Learning to live with trigeminal neuralgia

For the past month, I’ve been unable to do much. I force myself to go to work, but when I’m home I’m either exhausted, trying to sleep, unable to sleep, or worse, in pain. I was just diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a condition that causes severe, unimaginable pain in the face. I have had this pain since childhood without knowing what it was. I am not writing this post for sympathy, nor to complain about my condition, but I am writing it for other TN sufferers, as well as anyone who knows little about this dis-ease.

If you have never heard of TN, I encourage you to read about it. Check out the links at the end of this post. Spreading awareness is a key step in finding better ways to treat TN.

Although you can read a lot about TN on the internet, it is often misdiagnosed. There are lots of doctors who have never had to deal with it, and treatments currently consist of medications that may or may not work. There are surgeries, but they have to find the source of the problem first– where the trigeminal nerve is being compressed –before they can operate. Sometimes the cause of TN is never found, and the operations aren’t always successful. I have to have hope and faith, even though this situation makes it difficult.

I am on medication that hasn’t kicked in yet. I had deadlines this month that had to be postponed. I have the most wonderful clients, writers who are understanding and compassionate. I am so grateful to you all! 

I am hoping that I will enter remission soon, which is a period of time during which I will have no pain. My severe pain this month was due to my flare-up. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell how long a flare-up will last, or how long a remission will last. I will simply have to find a way to cope, and to build my editing business despite this condition.

It hurts to talk or move my face, but this morning I recited the Serenity Prayer in my head while I sat with a hot towel over my face. I had mild TN pain this morning. To give you an idea of what that feels like, mild TN pain has been compared to the pain you’d feel with a severe headache. There are many things in life to be grateful for, despite the pain. Most of all, I’m grateful I finally know what is causing my pain, and I am taking steps to treat it.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

More information on trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia Wikipedia: Learn about TN.

End Trigeminal Neuralgia: Facebook page dedicated to finding a cure for TN.

The Facial Pain Association: Support for sufferers of different types of facial pain.

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