Will Cindy McCain be successful in raising awareness and funds for chronic migraine headache research? We hope so. Cindy McCain, wife of Senator John McCain, is one of millions of women who suffer from migraine headaches. Chronic migraine symptoms include severe head pain, nausea, stomach cramping, visual disturbances, and extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and scents.
A bottle of spilled perfume served as the Kryptonite to her chronic migraines a year back while Cindy was traveling overseas; the overpowering smell nearly knocked her unconscious. Her migraine radar went into maximum overdrive, causing a migraine attack unlike any she had ever experienced. Head throbbing madly, nausea threatening to consume her entire body, Cindy disembarked and returned home.
Cindy speaks up
Since then, Cindy has pledged to do everything in her power to educate American citizens about migraines as a neurological disorder, and to raise funds for migraine treatment. Currently, Congress favors $13 million towards migraine research, a pitiful sum compared to the $20 billion deficit per year accrued through migraine-related lost wages, disability, and medical bills. Migraine Sufferer to World: It’s not just a Headache, People!
Cindy feels your pain- really.
Migraine symptoms may discriminate by sex (women get more migraines than men by 3 to 1), but when it comes to wealth and status, they’re an equal-opportunity destroyer. Unlike popular belief, migraines are not a poor woman’s disease. Related: 6 Migraine Myth-conceptions
Mrs. McCain describes the following symptoms when speaking to the public about her migraines:
- Excruciating head pain comparable to Traumatic Brain Injuries, the medical term for head trauma received by soldiers in heavy combat.
- Ultra-sensitivity to light. Even a moderate light setting can trigger fierce migraine attacks. “Sunglasses are a migraine sufferer’s best friend,” she says.
- Stress-related weight loss. At 5’7”, Cindy once weighed less than 100 pounds.
- Because of migraine stigma, Cindy avoided migraine diagnosis until the age of 40, fearing others would think she was “neurotic.”
- Sleep deprivation led to debilitating migraines that sent her to the emergency room on more than one occasion.
- Migraine symptoms varied for Cindy. She often experienced migraine auras, tinnitus (ear ringing), nausea, and blindness in her left eye, depending on the migraine headache trigger.
- After suffering a stroke in 2004, Cindy stopped taking preventative migraine medications. She now relies on triptans, a form of abortive migraine treatment.
A cure for migraines or die trying
After addressing a crowd in Philadelphia, Cindy hopes to continue her campaign to Capitol Hill. Her mission: to convince Congress to raise funds allocated towards migraine research. Cindy hopes to appeal to them by bringing to their attention the astounding numbers of migraine sufferers, many of whom suffer in silence.
“I’m missing a large part of my life,” she said. “I want to stay active. I want a cure.”