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Losing My Wife To Chronic Pain

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  • #1031331 Reply

    My wife has always had chronic pain issues. It’s a part of our life, it has been for years, and it always will be. But since last September, her conditions have accelerated rapidly and her doctors haven’t been able to help at all. It began with medication changes but hasn’t stopped at all since.

    Her migraines are so bad that in the past 22 days she has had 18 days with crippling headaches. She’s barely able to perform her job. In the last two weeks she’s been able to work a total of about 10 hours.

    She confirmed to me last night that she’s dangerously miserable. The migraines have shoved everything good about her life into the dumpster. Her long-term goals seem completely hopeless.

    While my pain seems small next to hers, I’m totally miserable as well. My life is just a combination of my barely-tolerable job and trying to help my wife function with very limited success. I feel like I’m doing a to terrible job as a father. I have no time for hobbies or practicing art. Our intimacy is all but dead.

    It just seems so hopeless and a I’m at a total loss of what to do. My wife is in therapy already, and has an army of doctors basically stumped and trying different medications which so far just keep making things worse. She as a strong social network (not in-person)

    I don’t know why I’m posting this or what kind of advice I’m looking for. I’m just so fucking sad and needed to get it off my chest.

    #1031333 Reply

    Hi B.M. I am sorry for your stress and situation. I hope just posting on here will help! I understand something of what you are dealing with. Likely the toughest part is though you want to help and fix things…you can’t.
    My partner has long term and chronic health issues. The last problem, after a fall, has made not only intimacy near impossible, but even simple comforts like snuggling with our arms around each other not viable. This has gone on for over a year now and will not improve until they can finally get surgery. This is on top of other health and just plain “covid life” problems.
    To see them trying to function while in constant pain is awful, and I can do little to reduce it. We are older with grown kids, so fortunately that is one less area of worry. I do most of the housework and cooking as well as work full time, and am reasonably healthly and am grateful I am able to help in that way.
    The best advice I can give is to be patient and optimistic and hopeful that a cause/solution will be found for her headaches etc. Let yourself self off any self-imposed hook that you are responsible or should have the power to fix her pain.
    Take breaks…a drink with a friend, a walk etc. when you can. Get someone to care for the kids and have an evening to yourself or with your wife, doing nothing. Also be open to alterative medical help. Maybe massage, Chinese herbal medicine etc. could help…explore options. You need to put as much effort into your health and mental health as you do into concern for her. It will help you cope better and benefit her too. Get adequate sleep too….so important. I sincerely believe that a solution to cure or reduce her pain can be found…don’t “give up”. Good luck,take care.

    #1031336 Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear that. Hopefully the doctors find a drug regimen that works — sooner rather than later.

    #1031345 Reply

    If your wife has chronic pain then I assume she is on opioids? Is there a chance that this her having withdraw symptoms?

    #1031346 Reply

    That must be so very hard for you, it is so disempowering not being able to help your wife and it really, really sucks that science still hasn’t managed to figure out properly effective pain relief without major unwanted side effects.I’m sure you have tried everything. In the meantime, for both of your sakes, if you can, try to schedule in firm “respite time” for yourself, where you do something which makes you feel better and gets you away from the situation for even a little while. Sounds like you are really pushed for time so maybe small amounts of time every day where you just get away might be easier than trying for a whole afternoon or something. I hope things get easier for you both soon.

    #1031351 Reply

    @Peggy – thanks. It’s nice to hear from someone going through something similar. It’s really hard to be a witness to this. I’m extremely patient to a fault, but I could do better in the optimism department. The last 12 months have really done a number on my optimism scale.

    @KareBear – Good theory, but no opioids. In addition to everything else my wife is 21 years sober, so those are not an option. Though it’s getting to the point that even that seems to be a risk

    – I’m really bad at taking any time for myself normally and the pandemic has made this a lot worse, because we’re around each other constantly. I’m a natural doter and sometimes drive her crazy trying to help. It’s really hard to take a step back and do something you enjoy when 10-15 feet away a person you love is suffering so much. I know it’s essential but it’s not easy.

    Thanks for listening, everyone.

    #1031354 Reply

    I’m so sorry you & your wife are going through this. Before I knew him, my husband suffered from cluster headaches. Every day at the same time he’d be in so much pain he’d go in a dark closet & cry. Told me it was the only time in his life he contemplated ending it all. He saw lots of drs and tried lots of meds for several years. One day a dr gave him a trial of meds he said was experimental. I don’t know if it something new or something not usually used for cluster headaches. But he never had another one. It’s been 20 years now. I hope your wife is able to find her miracle med & that her recovery is as swift & anticlimactic as my husband’s.

    #1031366 Reply

    Being the person who has the pain and spent a lot of the weekend miserable on the couch barely talking to anyone I know it’s a slog. I feel bad for my husband that the healthy, vital person he married has disappeared to be replaced by this gloomy lump in the corner. I’m nowhere near as bad as your wife, I have good days and can work for the most part but I feel you.

    Is there an option for someone else to keep an eye on your wife while you and the kids go for a walk or something to get out of the house every now and then? I think the biggest part of care giving is carving out some time for yourself so you can try to be a normal person every now and then. I more or less forced my husband to join the golf team at his work and he’s really enjoying it.

    #1031376 Reply
    avatarDear Wendy

    So sorry to hear this. You didn’t ask for suggestions for your wife, and I assume she’s likely tried everything and that her doctors are committed to helping her, but I’ll say that I had a handful of migraines over the course of a year or two a couple years back and two things helped: acupuncture and, what finally stopped them: medication for my high blood pressure, which I’d resisted taking for several years. Just *in case* these options haven’t been considered yet, I’m sharing them. And acuptuncture could help you, too, in terms of managing stress and depression. Really sorry you and your wife going through this.

    #1031398 Reply

    Like many others, I can sympathize! I had migraines for many years, and while again, I am sure her doctors are doing what they can, mine ended up being tied to food allergies. I spent years, and many medications trying to find a solution, only to cut out garlic powder. Hopefully they can find her combination.

    Do you have nearby family/friends to help give you an occasional break?

    #1031401 Reply

    I am sorry to read that. Migraines are terrible. I had a lot of them for a years too, but triptans were definitely efficient for me.
    I think the doctors will find out the way to treat your wife. Meanwhile, perhaps can you set some boundaries. Take an hour off for yourself, whatever happens. Just do it, close the door or go out for a while. Don’t devote yourself without any limit, this is dangerous for your and your family balance. You have also to care for your own well being. And propose to your wife an intimacy moment per week. Perhaps just a massage or cuddling or something relaxing, if she is in pain, but it can only help to be physically together for a while. Migraines have a lot to do with psychology – not that it is psychosomatic, the causes are physiological, but stress does contribute to the evolution and crisis.

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