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Michele Bachmann: Raising the Question of The Impact of Migraine

You likely know by now that presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has migraine. Whether her migraine episodes could impede her ability to run the country is one of the major questions now posed by news media. Let me repeat: Migraine, long dismissed as “just a headache,” is being treated as a serious threat to someone’s ability to be president.

Bachmann’s announcement has opened the media to a long-needed public conversation about the severity of migraine. A wide audience is being told that a migraine episode is more debilitating than a bad headache that can be relieved with OTC painkillers. Granted, Bachmann is not helping advance public understanding of migraine by scrambling to downplay the severity of her illness.

The mere fact that having migraine has caused such an uproar is heartening. Yes, many people are scoffing at the idea that “a headache” is a big deal. Others are saying that Bachmann being president would cause anyone to have migraines. Nonetheless, some people are realizing for the first time that a migraine episode is severely debilitating. Such understanding is necessary for migraineurs to receive adequate treatment and compassion, and, ultimately, support funding for migraine research.

(Speaking of opening the conversation, CNN just posted a story highlighting the seriousness of migraine.)

4 Responses to Michele Bachmann: Raising the Question of The Impact of Migraine

  1. kate says:

    good points, kerrie!

    initially, all i felt was that i didn’t want to be associated with that woman in any way, migraine being such a defining factor in my life. i realize that is quite illogical, but i find that logic-management is pretty challenging under chronic pain conditions.

    next i thought that she does look more wild-eyed on some days than others. her ideas aside, i can imagine that some of her wilder moments COULD be occurring during prodrome, or from pain meds. suddenly, that part of her behavior felt very familiar to me.

    what angers me is the type of cuts to healthcare she would hope to make if she were, and i can barely write this, president. SHE HAS plenty of money for all the triptans that medicare won’t pay for.

    last i checked, medicare didn’t cover “any medication that is JUST for migraine, because migraine is not a life threatening illness.” ie.: it covered pain meds and all the other types of meds we use that are also used for other illnesses, but not the triptans because they were solely created “just” for migraines. yes – i was told that over the phone with a medicare rep when trying to find a triptan they would cover, even AFTER imitrex went generic. (i haven’t checked again RECENTLY, so there could be a change. if anyone knows, please tell me! – i’m too exhausted to make the call right now… maybe monday…..)

    ANYWAY, i do hope that some of the news coverage includes more details of what “migraine” really is, and why it IS disabling for many of us. also, more info on the RANGE of migraine illness. tons of people have migraine on a scale that allows them to live and work fully; i used to be like that for many years. it isn’t one-size-fits-all, and it may have nothing to do with her, uh, fitness for duty…

  2. Katie Burke says:

    I started an email to you the day I read about this in the news, because I wanted to know your thoughts. I opted against sending the email, figuring I’d speak with you about it in person at some point.

    I’m glad you wrote about this. Your perspective is exactly as I guessed it would be. I, too, am glad people are taking migraine seriously in this debate.

    It’s amazing how the truth emerges (i.e., migraines are debilitating) when it serves people’s interests (i.e., weakening a candidate’s odds) to tell it.

  3. kate says:

    hi again – i just have to update my little tirade about triptans and medicare. i did find out today that at least the generic of imitrex is covered. just an f.y.i.

    i don’t know about other triptans.

    ********
    Thanks for the update!

    Kerrie

  4. genny says:

    Hi

    I have been fighting an employment tribunal for three years over getting my migraines taken seriously. Ironically, my attempts to achieve this led to even more migraines as a result of the stress I was under.

    I eventually won my case and exposed the appalling behaviour of my ex-employers towards me. I’m putting as much as I can about the case up on my blog http://notavow.wordpress.com in the hope that it might help other migraine sufferers to get justice and encourage their employers to treat them fairly.

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