While working as a police officer, I fell in love with a fellow officer named David. During the time that we dated, I knew he often didn’t feel well. In hindsight, I can say he did a really good job of hiding just how bad he often felt—until one day when he suffered a severe stomach swell after we were married. That was the day he realized he couldn’t hide his HAE from me anymore. I found him, this strong, grown man, lying on the bathroom floor, crying. He was doubled over in excruciating pain. I remember wanting to make all the pain he was experiencing go away, but David wanted me to go away. He didn’t want me to see him like that. I experienced a range of different emotions that day. I felt:
- Helpless, because all I could do was cry. This was my first exposure to his swelling episodes, and it was very traumatic for me to observe.
- Scared, because back then, there were very few treatment options, and I didn’t yet know what a lifetime with HAE would be like; the disease is so unpredictable
- Relieved, because at least there was an explanation as to why my husband often didn’t feel well
- Angry, because he hadn’t told me about his HAE sooner, and because there is no cure for the disease. I didn’t feel that my husband deserved to have HAE. I remember thinking, My husband is a good man; he is a police officer and helps people. Why does he have to have HAE?
After some time of feeling sorry for myself and David, I focused on figuring out how we could make the best of the hand we were dealt. I did some research, so that I could better understand HAE and possible triggers. And by working with David’s doctor, David now uses FIRAZYR® (icatibant injection), a medicine to treat acute hereditary angioedema (HAE) attacks in adults 18 years of age and older. Everyone’s different, but FIRAZYR has worked for David. I’m relieved that we have a treatment plan in place to reduce the symptoms of his acute HAE attacks.
Over time, David and I have become determined to view having HAE as something we can handle together. Our lives may not be perfect, but whose is?
Tell me about the moment you learned about your loved one’s diagnosis! Leave a comment below!
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