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When A Loved One Has Heart Disease

Posted Aug 26 2010 2:25pm

“I felt so sorry for you.  I didn’t know how I could help you.  All the doctors you saw said there was nothing wrong with your heart.  It took five years to finally get a doctor to listen”.

The conversation I had with my husband last week nearly broke my heart.  You see, all this time, I had neglected to see how my condition had affected my husband.  It has now been eight years since the onset of symptoms.  Eight years of worry for my family. 

It’s one thing to have to wrap your own mind around a chronic condition.  To somehow express to your family the anguish and worry your constantly feel.  All the while trying your best not to let the acknowledgement crush you.  Sometimes your family understands, most times they act like they do.  How can they fully understand?  I’ve heard it said that to empathize is to feel your pain in my heart.  Perhaps it could be better said, I feel your heart pain in my heart.  Is that even possible?

Help Them Understand

Men are different creatures all together.  If your husband is anything like mine, it’s all about the facts.  While emotion plays into everything in life, when it comes to heart disease, it’s the facts that enable him to react.  So, get your facts straight.  Learn all there is to know about your specific form of heart disease.  Share this information with all those you hold dear.  Thankfully, we have so much more information online than we did even a few years ago.  Websites such as EmpowHER offers health professionals who enable you to ask your health question and get a response with 24 hours.  Free of charge, no less.  So, really, the opportunity for you to take charge of your condition is yours for the taking.

How They Can Help You

First and foremost, let them help you.  Yes, you are the ‘expert’ on your condition and only you can know the depth of its affects on you.  That doesn’t mean that they don’t have anything to contribute.  The best advice you’ll ever receive doesn’t come from within.  It comes from your friends, from your family, and from your online community. 

Second, appreciate them for the situation they find themselves in.  Life was drastically different before you had to go and get heart disease.  Let them take the necessary time required to grasp that concept. 

Healing begins with understanding.

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