Living With Trigeminal Neuralgia … All I Want For Christmas Is the Pain To Go Away

Tears were streaming down her face. Her teeth, welded shut, as if a levee trying not to give way to the flood waters of surging pain moving fluidly through her jaw and behind her eyes. The intense silence was only broken by a strained whisper, “Please, don’t take the little things for granted.”

I hopelessly held my wife in my arms as she faced defeat, knowing today was a day when she would be unable to speak with her children due to the intensity of her pain. The only thing more depressing for her, was this wasn’t the first time.

Beginning two years ago, what appeared to be a tooth ache quickly morphed into one of the most life altering conditions I have ever seen…. Trigeminal Neuralgia. A nerve disorder, not so affectionately named the “suicide disease” due to the amount of people who take their own life as opposed to living with the excruciating pain produced by the condition.

Trigeminal Neuralgia is a chronic pain disorder effecting the Trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for carrying sensation from the face to your brain.

It is difficult to describe the severity of pain yielded by this disorder, but CNN recently wrote an article about TN, which details other patients testimonials living with TN. I would encourage you to read it to become more familiar with the condition. The disorder effects about 1 in 20,000 people according to the U.S. Pain Foundation and is often misdiagnosed. It is not uncommon for patients to undergo several root canals or tooth removals before realizing the issue can not be solved with dentistry.

TN robs it’s victims of a functional life. Pain is often triggered during daily activities such as brushing your teeth, eating, and speaking. Some patients conditions have been so severe, even a breeze can cause them to be incapacitated and unable to go outdoors.

Since my wife’s diagnosis, she hasn’t lived one day without pain. It’s just a matter of how bad the episode will be and when it occurs. The worst episode she has experienced, rendered her unable to speak for two weeks. With her being a mother of five, you can imagine how frustrating and depressing it was to only be able to communicate by writing on a note pad. However, it has been these type of interruptions which have reminded us of the things we often take for granted, and yielded my wife’s plea to to enjoy every moment. She knows first hand, the little things can be taken away at any time.

As far as we know there is no real cure for TN, and it worsens with time. In addition, TN not only effects a physically, but emotional and mentally as well. Thinking about living an entire lifetime with this disorder can be overwhelming. My wife does a great job of maintaining a positive mental attitude the best she can, but I can honestly say, if it was not for her faith in Christ, I believe she could be another statistic of the suicide disease.

We are in a bit of a holding pattern, and currently looking for answers in regards to treatment. We have experienced some success to make the pain less intense through prescribed medication, and surprisingly, through chiropractic care. There are a couple of surgeries available, which we have also considered. One, consists of using a gamma knife and radiation (I wonder if she would turn into She-hulk?). The other is a very intrusive neuro-surgery.

If you or anyone you know has had any success with treatment for TN, please let us know. In addition to seeking information, we are also trying to raise awareness of TN. Hopefully, by sharing our story, others may receive a correct diagnosis before undergoing any unnecessary medical or dental treatments.

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The Beginning
About Jason McHenry

Founder of www.doitlikedad.com. Writer, musician, and all around swell guy. Father of five, and husband to one.

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Comments

  1. How awful! I hadn’t heard of TN before. I’m so sorry that your wife has been stricken with this. I’ll be praying peace and comfort for her.

  2. zizzzl says:

    I know people with trigeminal neuralgia who have had pain relief from Gallixa skin cream, with no side effects.

    • Zizzzl,

      I haven’t heard of that cream before. Thanks for informing me. I looked it up and saw a few other people who have TN say they have ha some success with it. I think we will try it out. Thanks!

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