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Chronic Illnesses
Old 08-29-2012, 07:01 PM
 
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My GF has some major health issues. Nothing you can SEE but she has them neurologically

At age 3 she had a traumatic head trauma and was epileptic. She was living in a rural part of Alaska, and prescribed adult doses of 3 different anti-seizure medications (none of which were approved for children, and one has been taken off the market) and was then prescribed methamphetamine to keep her awake, as the medications basically made her comatose.

She was on the medications until she was 7. (They waited 3 years for her to be seizure free.)

So her whole life she has worked hard just to keep ahead, despite constant fatigue and headaches, dizziness, stomach ailments, etc. Career wise, she has a lot more time, money, benefits, etc. now than ever before. Due to this timing, she has really been trying to find out what's wrong with her and it's sort of overtaken her life a little. She does medical research constantly- often late into the night.

Last night she said "you might as well break up with me. The prognosis isn't good." She said lots of studies point toward early onset Alzheimers and/or Parkinsons for those who were on one of the drugs she was on. She's 45 years old. She has a defeatist attitude and is generally pessimistic. I'm a total optimist and have a very "CAN DO" attitude. She continues to search for a diagnosis, finding out one thing after another about her health, going to new doctors, doing new(very expensive) tests. She was diagnosed with a sleep disorder during the last rounds of tests, but it was "ido" something or another- meaning they didn't know the cause. She was given aderol because she was so tired all the time. She also had MRIs and something else (cords glued to her head for 3 days?) and it turned up nothing.

Anyway, I really want to have a child (I would bear the child) and get married. We've been together 2 and a half years, but the last 8-10 months or so have been kind of rocky. I'm planning on getting a couple's therapist for us and see if that person can help us with some of our challenges. Ultimately, I want to be with someone who I can have a happy, fulfilling life with. I love her very much, and know she loves me, but there are challenges. She is often ill, and sleeps or stays in bed all weekend. When she is this way, she is also extra irritable sensitive, moody, quick to frustration. When she is like this I feel like my life is wasting away while we lay in bed watching movies with her, and treading egg shells so as not to get her upset. I just do stuff by myself or my mom when she is sick like this.

Anyway, I feel like leaving someone because they have health problems is kind of awful. Not kind of, really awful. However, to live the life I see for myself, I'm not sure how I feel about having that life with someone who is chronically ill. On the other hand, I feel like I am 35, LOVE HER A LOT, and am not really enthused or interested in starting over with someone else.

Any thoughts? You can be mean, I sort of half-expect it on PT.


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Old 08-29-2012, 07:16 PM
 
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Has she ever gone to Mayo clinic? I've heard you can go and hang-out and eventually they get you in. Not sure exactly what that means, but if I wanted to get to the bottom of things once and for all I would do that.

I would start and finish with that. You can learn quite a bit online, but I would not plan the rest of my life through it.

Almost half of your relationship has been 'rocky'. We all get comfortable in relationships. If you go to counseling, maybe you can at least determine if it is love or comfort.

Sorry, those are just my thoughts.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:18 PM
 
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I think you need to do what you think is best for you. For what it's worth, it doesn't sound like you are thinking about leaving because she has health problems, but instead because she has a negative outlook in life. That's a fundamental difference, regardless of health. How do you feel about raising children in that type of environment?

With regard to her health, plenty of people have epilepsy and live healthy, long lives. Just because she found something online, doesn't mean she is 100% going to have dementia.

In the scheme of life, I feel like 2 1/2 years is actually not that long. It sounds like things have been rough for 30% of your relationship, which is quite a bit.

You love her as a person, but do you love her as a life long partner? You can't stay with someone just because you are not interested in starting over...that is settling and will surely result in an unhappy future.
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tough decision
Old 08-29-2012, 07:22 PM
 
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Kermit I empathize with your struggle...but I have no answers. You must really search inside your soul to discover if this journey is for you or could your life benefit by ending this relationship. I have a similar situation. I have been in a beautiful relationship with my boyfriend for 5 years. One month into dating he shared with me that he was diagnosed with cardio myopathy (sp??)in 1999 and is now experiencing the decline associated with congestive heart failure. Our relationship has not changed much. He is truly only sick a few days a month and struggles to fight thru the pain and issues at all other time. I love him too much to turn back now...I try not to think of the future but it is certain his heart will eventually fail. You must do what is best for you. Maybe have her evaluated by a specialty hospital like the Mayo Clinic. Life is so difficult...best of luck to you!
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:23 PM
 
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Kermit- Reading this post and one other tonight you seem pretty stressed out. Be careful not to make decisions until you are more relaxed and can think clearly.

Living with a partner with chronic illness is a challenge. I'd been married for many years before my SO got seriously ill. Weigh the pros and cons of your current relationship. If you can have the help of a couples counselor or a counselor for you then you may see the picture more clearly sooner. While you have to make the decision that works for you include your GF In your discussions and thinking because assuming you know how she feels can be dangerous.

Internet medicine can be alarming. Based on my experience if your GF is able to see a variety of specialists she may finally get the medical help she needs. It took 2 years of seeing lots of doctors and having lots of tests and finally the least likely specialist correctly figured out my SO 's problem
And he is now on his way to either recovery or remission- we aren't sure which.


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Illness
Old 08-29-2012, 07:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Any thoughts? You can be mean, I sort of half-expect it on PT.
That's not good!!!

I don't think what you are thinking about is awful.

If you are thinking of ending the relationship, is it because she is ill or is it because the relationship just isn't working anymore? Two people can love each other with everything they have and still not find a way to make a relationship work. Do you only stay because you feel guilty to leave someone who is chronically ill?

In my mind, 2.5 years isn't that long of a relationship so to have some doubts at this point worries me. You have to decide if she is a person you could spend the rest of your life with, and if you and her have a child, she will be in your life forever even if the relationship doesn't last.

I think counseling is a great idea for the both of you. Does she go to counseling on her own as well? It sounds like she could use someone to talk to, especially if she is so worried about developing a terrible illness in the future. That must be a terrible fear to live with every day. It sounds like it is consuming her.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:24 PM
 
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I will give you advice as I see it from my perspective as a mom with a DS who has a chronic medical condition.

Would you want someone to leave you because you were chronically ill?

What if you walk away from this and find someone to be "content with" but can't have children?

Are you ready to live your life w/o your GF being a part of it?

Suppose you find someone else, fall in love, marry, have a child and then that SO is in a car accident that leaves them disabled? Walk out??

My DS, at 21, had a girl walk out on him soon after his diagnosis. I truly believe she was scared, and maybe influenced by her dad, what life had in store for them. She was young and I can understand the fear, but true love sees beyond that!

I know with all my heart that I would stick with my DH NO MATTER WHAT medical condition he might have some day. I also feel he feels the same way about me.

Life is not scripted. You have to decide what you are willing to have/possibly not have.
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:19 PM
 
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Based on your posts on PT, your relationship seems kind of like a roller coaster to me - lots of ups and downs. Even your tone in your posts is very different during the 'up' times.

Regardless of her illness, is she the right person to help you obtain the goals you have for your life? I know you have mentioned wanting to have a child before. It is obvious that is something you really want. Is she the right person to make this commitment with? Is bringing a child into the relationship a good idea? You would be a single mom during her down times. Is that what you picture for yourself or a child? Is it fair to a child?
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Old 08-30-2012, 03:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Based on your posts on PT, your relationship seems kind of like a roller coaster to me - lots of ups and downs. Even your tone in your posts is very different during the 'up' times.
I was going to say this as well. I think you need to separate the issues of chronic illness with that of whether or not she is the right person for you. If she's been sick all her life, then that is sort of ingrained into her personality and it might be hard to separate the two. It doesn't sounds like she is going to change so you have to figure out if you can deal with it and at the same time, bring a child into that atmosphere. Couples along with personal counselling seems like a good idea. It does worry me that you need this so relatively early in your relationship.

Quote:
You can be mean, I sort of half-expect it on PT
I think people in the lounge are overwhelmingly supportive. I bet less that 1 % would be considered mean. They just stand out.
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Old 08-30-2012, 04:08 AM
 
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It sounds as if she is also dealing with depression or anxiety. Has she looked into a therapist for herself and is she taking any anti-depressents?


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Kermit
Old 08-30-2012, 07:51 AM
 
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Quote:
is she taking any anti-depressents?
This was my first thought. I also agree that diagnosing yourself online can be a good news/bad news thing.

Does your SO want to have a baby? You didn't mention her feelings on the subject. Have you discussed how things will be when you are 3?

I think it's great that you will seek counseling together. Without knowing your SO, it sounds like she has some things to work through by herself too.

It sounds to me like the impending break-up would be due to personality differences, not chronic illness issues, but in your SO's case it's like the chicken and the egg, unfortunately.

((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))) )))) and a glass of wine for you, Kermit!
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From the perspective of someone ill
Old 08-30-2012, 08:45 AM
 
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It's not uncommon for someone who is ill to feel guilty and say things out of emotion. Afer my second brain surgery, I told my husband that he is free to start a new family and a new life with someone else if he wants to (of course he didn't want to and reassured me that I was worth the wait).

I'm glad you'll have the advice of a therapist soon!

((hugs)) for you as you figure this out!
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Oh, man!
Old 08-30-2012, 02:01 PM
 
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You guys have a lot going on, huh? I too would advise you to try to separate your feelings about her and her illness as hard as that may be...

I was just reading another thread with some great advice--Pretend someone you care about came to you with this scenerio--someone you love. What advice would you give them or at least want them to follow.

I too believe that all relationships have give and take, ups and downs, and ebbs and flows. BUT, if you are ALWAYS more giving, ALWAYS more up and ALWAYS more accommodating of her needs, is this a healthy relationship? I don't think you should leave her just because she has a chronic illness BUT I also don't think you should stay just because you don't want other people to think you are callous towards her chronic illness.

I think too it is important to find out if she is really still sick and/or depressed. A lot of people with childhood seizure disorders outgrow them. A lot of people have medical issues that are hard to diagnose. Some people also have depression that will manifest with the exact same symptoms you mentioned here:

Quote:
worked hard just to keep ahead, despite constant fatigue and headaches, dizziness, stomach ailments, etc.
I am NOT accusing her of faking anything, I'm just saying that she herself may have difficulty separating the two issues.

Now, personally, as for my opinion on the whole thing: No, I would not purposely have a child with a person with this situation happening. I am not sure I would stay or go either. BUT, if I was 35 and really wanting to have a child, I guess I would leaving her.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:27 PM
 
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I honestly don't know if the illness is real or psychosomatic. Even she said she wonders if she's just crazy!

In any case, I guess I'm such an optimistic person I keep thinking things will improve. Last winter I kind of forced myself to stay put until her testing was done. She got some medication in March and has been a lot better until we had this heat wave in August and it all started again. Things were still rough but they were better in terms of her energy level and mood.

I definitely don't give more. She does a lost all the housework and home improvement. She cares for the dogs at home on the week nights because she gets home before me. I do feel neglected somewhat emotionally though.

In terms of kids, they love her. She lights up like nothing else when holding a baby. She is an amazing aunt. Her niece and nephew adore her and they text all the time and come stay with us.

I love the way she is with children. We have a lot of the same beliefs about child-rearing. But that might not be enough.

I fear leaving for lots of silly reasons that might be excuses:

-I've gained weight since we started dating. I'm not really at my best. I have lots of misgivings about being single and dating.
- All our friends are basically mutual. Several of the friends I had before we met have moved. I have like, one couple friendship and my tiny family.
- I have nearly no family and her family has become mine. I only have my mom. I have family out of state that I rarely see/talk to.
- If I'm single a long time I may never have children
- I rely on her for rent/utilities/bills. We have two expensive dogs!
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