Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bridezilla? or Facezilla?

OK. Sometimes I am better at resting in God's love than at other times. I'm feeling better now, but last week was tough. By the end of the week, I was totally frustrated. It's not just the pain; it's the medicine. It is also the feeling of hopelessness that tries to set in. But it's the hopelessness that we have to fight; no one can do it for us. In the midst of rest, I had a close encounter with someone whose behavior resembles mine from time to time.

Sunday, my pain was still raging. There wasn't too much to watch on television, so I tuned into Bridezilla and was totally fascinated. I thought about how obsessed these young women were in their quests to have a perfect day.

Bingo. A perfect day. Obsessed with a situation. Oh yeah, I had to admit that I am sometimes a Facezilla. Like a bride who wants everyone to understand what she is feeling and what she wants... I have these same feelings. I'm misunderstood. Sometimes I am angry. I hurt so badly. Why can't I just have what I want? Doesn't anybody really want to help me?

Who cares what it costs, huh? No not more flowers and bling. I want another method of treatment. Insurance doesn't cover that either? Who is going to make relief happen?

Be reasonable? I don't want to be. If the bridezilla doesn't like what the cake that has been prepared for her, she can just put her fist in the cake and smash it. Somebody will clean up her mess. I don't have the luxury of cake-smashing. Doesn't anyone understand that for once I just need to have a day with no pain? I want a day where I can talk, chew, and be free from medication. Somebody fix it!

People pity the grooms of the bridezillas and wish them luck with their demanding brides. Oh yeah. I pity my husband. It took him a few years to catch onto what I am am experiencing and how I feel, and I'll tell you how I feel: sorry. Sorry for him. He stands by now, trying to remain calm. He knows that if I get upset the pain will escalate. He just allows me to be right. How frustrating when I know that I am not.

I hope I have made this a little humorous, but the reality is that constant pain and disability can cause a person to lose perspective. Weddings aren't going to be perfect. Neither are facezillas. Have you hugged yours today?

Friday, July 10, 2009


People with neuropathic facial pain, trigeminal neuralgia, and jaw joint issues such as TMJ know how difficult it can be to floss or to brush one's teeth. When I think of flossing or going to the dentist, I have a lot of anxiety. But when I look at my gums, I have even more.

There are so many days when I absolutely cannot floss. In fact, they are most days. I also have days when I cannot brush my teeth. I struggle with those days. There is something about the mechanism of moving my jaw around to floss that causes terrible pain. So on my good days, I floss. Flossing aggravates the situation and often causes pain, pain, pain. Have I said pain enough? Here's the good news: I've been able to floss twice this week.

I am thankful for mouthwash and for toothpastes that help fight bacteria yet cause less stinging. Most of all, I am thankful for God's grace. He sees me through the difficult times and gives me rest when I feel that I cannot tolerate another day of being in this situation. He gives me hope for tomorrow. I remember years ago, experiencing the pain of trigeminal neuralgia: I did not want to see the next day. It was during those desperate days that I realized that Jesus was my best friend. I had been a Christian most of my life, but I had never realized how desperately I needed God.

Most of all, I am thankful for the rest and peace that I have at this point in my life. I'm not afraid. I'm content. I'm resting in God's wonderful love.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Slob or Klutz? Blame it on the pain...

Do you ever have days when everything you touch just turns into a mess? Or you stumble over things or step on the dogs' tiny toes? I could blame these things on being in my fifties, but it would be unfair. Fifties aren't so bad.

I'll just have to blame the messes I make and the accidental self-injuries on the face pain. Yesterday, after donning one of my favorite Williams-Sonoma aprons, I transferred some oil from one container to another, very carefully using my spatula. I poured too fast, leaving oil standing on the counter and dripping hither and thither. I was thankful that I had on the apron.

Chances are, though, that I have one of my aprons on. I usually put it on when I make my morning smoothie and leave it on until the evening dishes are in the dishwasher and the counters cleaned. Yep, aprons keep me from ruining perfectly good clothes.

Aprons aren't any help, though, when the real klutz in me emerges. Yesterday I stabbed my face with my thumb. Don't ask me how, but it bled and left me with an unsightly gash. I am thanking God that it's the good side of my face. Now I have one side that doesn't hurt but looks as though I have been in a fight. The other side hurts (yes, today) but it looks just fine. (Yes, we women in our fifties can still have nice faces.)

It's not the first time I have accidentally stabbed myself with my nail or stumbled into something, leaving mysterious marks. There's nothing like Bare Minerals -when applied with the right brush - to cover these things so well.

Once upon a time, I thought that everyone's face told a story. This is true in some instances. What I have come to believe these past few years after meeting so many people with trigeminal neuralgia is that our faces actually cover our stories. They are written on our heart, and our faces do their best to prove us brave.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Raining mercy

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd, It droppeth as
the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath."

Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Have you ever asked for mercy? So many people with facial pain have. I am one among them. Although I have received an immeasurable gift of mercy, I once again have to contend with pain.

When my pain begins I think about God's mercy and know that it will see me through once again. I also think about the barometric pressure and take a look at the sky. It hasn't deceive me yet. The clouds have formed, tightly interwoven, yet not a drop of rain is in sight. Pressure builds. Sometimes this condition continues for hours. Sometimes Heaven's rain relieves the build-up, but other times the clouds seem to agree to disagree. Then the blue sky begins to emerge, but no rain falls.

It's been a few years since I can remember so much rain. We're blessed with it this year. We've needed it so badly. Yet this year, the pressure is unkind. I have so many days in succession where I just cannot function. My wellness continues to follow the rain patterns. I long for fall, hoping for another measure of mercy.

It's so easy to compare the rain to tears. It's been done so many times that the subject is somewhat trite. Yet I think about sorrow and disappointment and how often they build into an internal pressure that results in tears. It's from my internal experiences that I can understand the effect of barometric pressure and the relief that rain often brings.

I'm learning to be content with my current state. I'm not happy about the pain, but it's a relief to know that on the bad days - even those that lately have stretched into weeks - I have few responsibilities and can first take care of myself. What makes it even better is that so many people who have received my help now offer me theirs. Mercy cannot be defined; it has to be received.