Visit our message boards any day, and you'll find posts from people whose main problem with Migraine care is Attitude — not theirs, but that of some medical professionals, some media, and much of the general public. Too many people still don't realize that Migraine is a genetic neurological disease. They still stereotype us, consider us "drug seekers," and continue to misunderstand Migraine disease. When Michael John Coleman, the director of MAGNUM, the National Migraine Association, and the rest of the MAGNUM staff discovered that Elvis Presley was reported to have been a Migraineur, they set out to investigate. The article below is the result of his months of in-depth research.
In the heartland of the country, Migraine sufferer Jennifer Johnson is rushed to a Wisconsin emergency room. Jennifer, who suffers from just a few Migraines a year, was not responding to her home OTC (over-the-counter) treatment regimen and so came to the ER to put an end to the severe pain and nausea caused from her three-day-long debilitating Migraine attack. But to her shock and dismay, this Midwest emergency room would only add to her suffering. The ER refused to give her treatment, and, in frustration and disabling pain, she went to the only other hospital in the small city. Jennifer, like so many other Migraineurs, could pass a drug test with flying colors, does not drink alcohol, and hates smoking. But based upon her 'look' and a health care professional's misinterpretation of the existence of 'migraine behavior,' Jennifer was assumed to be a 'drug seeker' and was turned away. This scenario, unfortunately, is nothing new, as Americans have been misunderstanding the behavior of Migraine sufferers for decades. Some well-known Americans have had to endure this misunderstanding, oftentimes negatively affecting their legacy. The most recent findings reveal the fact that the king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley, suffered from Migraines and that his condition has been greatly misunderstood.
One of the corner stones of any disease awareness campaign is letting patients know that they are not alone in their suffering, but instead are in good company. Accordingly, MAGNUM, the National Migraine Association, gets very positive responses from sufferers who visit their web site, and communications indicate that Migraine sufferers find great comfort in the knowledge that they are not alone. Knowing that others have accomplished great things in spite of their Migraine disability is empowering. Compiling a list of famous Migraineurs is a daunting task, however, as many have hidden the fact that they have Migraine (or 'sick headaches' as they where known in the past). Furthermore, as pointed out by Dr. Stuart R. Stark, Director of the Neurology & Headache Treatment Center in Alexandria, Virginia, many persons with Migraines are misdiagnosed, further fogging the issue. Many individuals do or did not realize that they suffer from Migraines and instead dangerously blamed their illness on depression or other somatoforms.