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16 August 2016

BlogHer 2016 and More to Migraine

It's been almost two weeks since the BlogHer 2016 Conference took place in Los Angeles. As a member of the BlogHer community, I had been very aware of their famous conferences held annually.  BlogHer is home to the largest women's conferences.  I had never imagined that I would have the opportunity to attend one.

Back in June, I received an email about a speaking opportunity at BlogHer 2016.  Teva Pharmaceuticals was interested in me being on their More to Migraine panel/breakfast to share my experience with migraine.  Teva was one of the sponsors of the conference and they are also the ones behind the More to Migraine campaign.  The purpose of this campaign is to act as an informational forum, providing a place for individuals to share about migraine in order to help people have informed conversations about their condition with their healthcare providers.

I immediately was on board.  To have the chance to speak candidly and honestly about migraine at such a huge venue was beyond my wildest imaginations.  Never in a million years would I think my little blog would grant me this kind of exposure.  And I would be in great company.  On this panel is Dr. Susan Hutchinson, a headache specialist and migraine sufferer, Shannon Albert, a patient speaker, and Serene Branson, our moderator.
More to Migraine: More to Life
Almost everyone I know in the migraine community knows about Serene and her on air migraine.  Serene is a television reporter for CBS2/KCAL9 in Los Angeles.  In 2011, she was filming a live shot outside the Grammy Awards when her first migraine struck.  What she suffered on air was transient aphasia (losing the ability to speak, read or write).  Watch the video below to learn what happened that night and how it affected Serene.

Needless to say, I was nervous and excited to participate.  I never had to speak about myself or my illness on this scale.  And why me?  How did they narrow down their choice to my blog out of all the wonderful migraine bloggers out there?  Trust me when I say that this is extremely humbling.

At the breakfast, we had an organic conversation about migraine.  Teva wanted to change the conversation about it and let everyone know that there is more to migraine than just being a headache.  Having so many bloggers at the conference was a great opportunity for them share this information with their readers, many of whom probably live with migraine.  We talked about -
  • our symptoms, 
  • managing our triggers, 
  • ways migraine has impacted us emotionally or mentally,
  • life events we missed out on due to migraine,
  • what we want people to understand about migraine, and
  • what we would do if migraine wasn't always on our minds. 
As we were talking, I saw so many nods of agreement from the audience (nearly 100 people showed up!) and looks of relief and acceptance.  So many still suffer in silence because of the stigma that migraine is just a headache that can be cured with two aspirin.  Near the end of the discussion, Serene asked of the room how many had migraine and nearly 3/4 of the room's hands went up.  We were astonished.  These are women who blog about lifestyle, beauty, parenting, food, etc. but not about their illness.  They were often dealing with the guilt and lack of understanding that comes with migraine alone and behind closed doors.  During that hour, their pain and experiences were validated and it was an amazing feeling to be a part of that.

I know how it feels to have your pain questioned and minimized to something an OTC can fix.  It was an experience that I will never forget.  We had a positive impact on many people that Saturday morning.

L to R: Myself, Shannon Albert, Dr. Hutchinson, Serene Branson

Besides the panel, I had the chance to participate in some of the events during the conference.  My daughter and I saw Sheryl Crow and Kim Kardashian West during one of the Keynote luncheons and went to many of the sponsored events.  I've included a slideshow of some of our experiences.  I hope to be able to go to next year's conference and continue to advocate and help others with migraine.

Stay Well!

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1 comment :

  1. I applaud you and the work you do. Migraines are a under-talked-about topic and they can be so serious! As this video shows, migraines can be debilitating. I used to suffer from very frequent migraines and I could not manage to do anything during those times! It's time the subject was talked about more and there was more done about the pain it causes.


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