President, and architect of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson; the great painters Vincent Van Gogh, George Seurat (after which is named the Seurat effect, a current medical term often used to describe the visual phenomena of scintillating aura aka scotoma), and Claude Monet; great authors Virginia Woolfe, Cervantes (best known as the author of the classic, ‘Don Quixote’), and Lewis Carroll who’s Migraines are said to have influenced his gifts of literature still so popular today; leaders such as Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and Mary Todd Lincoln; scholars such as psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, and Friedrich Nietzsche, the great German philosopher and poet who kept his enemy Migraine closer; and Icon Elvis Presley, the King of Rock & Roll who struggled with the king of all ‘headaches.
The most famous performing artist to suffer with migraine-associated vertigo is surely Janet Jackson, who, in October 2008 had to cancel some of her tour dates in order to gain control of her illness…followed by Elvis.
Ohter performing artists who suffer from Migraine include Academy Award winning actress Elizabeth Taylor, actor James Cromwell who received a best actor nomination for his portrayal of Farmer Hoggett in Babe, movie star and Friends actress Lisa Kudrow sometimes suffers from attacks, supermodel and Friends actress Elle Macpherson, actress Lee Grant, Grammy award winning singer and songwriter Carly Simon, her number one single “Your So Vain” as popular now as it was in the 70′s, country singing giant Loretta Lynn, Susan Olsen of Brady Bunch fame, Star Jones of The View daily TV show, Fred Norris of the ever popular nationally syndicated Radio & TV Howard Stern Show, and endearing & powerful Academy Award winning actress Whoopi Goldberg. It is important to note that for Migraine sufferers who have certain professions, such as the performing arts, which puts them in the public eye, it becomes difficult for them to admit that they have Migraine. With hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even millions of dollars riding on a performer being on a set on time, the stigma of such an episodic disease can interfere with getting the best job opportunities offered to them. We applaud those with the openness and candor to have spoken publicly about their struggle with Migraine as it helps others who look up to them as role models.
Currently, some notable public figures suffering with Migraine disease are: Princess Margaret, Jennifer Ringley, the Annie Glenn (wife of astronaut & Senator John Glenn who stood up to Vice President Johnson when she refused to let Johnson and reporters into her home after a launch attempt was scrubbed–a woman made of the right stuff, we might add). Other notable Migraine sufferers include sports basketball greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Scotty Pipen.
Top athletes cannot hide their disease as skillfully as many actors can, as we saw when MVP Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis almost was knocked out of the Superbowl XXXII due to an ill-timed Migraine-Associated Vertigo attack. Other gifted major athletes who currently fight one of their toughest adversaries (Migraine) include Cleveland Browns Strong safety Marquez Pope, LSU’s top quaterback Rohan Davey, and Arizona top runningback J.R. Redmond. Baseball’s David Bell of the Seattle Mariners, Dwight Gooden pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins Pitcher Eric Milton, Jose Canseco of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and Sacramento Kings Jason Williams have been struck out by severe head-pain and the deep bench of ancillary symptoms from nausea to visual disturbances. Top woman golf pro Se Ri Pak, as well as LPGA leader Kathryn Marshall and golfer Fred Couples have to overcome the unpredictable Migraine hazard. Basketball’s Sacramento Kings flashy Jason Williams and collage basketball player Jordan Adams who starts for Kentucky, both have had debilitating Migraine take them from key games.
Nationally ranked living visual artists who suffer from Migraine include our own Michael John Coleman, as well as New York painter Janet McKenzie whose work you will find thoughout the site. Other well known contemporary artists include California painter and sculpture Trevor Southy, painter Dennis Frings, and BJ Anderson who suffers from Migraine-like headaches (she is known around the world for her popular renderings of Cape Cod.)
And finally, some of the most notable migraineurs of all are mothers, many of whom around the world are challenged by mgraine and migraine-associated vertigo. Despite their disease, they go on to raise families, manage households and/or careers, and contribute to communities. Many fathers, too, are migraineurs and sufferers of migraine-associated vertigo, who continue to care for family and loved ones, carry out careers, build homes, and participate in their communities. To continually fight a debilitating disease while continuing to contribute to others makes them unsung heroes deserving of celebratory status in society as a whole, even though they are not household names. Well, they are ,of course, household names, (as “Mom” and “Dad” are household names). Most heart-breaking is when I hear from young people, very young people, who will be living with this dreaded illness their entire lives. My heart aches for them.
Because, no, this illness does not go away, once a migraineur, always a migraineur. And migraine-associated vertigo, without treatment, always gets worse, believe me.
So…for those who read this and recognize their family member as a migraine sufferer or a sufferer of migraine-associated vertigo, give them the love and respect they need and deserve.
Below is a great YouTube video by a man who suffers episodic migraine-associated vertigo attacks. My illness was ongoing, everyday was the same. Everybody is different, but this man is making a point, a point which was impossible for me when I was bedridden, but a point which is important for anyone who can do it. So please take the time and go to this link: