Previous month:
August 2017

January 2018

Missing My Favorite Migraine Ninja


Today is the 21st anniversary of my grandmother's death. She was the embodiment of everything a Migraine Ninja ought to be. A woman ahead of her time, she taught me that migraine attacks have triggers, plus how to identify and avoid them. As a child, I would spend hours sitting on a footstool next to her rocking chair for hours, just listening to her stories and soaking up all her love and wisdom.

When she passed away, I inherited that footstool and a print that always hung above her sofa. It was a copy of a famous painting of a guardian angel and two small children, walking across a rickety bridge. She would often point to that print and tell me that God loved everyone and watched out for us by sending angels. That same print now hangs in my guest bedroom, where my granddaughter often plays.

Because of her, I always felt loved and understood. People say that I am strong, resilient even. I owe that strength to her. It was her love that filled my heart so full that Migraine stigma couldn't touch it. Like all of us, I eventually faced some Migraine challenges. Countless treatment failures and stigmatizing treatment eventually came my way. Yet, I never broke. Grandma gets all the credit for that. 

You see, when a child is filled with unconditional love and taught the truth about Migraine, all the ugliness this disease can dish out won't damage their spirit. Now it's my turn to build a new generation of Migraine Ninjas. My only hope is that I can do the job as well as Grandma.

Migraine Ninjas are made, not born. 

Migraine Ninjas Spread Hope and Fight Suicide

Image1As 2017 ends and 2018 begins, it's human nature to think about the people we lost last year. Death is a part of the life cycle, something we must often accept. Death is not, however, acceptable when someone takes their life because they've lost hope. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says,

"Suicide most often occurs when stressors and health issues converge to create an experience of hopelessness and despair." 

In the Migraine and Headache community, we see health issues and other stressors weigh heavily on people all too often. Consider how frequently we come across these issues (and more) in both online and offline conversations:

  • finding a doctor who understands and knows how to treat Migraine
  • trying preventive treatment after preventive treatment looking for one that works
  • coping with employers, family members, and friends who don't understand what it takes to live with Migraine, and aren't supportive
  • managing the financial burden of Migraine treatment, especially when Migraine is keeping people from being able to work
  • living with frequent — or even daily — pain and other symptoms
  • facing the social stigma associated with Migraine disease

Is it any wonder that people can begin to lose hope? Part of the Migraine Ninja Oath is to "remain hopeful, steadfast, and determined." As individuals, it's difficult, if not impossible to do that alone. That's why we turn to each other when remaining hopeful gets difficult. 

Jeff Ray, a friend of mine, knows what it's like to lose someone close to you to that loss of hope that can lead someone to suicide. When his friend James, took his life, Jeff and some other friends wrote a song and recorded a music video dedicated to suicide prevention. I want to share that video with you, and I hope you'll share it with others. The message of the video is one that Migraine Ninjas share - THERE IS HOPE.


Teri Robert
patient educator and advocate, author

author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches