Sponsored: Know Migraine Mission: Breaking Down Stigma

Know Migraine Mission Karamo

Ever wonder about what goes on behind the scenes of a patient-driven initiative like the Know Migraine Mission? Well, I got a sneak peek, and it was awesome! I had the incredible opportunity to see the workings of the video shoots and sit down with the featured migraine warriors for the initiative. I often wonder when I see a commercial or an ad if the people know what it’s like to live with migraine. What I saw was that they are not actors pretending to understand migraine and all the complexities. 1 They are real people who understand the depths of living with migraine and are ready to share their stories.

The Know Migraine Mission is helping others understand migraine better. It’s not a commercial or an ad; it puts people living with migraine at the forefront. What I like about the mission is Amgen and Novartis recognize and support challenging the stigma of migraine, building community, and helping lives. 2 The goal is to champion a better understanding of migraine disease.

The two people featured in the launch of this initiative are incredible choices! Karamo Brown, host from Netflix’s hit show “Queer Eye,” and migraine blogger Michelle Tracy are two very different people with very different lives. But they have a few things in common, one of them being they live with migraine disease. They both have a lot of passion to make a difference!

Karamo Brown

Know Migraine Mission Karamo


Note: The photo above was taken prior to COVID-19 social-distancing measures.

When I learned that I was going to meet Karamo, I had a fan geek moment. I first watched him on “The Real World” in 2004. Now, I watch Karamo’s popular makeover series, “Queer Eye,” and am touched by every episode that encourages self-care and love. I could really use the Fab 5 in my life to remind me to take care and give me a much-needed boost.

Along with being a fan, my family watched and danced at home with Karamo on “Dancing with the Stars.” After showing Karamo a video of my daughter dancing with my dog along to the show (in her fanciest dress), Karamo kindly recorded a message for her encouraging her to keep dancing and reaching for the stars. I got extra cool points from her!

The thing I didn’t know about Karamo is that he lives with migraine and that his beautiful smile and ability to connect are real. What a shock and relief that he wasn’t just playing a nice guy but actually is one. It was not long ago that I laid in my cold dark room for hours battling a migraine day and distracting myself with Karamo’s inspiring show.

Now I was sitting there (prior to COVID-19 social-distancing measures) on a sunny day in Los Angeles, feeling like Karamo was a perfect voice to spread messages to those living and supporting someone with migraine. When I sat down with Karamo, it was like he was already my friend, and I was just hanging with another of my migraine buddies. We discussed how life impacted us growing up with migraine, being misunderstood, learning from relationships and how we manage migraine in our everyday lives. People living with migraine can be so different and yet just get each other. It almost felt strange, how quickly I felt comfortable with him talking about such a personal part of our lives.

I could name a million reasons why I think Karamo is a great representation of the migraine community, but one of the biggest is stigma. 2 When Karamo was growing up, similar to my journey, it took a long time to figure out he had migraine and that every migraine day is different. Even Karamo’s own mother found it difficult to believe he had migraine. His mother assumed someone with migraine looked more like me. And she’s right, it is me. 3 But what she and others also may not understand is that migraine also looks like Karamo. It is not a woman or man thing. 3 It is not about skin color, location, age, or money.3 By Karamo stepping out and participating in the Know Migraine Mission he is giving people with migraine another face to look at (and what a handsome face to see!)

I asked Karamo how he deals with migraine with such a strenuous job in the spotlight. He attributed a lot to informing his team and their supportive responses. His crew and coworkers are aware of Karamo’s needs and can schedule and give breaks as needed. A support system is crucial, and because of their support and Karamo’s honesty, he has fostered a network of people who understand his needs.

After watching Karamo on television, I knew I needed a team like his in my life! Helping me feel good outside even if I’m having a migraine day, someone migraine-proofing my house, someone teaching me how to dress for comfort but not giving up, and a pep talk about giving up my guilt about having migraine. I think most migraine patients would relate. We all are fighting battles but still striving for better.

Because of Karamo’s messages, we can all try to be better.

  •  We can try to be more honest with ourselves and others.
  • We can try to challenge the stigma of migraine by speaking out. 2

Michelle Tracy

Know Migraine Mission Michelle


Note: The photo above was taken prior to COVID-19 social-distancing measures.

Similar to Karamo, when I learned that I was meeting with Michelle, I had a geek out moment. Michelle is not a celebrity. She is my friend! When I started my blog many years ago, Michelle was one of the first friends I made in the migraine community. It felt weird, at first, to befriend people I had never met from across the country. But I soon learned that sometimes a stranger can know you better than people who have known me my entire life.

Michelle and I have a lot in common. We are both Ohio-loving, preschool-teaching, migraine-living advocates. I first met Michelle in person at an event to raise money for migraine research and fellowships. We have since been supporting each other’s migraine journey as much as possible, whether it’s online or in-person.

Michelle is a great representative for this campaign. She has had her life twisted and turned from this disease and found a way to help others all along the way. On her own blog, “The Migraine Warrior,” you can follow her journey or find her in many support groups giving love to all. Michelle is the type of person who gives love so easily and fully yet doesn’t see the magic in herself. Well, I do!

In June of 2018, Michelle made a change, and I watched her migraine disease improve. It was inspiring, and I rooted for her each time she posted. She responded within the first few months of taking Aimovig® (erenumab-aooe) and she began experiencing fewer monthly migraine days. She is able to pursue endeavors she may not have gone after without fewer monthly migraine days.

APPROVED USE
Aimovig ® (erenumab-aooe) is a prescription medicine used for the preventive treatment of migraine in adults.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Do not use Aimovig ® if you are allergic to erenumab-aooe or any ingredients in Aimovig ® .

Please see additional Important Safety Information below.

The trip to Los Angeles to film was a trip she otherwise would not have taken if it was not for her current migraine management plan. She saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time after years of isolation due to her migraine disease. To step out of her house, travel across the country, and wiggle her feet in the sand at the foot of the ocean was a giant leap for Michelle and one I know she won’t soon forget.

To sit with Michelle thousands of miles from home discussing our futures is not something we could have done or imagined when we first met. When I look back at just five years ago and think of how far we’ve come, I’m proud. I’m proud to be a migraine advocate and feel like I’m making a difference. I know Karamo and Michelle are working to lessen stigma, 2 increase awareness, and help many by being a part of the Know Migraine Mission.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Aimovig ® may cause serious side effects, including:

  • Allergic reactions. Allergic relations, including rash or swelling, can happen after receiving
    Aimovig ® . This can happen within hours to days after using Aimovig ® . Call your HCP or get emergency medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction: swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, or throat, or trouble breathing.
  • Constipation with serious complications. Severe constipation can happen after receiving Aimovig®. In some cases, people have been hospitalized or needed surgery. Contact your HCP if you have severe constipation.
  • High blood pressure. High blood pressure or worsening of high blood pressure can happen after receiving Aimovig ® . Contact your healthcare provider if you have an increase in blood pressure.

Please see additional Important Safety Information below.

Conclusion

Thank you, Karamo for helping break down the barriers of migraine, being brave enough to be a celebrity face, and walking the walk behind your talk. Speaking with you is a highlight of my migraine advocacy.

Thank you, Michelle, for being a part of my migraine tribe. We still have a long way to go but the distances we’ve traveled figuratively and physically are huge! You are such a beautiful human being and I’m lucky to call you my friend and fellow migraine warrior.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
The most common side effects of Aimovig ® are pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site and
constipation.
Please see additional Important Safety Information below.

This was one of my favorite migraine projects I’ve worked on! I still pinch myself that I was given the
opportunity. The Know Migraine Mission challenges public misconceptions, starts conversations, and makes the world a more migraine-friendly place. I’d say they hit the nail on head (small pun intended) with these two and the Know Migraine Mission!

*This post is part of a collaboration between myself, Amgen, and Novartis. I am an Aimovig patient but Karamo Brown is not. I have been compensated for my time.

APPROVED USE
Aimovig ® (erenumab-aooe) is a prescription medicine used for the preventive treatment of migraine in adults.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Who should not use Aimovig ®? Do not use Aimovig ® if you are allergic to erenumab-aooe or any ingredients in Aimovig ®.

Before starting Aimovig ®, tell your healthcare provider (HCP) about all your medical conditions, including if you are allergic to rubber or latex, pregnant or plan to become pregnant, breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

Tell your HCP about all the medicines you take, including any prescription and over-the-counter
medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.

What are possible side effects of Aimovig ®?
Aimovig ® may cause serious side effects, including:

  • Allergic reactions. Allergic reactions, including rash or swelling can happen after receiving
    Aimovig ®. This can happen within hours to days after using Aimovig ®. Call your HCP or get emergency medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction: swelling of the face, mouth, tongue or throat, or trouble breathing.
  • Constipation with serious complications. Severe constipation can happen after receiving Aimovig ®. In some cases people have been hospitalized or needed surgery. Contact your HCP if you have severe constipation.
  • High blood pressure. High blood pressure or worsening of high blood pressure can happen
    after receiving Aimovig ®. Contact your healthcare provider if you have an increase in blood
    pressure.

The most common side effects of Aimovig ® are pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site and
constipation.

These are not all of the possible side effects of Aimovig ®. Call your HCP for medical advice about side effects.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit
www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Click here for full  Prescribing Information and  Patient Product Information.

References:
1. Russo AF. “Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol.” 2015;55:533-552.
2. Rutberg S, Ohrling K. “Disabil Rehabil.” 2012;34(4):329-336.
3. Lipton R, Bigal ME, Diamond M, et al. “Neurology.” 2007;68(5)343-9.
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Sarah Rathsack

I tell stories of My Migraine Life. Living life through Migraine consists of advocacy, treatment, prevention, and searching for health and happiness in a positive honest way. My kids, husband, dog, family and friends motivate me to make a difference in the Migraine World.

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