I was in my early 20s when I first met my husband, Noah. We saw each other two nights in a row at different locations. The friends we were both with knew each other. The second night we saw each other, we were listening to a band and Noah said, “Can I buy you a drink?” I said, “No thanks, I had a kidney transplant.” Now that I look back, I could have been a little more subtle on sharing that information, but I’d rather be upfront. Noah’s beaming and full-of-life smile led me to giving him my number.
A few days later, he called me to see if I wanted to go on a date. He asked what I was up to and I said, “I’m in Washington, D.C. I am going to be speaking to the Congressional Kidney Caucus tomorrow morning with the PKD Foundation.” There was no hiding that I was not your “average girl.”
During the first couple of times I hung out with Noah, I asked, “How open-minded are you?” I proceeded to tell him about PKD and my other health issues. I wanted to make sure I was honest with him, that he knew my health challenges and what I was passionate about. I quickly learned how patient and accepting Noah is, as we have been inseparable ever since our first date.
For those of us with PKD, this can be a challenging topic, as most of us appear healthy on the outside. We don’t want to scare people away, but we have the desire and need to let them know this part of our lives. It is very important to be truthful and proud of who we are and everything that makes us unique and special. We deserve love and support and if our partner can’t provide this, then there is someone else out there who will. I am grateful that I shared this part of my life with Noah right away. PKD is not all of who we are, but it is important for our partners to understand and support this aspect of our lives. Noah has taught me so much about unconditional love. He is an amazing caregiver, supporter, cheerleader and husband. He gives me hope, strength and something to look forward to. I strive to be the best woman that I can be and make him proud.
We hear the saying, “Try and put yourself in their shoes.” I try and do that with Noah, but it’s hard. I often wonder what he thinks when he looks at me. I was recently sitting on our bedroom floor organizing my meds for the following day. I looked up at Noah, who was lying in bed, and said, “Did you ever think you were dating a sick girl?” He replied, “No, I was dating you.”
“There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.” -Bram Stoker, Dracula
How did you tell your partner about PKD?