The Lost Month: Migraines take a toll

"Businesses lose approximately $13 billion per year due to migraines, according to a study published in the April 1999 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. In addition, the National Headache Foundation estimates 157 million workdays are lost annually because of the pain and associated symptoms of migraines."
If you suspect, as many Americans do, that drug companies are not interested in curing illness, merely treating it--with perpetual cycles of expensive newly-patented drugs, then migraine would be the place to start looking for evidence. My wife has suffered from migraines for 40 years. They have now reached a level of frequency that renders impossible the type of paid employment she used to take for granted. In other words, migraines have rendered her unable to hold down a job in her field. She is disabled, by migraines.

And nothing that the medical community has done in the last 40 years has helped. Indeed, it is now more difficult and more expensive to get relief from the pain of migraine than it was 40 years ago. Believe me, my wife has not been sitting around waiting for a cure. Whenever she has been well enough she has vigorously pursued every lead, however improbable, in the quest for a cure. On more than one occasion attending physicians have ridiculed her for even mentioning research aimed at a cure.

So where did the last month go? It was spent holding down the fort, coping with a bad cycle of migraines and their fallout for the patient, her work, her family, and her friends. In this we were not alone. All across this country millions of people suffer with this disease, calling in sick, losing work time and personal time, depleting bank accounts with hospital visits and pharmacy bills, and wondering, in the occasional moments of clarity between bouts of pain: why hasn't someone figure out how to fix this?

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