It is incredibly difficult on several levels and every day is a struggle in itself.
I have had it for over 7 years.. all day, every day not a one hour break.
It fucks with my mind like you can NOT imagine. Forget the feathers' on this one.
I describe it as an invisible person/monkey on my back who zaps me when ever they feel like it. It bothers me most when laughing.
Imagine laughing and suddenly you are literally JOLTED with pain... just a few seconds.
After 7 years... you appreciate the laughs all the more.
What ever makes me smile I crave more. I do not take smiling for granted.
Even though they can hurt- I still smile at every stranger I pass in the street.
What is it:
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also called tic douloureux, is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal or 5th cranial nerve, one of the most widely distributed nerves in the head. TN is a form of neuropathic pain (pain associated with nerve injury or nerve lesion.) The typical or "classic" form of the disorder (called "Type 1" or TN1) causes extreme, sporadic, sudden burning or shock-like facial pain that lasts anywhere from a few seconds to as long as two minutes per episode. These attacks can occur in quick succession, in volleys lasting as long as two hours. The “atypical” form of the disorder (called "Type 2" or TN2), is characterized by constant aching, burning, stabbing pain of somewhat lower intensity than Type 1. Both forms of pain may occur in the same person, sometimes at the same time. The intensity of pain can be physically and mentally incapacitating.
The trigeminal nerve is one of 12 pairs of nerves that are attached to the brain. The nerve has three branches that conduct sensations from the upper, middle, and lower portions of the face, as well as the oral cavity, to the brain. The ophthalmic, or upper, branch supplies sensation to most of the scalp, forehead, and front of the head. The maxillary, or middle, branch stimulates the cheek, upper jaw, top lip, teeth and gums, and to the side of the nose. The mandibular, or lower, branch supplies nerves to the lower jaw, teeth and gums, and bottom lip. More than one nerve branch can be affected by the disorder. Rarely, both sides of the face may be affected at different times in an individual, or even more rarely at the same time (called bilateral TN).
The case I have is all over the scale' and it is visually obvious to others. I appear quite fine until I have an attack... I have learned to talk through them - although- trust me- they are so strong they get my attention, I dare you to carry on a conversation while someone sticks a cigarette in your eye for a second. This is what it feels like.. so excuse me if I forget what you were just saying, although I usually don't. I have the annoying mini jolts which can seem as though I'm winking - I'm amused at the number of men who like a wink... lol
Still, I do smile- even thought hurts. I smile because people make me smile.
There is much to smile about.. my life -my dogs, friends, summer, fresh produce, bees.. bears.
Just thinking of some people no matter how hard I try not to - the smile creeps across my face- so, I've learned to embrace the pain.
Who is worth smiling over is the key.. Storm. lol
Actually, I have a few friends which come to mind.
I certainly don't need a reason to frown over anyone. I deal with enough pain.
Very few people appear strong enough to understand what I am dealing with and everyone forgets- it's easy to do when not happening to you. I get it. I surround myself with only the company of those I truly enjoy. Poppy, Daisy, Scruffy & Storm mostly - Bird too! lol
My faith has not diminished- it has gotten stronger.
I believe in the power of prayer, meditation & God.
What causes trigeminal neuralgia?TN is associated with a variety of conditions. TN can be caused by a blood vessel pressing on the trigeminal nerve as it exits the brain stem. This compression causes the wearing away or damage to the protective coating around the nerve (the myelin sheath). TN symptoms can also occur in people with multiple sclerosis, a disease that causes deterioration of the trigeminal nerve’s myelin sheath. Rarely, symptoms of TN may be caused by nerve compression from a tumor, or a tangle of arteries and veins called an arteriovenous malformation. Injury to the trigeminal nerve (perhaps the result of sinus surgery, oral surgery, stroke, or facial trauma) may also produce neuropathic facial pain
I do have a blood vessel putting pressure on the nerve - SO - before I left for California Storm and I had a difficult, short conversation. We were concerned the thing in my head (?) what ever is causing this, would explode and I would not make the flight. Live with what I am and try to tell me it would not cross your MIND. Storms also. What am I going to do stop living? So, the fact that I survived the plane ride to California - was worth the trip & celebrating and I am grateful to my friend for the experience. 2 more flights- my fear is gone. Where to next!!? I'm excited for Warmer weather this winter! I miss my California morning chats - it was nice to converse about so many things.
Are you aware this condition applies mostly to women and after 50.
It is on the rise.
What are the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia?Pain varies, depending on the type of TN, and may range from sudden, severe, and stabbing to a more constant, aching, burning sensation. The intense flashes of pain can be triggered by vibration or contact with the cheek (such as when shaving, washing the face, or applying makeup), brushing teeth, eating, drinking, talking, or being exposed to the wind. The pain may affect a small area of the face or may spread. Bouts of pain rarely occur at night, when the affected individual is sleeping.
TN is typified by attacks that stop for a period of time and then return, but the condition can be progressive. The attacks often worsen over time, with fewer and shorter pain-free periods before they recur. Eventually, the pain-free intervals disappear and medication to control the pain becomes less effective. The disorder is not fatal, but can be debilitating. Due to the intensity of the pain, some individuals may avoid daily activities or social contacts because they fear an impending attack.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE if I educate you on anything
BE AWARE of what you put int your body. I do believe it started with a medication I was taking that 'stated in the side effects warnings it could cause a tick' in the facial area that does not go away. I read that years later, after it started. Anti depressants.
Oh My God.. why didn't I learn to read the warning labels earlier I've asked myself a million times since. I do now. *I am blessed that I can touch my face, this does not cause me pain. The only time it hurts is with a cold wind- welcome to Canada. lol
Why didn't I try natural paths before chemical ones, manmade experiments.
I do not share this for sympathy- it is the most difficult thing for me to share... I do it so you will educate yourself and possibly avoid living with the same condition. IT MADE ME STRONGER!
Every day I continue & I pray & THANK God for everything, focus on love, paint and try to tame this the only way I know how. I can handle it when I'm happy and laughing.
I've been feeling better and tonight I feel FANTASTIC- better than I have in a year!
What a year this is going to be!
Imagine wonderful things? Places? Adventures?
Actually - I LOVE Canada this time of the year- and fall and winter- until I get cold!
Then- Spain I think it might be. France is kinda pass' other than the caves- I've really no desire to see anything' there- other than Yann! Wink Wink'
People actually TN have it go away!
I keep reading this and yes, this is what I pray for most.
The day it happens I will drop to my knees and give thanks. It will.. it will.
I believe in Miracles! A 'flood of healing' is on the way!
Right NOW.. I am created to create.
More soon on Living with TN... and the ECHO dot- How 'Alexa' is teaching me patience and physiotherapy - lol!
WHAT is keeping ME going - Living with TN
- CANNABIS -
Please - TRY IT FIRST.
I thank my son above all else.
He is the love of my life, always will be.
God looks after me- I'm more convinced of this every moment.