What do you think?
July 19th, 2011 - Posted by Diana Lee
I’ve got to be honest here: I’m not a fan of Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R), who has recently announced her intention to run for president in 2012 and even more recently been exposed as a chronic migraine sufferer.
Bachmann and I don’t agree about even one single issue, and I’m not a fan of her high-strung approach to garnering attention. But as a fellow migraineur I can’t possibly sit idly by while the media mischaracterizes migraine disease as a convenient way to make it look like she’s incapable of serving as president. While I don’t agree with her views, there is absolutely nothing about living with migraine disease that disqualifies her from being our first female president.
It’s appalling enough for anyone to be speculating about how incapacitated she might be by this disease based entirely on rumors from former members of her staff. But what’s much worse to me is the incorrect characterization of her problem as “stress related episodes”. What year is this? 2011? You could have fooled me into thinking it was more like 1911 when migraine was treated as a woman’s trouble and weakness suffered by those who couldn’t handle the ordinary stresses of every day life.
The most offensive article of them all (the one that “broke” this story and stole her choice to come public at a time of her choosing or not at all) claims she engages in “heavy pill use” as a result of these so-called stress episodes. Hey, guess what? Most chronic migraineurs take a lot of pills. Why the need to make it sound like she’s an addict in need of rehab because she takes medications for a chronic medical condition? Are diabetics addicts for needing their insulin and/or oral medications? Of course not. This news outlet (using the term news loosely, of course) has absolutely no idea what medications she is taking. Even if some of them are narcotics, what is wrong with that? Narcotics are there for people in pain, for goodness sake.
You’ll probably hear people talking about this given the attention the story is receiving. I encourage you to educate people when you hear them repeating the misinformation that’s running wild out there. As migraineurs we know what it’s really like to live with migraine disease, what really causes our attacks and what we are capable of accomplishing despite them. Please set the record straight anytime you get a chance. This isn’t about politics. It’s bigger than that. It’s about stigma and a scary tendency in our society to continue to treat diseases experienced predominately by women as a sign of weakness. We know better. We’re as tough as they come.
On the campaign trail in South Carolina, Michele Bachmann should have been basking in the glow of new polls showing her surging among national Republican primary voters.
Instead, the day was overshadowed by her acknowledgment Tuesday that she suffers chronic migraine attacks — an issue that threatened to spiral out of control as the media sought more details about a potentially debilitating condition.
While Bachmann sought to put the matter to rest with a statement denying that migraines interfere with her ability to work or with her ability to serve as president, more evidence surfaced raising questions about her condition.
In confirming several incidents first reported Tuesday by The Daily Caller, a conservative online publication, POLITICO found new details of the effect migraines have had on Bachmann’s performance and their pervasive impact on her congressional office.
In March 2006, migraines Bachmann suffered in the aftermath of an appendectomy prolonged her recovery from surgery, causing her to suspend her campaign and miss a week of work in the Minnesota state Senate, where she served at the time.
A migraine attack in May 2010 forced Bachmann to retreat to her congressional office and lie down in the dark. She managed to attend early afternoon congressional votes before flying to California to attend two political events, but she was in pain much of the time and sought emergency treatment. When Congress reconvened the following Tuesday, Bachmann missed a day of votes.
In July 2010, Bachmann missed eight House votes while being treated and released for a migraine by a Washington hospital. Her staff at the time said an unspecified illness was the reason for the missed votes. The attack caused her to cancel a campaign trip. According to her own account, it took her four days to recover.
One former top Bachmann staffer, who denied being a source of the Daily Caller report, told POLITICO the congresswoman’s migraines were so prevalent that the entire office and campaign staff — even interns — knew about the problem.
“Within the Bachmann team, this was not a secret about her headaches and the problems and doors going closed. It could be anyone from an intern to a chief of staff that could be aware of this,” the staffer said.
This staffer said it was a common for the congressional office to literally go dark when Bachmann had a migraine.
The congresswoman would go into her personal office, turn off the lights and close the door, sometimes for hours, waiting for the headache to pass, the staffer said.
“On multiple occasions, we had to basically turn out the lights in her office, shut the door and put a virtual do-not-disturb sign on her office for hours on end so she could lie there and try to recuperate from the headaches,” according to the staffer.
Bachmann’s campaign declined to give specific details of any such incidents. Spokeswoman Alice Stewart, who joined the campaign a month ago, said she had not witnessed any debilitating episodes, noting that Bachmann pursues a “grueling” and “intense” campaign schedule and has yet to miss an event on the trail.
In her statement Tuesday, read at a South Carolina event, Bachmann acknowledged that she suffers from migraines and takes medication to treat them. But she denied that the condition — a neurological disorder characterized in part by its incompatibility with normal activity — interferes with her work.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0711/59433.html#ixzz1SgfC4FP8