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Choosing Love and Life With Hemiplegic Migraine

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Every day of the last 15 years with Philip has been easy, but the last 15 years of my life have not always been. My husband always knew I had a migraine disability severe enough to keep me out of high school. However, when we started dating he didn’t know any more than that.

On one of our first “official” dates, the aura hit. I barely was able to tell him I needed him to take me home. He thought, “maybe she would like to go somewhere beautiful instead” and took me to a secluded public park. Once I started throwing up, he thought better of his decision and redeemed himself. He learned the hard way how serious hemiplegic migraine can be.

He was the first, and still the only person in my life to ever see me through an entire attack from start to finish. He brought me home, called my parents, obeyed their every command to the letter from stapling up the vinyl blackout curtain so not a single sliver of light broke through, to holding my hair back. He laid beside me, motionless, in the pitch black for eight hours. He didn’t speak. Most medical staff ask a thousand questions, and this guy, the guy who finished his pre-med and linguistics degree in two and a half years, didn’t do anything but wait while literally holding my hand.

I guess all I can say is, sometimes we don’t get to choose when our biggest weaknesses are revealed, but no matter when, or how, or why, the right person is always ready, and is always worth the risk.

My life with HM has only worsened. Recently, I asked Philip if he had known how bad it would get, would he still have chosen me? Without hesitation, he responded, “I didn’t just choose you once. I choose you every day. Migraine is part of what made you who you are, and even though I hate how much pain you are in, I hate even more that I can’t do anything to help you.”

Little do our loved ones know how much they keep our hearts beating. So many people talk about a love they would die for, but hardly ever do we discuss the loves for which we stay alive.

Getty image by Irina Gutyryak.

Originally published: March 2, 2021
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