Can people with arthritis marry? well this is a common question all rheumatologist face in their daily clinic setting. Many believe that just because they have arthritis, and if married, they are doomed to marital unhappiness and more disability from their arthritis. However many studies have proved that a solid marital relationship can help reduce the pain and suffering associated with arthritis. It definitely helps your partner to handle your illness and would automatically address issues such as communication, empathy, patience- the critical tools in a relationship.
It is always recommended to let your spouse know your difficulties before you get into marriage because this really helps you to cope up with your situation in a better way rather than keeping it silent from them. To gain and give trust is the initial key- for a successful married life. ‘I always believe that one should speak out their difficulties to their spouse before you get into marriage - says Mrs. Neelima from Kozhikode.’ And she continued. It was at the age of 24 that I was diagnosed to have rheumatoid arthritis. with regards to various opinions of family and society, I underwent various treatment available such as Ayurveda and homeopathy , until then I started noticing changes to my fingers and toes. Eventually I was unable to do carry out activities all by myself.
This shattered me a lot, a girl in her blooming age in entangled in the ties of Arthritis, its deformity and the financial burdens she’s put on for her treatment. Lost all hope, I thought, my life is going to end in the bed I was lying on.
Seeing my parents getting old and struggling their sweat out for the daily bread was even more heartbreaking for me!
Then, one day, one of my classmates came to me and advised and encouraged me to meet a rheumatologist nearby, with no hope, I was taken as told, but this time , I felt like my God answered my prayer, and a spark of life lit in me! Just as the doctor promised me, slowly with the treatment I was able to walk on my feet again, the next time I visited him, I was no more in the bounds of wheelchair.
I was very happy and thankful for my friend, and above all my God, for answering my prayer. Though my fingers have challenged me in my activities, I believe my confidence I gained, has helped me to overcome those challenges and help myself out. It was one day during my usual appointment; the Doctor asked me when am I going to marry? I was surprised by his question, I laughed and said – Doctor, u mean me? To marry? With these deformities? He asked me the same question- but this time I could see the assurance in his eyes- that it is possible for me to marry!
I smiled and said- maybe I will, if I find a man who admires the beauty of my deformities!! The doctor then spoke to my parents, and asked them to start hunting for my partner, he also said that I need to inform the person regarding my disease and not to keep it hidden, he even said that I would be able to give birth to a child.
I was thankful to God once again, as he sparked in me the wishes and dreams of a married life, that once I had buried it deep within me! After days, months and years of hunting- finally I met my man, who admires my beauty of my deformities, man who believes that beauty is from within and not on outer appearance. With great happiness, I asked him to accompany me for my next appointment, to meet the man who simplifies my God, who lit my life and bloomed in my lost wishes and hopes..
On meeting my doctor, he asked me , “ who is this new person with me ?”, I smiled and said- I found my man.. Doctor was very happy and wished us luck, and I was married at the age of 29. Now years have passed by , God blessed us with a healthy baby girl too.
Friends, I believe that, even after marriage, my disease have challenged me many a times through days of ups and down, but this time I had a person next to me , who supported me through days of pain and assured me everything is going to be fine. The support I have obtained was only because I had disclosed my disease to him. Many of my friends at the hospital, found it difficult to lead a married life- as they kept it silent form their spouses- some even stopped their medicines they were on after their marriage, and now eventually they just got even worse than before. Just like Neelima, there are many out there who are leading a happy life in spite of their disease. But above all it is very important to let your partners know about your difficulties – for a healthy married life.