Monday, June 28, 2010

Opening up

Most people who have trigeminal neuralgia and other types of neuropathic facial pain have experienced quite a bit of rejection. It happens because people who have not experienced such mysterious and excruciating pain find our explanations to be incredulous. They just can't believe it's possible.

Here's something else to consider. If this is terrible thing happening to someone else, it could happen to them. Denial is easy.

Think back to your earliest days with this disability. Was it difficult for you to believe that such pain could come out of nowhere? So difficult to describe? Mere talking can cause the electrocution-type pains to erupt, making it easier and easier not to talk about the terrible predicament.

We withdraw. We go into our own world, and we feel alone but we aren't. It's not just us and the television.

Today I am watching Julie and Julia, a movie I've seen before. I've seen it before, and I love the story. Julie blogs away while she works through Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. She starts with no followers, but she quickly gathers an audience. It's the beginning of Julie's success.

If we take a look back, though, we see that she opened herself up to anyone who had access to a computer and could read in English. That's risky, and it's what we bloggers do.

When I wrote With Great Mercy, I opened myself up, telling how I thought the Lord had forgotten me, and then later learned how He much He cares. I really hadn't known the extent of His love until I reached out for His mercy.

At the time I didn't know others who have trigeminal neuralgia, but I knew they were out there. If I wanted to write something to help others, I would have to be transparent. It's a scary thing, but transparency is makes someone believable. The author's authenticity gives the reader someone to relate to. 

If you have no one who understands the depth of your pain, I encourage you to open up to someone. Step out of the box of isolation that often defines the world of someone who experiences so much pain. There are ways to do this: a support group, a prayer group, or a professional counselor. If you don't have a trusted friend, feel free to contact me via email.

Trigeminal neuralgia turned my life upside down. It turned a drama teacher into a rehabilitation counselor, and lukewarm Christian became one who wanted every day to get closer to God.

Has illness caused your life to change? Did something good result from it?

Monday, June 21, 2010

In the midst of the storm

We had a long, cold winter and so many people who have trigeminal neuralgia and neuropathic facial pain really suffered. Now that warmer weather allows these individuals to enjoy lower pain levels, barometric pressure threatens to deliver more discomfort.

When barometric pressure shifts suddenly, many people notice that their pain rapidly increases. No, it is not in your mind. No, it’s not fair. One summer Florida experienced four hurricanes. Three of them came through my area, and the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia raged.

You may want to have a plan of action. Don’t hesitate to report the summer pain to your health care provider. It may be that medication can be adjusted or additional treatments can be given. Keep an eye on the weather report to help you know what to expect.

It’s not easy to remain calm in the midst of a storm, especially when pain is at its center. This is where the challenge lies.

So long ago when my pain got bad, I was unable to talk. I’d call my mother, and press three keys on the phone pad. She knew my signal, and she would come over to say a prayer with me and to sit with me.

It may help you to prepare for pain caused by weather fronts. Store your storm stash together:

Favorite Bible verses
Encouraging Quotes
Phone numbers of people who will offer you support
If you wear glasses, a light weight pair

Monday, June 14, 2010

No chew Fish de Lish recipe

Nutrition can be a concern for people who have pain in their jaw areas, whether it is from trigeminal neuralgia, neuropathic facial pain, or a jaw disorder. We hear about spices and how they are great for our health, so I developed this recipe that’s so soft and requires little chewing. I use thawed cod loins, but tilapia and other types of fish are suitable. If you use another fish, the temperature and time may need to be adjusted. The marinade becomes a sauce, making this dish easy.

Fish De Lish

1 juice orange squeezed with pulp or 1/3 cup orange juice
½ teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon dried cilantro
pinch of ginger powder
1 tablespoon Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread

Bring the items above to a boil in and remove from heat. In a pan to be used for baking, place the thawed fish and cover with the marinade. You’ll need to keep it in the refrigerator marinating a couple of hours or longer. At some point, you’ll want to turn the fish over so both sides will be flavored with the marinade sauce.

When it’s time to cook the cod, place it in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees F. It will need to bake 10-15 minutes, until it is flaky. I turn mine over in the marinade sauce after 5 or 6 minutes.

Then it’s ready to serve. The sauce is enough for 3-4 cod fillets.

Information below about the herbs and seasonings come from

It is believed: *

* When cilantro is taken in a lightly cooked form it causes the body to excrete excess mercury.

* Ginger is an excellent digestive, aiding in the absorbtion of food, and elimination of gas and bloating. Ginger stimulates circulation so it is good for cold hands and feet.

* Garlic helps to lower hypertension, serum triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Both garlic and onions help thin the blood by discouraging platelets from sticking together.

I hope you will enjoy this nutritious recipe. Use the google search bar at the top of the blog to find more recipes on this site.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The sting

…It stings like a viper. Proverbs 23:32

When the pains of trigeminal neuralgia began to invade my body, I thought it was a tooth. I knew nothing of cranial nerves and had never known anyone who has facial pain. Besides that, it felt like a tooth gone wild, a tooth with a evil in its pulp.

If you’ve experienced this sensation, then you know what it’s like to wonder what in the world has happened. Many people have root canals or a tooth removed trying to “fix” the pain. Often times, though, more dental work makes the pain worse.

Having no name for the pain makes it difficult to explain the severity of it to others. It’s common to be frustrated with others’ lack of understanding. What’s even more universal is for someone to be upset with the individual who is experiencing trigeminal neuralgia or another type of neuropathic facial pain.

In the earliest days of TN, my (ex) husband told me that if I would just gargle with Listerine, the pain would subside. He may sound like a cruel man, but he’s not. He simply didn’t understand.

The very act of swooshing something around in the mouth caused my own pain to get worse. It hurt because an unhealthy trigeminal nerve can be disturbed by facial movement. And until a person has had this disorder, facial movement (smiling, talking, chewing, etc.) isn’t something we think about. It’s automatic and painless.

The pain caused by these simple activities is impossible for someone else to understand, at first that is. After all, it’s difficult to comprehend even if you’re the person who is experiencing it. Spouses, family, and friends need time to process what’s happening to the person they love. Education is a key.

One key to dental hygiene is finding products that don’t contain alcohol. It can cause a terrible sting, worse than a viper. If you are looking for a way to accomplish daily oral health activities, there are several brands of alcohol-free mouthwash. That doesn’t mean that swooshing isn’t going to hurt, though. Be careful, and take good care.