The value of pets and finding peace amidst migraines
Shelby and Max

Pets are wonderful companions and I think many of us will agree that they provide a special kind of support during times we don’t feel 100%.

My beagle, Max, has been the most loving and supportive canine companion I could imagine. Whether I need to rest to try to alleviate migraine symptoms, or go for an easy walk in the neighborhood, he provides sweet companionship. It is true that a beloved pet provides unconditional love and affection. 

I’d easily say that Max and I look after one another. I’ve been there for him through his medical ups and downs (hypothyroidism and severe allergy reactions) and he’s there for me with my migraines. He cheers me up with his antics on my sluggish days and he motivates and energizes me when he wants to play tug-of-war.

When having a migraine attack, or coming out of one, he reminds me that simple things and activities are the most satisfying and good health is paramount. I want to continue to push forward and feel my best because if I don’t, then I’m missing out on things that bring me great peace and happiness.

We all find motivation in different sources. Max is a great motivator for me. I know he needs to be fed his three small meals each day because of his digestive issues. I know he needs to be walked. I know he needs to have plenty of activity and affection. He motivates me to stop acting sluggish and move around – and I do it, because I know he needs me.

I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce “Migraine Max,” a cartoon rendering of my boy. The Migraine Max image is to provide a slice of warm cheer to all of us in the migraine community.

Migraine Max

Fatigue is one of the major side effects I get from migraines. That initially took me by surprise. I’m an organized person who thrives on accomplishing tasks and staying busy, whether it’s cleaning the house, biking, grocery shopping, or finalizing work. 

I admit to being a “Type A” personality. Migraines have forced me to learn to be flexible, understand my limits, and really analyze what “needs” to be done each day. I wish I was kidding when I say I always have a “to do” list – even for simple things. But over the past few years, I’ve finally learned to be okay moving tasks to the following day if needed. 

In general, I have the desire to be in optimal health.  If you genuinely desire to be something, it is easier to achieve it. For instance, I want to be a kind and caring daughter, friend, niece, or cousin because I want to be there for others. I want to have an opportunity to share in special moments, create memories, and hopefully enrich someone else’s life. We all have different things that tug at our heart strings and ways we would like to make a difference in someone’s life. Some days that is easier than other days. But if you commit yourself to being a healthy, happy person, it is greatly satisfying.

Coming next: Find the best physician for you, a.k.a. “How to fire your doctor”