“I sustain myself with the love of family.”  ~ Maya Angelou

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Welcome to the fourth and final installment to the series “Tame The Beast.” I am sharing today, someone I couldn’t live without on my journey with chronic migraine, my husband, Rick! Though when he sees his picture on Facebook, I might have to hide for a while, he really hates having his photo taken, and putting it on Facebook even more. Oh well, in this case, he deserves having it there!

I am blessed with a very supportive husband! We’ve been through a lot together, on my journey with chronic migraine. I would even say he has walked along with me on this journey. Imagine if you will, a journey that takes you along a wide winding road. As your walking part of the trip is in the sun, bright and cheerful, no cares in the world, we hold hands happy as can be. Then all of a sudden, a storm breaks over our heads, lightning cracks, thunder roars, a horrible pain overtakes me, all but leaving me on the path. Unable to go on, but Rick will not leave me, together we wait out this awful storm. The wind blows the intense storm away; it’s sunny again, so we begin our journey once again. Before we realize it, we find ourselves walking through, very dark, gloomy, and sorrowful woods.

My spirit feels so very heavy, and a deep sadness overtakes me, I want nothing more than to hide and cry my eyes out. Still, Rick holds my hand, even putting an arm around me, as to protect me, we pass through the forest, into the sun again, and continue walking. Feeling such a relief that the ugliness is behind us. Out in front of us pops a hideous troll, named Crabby, oh how I hate this Crabby Troll! He hits me with his wand, and now I’m Crabby! Now I’m taking little potshots at Rick, but still, he holds my hand. Soon Crabby wears off, and I apologize to Rick; he understands, all is good, and we continue our journey. Now imagine taking this journey, over and over, because that is what it’s like for a person living with chronic migraine.

You’ve probably guessed what most of the imagery stood for. The storm was a migraine attack, which lately has gone back and forth, from chronic to intractable. Causing me to spend more days in my cave than I would like to. During these times, Rick never complains, he just picks up what needs to be done and does it. I’m fortunate that he really enjoys cooking and is excellent at it. I get tickled at him looking, on Pinterest for new recipes. He gets upset with me when I feel guilty for him having to do my chores. He tells me this is not your fault, and they are as much my chores as yours. He’s retired and actually likes to stay busy.

The dark, gloomy, and sorrowful woods, are days when depression and anxiety get the best of me. Even with medication, chronic daily pain takes a toll, and it can be frightening to feel that way. Especially when you feel anxious and fear a panic attack coming on, and I do not want that. It’s these kinds of days that I am more likely to cry at the drop of a hat. Rick understands this and gives me extra hugs, making me feel safe.
Crabby, well, what can I say about crabby? I tend to get irritable, during a migraine attack, or a long migraine cycle. Unfortunately, the same thing that triggers my migraine attacks also triggers a fibromyalgia flare, barometric pressure changes. And can exacerbate neck and lower back pain due to degenerative disc disease, talk about being a hot mess! Poor Rick is the only one around and ends up on the receiving end of my crabbiness. As it often is with families, we take things out on them, that we wouldn’t consider saying or doing to anyone else. I always apologize, and he understands where it is coming from, even if it does make me feel lower than a snake’s belly. He is my rock in every sense of the word. I would be utterly lost without him and am thankful every day for his unconditional love and support.

Without Rick’s support, it would be much harder to fight the beast every day! But he has stuck with me through thick and thin since the chronic migraine started seventeen years ago. Countless hours in the ER until I finally got the right headache specialist. Many trips to Chicago, a six-hour drive one way, when I was seeing a specialist there. Many trips to the hospital, where I go now, thankfully only about forty-five minutes away. And he drives over every day to visit with me. He is my soul mate, my best friend, my rock, and I love him, dearly!

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. ~ Desmond Tutu