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Dealing with Chronic Migraine without My Pain Pal

Back in June I wrote an article about the loss of my pain pal, called Losing My Pain Pal and it was published in July. It explains what I went through with my rescue boxer Cassius, what it was like having him, and what it was like losing him. Granted reading that article is still hard for me, but I have also noticed living with chronic daily migraines without Cassius is also hard on me. I knew that things would not be the same without him but it is harder than I expected it to be in all reality.

A new boxer

My husband was worried about his dog being alone because we had Cassius since his dog was just a year old and the two were a really bonded pair. So much so that when Sumo would dig a hole to get out of the fence, he would not wonder off if Cassius would not go out of the hole too! Subsequently, we went to the local shelters looking at available dogs and then took his dog to meet some of the available dogs. Surprisingly enough, Sumo did not pull too much of the Alpha dog stuff, which we were worried about, because even though he was the puppy in our home he was definitely the Alpha dog. We ended up with what the shelter had labeled as a 3-year-old Boxer.

Boy do I think they have the age way off on him. He still acts very much like a puppy. Unfortunately, he does not seem to have any natural sense about when I am in pain and he does not cuddle with me when I am in pain. What came so naturally to my last boxer is definitely no where present in this boxer. He is more of a terror than a pain pal. Despite all of the toys we have for the dogs, the second we are not home for a few minutes he destroys anything he can reach that is people stuff.

The surprising impact

The impact of losing Cassius still echoes in my life. I knew he was my pain pal and that having him helped me when I was completely miserable. Unfortunately, now I am seeing just how much comfort he provided me while I was in pain and now I am dealing with this pain without the comfort of having Cassius cuddled up with me. Considering that my husband works and then has things he wants to do after work to decompress on his own after work, he is not always an aid in the comfort department either. I did not realize how lonely these horrible pain days would be without my pain pal Cassius but now I am seeing just how miserably lonely it can be to get through the day and night. I can see that this feeling of loneliness is going to take an adjustment period for me, especially if one of the two dogs does not decide to pick up the torch and become a pain pal for me.

How do you cope alone with the pain?

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  • John1381
    1 year ago

    So sorry you are feeling lonely without your pal. I understand. You have had some huge changes in your life recently. Leaving work for me last year and being granted ill health retirement was very disconcerting, losing that connection with colleagues and friends is tough and to lose your pal is massive; I felt extremely lonely and redundant just leaving work.

    I realize you are an extremely aware and capable advocate for understanding migraine and its implications; I would have really struggled to accept my change in circumstances if I hadn’t had weekly counselling through the MIND charity – it has taken a year but has left me in a better acceptance of what is happening with migraine, change in circumstances and frustration. From there I managed to make some connections again with people and gradually the loneliness has decreased. It is a cliche but meant well, it really takes time to adjust but having someone to talk to regularly outside of family is, I feel, essential. You also need to be gentle and forgiving with yourself, that is hard to do but has really helped me (couldn’t have got to this stage without the counselling).

    Your new pal will take time and patience to adjust (I know you know this). My pal Hector is also a rescue with a host of terrible anxieties and it took several months before he decided that hopping up onto the bed when I am sick is a pretty good way for him to spend the day. It took him a long while to trust us and our dog trainer is invaluable, always with positive reinforcement as he can’t cope with anything else. He is still a nutcase but he can recognize when a smasher of a migraine is brewing and will stick with me until he makes me realize that I need to stop.

    Nothing new but time, talking, getting those thoughts out onto paper too and eventually finding some things that you can do that make you feel of value and happier.

    I wish you and your new boy well.

    Kind Regards,

    John and Hector the Metal Dog!

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    1 year ago

    Thank you for your sweet words. I do think my last boxer had my spoiled some. While he was also a rescue, he was immediately in tuned to the pain pal tasks. Even though he was a 130 lbs and terrified everyone who didn’t know better, he was a big baby. This one is just as friendly but definitely has yet to overcome his own demons. My old one would also do as yours and get under my feet until I realized it was time to stop and take it easy. Now I have had more thrown on me recently but don’t have that pain pal say hey it’s break time stubborn!!!
    I have noticed I’ve pulled away some and I believe youre correct on me needing to find a way to refocus that and connect again.
    Hugs! Amanda Workman(moderator and author)

  • klgm
    1 year ago

    So sorry about your precious Cassius. I lost my Petey a couple of years ago. He too “understood” Our new puppy hasn’t yet calmed down enough to empathize, but I think with time they both will.

    Please take care of yourself. Your new boy will learn how to interact. Our first boy was rowdy for at least 4 or 5 years. Then he became more soulfull as he got older.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    1 year ago

    When I rescued Cassius he was four. The SPCA told us the new one was three but he doesn’t appear to be three. Everyone who knows animals agrees with us that he is most likely more along the lines of 1.5 ish! I thought I was getting a calmer soul! Lol. Guess it will take some time since the age was wrong! Hopefully they don’t drive us crazy!
    Amanda Workman

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