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Thank You to My Partner, Who Stands by Me Through My Struggles With Fibromyalgia

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I love my partner. Sometimes I wonder what I would do without her. She supports me in so many ways. When I tell her this, she reassures me. “You are so strong,” she says. “You would be OK.” The fact is, I just can’t imagine my life without her.

She has always believed in me. She stood by me when I was undiagnosed. She encouraged me to keep searching for answers. She supported me when I was diagnosed. She still stands by me today, even though she knows this illness won’t ever go away. She’s not going anywhere, she’s here to stay.

We do almost everything together. We are together almost all of the time. We are two peas in a pod. Inseparable. Best friends. We genuinely enjoy each other’s company, no matter what we’re doing. We studied together, graduated together and are now both doing research projects together. Nothing can come between us. Not even fibromyalgia. We are in this together.

The truth is, I am reminded every single day of how lucky I am to have her. She is truly one of a kind. I am so grateful to have her. She has been the most supportive and understanding person in my life. She is living proof that you don’t have to relate to someone to show them empathy. She takes care of me and never expects anything in return. “I’m happy when you’re happy,” she says. “I would do anything for you.”

Of course there are times when I feel guilty. I feel guilty because she does so much for me, and sometimes I wish I could do the same for her. She reassures me, though. She always reminds me that I am not a burden. “I just want to take care of you,” she says.

It gives me comfort to know she is genuinely grateful to have me, too. Despite all my struggles, she is still happy to have me in her life. “My life is so much better with you,” she says. We bring out the best in each other.

She cooks for me. She washes the dishes. She does the laundry. These are all the things that I struggle to find the energy for. Sometimes I apologize to her because I haven’t got much energy, or I’m in too much pain to do anything. She always tells me not to apologize for that, though. “You didn’t ask for any of this,” she says.

When I have migraines, she is always there to support me. On one occasion, I had a migraine so bad I couldn’t move. I was getting sick every few minutes. She stayed with me the entire time, holding the bucket for me and keeping me hydrated. She didn’t leave my side when I finally managed to get some sleep.

On another occasion, I was struggling immensely with pain throughout my body. Strangely enough, I felt like it might help to go for a walk. Sometimes it helps to distract me from the pain and gets my blood flowing. It was raining and cold outside, so my partner held my hand and walked laps with me inside our house until I was feeling better. She was there to catch me when my knees gave way.

She is always looking out for me. I have a cane named Hugo, which she keeps in the back of her car. At the supermarket, I get what I like to call “supermarket fever,” because all the lights and noise cause my symptoms to flare up. My partner always makes sure to ask me if I need Hugo at the shops. Sometimes she doesn’t even have to ask.

The other night I couldn’t sleep. My legs were throbbing and I felt like I could cry from the pain. I wasn’t sure if she was awake, but I told her anyway. She woke up immediately to comfort me. She made sure I had something to eat before taking painkillers. She took the time out of her night to give me a massage, even though we had to get up early the next morning. “If you could transfer your pain, I’d take it all,” she says. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

She always knows when something is wrong. There is usually always something wrong, that’s just the reality of fibromyalgia. Sometimes she knows exactly what it is without me saying a thing.

I never expect her to do anything for me. It’s just the kind of person she is. Completely selfless and happy to help.

the author and her partner smiling outside in Melbourne
Better together

I appreciate her so much. In the face of pain, I need to focus on the things I am grateful for. She certainly takes the cake.

To my partner, thank you.

Originally published: December 3, 2018
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