March’s “Light In The Tunnel” Feature Goes To Sheri’s Husband, Nick.

Nick, Sheri’s husband, has been nothing but a support to her since meeting in 2012.

Each month, I will be partnering with to help recognize an individual who has been a light in the life of someone going through a difficult time. For more information, go to the menu and click on the link, “Light In The Tunnel.”

The feature of the month goes to Nick, the husband of Sheri Kirby. Sherri has been suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis for many years, but only discovered it much later when Nick encouraged her to be seen. He has been her support through every step of treatment, both financially and emotionally, and has been a light in her life and an answer to many prayers. Right now, Sheri is in a lot of pain and isn’t sure how she would make it without her husband. She eventually wants to treat her husband for dinner to thank him for all that he does, but first, she needs to get her pain under control.

Sheri’s Story:

An Impossible Storm

My light in the tunnel would surely be my amazing husband. He’s my world and such a giving and devoted person. Back in 2010, I had just lost my husband that I married when I was 17. We had been together for 25 years. During the last 18 years of our marriage, he was a quadriplegic and in a wheelchair due to an accident. I stayed home to take care of him so that he would never have to live in a nursing home.

But during those years, I was getting sick. I would go to the doctor and they would send me home, saying that I just had “caregiver syndrome”, a condition that causes someone who is trapped in caregiving situation day in and out without relief to become exhausted both physically and emotionally. My husband at the time didn’t feel that I needed health insurance, so I ended up getting progressively sicker as the years went on.

Meeting Nick: My Light In The Tunnel

My First husband passed away in 2010, and by 2012 I found myself even sicker than before. Surely it wasn’t care-giver syndrome, as he had been gone now for 2 years. This is when I met Nick, the man I am married to now. Through our dating, he could tell that there was something wrong. I would collapse a few times when we would take walks. He had a feeling that I may have Lupus because I had similar symptoms as his aunt, who had passed away from the condition a few years ago.

Even though my future husband could tell something was wrong with me, he never left my side. He even gave up his business for me to make sure that I had good insurance coverage. While owning his own business as a home inspector, the insurance was just too expensive and out of our reach. So, he closed it down and went to work over an hour away at a warehouse. I’ve never had anyone go to such extremes for me before. He said he wanted to make sure that I could have access to the specialists that I would need in order to help me live a better life.

When I was finally diagnosed, we found out that it wasn’t Lupus. It was advanced, severe rheumatoid arthritis along with fibromyalgia. We sat there, stunned, when we got the news. They started me on low dose chemo infusions and injections to try to get the disease under control. The medicines made me so very sick. As time went on, I became even more sick as one medication after another kept failing. Still- he stood by my side and took such wonderful care of me. He spoiled me in ways of giving me every attention. I never have felt alone or shunned through any of this!

As things got worse, I ended up not being able to drive. So my husband had to take me to all my doctor appointments, ER trips, and blood work tests. Never once has he complained. HE always keeps my spirits up and has me laughing all the time. He lets no room for any depression to hang around. He did this not only for me but his mother as well. Her health was failing at the same time, and she passed away last fall. So not only was he taking care of me, but going to the nursing home 2 to 3 times a week to check on her. I honestly don’t know how he did it all. He is truly my hero.

A Constant Support In A Worsening Situation

We’re at a place where things are getting a bit scary. My last treatment failed, and it messed up my heart and put me back in the ER. I’m so grateful that he is there, watching over me and keeping me safe. Never once has he said a cruel word to me about my illness. If anything, it has brought us closer together.

I hear of others who have RA and how their husbands have left because they either can’t take the financial stress or the constant medical drama this disease causes. But my husband, my NICK, never utters one word of pain towards me. I recently had to close down my photography business. It was sad and scary all at the same time. I knew that everything would now fall on my husband’s broad shoulders. Then we found out that since I took care of my first husband for those 18 years, I didn’t earn enough money to qualify for disability. So we went to file for SSI, but were denied because he makes just over the limit.

Through all of this, he has never spoken one word of anger to me. He is just so reassuring and comforting to me, telling me it’s all gonna be alright. He tells me that my only job is to rest right now. I’m not always able to take care of things around the house, because for this past month I’ve been basically bedridden. He just asks what he can do to help.

We recently had to move. When his mother passed, he inherited her house. The house we lived in before was small and mortgage-free, so we decided to sell it and use the money to fix up his mother’s home. Some men, having a good amount of money like that, would’ve bought toys. You know: guns, boats, fourwheelers, etc. Instead, he surprised me with a new Rav4 because my car had died and he had read that they were good cars for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Then, he bought me a really cool heavy duty scooter and even painted it the same color of purple as my Rav4. He had the bathroom gutted and put in a walk-in tub and handicap grab bars all over the house for me. Finally, he bought a new memory foam bed with an adjustable base, because I’m in bed so much. He never bought a single thing for himself.

My husband is the most selfless person that I have ever met. I’m so blessed to call him mine. He is always the light at the end of my tunnel, as he was also his mother’s light as well. I love him with all my heart and with all that I am. I’m so thankful for him and for all that he does for me.

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