My husband gives care by providing help around the house

After almost 50 years of marriage, Mike is 'still the one'

Mary Lott avatar

by Mary Lott |

Share this article:

Share article via email
banner image for Mary Lott's

“We’ve been together since way back when/ Sometimes I never want to see you again/ But I want you to know, after all these years/ You’re still the one I want whisperin’ in my ear.” — From “Still the One,” written by John and Johanna Hall and recorded by Orleans

The pop-rock group Orleans released this song in 1976, the year my husband, Mike, and I got married. Its catchy melody and rhythm caught my attention immediately. I liked the lyrics, too, and hoped they would characterize our life together. Little did I imagine that our life would take me from a middle-class existence in Appalachia, in the U.S., around the world to the rainforest of Papua, Indonesia. We promised for better, for worse, in sickness, and in health.

Most of the time, we’ve enjoyed good health. Apart from my husband’s mild asthma, we had no major health crises — until I was diagnosed with cold agglutinin disease (CAD) and chronic lymphocytic lymphoma.

What is CAD?

CAD is an autoimmune hemolytic anemia. This means that, at cold temperatures, my agglutinin antibodies attack proteins on my red blood cells (RBCs). When that happens, my RBCs clump together and then dissolve. Symptoms may include fatigue, weakness, vague and often varied aches and pains, frequent infections, and colorful extremities. I’ve experienced many of these, especially fatigue and weakness.

CAD affects every facet of a person’s life. The fatigue causes me to rest much more frequently now. I can’t lift as much as I did before developing this disease. I depend on Mike to do the work that I can’t do anymore.

I’ve never heard him complain about this extra work. Early in our life together, we split the chores fairly evenly. We each settled into the ones we found easiest or most preferable. But at times, the hubs would do my usual chores when I was otherwise occupied.

Recommended Reading
banner image for Mary Lott's

Grappling with stealth symptoms of CAD and their consequences

Mike does so much

CAD has changed that. Because I’m the cook of the family, I used to do all of the shopping. But now, I tire halfway through the grocery store. The temperatures at many stores are so cold that I begin showing signs of acrocyanosis as I start down the frozen vegetable aisle. So Mike does the bulk of our grocery acquisition now.

A man stands in front of a kitchen sink and appears to be scrubbing something with a rag. He's in his kitchen at home, and daylight is coming through the window in the background. He's wearing a teal-colored shirt and looking down intently.

Mike Lott washes up after a meal. He does things like this even when he’s worn out from work. (Photo by Mary Lott)

He also cleans the house — though he’s done that throughout our married life, as he notices more dirt and dust bunnies than I do. But now, because I’m so tired all the time (that is not an exaggeration), he pushes the vacuum around and mops the floors.

Other bits of work that he does include carrying my in-cabin luggage when we travel by air. He manages all the suitcases from the house to check-in and then reverses the process when we land.

Although I haven’t tried scuba diving in a year, we’ve already planned for him to go with me the next time to haul my equipment around and lug my carcass in and out of the water. Once I get in the water, I don’t seem to have any trouble. Scuba doesn’t take as much energy at the slow speed I swim.

I imagine that as time goes on, I’ll rely on this man for more and more help. Although I’ve been assured that CAD is a chronic and long-term affliction, humans only last so long before the telomeres become too short for life. Bodies wear out. I can tell I’m wearing out.

He’s ‘still the one’

I recently learned that the third Saturday in April is Husband Appreciation Day. As the Calendarr website notes, the day, observed on April 20 this year, “serves as a reminder to take some time in your day-to-day life to appreciate your husband for his support, his company, and for being a part of your life.” I appreciate Mike supporting and helping me through life. As long as God gives us breath, I know he will be there when I need a full-time caregiver.

The bridge of “Still the One” goes, “Changing, our love is going gold/ Even though we grow old, it grows new.” That has been true for us. I can still sing, however off-key, “You are still the one that makes me shout/ Still the one that I dream about/ We’re still having fun and you’re still the one.”

Note: Cold Agglutinin Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cold Agglutinin Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cold agglutinin disease.


Olive Elizabeth Hall avatar

Olive Elizabeth Hall

Mary, I enjoyed your praises about your godly husband. I am so sorry about your CAD. We have been married since May, 1962, and I have been blessed with the same kind of godly, loving husband.

Mary Lott avatar

Mary Lott

Dear Olive, I’ve met your husband and you are right. He is a very special person. You and he complement each other in the best ways. You and I have been blessed by our spouses.

Kathleen Keller avatar

Kathleen Keller

Your post really hit home. . .I was diagnosed a year ago. It was a relief to know why my stamina had changed and I
Had heart palpitations. Before my diagnosis, my husband picked up bread and milk, that was the extent of his grocery shopping.
Well, I don’t know what I would do without his help now!!! He does almost all of the grocery shopping and cleaning. Washes floors,
Changes beds, vacuums, does laundry. . .I fold. He never complains and makes me feel loved and cherished for what I can do.
We will be married 60 years this May . . .praise God for His blessing of an amazing life partner.

Mary Lott avatar

Mary Lott

My best wishes to the bride of 60 years. It truly makes a difference when our spouse fills in the “spaces” in our lives which we can no longer fill. I am glad you have found a wonderful man and that he is still wonderful “after all these years.”


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.