In response to complaints about the women and shopping ad, Excedrin Migraine has replaced that “fact” on Migraine.com. The new ad says “70% to 80% of people who get migraines have a family history of the disorder.” Thanks for all your comments. Please stop by Excedrin Migraine’s Facebook and Twitter pages to thank them.
Migraine, chronic or not, has a profound impact on those who experience it, yet even well-meaning family, friends, coworkers and health care professionals often think of it as “just a headache.” An Open Letter to People Without Migraine was intended for my personal Facebook page — until I realized the message was too crucial to limit to a private sphere and decided it belonged on Migraine.com. It begins:
I have a migraine attack 28 days a month. I tell you this not for pity or shock value, but to beg for a smidgen of your comprehension. I want you to understand that migraine is not a bad headache, but a neurological disorder that affects every system of the body. You see, the unbearable head pain that migraine is known for is only one symptom of the illness.
For the rest of the post, which may be the most important piece I’ve ever written, please see An Open Letter to People Without Migraine and share accordingly.
Today is one of those days when I find it hard to believe that this is my life. After a 20-minute pep talk to get off the couch and make lunch, I made it the five steps into the kitchen doorway and collapsed in a heap on the floor. Though protein probably would have helped me feel better, the 15 steps to the refrigerator posed an insurmountable obstacle. As I slumped on the floor, I kept thinking, “Is this really my life?”
It was one of those times that I could observe myself from outside my body. I did not feel sorry for myself or obsess over the unfairness. I just watched, in awe that this relatively young body could be incapable of performing such simple functions. That my neurological system could flame out so dramatically.
Most people think my life is dominated by constant head pain. Yes, the throbbing, stabbing pain often reaches indescribable heights. I also have a mind that works at half-capacity, unable to connect concepts, complete thoughts or find words; a body with so little energy it feels as if all my muscles have been wrung out; nausea that causes my stomach to cramp. Sometimes I black out and wake up drenched in sweat. I so wish migraine were “just a headache.”
After all these years, I can still be surprised by the severity of this illness, astonished by my frequent reality. This really is my life.