Jeremy says I am probably sick from my migraines 75% of the time.... 75%! And that makes me feel sad and guilty. It also makes me feel blessed because I have Jeremy. He is always compassionate, patient and making sure I get the things I need when I am fighting my own body. He fills and refills my water, makes me food and makes me eat it, distracts our boys so I can rest without being jumped on, and NEVER blames me or accuses me of not really being sick. I thank God every day for blessing me with a man that can handle this roller coaster with me.
We are a proud military family. I have been a Navy wife my entire marriage. But what happens when Jeremy isn't here....? When he was always gone with the ship or is at work... The question I get a lot is how do I get through the day with a migraine, specifically balancing motherhood, when I have no help.
It's not easy. It actually really f-ing hard- there really are no other words. L (1 year old) is totally dependent on me no matter how I feel. N has grown up knowing mommy is sick a lot.... And being 5 he really doesn't understand since the world revolves around all 5 year olds right?! He wants mommy up, playing, serving, chasing, entertaining and being fun. I can't tell you how many times he has sobbed and said "But I don't want you to be sick!" As a mother, there is no greater guilt... Especially when you can't change it. There is no magic wand. There are pills, but those pills only dull the pain, they don't take it away. They make you feel even more exhausted, drugged up and foggy. Other pills do literally nothing, and others make me have a terrible reaction on top of the already raging migraine. I can hardly stand let alone chase and play.
Many days I do what needs to be done on a pain level that would cripple most other people. It doesn't mean I am fine, it means I am pushing myself and finding a strength I need for a portion of that day. Often, I look at the time and think, “Okay, only 6 more hours until Jeremy (maybe) comes home... Let's just make it until lunch ...just hold on for ten more minutes.” There are days he walks in the door and I just want to weep with relief- but I don't because that would just make my head hurt worse. Being a military wife, I understand “hurry up and wait” all too well. I saw a quote that said chronic pain is all about the wait too, and it's so true... waiting for the pain to dull, for your meds to kick in, for a referral to get approved, for people to take your pain seriously, for just one good day.
Now, I am not talking about the days I literally cannot lift my head from the pillow and can't get up. I am talking about the days I can barely get up, take my meds and be in charge of my tiny humans for the day. The best way for me to make it through the days, especially the bad days, is to try and stick to a schedule that is focused on resting as much as possible. I do the absolute minimum – feed the kids, keep them alive, keep them safe – and just hold on. I lay my tired, pained self on the couch and let the boys play. They bring me toys and books. I let N run cars up and down my body, we snuggle, we watch lots of shows, L naps and N colors, and there is lots of snacking (for them.) Meanwhile, my house looks like a bomb went off. I don't do the dishes, I don't do the laundry, I don't dust or vacuum, I don't make the beds, I don't cook. I get the award for worst housewife, and my amazing husband does not care. He knows that simply vacuuming (on a good day) - a normal, easy, fast chore for most people - totally wipes me out and leaves me dizzy. He knows that lugging laundry baskets is hard and hurts my neck. He knows that cleaning and other chores keeps me on my feet and wears me down when I should be resting. He also knows that on days when I feel good, I can win housewife of the year and I can make our home look perfect. Anybody that walks into our home on any given day can know exactly how I've been feeling based on the state of things. I used to hate that and harbor so much guilt and self-hate for not being able to “do it all” … I have had to learn that self-care, especially with a chronic illness, is one of the MOST important things I can do for myself and my family. I am not resting because I am lazy, I am resting because my body is weak and has given all it can. I am not waisting my day or ruining my kids childhood... I am doing what I need to do so I can make it to the next minute. I am doing what I need to do to so I can color, play, clean up and snuggle. I pray that the boys will remember the fun we had more than the all the times mommy was just holding on.