One of the greatest privileges of working at TheraSpecs is being able to support leading advocates within the migraine community—who also happen to be proud wearers of our glasses for their own issues with light sensitivity and photophobia. As part of Migraine and Headache Awareness Month in June, we wanted to share a few of their inspirational stories.
Tammy Rome’s personal journey with migraine began at just five years of age, although even then she had started to develop an intimate understanding of the chronic headache disorder—because it had already impacted both her father and grandmother. This also meant that she had a unique educational and support system within her immediate family.
"Unlike so many others, I was always supported and believed. Migraine was taken seriously in my family. Self-care and personal responsibility were encouraged, too. I was never blamed for Migraine," she told us.
Tammy especially credits her grandmother as being her first "migraine mentor," notably teaching her how to identify and manage her triggers, among many other aspects. Like countless other patients with migraine, light sensitivity was particularly troubling.
“School was brutal. All the light fixtures had older fluorescent bulbs that would flicker, buzz, and pop. Most days the attacks started well before class was dismissed for the day,” she said. “As an adult, things weren’t much better. Office buildings were lit with fluorescent bulbs, too. To make matters worse, most jobs required me to sit in front of a monitor all day.”
This ultimately brought her to the relief of TheraSpecs migraine glasses. Now Tammy can work on a computer, visit the movie theater, and walk through large stores without risking a migraine attack due to the lighting. As she described, our precision-tinted lenses allow her to avoid the social isolation that often comes with having a chronic illness.
"I view my TheraSpecs as an assistive device. They allow me to participate in the world more fully. Without them, I would be more isolated. They're not just a pair of glasses. They are more important than that. I'd rank them right up there with braille, hearing aids, canes, walkers, and wheelchairs because I need them to access the world around me. They're not optional."
Tammy wearing her prescription TheraSpecs glasses
But that does not mean living with migraine has become easy for Tammy.
A few years ago she had to give up her work as a mental health therapist due to her chronic and disabling migraine attacks. Although it broke her heart, it also opened the door to helping patients in a different way—through public advocacy. She started as a contributor for the online migraine community at migraine.com and continued to develop her new passion by attending patient conferences, connecting with other advocates and headache specialists and accepting leadership positions within prominent support organizations.
Most recently, Tammy along with her friend and tireless advocate Teri Robert collaborated on the launch of a new education site, migrainedisease.com. Together they have created a comprehensive resource that is both medically accurate and patient friendly, which they also believe can be a hub for breaking news in the migraine world.
In addition, Tammy is President of the Cluster Headache Support Group, which will be hosting its inaugural patient conference July 27-29 in Philadelphia. And she told us she will be returning to her private practice too, specializing in treating clients with Migraine and Headache disorders.
And she truly hopes her work inspires others to become champions of migraine, whether they have the disease or not. This can include participating in awareness month activities (such as Migraine Disease’s social media challenge) or just by simply connecting with patients.
"Supporting people with migraine doesn’t have to take a lot of time and you don’t have to be a headache specialist or full-time advocate either. It starts with listening to those with Migraine, understanding their experience, and then sharing their story."
All of us at TheraSpecs are appreciative of Tammy’s efforts as well as her support of our company.