June is National Migraine Awareness Month

There’s no doubt that I’m the weak link in my family. Sometimes you have no choice in linguistic life but to turn to Yiddish to really say what you want to say.

So I’m not going to use the word ‘kvetch’ just because everybody knows it (even if I might have tendencies), but rather, if you delve deeper into the language, you will find the perfect word for my family members.  You will realize immediately that they are what is known as ‘shtarkers,’ or strong, stout folk.

They don’t get hurt, they don’t complain, they don’t carry on as if the sky is falling if they have muscle aches (and I’m not saying I do each and every one of these things – at least not all the time)–and, above all, they don’t get sick.
This lack–of –getting-sickness manifests itself in different ways. One family grandma states the theme : “Bubbies (Yiddish for grandmothers, you probably figured) don’t get sick.”
My mother– also a Bubbe–thinks the same.
Once you say Bubbies don’t get sick, then, no matter how lousy a Bubby really feels, she has to act like it’s alright.
So take this second Bubby , a life-long exerciser––she can have a sinus infection, arthritis, or, given how she acts when she’s sick, for all I know she could have typhus–and she would still be at that gym, six days a week, on the treadmill, spinning, and practicing her yoga.
Or there’s a family Zayde (grandpa)  who thinks getting up at 4:30 AM, even though he’s retired, is just the way to go. So the deal he made is that he would go to sleep early, maybe around nine or 9:30 (if you’re thinking this is fairly obvious, you really don’t know how my family and logic go together).
In short, that’s a joke. 10:30, 11:00–they pass regularly and still, sick or well – with one exception, which I hope I’m rapidly getting to – he’s out of bed before the paperman has thought of jumping in the shower.
I’m sure you don’t want my whole family’s lack of tales of woe, but I just finish with my brother to make the point. A highly–respected professor at a prestigious university, my brother basically works all the time in a field–he studies romantic relationships–fun enough that he has earned himself the moniker Dr. Love. For real. He and his computer are attached at the hip – yes, it goes with him to the bathroom.
Now, he will acknowledge certain conditions –he’ll agree that he might have shin splints for the 3rd time –but, once acknowledged, he still won’t let them stop him from working. Now that he has a walking treadmill, he can continue to work and exercise no matter the obstacle.  Except…
When he has a migraine. Then the shades are drawn, the room is dark, the computer is on the floor, the garbage basket is nearby in case the nausea gets too bad, and Dr. Love, like Zayde, who can take to bed for two or more days, and Bubbe (who’s grateful she’s close to the bathroom, as the waves of nausea come—and who actually–I know this is hard to believe–skips a day at the gym), is completely incapacitated.
These unstoppable three are stopped: stopped from handstands at the gym, stopped from publishing papers on romantic forgiveness, stopped from putting in 19-1/2-hour days–stopped by the terrible power of the migraine headache.
It is worth having a month during which we spend some time thinking about how debilitating this type of a headache can be.
The infographic below gives you some fascinating numbers on the migraine–and starts us thinking about how disabling the migraine.  But first, a word from your sponsor.
Some Random Migraine Facts
  • That “28 million” number from the infographic–that’s equivalent to around 10-20% of the U.S. population.
  • Additionally, of the above number, 4.5 million have more than 1 attack per month.
  • Migraine suffers lose an estimated 157 million workdays each year due to head pain.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone with a migraine.
  • Here’s a good one–a treatment for migraines made it into the oldest medical manuscript in existence. Called the Ebers Papyrus (not surprisingly put together by one George Ebers) and dating back at least to 1200 BC, it’s a collection of medical treatments for various pains, with–count ’em–twelve treatments for headaches.  However, migraine was considered as a separate category. The manuscript prescribes “to eliminate the disease in. . .[the] head,” one should try, “fruit of coriander…made into a mass, honey is mixed with it, the head is bandaged therewith so that it goes immediately well with him.”
  • Today treatment is often divided into 4 sections: preventative or prophylactic, trigger management, attack abortion, and general pain management.

I hope you spend a moment on the infographic below to commemorate  Migraine Awareness Month. Here’s an additional 4 activities to help make an impact:

Check out the American Headache and Migraine Association’s website. They’re the movers and the shakers behind this month, and they offer more facts plus:

1.  Ideas about sharing migraine facts via social media;

2. A month-long blogging challenge–you write a post every day using their prompts [I can’t decide if they’re cute or too-cute: Day 15 is: “Harry Potter: Write & name a spell for getting rid of a Migraine/Headache;” 26 is “Men in Black: Migraine Neuralizer: How do you cope with the way Migraine/Headache Disorders can impact our memories?”];

3. A photo challenge: Here you’re to take and share a photo each day of the month using a series of prompts  they give you for inspiration–then share them on the social media sites;

4. They entertain the option that you’ve got something better going than the above ideas.  If you’ve got an event for them that they don’t know about. I’m guessing–I know, I’m really going out on a limb here–that no one reading this does, but in case you do, contact Diana Lee at SomebodyHealMe@Gmail.com.

Headache? Find out all about migraines in today's GoFigure infographic.