Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vows (Living With Cogan's Syndrome)

May 31st:

When Sarah and I said our vows, we promised to take care of each other “in sickness and in health.” Most people, when repeating those integral words that the wedding officiator speaks, tend not to think about them when initially uttered—as they are too engrossed in the moment of finally being married. In fact, I would bet that the majority of couples don’t expect the “sickness” part to even be an issue for years to come—I sure didn’t.

When my illness let loose its nasty effects just two and a half years into our marriage, Sarah stepped in and took care of me. As the symptoms progressed and we knew that my disease would not easily be broken—that it would be a long road to recovery—Sarah remained by my side, held my hand, and loved me more than she ever had. I think that true character reveals itself when times are hard. Things aren’t always great. There are certainly days in which we both struggle to hold a smile; however, I think that through the turmoil and pain, our marriage has grown stronger.

Today, May 31st, 2012—our three year wedding anniversary—I can say that I have witnessed true love, firsthand as Sarah has put all of her desires on hold and sacrificed for my sake. She works full time, brings me to my appointments, guides me around when I’m dizzy, makes enough phone calls on my behalf to constitute for another full-time job, and she edits all of my posts! Sarah loves me and has given me everything. I know it hasn’t been easy.

Nowadays, Sarah’s life seems to revolve around me, so as an anniversary gift, I wanted her to have a few things that she could take pleasure in that would relieve some of the daily stress. Sarah has a pair of shoes called TOMS. They basically look like grey slippers but they are the “in” style for footwear these days and when you buy a pair, another pair is given to a child in need. I even bought a pair for myself recently—red TOMS—after Sarah insisted that I would look “cool” with a pair. She even pointed out celebrities who wore TOMS to try and sway my decision. I was so excited when the package arrived in the mail—the anticipation rising—I tried them on and sent them right back. I did not feel comfortable wearing shoes that looked like ladies slippers. Sarah, however, has hinted to me on numerous occasions that she would like a red pair. So, we went to Nordstrom a few days ago and purchased her second pair of TOMS. The sheer joy she had when buying her new shows was beautiful to watch. She barely even touches the grey ones anymore.

The second gift that I gave her was money to go to a spa with her sister and mother. Who doesn’t love a relaxing day, being pampered and having those pesky knots removed from your back?  I can’t tell you how in need Sarah is of a nice massage after everything she’s been through—and how often I wish I had the energy to give her one—but I know a professional massage will do the trick.

As a final present—something that I had hoped we could do together—I ordered two tickets to see Greg Laswell in concert on June 19th in Boston. I had done this back in mid-April, thinking that perhaps  I’d receive some sort of miracle and that I’d be able to hear enough to relish the concert, absorbing the music like I haven’t in months. Unfortunately, it looks as though that won’t be the case. While I am upset that I won’t be able to enjoy the show with Sarah, I’m thrilled that she’ll be able to bring a friend with her and have a fun night out—and really, Sarah has been my miracle.

Even though I bought gifts for Sarah to show my appreciation and love for her, the best part has been knowing that she didn’t expect extravagance at all and has gladly taken care of me, without yearning for anything in return.

We didn’t have any real plans for our actual anniversary today. With everything that has been going on, we just couldn’t take the time out to go anywhere, let alone spend the money. This morning, however, we decided to do something.

 “What should we do on our anniversary, baby?” I asked.

“I’m not sure,” Sarah replied. “You have a check-up at the doctor’s office in the morning and then I have to work the rest of the day.”

“Yeah,” I said, letting out a sigh of disappointment.

“We could still do something. I still have the gift card to Barcelona Wine Bar.”

“Oh, that would be great!” I said. “We could go when you finish work.”

That is exactly what we did.  Sarah and I dressed up and she drove us to Barcelona. Sarah ordered the butter- poached lobster risotto and chicken empanadas while I had the Churrasco which was a skirt steak with garlic spinach, sweet potato fries, and Chimichurri sauce. We dined outside, while sipping on beer and sangria, respectively. It was the perfect way to end a busy day; a fine time to reflect on how far we’ve come in our marriage in just a short few years, while simply enjoying the moment.


  1. I love this post! So sweet to hear how Sarah takes her wedding vows seriously and loves you so much! I know you would do the same for her if she needed it! So wonderful to hear of your anniversary celebrations! Heartwarming!

  2. Thanks, Michelle! You've got a great daughter!

  3. Another beautiful post. So happy to hear about how strong you both are every time i read your blog! I hope things are going well with the cochlear implants! Let me know how things are going when you get a chance =) Love you both very much!! <33

  4. Love it!!! I cannot wait for our anniversary in October. This is so sweet. I always said that you guys are the PERFECT couple, ever since Sarah came to our Campus Crusade group!

  5. The most beautiful part of this post for me are the words, "Sarah has been my miracle." Every Sunday I go forward for healing prayer, asking that my hearing be restored. I feel impressed upon my spirit to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. In the midst of asking for "ears to hear," I have been asking that God would give me eyes to see what he is doing every moment, all around me. Daily I am grateful for my husband and children who suffer my hearing loss. It brings me great pain the difficulties my disability brings to their lives. They are my miracles. They love me, and I would be nothing without their love. In another post, you mentioned Helen Keller's quote that, "deafness separates people from people." How in-unutterably painful this separation is to endure, yet it is Love that closes the separation. Thank you, Max, for lending words to express what my heart yearns to explain.