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Focus GroupYesterday I participated in a focus group hosted by WegoHealth. It was sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, makers of Imitrex and Treximet. The independent moderator asked us various questions regarding a support program GlaxoSmithKline hopes to launch very soon.

My experience was very positive. It was great having the moderator, who doesn’t have Migraines, be truly interested in my experience with Migraines. He truly wanted to know what format and information would be supportive. The moderator was also independent without any ties to GlaxoSmithKline. We could be honest in our answers and could say the whole idea was ridiculous, if we wanted to. But it isn’t ridiculous, although there was one design that none of us liked.

courtesy or Tina's Hobby and Art Design

courtesy or Tina's Hobby and Art Design

The other part was hearing others’ voices talk about THEIR experience, which was very different from mine, and their ideas. I haven’t realized how supportive it is to hear another voice. I know there are many forums and support is only a keystroke away, but this was different. And I LOVED it! It was as if I were wrapped in a warm sweater.

So if you know someone who has Migraine and want to offer some special support this Christmas season, pick up the phone and say “Hi, I have been thinking about you.” That would be the best Christmas present ever!

Have an AWAP day,

Debbie

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This was intended to be for the Blog Carnival hosted by http://somebodyhealme.dianalee.net/2008/08/august-headache-blog-carnival-when.html#comment-form at Somebody Heal Me.

Eduating others can be an arduous task that is usually done one-on-one. The most effective tools I have for explaining migraine disease are my blog and the interview on WegoHealth. Both have a comprehensive descriptions of migraine disease. I am in the process of educating my friends at church. When I post something on my blog that they may be interested in, I send an email. I also have my blog URL in my email signature.

The other tool I have is myself; I need to speak up and take advantage of the opportunities I have to educate others. It is ironic that the inappropriate comments people say can be used to educate someone. For example, the comment “But you look so good” can be a perfect time to explain that migraine is an invisible disease. What they see on the outside is definitely NOT what is going on in the inside. I have yet to try this, but there are other diseases that are invisible: diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, some forms of multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and depression. I plan on using these better known and “more legitimate” diseases as a comparison. I think MS and epilepsy are particularly good parallels.

There are other comments that can be seized as opportunities for further education. “You are too stressed. You only need to relax.” can be used to explaind the difference between cause and triggers. “How’s your head?” can be used to explain that migraine is more than a headache. I will have to remember to say, “My head is fine, but the rest of me is not.”

In the end, I can only educate those who want to understand. The others may come around with time, but for now, I can only deal with those who are interested.

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