“Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), tic douloureux (also known as prosopalgia, the Suicide Disease or Fothergill’s disease) is a neuropathic disorder characterized by episodes of intense pain in the face, originating from the trigeminal nerve. One, two, or all three branches of the nerve may be affected. It is, “one of the most painful conditions known to humans, yet remains an enigma to many health professionals.”
This pain may be felt in the ear, eye, lips, nose, scalp, forehead, cheeks, teeth, and/or jaw and side of the face; some patients also experience pain in their left index finger. Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is not easily controlled and there is no cure. It is estimated that 1 in 15,000 people suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, although the actual figure may be significantly higher due to frequent misdiagnosis. In a majority of cases, TN symptoms begin appearing after the age of 50, although there have been cases with patients being as young as three years of age. It is more common in females than males.” Wikipedia
No. This isn’t a journalistic article about Trigeminal Neuralgia (TM). Not that I’m a journalist either. I just wanted to present you with a decent definition and understanding of yet another condition of which I suffer.
Those of you that don’t know me or know me well enough I have suffered TM on and off for almost 10 years. I was officially diagnosed 4 years ago. I used to do telemarketing for a living. Not only did I do the world’s most hated job I loved it and was the best. Then the TM hit me in the ear first. I thought it was massive earaches or an ear infection and of course never went to a doctor to confirm it. I eventually quit telemarketing as a result. I thought it was burn out So the pain went away for years.
It started to come back in 2005. Every day it got a little worse. The pain was the worst pain known to Rich. The shooting pain through the side of my face was excruciating. I kept popping any pain reliever I could find. I found this powdered aspirin that you put under your tongue and kept eating it. Nothing was taking the pain away. I couldn’t stand still. One night I went out side for a walk in my pajamas to try and walk it off. The police stopped me because I looked like a crazy man in his pajamas pacing the streets.
I couldn’t take it anymore and drove off to the emergency room. They took me in pretty fast but it was 4 or 5 am. The Doctor diagnosed me with TM that morning and gave me a prescription for Percocet and told me to see my family doctor. I sped off to the nearest all night pharmacy and waited. I grabbed the prescription and practically ate the pills. They finally kicked in around 6 am. My girlfriend got up at 7 and I told her. She feared for me taking the pain pills and this was the first of many fights about it. I was over 14 years soer at the time I took the pills as directed.
My family Doctor prescribed an anti-seizure medication and more pain killers. I took them as directed and spent the next couple of years taking both as directed. The TM came and went then came and went again. It’s unpredictable. Some people suffer every day and sometimes a person can go 10 -20 years or the rest of their lives without pain. Not me.
This went on and off until finally the line was unclear as to whether I had relapsed or not in 2008. I was also on meds for my other conditions and I was a walking zombie for a bit. My thinking was screwed up and I made the relapse official in 2008 by drinking. I lost my 16 years sober and came right back. I withdrew from the meds and haven’t had any TM pain to the extreme since October 2008. That is until today.
I was hoping that it would never come back. I ran out of my anti-seizure medication the other day and forgot to refill it. I started feeling it this afternoon and I was freaking. When I grabbed the pill bottle I noticed that I had no refills left. So I called my Doctor and asked the nurse to have him call in prescription. She said he would. The pain started getting worse and I was debating calling him back to get pain pills. I was afraid I might end up going to the hospital if I didn’t. I can’t afford that. I called a bunch of my recovering friends for advice on it and no one was around. I finally got some one to answer and I explained my situation. He said I should get them from the Doctor and take them as prescribed. I went to call for the pain pills and the office was closed. I called the pharmacy to see if my prescription was ready. The doctor never called it in. The pain kept coming and going all afternoon and night. I took. Alieve then went to the drug store and got Excedrin migraine. It kept coming back.
I found a pill I had that is for migraines I got as a sample last year when I was having recurring headaches. I took over the counter back pain pills. I’m so loaded up on over the counter medications I’m dizzy and the pain comes and it goes. Just when I get distracted it comes back. I can’t think about anything but the pain then my anxiety flairs up and it makes it worse. Staying completely still seems to work for a bit.
Hopefully, I can wait until tomorrow and call the Doctor. I want to avoid the hospital.
The irony of it all is that I am supposed to start a new job this coming Tuesday and it’s phone collections. I can use the other ear but it still could be triggered. I’m going to work anyway you look at it. I’m going to deal with the pain one minute at a time. I know people that have I much worse than I do with TM and I admire their perseverance. They fight and try to live life one day and one moment at a time.