forward and finding support, the care given doesn’t need to come from a life partner. Nor do we have to always pay for support either. Many people find that help and support come from unlikely places. Sometimes the help shows up after we ask. And sometimes the help arrives in an unlikely way and we didn’t have to ask for it at all.

“I am truly happy for all you people that your spouses stood by you. It’s supposed to be that way—for better or worse, in sickness and health, Right? My story is different. After 33 years of marriage, my husband left me. He didn’t want to be burdened with not being able to retire as early as he wanted to because of health insurance and other things.”

“My husband cared for me for one week after diagnosis. I was actually surprised I got that much.”

“I’ve watched all of their spouses step up to the plate and give the care and love that was needed—no faltering.”

Many of you in the community cite that you’ve gained so much inspiration from the couples who commented on this MultipleSclerosis.net Facebook page post. These partners support one another happily. Many of you also know couples in real life who take care of one another in this same selfless way. Having a loving, supportive partner is the reality for some. For others of you, there is a comfort and hope to be found simply in being reminded that this kind of love does exist in a real, unshakeable way.

“I’ve watched so many family members age, and I’ve watched all of their spouses step up to the plate and give the care and love that was needed—no faltering. My diagnosis was 2 years ago, but I’ve been sick much longer. My husband always makes sure I’m taken care of. He will always do it better than someone that we would have to hire. Why? Because he truly loves me. I don’t think Dr. Phil knows anything about that.”

“Reading the comments, I think it’s so beautiful to know there are good people out there whose love truly is unconditional! It makes me feel more positive that anything is possible and I could still meet him.”

We want to say thank you to all of you who spoke up about this hot topic. Thank you for your honesty, hope and inspiration.

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Comments

  • Floridagirl58 says:

    After 26 years of marriage, my husband does nothing. He’s waiting for me to file because he’s concerned of how it would look if he filed for divorce from a disabled woman. More concerned about himself and his money. It’s a kick in the pants

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