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“Love and Other Drugs”

image from wikipedia

I just watched this movie. It’s about a girl who has been diagnosed with early-onset Parkinsons disease, and is learning to deal with the implications of a life of debilitating chronic illness ahead.

She’s only a year older than me in the movie, so that was something that really hit close to home. Granted, she’s dealing with a different illness, but a lot of the underlying adjustment issues are similar. Most notable, in the movie, was the question of relationships and marriage.

Throughout the movie, Maggie is fighting to not only come to terms with her illness but also the implications it has on her life plans. This means figuring out how to deal with the illness and also how to deal with any future romantic relationships. This struck home for me. It’s something that I’ve personally been dealing with a lot lately. (I’m sure my poor friends @fragileannie and @kimbellybull could testify to this, as they are the ones who usually have to listen to me.)

All the symptoms, so many meds at so many times during the day, plus the doctors appointments and lab draws. Then there are the cancellations on previously made social commitments and the major changes to life plans post diagnosis. I mean, I can barely even manage to deal with my illness myself. My parents are clearly still coming to terms with my new life too.

With that in mind, how can I ask someone to sign up to deal with something that I can barely deal with myself? Aren’t relationships hard enough without all these extra burdens? It isn’t easy to watch someone live with pain and suffering. Is it really fair for me to ask someone to put up with all this extra pain?

Of course, being stuck at home doesn’t make it easy to find someone worth dating. As @fragileannie pointed out the other day, what I need is someone who likes to stay home a lot so he won’t be fussed that I need to be home a lot. Too bad both of us being home a lot makes it really hard for us to meet. Heh. The point is, though, I’m not really sure I’m even actively looking anymore. I’m not convinced it’s fair to the other person. I know enough people who struggle with their spouses/life partners/boyfriends/girlfriends/etc acceptance of their illnesses and limitations. That being said, I know enough people with chronic illnesses who do have happy, supportive relationships. So it’s possible. I guess this is something I’m still struggling with myself, but it was really interesting to watch this movie and watch how Maggie dealt with this issue.


5 Responses

  1. I was concerned about that when I was diagnoses with AS. I didn’t ask my boyfriend to deal with it or to stay when I was diagnosed. I didn’t hide from him my illness or the fact that I could become paralyzed in a wheelchair, that I may never be able to have children, work, or even do housework. He loved me just the same. Our relationship was built on love for the whole person and my AS does not define me it is just a piece of who I am. With his love and support o feel I’ve better been able to cope and survive this disease. I am finishing my PhD in Clinical psych, I have been able to work part time and even have a baby with my husband. I am now a stay at home mom. Some days are harder than others especially doing chores but my husband understands. The days I cannot get out of bed he brings me books and food and rubs my feet. The days I feel good I cook, clean, run errands and tend to our three dogs. It’s not always pretty, we don’t go out all the time and I rarely am able to hang out with friends but my husband loves every part of me, ankylosing spondylitis and all! I truly hope that you find a relationship like I have.

    • Stories like yours give me hope that there might be someone out there wiling to deal with all this stuff. I’m so glad you’ve found someone who is so supportive and makes you so happy! 🙂

      I don’t think my diseases define me. I do, however, think that I wouldn’t be too surprised if a guy balked and then bailed after hearing about what he’d be dealing with long term. Even if they don’t define me, they are a big part of my existence.

  2. Thanks for sharing this movie with us. During your summary I was reminded of how I felt in college, when I was going through many of the same emotions as the girl in the movie.

    I encourage you to keep your heart open to a relationship. I know that The Helpful Hubby finds a lot of value in me and our relationship. Sure, there are times when fibromyalgia adds stress to his life, but there are also time that I relieve stress from him life. It is all give and take. He knew I had fibromyalgia at the start of our relationship too.

  3. I’m happy to find your blog! Up until May I too was a grad student with lupus. Now, I’m enjoying the health benefits of unemployment. 🙂
    I’m not a big chick flick fan, but this movie spoke to me as an individual with a chronic illness. My husband watched it with me, and held me as I felt (and cried, only a bit!) for the main character.
    The right person doesn’t “sign up” to deal with your illness. They volunteer to be with you… all of you. That’s what my husband has done for me and I know you’ll find that soon.
    I hope you’ll check out my blog as well.

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