How To Survive Valentine’s Day When Living With A Chronic Illness

Feb 14, 2023
Valentines Day and Chronic Illness

Valentine’s Day. Love it. Hate it. Or indifferent. For some reason, it’s a day that stirs up emotions.


And in living with a chronic illness we’re not immune to these feelings. Our illness may at times intensify these emotions.

Do any of these scenarios resonate with you this Valentine's Day?

❤️ Feeling alone as you are not currently in a relationship. And you long for that connection, support and intimacy. You worry about how your chronic illness will affect a new relationship. Then unsure if and how you’ll ever meet someone.

❤️ In a relationship, but you feel lonelier than ever. The lack of support and understanding hurts. It frustrates you. You’re emotionally exhausted but you don’t know what to do. Uncertain of what the future holds.

❤️ Single and loving it! It’s just what you need. Time to focus on yourself. Life is full. Strong connections with friends and family. A fulfilling career and social life. 

❤️ In a relationship and happy! Feel fortunate to have a partner by your side, as you navigate the world of chronic illness together. But even happier that your life together isn’t defined by illness. There is more to the relationship than that! 


I’ve experienced each of these scenarios on Valentine’s Day. Today, I’m definitely “in a relationship and happy” with my beautiful partner Andrew.

I’m not sure what scenario you find yourself in this Valentine’s Day. Whether you are lonely or feeling connected. There is always time for a romantic love story! This is the story of how I met Andrew.


Finding love when living with chronic illness

In living with chronic illness every day is filled with uncertainty. You’re never sure what the day will bring. New symptoms. Pain. Or perhaps this…


Life was good. After returning home from an overseas adventure, I realised a dream that I never thought would happen when diagnosed with MS. I purchased my first home. A small one-bedroom unit, but I loved it. It was mine. No more renting, house sharing, instead my own space.

On my first night in the unit, I rang a girlfriend. Whenever we recall our conversation, we laugh about what we said and the irony of the timing. I said quite adamantly that I was over being single and was definitely ready to meet someone.

MS had been a constant presence through my 20s. Diagnosed at 22 years, I spent some horrendous moments in hospital and rehab. At times both physically and emotionally paralysed.

But I’d also had some incredible experiences. From travelling and living abroad, by myself. Returning to University and a career change. Even moving from inner city to a regional town.

Now I wanted someone to share all of the ups and downs with.

I went to bed that night thinking, how am I ever going to meet someone? It wasn’t like I could go out easily. Standing around at a pub or club with my legs was too stressful. And back in 2005, online dating wasn’t a thing (I’m feeling old!).

The next morning when I opened the front door I was met with a horrible odour. The sewer outlet at the front was overflowing. Although my bathroom was fine, other tenants were apparently experiencing problems and the real estate agent had organised a plumber to clear the drains. A couple of hours later a plumber was walking up the driveway. I happened to be outside and couldn't help but notice him.

Apparently, there were problems with the property drains. I didn't mind as it meant Andrew, the lovely plumber, would be around for a couple more days.

From the moment I met Andrew, I felt a connection. I still remember noticing his eyes. A little corny I know but he just oozed warmth. I've never given much thought to love at first sight or actively subscribe to the notion of finding a soulmate. But I immediately felt drawn to Andrew.

I arrived home on the second afternoon he’d been working. Disappointed as the tools were packed up and the ute gone.

It was a Friday night, and I began getting ready to go out for dinner. I remember sitting on the end of my bed and saying, “if it's meant to be, it will be”. Hoping, pleading with the Universe for our paths to cross again.

When my friend and I arrived at the restaurant there were no tables, so we went around the corner to find another place to eat. As we arrived, I couldn't believe it. Andrew was sitting out the front. Eating dinner by himself, a good sign, and chatting with the restaurant owner.

Andrew later told me that the same night he was in the car driving to catch up with a friend two hours away. On the spur of the moment, he decided he couldn't be bothered. Turned the car around and ended up having dinner at the same restaurant.

The stars had aligned. Neither of us had planned to be at this restaurant yet still our paths crossed. It was the beginning of our new life together.


All my dreams did come true… just not in the way I imagined

For the past 18 years, Andrew and I have always joked about this.

Sure he wasn’t imagining the girl of his dreams to be “waddling” down the driveway when we first met. It didn’t matter. It was the way I live life with a chronic illness that he is attracted to.

If you’re lacking self-confidence and self-worth when it comes to relationships, also remember your partner brings their own challenges. It goes both ways as I love to remind him!

What’s important is the shared qualities and outlook that help you navigate any new hurdles. Including Stage 4 breast cancer


Dreams are essential when living with chronic illness

This is true for finding love. But also for every other aspect of your life. That’s why I wrote this blog.

I share the importance of giving yourself permission to dream. Not to be worried about detailed plans. To instead focus on creating space for the magic to happen.

Did I ever expect to meet my life partner over an overflowing sewer? Definitely not.

But I did have dreams of meeting someone with a generous spirit, sensitivity, kindness and a sense of humour.  There is no way I could have imagined how wicked his sense of humour is! Or how our two souls would come together.

This Valentine’s Day. And every other day. If you are feeling lonely. In or out of a relationship. Keep dreaming. Visualise what would make you feel more connected and happier in your life.

Be open to your dreams coming true… just not in the way you imagined.

Are You Ready to Reclaim Your Life?

If you are living with a health challenge or supporting a loved one who is the good news is...

You can start your own Hurde2Hope® journey today by accessing this FREE on-demand MindsetMasterclass.

In it, you'll discover the exact three mindset shifts that have empowered me in my life with MS and now stage 4 breast cancer.

I'm so excited to share these insights with you! ❤️🧡💚