J had me write what he called an “intro” to our migraine365 website, and it finally went live today. I was so so pleased with it. You should go check it out, but here is the text:
Migraine365 is a graphic novel written and illustrated by John and Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel to demonstrate the effects of chronic daily migraine on the family. Originally conceived as a migraine journal with a new page every day, after about day 80 we found that to be an unrealistic goal and decided to begin publishing pages whenever possible, even if there are very long breaks in between. Some of the pages are about the days we just experienced, complete with a pain scale number and weather summary. Some of the pages are about migraine experiences past. Some are about our family’s history. We have prints and originals for sale to help us fund the project, and hope to eventually publish the entire year’s work as a book.
Elizabeth had her first migraine as a toddler, and was diagnosed at age 9. Beginning in early high school, she began seeing a neurologist, and also tried talk therapy, hypnosis, chiropractic care, looked at dentistry and eye issues, biofeedback and progressive muscle relaxation, acupuncture, supplements, a gluten-free diet, Botox injections, a total hysterectomy, physical therapy, chronic pain classes, oxygen, every type of preventative available, and very nearly every type of pain relief available, to no avail. Elizabeth went from heavy episodic to chronic in 2004 with her first pregnancy, had to quit working in 2013, and was approved for Social Security Disability in 2014. Currently, Elizabeth is participating in a chronic migraine CGRP medication study for which the open label phase is about to begin. Though the headache frequency has stayed the same, pain levels have been reduced, perhaps because of the study, perhaps not. Elizabeth has recently been able to return to normal life outside of the four walls of her bedroom by volunteering as an archivist at the local Historical Museum; acting in community plays; and writing her story in a somewhat fictionalized way through The Migraine Diaries (which you can find on Amazon kindle here). She also blogs at http://www.ladymigraine.com and sincerely hopes these projects will help promote awareness of migraine and headache disorders.
John is her husband, migraine coach, and best friend. His career, currently, is in social work, helping troubled kids and their parents. He is also a freelance web guru, lumberjack, general handyman, musician, artist, and activist.
The goal of Migraine365 is to foster migraine awareness through art. 37 million Americans suffer from migraines; a great number of those individuals feel isolated and misunderstood. Like the documentary “Out Of Our Heads,” just funded through Kickstarter, Migraine365 aims to bring awareness to non-migraineurs, as well as to those who are suffering and feel alone. Anyone with chronic illness will be able to find themselves in these pages: all the important events missed, the cycle of pain and depression, the sufferer’s loneliness and guilt. In fact, I believe anyone at all can relate to our story. Doesn’t every family have ups and downs? Isn’t everyone fighting a battle of some kind? That is why Migraine365’s subtitle is “A Story About Life.” We sincerely hope it is as meaningful to you as it is to us.
Of course, I try to have this blog remain sort of anonymous, but whatever. Links to migraine365 and my kindle book are all over the place anyway.
And by the way, for my first full day out of bed in about a week? I KICKED ASS.