Chronic pain and Significant Others

Migraine and Spouses - Actually you can take this and apply this to all chronic illnesses.

"If you suffered Migraine before you were married as much as you do now, do you think your spouse would have stuck by your side?
One of the worst and best things a headache specialist/neurologist ever told me was something like this:
“Do you know how incredibly lucky you are that your husband has stuck by your side through all of this? Most marriages could never survive everything yours has withstood.”
It was the best because it reminded me how much my family loves me.
It was the worst because it reminded me that I have put my family through so much, that it becomes not a normal fact, but an astonishing fact that they are still with me. This thought makes me sick to my stomach." - migraine.com

How many times have we come accross accounts of spouses who have not been understanding and who have not stood by their spouse or significant other.  And, by the way, I should be using the term 'significant other' even if it is a mouthful because it is more broad and i for one have never been married but have been common law relationship for 14 years, but never could find a easy to use term 'common-law spouse' does not roll of the tongue... 'that guy I'm shacked up with' works well enough sometimes.  The point is that guy I'm living in sin with makes my life a great deal better by being in it.  I am insanely lucky to have him.  It is not only that he does not bring into the relationship those negativities we sometimes get like that we are 'lazy' or 'chronic complainers' or whatever.  It is that he does more than his share; he does all the cooking, he does all the food shopping.  Those sorts of things that mean a great deal in every day living.  Obviously I know it I am damn lucky he has stuck by my side all this time.  When he met me I was twenty, in universty on my way to becoming a philosophy professor... by the age of 22 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which I did not let stop me until the migraines became chronic and it became quite apparent that it was not just my body with was crippled but my mind as well, so just holding a job was difficult enough.  It was a slippery slope.  I coped with the fibro pretty well up until my Masters, but the migraines became dibilitating and not... treated. (Ever tried to read Kant with a migraine?  I would not recommend it.  Whereas I was writing my thesis on a metaphysical paradox of time using transfinite mathmatics.  yeah.  not so fun with migraines.  It was a diffiuclt choice to not proceed with my phd but an obvious one)  Working full time was difficult because some jobs were impossible as I found out I could not do shift work at all.  Frankly, full time work is diffilct enough with poorly managed daily migraines. He tells me sometimes 'I got myself a smart one' and I say 'nope, you got yourself a crippled one'.  But he does not mind that I am gimpy and we laugh when I bump into walls and use the wrong words.  We laugh a lot, which is a good thing, because I need to laugh.  Weird that he thinks he is lucky to have me but I really think it is the other way around.  I mean honestly life would be easier for him without having to deal with a partner with a chronic illness.

So there is a lot of guilt that comes with being in a relationship knowing how things could have been if you were the picture of perfect health.  But honestly... life just ain't like that.  And if someone does not stick around for the rough bits, well, then they just are not in it for the long haul.  Because while my man may have stuck it through some rough bit in our twenties that most people do not deal with when they are younger and that shows the strength of a man quite frankly... fact is, life being as it is, he has not had perfect health himself either since then.  And I have not gone running for the hills.  He had kidney cancer which literally scared me to death, but we got through it.  He also has gastroparesis which is a chronic digestive system problem where he does not digest food properly which when untreated was extremely painful and is still a chronic condition that flares up.  So no one is perfect.

Granted the whole chronic pain thing limits my ability to do.... pretty much everything.  Sometimes I think my partner would be out there doing more if I were able to as well.  Because I'm a complete hermit.  I can barely work, so when I get home, I have no more energy left in me.  And I definately know one of the reasons I feel I need to work is because I feel like it would be too much of a burdan on him stress wise, financial wise, to have to support me because I am crippled by pain.  Guilt is a powerful thing.  So is love.
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