Today, Sarah and I have been married for three years.
The first year was easy. We were young, we were in love, and there wasn't much going on that challenged that at all. We had a beautiful apartment in Norman for which we paid very little, and we had a vast number of close friends living in close proximity. It was pretty idyllic. We laughed at the people who said "marriage is hard"; we had it figured out.
Year two wasn't as easy. We moved across the country and got a tiny apartment in Boston. Sarah started grad school at MIT; I switched jobs. Life got more complicated with parking permits and street sweeping days, as well as a bigger rent check every month with little to show for it. Grad school consumed Sarah; we wondered if MIT didn't deliberately make the first year as hard as possible to make those who couldn't cut it drop out early.
And that brings us to year three.
Year three has been the hardest year of my life. It began with a bang: a diagnosis of an arteriovenous malformation in my brain. From there, it slowly, lazily spiraled out of control. fMRIs. CAT scans. And then, at the beginning of December, brain surgery.
Slow recovery came next; I went home the next day, but there were more scares. Like when the steroids my NSG prescribed to keep down the post-surgery swelling were tapered off too quickly and I started having severe, frequent seizures similar to the ones I had had earlier in the year.
Like when a postoperative CAT scan revealed a bubble of air in my head; it went away, but it was still a cause for concern.
And even when all that was done, and when I could finally let go of the fear that had been clouding my brain for months, there were other things that made the year difficult.
Any stress from work was hard to deal with; surgery had worn me to the bone and I just didn't have anything left with which to deal with the pressures of startup life. And I was in a position, as the senior member of the technical support staff, to see every little flaw. I didn't cope well.
And Sarah went to Practice School for four months; for the first two, I visited her every couple weeks where she was based on Maryland, but when she went to Australia, I couldn't, practically speaking, follow. We had agreed on this course long before anything else had happened, and I still strongly believed that it was the right thing for her to do, but that didn't make it easy.
So, with those things, and with many others, year three has been... intense. But throughout, there has been the constant presence and love of many friends, and more importantly, the love and support of my wonderful spouse. And now it's over — we made it.
Year three was hard. But year three was also a growing year; a year where I stretched myself more than I would have believed possible not too long ago.
Sarah, I love you. On to Year Four.