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Interview with Cindy McCain: Migraine Sufferer, Advocate

by Teri Robert, Lead Expert

"I'm going to put together an action committee to go door-to-door in Congress, particularly the Senate, to make them understand... to make them understand how little research there is, the huge number of people impacted... to make them understand what the economic problems caused by Migraine are too. We need to testify in front of Congress."

"Hi, I'm Cindy," were the words that went with the warm welcome this morning when Nancy and I met with Mrs. Cindy McCain to talk about Migraine disease. With a genuine smile making her eyes sparkle, she set the tone for a conversation that was exhilarating, touching, funny, and real.

If you missed the information leading up to this, Mrs. McCain is delivering the keynote address at the International Headache Congress this after noon in Philadelphia. Mrs. McCain has been dealing with problem Migraines for 15 years now, and she's faced many of the problems that so often seem to follow Migrainuers around like a black cloud.

Mrs. McCain's main Migraine triggers include changes in barometric pressure, odors such as strong fragrances, and disturbed sleep and meal schedules. In addition to her wouldn't-be-caught-dead-without sunglasses, a couple of comfort items she takes with her are ice packs and a gift from a woman in Virginia - a hand-made warming item that she can warm in the microwave and drape around the back of her neck.

As too many Migraineurs are, Mrs. McCain was misdiagnosed at first. She talks about it being "demeaning" when a family practice doctor told her that she had four children, was stressed, and needed to go home and "sleep it off." He told her to "get over it." How many of of have heard that or something similar? She has now found a Migraine and headache specialist to work with toward better Migraine management and an improved quality of life.

She agrees that there's still a stigma attached to having Migraines, especially for women, commenting that men are usually taken more seriously. Another reason for the stigma, she notes, is that too few people understand the huge difference between Migraines and headaches.

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