The key to having a good life in spite of the pain is to recognize and focus on good things. I'm continually amazed by my friends who have trigeminal neuralgia and how well they cope. Most of them have had procedures but still have pain. And my friends who have neuropathic facial pain also give me a reason to smile. Many of them don't know the cause of their pain, but they manage as best as they can and find pleasure in their lives.
Happiness can be found if we look for it. Most days, we understand that things can be worse, and some days, it takes every ounce of strength we have just to endure the pain.
Although I struggle with difficulties related to my jaw joint, I remember the terrible days of trigeminal neuralgia, the electrocution-type pains, the inability to brush my teeth, to wash my face, to speak, to walk out of the house, or to sit under a ceiling fan. The discomfort I feel now cannot compare to the suffering related to TN.
One of the challenges that people who have trigeminal neuralgia face is that others don't understand the intensity of the pain, which is believed to be the worst pain known to humans. It's discouraging and isolating, but we can support one another and know what the other person is experiencing. We can offer prayers, write emails, become friends on Facebook, or tweet with one another. You may also leave comments here to comfort and support individuals who read my blog.
Those of us who have been involved with supporting others have held the hands of hundreds, maybe thousands, of people we have never touched. We help one another overcome the fear of the pain.
Life may never return to what it was before we had the pain, but we can continue to find its beauty. One of my favorite poems is Wordsworth's "Ode: Intimations of Immortality." I fell in love with this passage when I was a teenager, not old enough to understand how important it's message is. But today, I comprehend it much more fully.
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind...
We're not as young as we once were, but we have more wisdom, more compassion, and more endurance. Let's find strength, not only in what remains behind but also in what lies ahead.
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