Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More than a Headache

I'm laying here next to my mom; almost feeling guilty for last night. After a long car drive, my parents were relaxing and watching the news. They had just seen a news broadcast on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and her run for the presidential office in 2012. My parents were commenting back and forth on different things while I was trying to catch up on some of my reading.

Shortly after their conversation, I came across Diana Lee's post In defense of Michele Bachmann, Migraineur, Congresswoman, Presidential Candidate. Since I'm always trying to bring awareness to the Migraine cause and since they were just talking about her, I mentioned that she was also a Migraineur and that this was being brought out in the campaign as a way of showing how she was unfit for the office. They called it a 'stress related condition' and since she controls her Migraines with medication, the smear campaign said she has 'heavy pill use'. Are we going back to the days when presidents have to hide their wheelchairs?

Anyway, going off track as I normally do while talking to my parents, I went on to say typical stuff people will say like 'it's all in your head'. My mother laughed and said 'if you think about it, it is all in your head'. Of course I couldn't let that fly. I know I kind of started it, but I can't let that go by as a joke especially by someone who not only had Migraines in the past (even if she didn't know they were Migraines), but has grandchildren, nieces, great-nieces and many more relatives with Migraine disease. Besides, what kind of an advocate for Migraine rights would I be if I pretended to laugh along.

I immediately said I didn't think it was funny. She tried backtracking a little, but with it being late and after the long drive, I was probably a little too relentless. I mentioned all of her direct descendants with Migraine disease, how hard it is for us to get people or doctors to believe us that our Migraines are not all in our heads not to mention how much money we spend for our Migraines. I asked about some of the other symptoms that are not 'in our heads'. As I said, I was not very kind to mom and probably feel a little guilty this morning.

I think I am tired of being discounted and fighting for everything I have and will still need around Migraines. I am tired of not being believed. I am tired of having to push doctors toward better treatment. I don't want this for my son, my nieces, my other relatives, my internet friends or anyone else. This Congresswoman shouldn't be discounted because she has Migraines. Should all of these other famous Migraineurs have been discounted too? This extensive list even includes President John F Kennedy as a possible Migraineur.

I will follow up with mom today and talk to her more about Migraine disease and how the headache is only one phase of a Migraine attack. I know she thought she was being funny, but this is very serious business to me. I think she did get that point last night, but I can't let this opportunity pass by to soften up last night a little and educate a little more. Urg...



Diana Lee said...

I'm so sorry things went that way between you and your mom. I know you're a very kind person, and I think you're probably being a little too hard on yourself about how things went down.

I also think people just don't understand how painful it can be for someone to belittle a condition that has caused us so much pain and suffering.

But seriously, try not to beat yourself up, okay? (((hugs)))

MigrainePuppet said...

Thank you, Diana. I know I am a little too sensitive around joking about Migraines and am trying not to react so quickly. Mom and I had a really good talk today. I think she was happy to get more information around Migraine.

Steph R said...

What I think is rather remarkable is the degree of success that Bachmann has been able to achieve given the severity of the migraine condition.
I have seen several reports that link together the depression, financial strain and overall drain on the quality of life migraines subject suffers too.
Regardless of her politics, I think there could be benefit in that her condition is elevated to the level public discourse and highlights the need for equitable attention for migraine sufferers, especially in the private health insurance realm.

MigrainePuppet said...

Steph - I thinks it's incredible too. I would love to see all of this press take off in the direction of education on Migraines and public awareness. Thank you for the link.