Married to a Migraine

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/30/2008 10:58 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm married to a life-long sufferer of migraine headaches.  I've read on this site several postings about migraines and relationships--all from the migraine sufferer's perspective.  It sounds like some of you are having a hard time with relationships and that you feel misunderstood.  I'm really sorry for you.  My husband feels the same way and often tells me that I don't understand--and there are many sites out there that reinforce his message.  Over the years (coming up on 19 years of marriage), I probably have deteriorated as a caregiver.  I find it hard to deliver care with as much compassion as I once did.  All that caregiving makes me numb.  Most of the time I feel like a single parent with a migraine I keep at home in a dark room.  We (those married to migraine sufferers) live in a cycle of guilt for doing and feeling too little, fear of an undiscovered devastating cause of the migraines, anger at the situation, and loneliness as our soul mates are in a fetal position and beyond our help, and at the same time everything depends upon us during the monster visit (the migraine).  We're the emergency workers who feed the kids, get the shopping done, pay the bills, run the errands, call the doctor, throw away the air fresheners that bother you, and tip toe around the house, hushing the dog and the kids and answering the phone in a whisper, and explaining, explaining, explaining.  We know that people who don't suffer from headaches say stupid things about migraines, like it's some psychological problem rather than a health condition.  Who do you think hears it more?  We play interference all the time, trying to keep that sort of ignorant response from jabbing you all the more.  But after all that work and effort and exhaustion, it's hard to hear that we just don't understand.  I bet for every spouse that truly doesn't empathize, there are twenty or thirty spouses who do, who try, or who--at least--keep the house running while you rest--and that is a form of empathy, even if it doesn't always feel like compassion.  If you're feeling misunderstood by your spouse or partner, take a moment to reverse the caregiving role when you're up on your feet again.  

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 120
   Posted 5/8/2008 11:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Oneida,
I'm sorry to hear about both your's and your husband's suffering.  I was 14 when I first started getting my migraines, and everytime my mom said something negative about it or how it was affecting my life, I quite often said "you don't understand."  Now I feel so guilty for saying that because, while you really can't understand how bad it is to live with migraines unless you have them as well, you also can't understand what it is like watching and caring for someone you love suffer so much unless you experience it.  I found that out by evesdropping on my mom one day while she was crying, in my dad's arms, and saying how it hurt her so much to see me in pain and how she would gladly take my migraines for me so that I wouldn't have to suffer.  After that I never once said anything even remotely similar to "you don't understand."  Maybe something like reading your post here will help your husband to understand your side as well.
Wishing you and your husband the best,
Dx: Chronic Daily Migraines & Chronic Depression
PRN meds: Tylonal #3 and Tramadol

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 5/19/2008 11:25 PM (GMT -6)   
i can somewhat relate to your situation, althought really not the same, my hubby is a brittle diabetic and has many sick days, so i do/have played nurse maid for years and yes my level of care and understanding has dropped from the first health crisis he/we had.....and ive noticed with my battle my migraines my family once was very attentive and supportive, willing to do what ever was needed to help me with this stabbing pain...but now that this cycle has gotten worse my family seem to roll thier eyes and seem to say "oh boy yet another migraine....great" although they have never said this, it does sometimes feel like it....
for example, my hubby is working out of state at this time, and i spoke to him this evening, during out usual hellos, he asked how was my day, i told him that i didn't go to work today because of yet another migraine and i could literally hear him sigh on the other end of the phone.....was a horrible feeling, he's afraid im going to lose my job (although im on fmla) or run up my health insurance and will be dropped and just frustration that nothing seems to be helping me at this point....regardless it just sux....

like i said before, ive been on both sides of the nurse maid fence, and it's hard and horrible regardless of which side your standing on,,,,horrible guilt that you feel like your level of care has gone down from the first few times you helped out a loved one and guilt for putting your loved ones thru this...

good luck sweety,

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 6/5/2008 4:54 PM (GMT -6)   
I've had migraine headaches since I was six-years-old, and I'm now in my late twenties.  My mother and I do seem to have some hereditary connection regarding this problem, but I think either mine are worse (if that's even fair to say) or she hides it better than I.  Anyway, I've tried so many doctors and all but one medication I've seen named on this entire site.  Like so many others here, it's been with little or no luck.  At this point, I have a helpful yet very frustrated boyfriend that may as well be a fiance.  But because of our deteriorating relationship-- due mostly to my ailment-- I wonder if it's best to let this relationship end rather than put he, rather us, through any more of this hell.  I read your response, Oneida, and I can feel the anger and frustration coming through your words.  I know it's not directed at your spouse; it's obvious you do all you can and sincerely care about your spouse's condition.  But how is a relationship supposed to survive this kind of constant pressure (no pun intended)?  Don't take this the wrong way, I'm not questioning your relationship.  I'm questioning whether it's best to assume I will be unmarried, etc, for the rest of my life both for my sake and someone else's.  Even the most understanding spouse will face unfair burdens because of my condition.  No matter how hard I try to cut him slack, he says I'm defensive.  Maybe I am.  It's nearly impossible not to be defensive when I can't say "I have a headache again today" without that sigh that others mention.  Even my parents occasionally ignore my phone calls now.  If you're own parents cannot deal with such a condition and problem, then how is someone who is not legally and parentally bound to you?  I suppose this is not so much of a response to your frustrations, but an addition of my own frustrations, questions, and concerns.  Maybe this is too personal a question, but given the opportunity, would you do it all over again?  Or would you choose a normal life with a "normal" person?  Trust me, I'm no saint.  But should I spare him the trouble?  I don't think I have the option of sparing myself this life, but he isn't legally bound-- not yet. confused

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/17/2008 3:26 AM (GMT -6)   
I also have been on both sides of this situation. The very first thing I have to say is that yes, being debilitated more often than not sucks, for everyone involved. Gulit on our end, and frustration and being worn down on their end, but when you are with someone you love, you are in it together, and you make the most of it. There are times (sometimes as infrequent as they are unfortunately) when we don't have migraines, and at those times we can be ourselves and return the favor and be the people that our loved ones fell in love with to begin with (so to speak), so we should not give up on being happy with our spouses or fiances, but remind them every day just how much we appreciate how much we love that they do eveything that they do for us, and that we agknowledge how much they actually are doing every day. When my husband comes home dead tired from work, cooks for the kids, does laundry, and gets them into bed, although I am curled in a fetal position not wanting to move, I hug him and thank him for being the wonderful person that he is and how much he actually helps my migraines by taking the stress out of having to worry about all of that stuff. My husband has confessed to me that he feels just like you Oneida. He has come home time after time with different ideas for solutions. I can tell you that with out people like you and my husband, it would be impossible to imagine life with a migraine, because our poor children would be lost. You are the true heros, you offer more comfort than any of the medicine that any of us have tried that has not helped, so sincerley, Thank You!!! You deserve at least one of those and a hug a day!

Post Edited (steviesgirl) : 6/17/2008 2:31:54 AM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/21/2008 4:11 AM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for your post! Believe me as a single mom of one I don't always have a caregiver around especially in those midnight hours when I'm face to face with my trash can or toilet from severe nausea. I was married for 12 years and my ex-husband was with me when I was first diagnosed with Migraine. We were about two years into our marriage at that time. Though the headaches were not as severe then as they are now, he never grew to understand that Migraine itself was the disease and the headaches, nausea, sensitivity to light, sound etc were symptoms thereof. Now that my headaches have become worse, my parents have moved closer. My child can call them over to drive me to the ER or to help out. My mom used to have severe headaches too so she displays a lot of empathy. My father is still not sure about the disease but he helps with driving my kid to sporting events and I'm appreciative of that. The hardest thing for over the last 5 years since my divorce has been dating. You know, do you really want to share with someone that you are down and out a couple of times a month for 2-4 days at a time due to a headache??? Well, I've finally met someone who really does and I put it all on the table upfront. We've been seeing each other for about 9 months and he has had to take on the role as caregiver and I'm thankful for that.

Even though we as migraneurs are down sometimes we are very capable and responsible adults. We just have this undescrible condition "Migraine" that sometimes wants to get in our way. But thanks to people like you Oneida, you all are there to keep things running smoothly. And for those folks who you are trying to explain the disease to send them to then maybe they can find out more information for themselves. We all find ourselves trying to compensate or explain since this is such a misunderstood condition.

Keep doing what you're doing, blessings don't always come from the one you're helping, they usually come when you're least expecting and from an unexpected surprise!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 6/22/2008 6:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Oneida, thanks for your post. Believe me when I say how many times I feel guilty at dragging my husband through all of this crap. I wonder if this is just his hopelessness talking? I can't tell you how many times I have felt so hopeless and so close to....
I don't know your husbands history, nor your situation, but if he isn't getting any relief perhaps a new practitioner is worth a shot. I'm sure people here would give you ideas based on your geographical area, or places that you could research.
You are an unsung hero, but more than that you are a wonderful wife and mother who is doing her best in a very difficult situation. Blessings to you and hopes for happiness.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 6/28/2008 1:44 AM (GMT -6)   
I too have suffered for more years than I want to remember with migraines.  My life has been dictated by my migraines, it has been a living hell!!! Reality we do not have a life.
I suffered from migraines almost all day everyday.
I went into a very, very deep depression - have taken just about all the anti depressants on the market.  Tranquilisers, epileptic medication etc etc  Live on migraine pain pills.  The neurologists warned me that if I continue taking the migraine pills the way I do (some days I took up to 4 pills) one of 2 things is likely to happen.  One a massive stroke and Two my heart will stop beating - that meant nothing to me I did not care, stroke no, heart stop beating definitely!!!
Went to physio 3 times a week for 18 months
Have seen 20 specialists of which 6 were neurologists.
Had 15 electric shock treatments - yes you may think this is drastic but when we are so desperate we will try anything hoping it might be the solution.
Maxilla Facial Surgeon
Hospitalised 15 times
Went to Rehab twice to be detoxified from pain killers.
At the end of the day I decided that is it their is no cure!!!  This is how my life will be permanently.
Bottom line my life was a living hell.
I live in South Africa. At the begining of this year I heard a specialist talking on the radio, saw him on TV, read in newspapers and magazines of the cure he has for migraines etc. etc. etc. A world first break through in Migraine cure. In one of our local magazines I read about a woman who was totally cured from a life time of living hell with migraines.  I related 100 percent to her. I phoned the magazine and got the contact number for the lady, I phoned her and she told me she went to the Headache Clinic and her life has changed she no longer has mirgraines and cannot believe what it is like to live like a normal human being, she is off anti depressants etc.
I made the decision this is my last hope - what do I have to loose?????
I went to the Headache Clinic and was amazed at the amount of people I saw there I could see the agony in their faces and it made me feel like I belonged with them, here I am with people who are gong through exactly what I am. I met people who were cured from these dreaded migraines at the Headache Clinic.  I was amazed and suddenly just knew I had found the right place at last.
Many migraine sufferers were here from overseas - they know people who came to see this specialist and they were 100 percent cured from migraines.
After having spoken to numerous specialists and had numerous tests, scans, xrays, blood tests etc etc.  I was told that in certain cases migraines are caused due to arteries in our heads (we do not need all these arteries)  the arteries above the skull not the arteries that go to the brain and can be hereditary - in my case the tests proved my condition was hereditary.  Their is a very specific scan which is done for this and my scans showed numerous problem arteries. Their is a procedure which the specialist does to these arteries and from the minute you come round from the aneasthetic you wake up feeling like a new person (the pain relief was so huge I did not need to take pain killers after the operation) I cannot describe the change, the muscles in my head, neck and shoulders felt so relaxed, felt motivated, energetic, no pain, colours look so different, vision is crisp, great quality sleep.  The results are beyond the human imagination - I am a changed person and now know what it is like to live!!
He has other simple methods (not pain killers) which work for the majority of the patients.
My specialist is involved at Harvard in America, also in Italy and England with this first time break through for migraines. You can look on the websites re Headache Clinic South Africa and you can read all about it there.
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