PDN Photo of the Day

Memories of Memory Loss

My Days of Losing Words (Kehrer, December 2013) is a beautiful and moving body of work in which San Francisco-based photographer Rachael Jablo documents her personal battle living with chronic migraines since June 2008. Without medication, the pain wrought from this disabling disease caused Jablo to lose her ability to speak. With medication, the pain would lessen and she was able to speak again, but the cost was a side effect that caused her to forget words. Through her photography, Jablo searched to regain the words she had lost…

Over 36 million Americans suffer from chronic migraine. It is the artist’s hope that this book will be a tool in raising awareness of this often-invisible disease and inspire people to get involved; helping to raise funds for treatments and research can improve the lives of the millions of people living in America and worldwide whose lives are disrupted by migraines.
—Courtesy Keher Verlag

The book will be available in December along with two accompanying exhibitions at Learning Center Gallery at the Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA from December 3, 2013–February 19, 2014 and at Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco currently on view through January 10, 2014.



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  1. As a fellow migraineur, I just want to clarify this article’s statement about the inability to speak. It is not pain that causes a migraineur to not be able to speak, but literally not being physically able to speak is a symptom some migraineurs get. Migraine is a neurological disease that has many types, including one that mimics strokes with symptoms such as not being able to move one’s limbs. Contrary to popular belief, migraine is not just a bad headache – in fact, you can have migraines without having a headache at all! Common symptoms include dizziness, vertigo, nausea, vomiting, visual auras, olfactory auras, sinus symptoms*, mood behavior change auras, pins-and-needles in arm or face, extreme hunger and/or cravings, and many more. (*Over 90% of what people think are sinus headaches are actually migraines. A true sinus headache comes only with a sinus infection that is at the point where you would already know you have said infection.)

    Chronic migraines are when you have at least 15 migraines per month. The World Health Organization rightfully considers that migraines can be as disabling as quadriplegia. Migraineurs are also at an increased risk of having a stroke and white matter spots (brain damage) show up on migraineurs’ brain scans often. While some people’s migraine episodes get less severe and/or less frequent, others’ episodes get more severe and more frequent. It is not a disease to be taken lightly, yet most people don’t understand how difficult and horrible it really is.

    I’m also a photographer and my chronic migraines definitely impair my ability to be a photographer, but I keep on trying even though others choose not to open their eyes to how hard it is for me and how hard I try. I’m glad this book (which I first heard about months ago in a migraine group) is getting attention!

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