How can I make plans to do things when I might have to cancel because of a migraine attack?


Keeping plans as scheduled or showing up for them fully can be challenging when living with migraine and unpredictable attacks. Yet continuing to live your life as fully as possible is critically important for those with migraine.


“… What I see a lot with my patients, they kind of stop making plans. They don't want to say that they will host a party or host the holiday because they're not quite sure if they'll be able to follow through. They don't want to plan a cruise because they don't know if they'll be able to participate and how it will go. Now when I hear people say that, I really counsel them: Don't stop living your life. Because when you stop living your life, not only are you now living with pain, but you'll see a lot more [of an] increase in feelings of depression, anxiety, and frustration. So as much as possible, keep scheduling your life; keep living your life to the extent that you can.
“Through good communication with friends and family and co-workers, and everyone, you need to explain what migraine is like. And you need to explain that sometimes you won't be there fully, or you won't be there at all. But I encourage people: Don't stop living your life. As much as possible, keep living your life with migraine to the best that you can.

“I think a lot of that is talking about it in advance so anyone you're making plans with understands what life with this condition is like. And that you may have to cancel, but you can also think about backups. So perhaps you have a backup so that you don't have to cancel for the whole family. Maybe you could think of, if you couldn't go, maybe another parent could take your children or, perhaps, if you couldn't go, maybe you've contributed. Maybe you made cupcakes and you make them the day before and you send them along and/or you ask a friend who's there to send you pictures and video on your phone. So while you're at home lying in bed, you at least get to see the pictures and you feel a bit like you're not missing out entirely. So even some participation will feel better to most people than missing out entirely.”

This is a short segment of a full video interview. View the full version by upgrading to an Access Pass bundle! Get FREE access to 8 expert interviews from Day 1 and Day 2 when you register today!

Dawn C. Buse, PhD

Psychologist & Clinical Professor
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Dawn C. Buse, PhD, is a clinical professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She is a member of the board of directors of the Headache Cooperative of the Pacific, and a licensed psychologist. She has authored more than 200 scientific manuscripts and has won eight U.S. and international research awards and six professional awards for her work in the field of migraine.

She is a co-investigator on numerous U.S. and international studies, including the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) study; the Chronic Migraine Epidemiology and Outcomes (CaMEO) study; the Migraine Signature Study (MSS); the International Burden of Migraine Study (IBMS); the Migraine in America Symptoms and Treatment (MAST) study; the Observational Survey of the Epidemiology, Treatment and Care of Migraine (OVERCOME) study; and a recipient of the FDA-sponsored Migraine Clinical Outcome Assessment System (MiCOAS) grant, which is gathering patient input for the development of migraine clinical trial endpoints. She is an advocate for the well-being of patients and healthcare professionals.

Interviews from Dawn C. Buse, PhD

Brain-Related Comorbidities of Migraine
How Migraine Affects Our Mental Health
Staying Hopeful: Treatment Burnout in Chronic Disease
Cultivating Resilience and Strength Through Migraine
How Depression Affects Your Mood: Anxiety & Depression
Is Your Family Time Affected by Migraine?
Behavioral Approaches / Impact of Childhood Abuse