Advocacy for my Migraine Toolkit

By Heidi Brehm

Advocacy is an essential part of my migraine treatment tool kit. It’s as effective as managing my diet, daily exercise, meditation and mindfulness, taking supplements, and healthy sleep habits. It is more powerful than any of the preventative prescription treatments I’ve tried (and I’ve tried many). That’s why I’m so happy that at this year’s Headache on the Hill (HOH) I
got a big, wonderful dose of Advocacy.

Advocacy isn’t able to make my symptoms disappear but it is extremely powerful because it gives me:

Hope – From the moment that I applied to HOH, I began to anticipate a trip to Washington D.C. HOH also gives me hope for the future. It is encouraging to know that a group of patients, doctors, and researchers are working to convince Congress to support migraine and headache research and treatments.

Purpose – I was able to link my life to a cause bigger than myself. This year at HOH we had meetings at 201 Congressional offices to ask for co- sponsorship of the Opioids and STOP Pain Initiative Act of 2017 (S.2260, H.R.4733) which, among other things, will allocate funding to discover and develop new migraine and headache therapies. Empowerment- HOH helps me transform my view of myself as a victim into the image of a warrior fighting for the care I deserve.

Community – 148 advocates from 39 different states gathered for HOH 2018. Chronic migraine can be so isolating. It was wonderful to be reminded that I’m part of a large, intelligent, and powerful team.

Value– Advocacy let’s me know that others care about me, they empathize with my suffering and frustration, and they are willing to fight with me. In the last few weeks, my friends and family have sent letters to their Senators and Representative supporting the bill I went to Washington D.C. to get co-sponsored and passed. The legislative aides, with whom I met
during HOH, showed concern for our plight and expressed their willingness to help us. They conveyed that my life, and the lives of others in pain, have worth.

Want a two minute dose of advocacy? Send a letter supporting the Opioids and STOP Pain Initiative Act of 2017 to your Members of Congress using this link.

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