My son did not like living in a hotel (nor did I), and my parents took over his care. I was house-hunting and not finding many options in a city full of old houses that we no longer found charming. It was expensive to stay in a hotel day after day, and my husband was changing his opinion on a daily basis on whether we should stay or go.
Emotionally it was an extremely hard time. Over the summer we had escaped the hardship of the mold, and now we were right back in it. My husband, who was always had a better nose for mold, was not happy. His friends and family suggested he had PTSD. We probably both did.
We spent our anniversary arguing about which rental to choose and whether or not to buy furniture. I said I needed nice furniture to feel grounded and at home again. He didn’t want to invest in nice furniture in case we’d have to move, or get rid of all our belongings again.
We had a small miracle in finding a beautiful new townhouse to rent in the 11th hour. We moved in, but did not commit to much furniture.
I started therapy to help process all that had happened. I had basically been absent from my life in Portland as I dealt with sickness, a water-damaged house, a big event, living far out of town, and then traveling all summer. I had disappeared from the people in my life and felt that asking to be let back in again was too hard.
The subject of buying a couch or not came up a lot in therapy, and one day I had a severe panic attack about couch issue. The couch was a symbol of commitment to a new life here, and it was so hard to make that commitment after all we had gone through.
My husband and I struggled with the ‘stay or go’ question. He started to work in a new building, but still had some doubts and bad days. We traded in the car I was driving, but I was sicker than I had been in months. My glands were swollen, I had a sore throat and chills most of the time. I felt like I could barely leave the house because I was so overwhelmed and ill.
The therapy really helped me, though my health was still off. I made a breakthrough though, when I read this article, The Mysteries of the Thyroid, by Anthony William. The article described how Epstein Barr virus lives in the body and goes through different stages of dormancy and activity, and affects different organs. It sounded just like me.
I was taking some supplements and herbs for Epstein Barr but was still sick all the time. I remembered that over the summer our doctor had prescribed me some medication to take for the virus. I tried it then and it made me wired, so I figured I’d stick with the herbs. But after reading this article, I wanted to try again.
After the first week on the Valacyclovir, the side effects minimized and I started to feel better- better than I had in a long, long time. I wasn't having those constant flu-like symptoms and my energy was way better. My brain wasn’t working fully yet, but I was thrilled to have found this medication. I was finally able to get out a bit more, and even go to yoga class for the first time in a year.
Meanwhile my husband started therapy, and started avoiding me. I knew something was up, and he finally admitted that he hadn’t been happy in our marriage ‘in years’ and that he thought that a trial separation might help.
I was floored. I was just starting to get some grounding in ‘our new life’, even if it wasn’t complete. We were spending more time with friends, and I was able to think and work better. The thought of losing my family now was too much. I had suicidal thoughts again, and this time for a different reason.
But I also knew that, despite his deep wounds and our arguments, we weren’t a bad couple. It was painful at times to discuss this with him, but I kept at it. I felt like I needed to be a champion for our family and our relationship. This is hardest thing to share of this whole story, but I know that many people struggle in marriage; it’s a challenging thing to have two lives so intertwined, especially with careers and kids and sickness.