Monday, December 20, 2010

Pain, prayers, and peace

I'll be signing off for the Holidays, at least until after Christmas. Before I go, I'd like to say Merry Christmas to my friends, the ones I've met, and the ones I haven't.

It isn't easy to have trigeminal or glossopharyngeal neuralgia and have peace. The pain threatens to steal our lives. Sometimes it feels as though our sanity will be the next thing to go. When I was suffering, I found peace in Jesus Christ. His peace was present in the midst of the most terrible pain. I prayed, finding solace in Him. I grew to understand I wasn't alone in my suffering.

If you are experiencing facial pain, I'd like to encourage you to tap into your faith. Take a chance. Dare to believe that Jesus is real and that He cares about you. Take s step of faith and trust that your health will improve.

I can't think of anyone who needs the thrill of hope more than someone who has trigeminal or glossopharyngeal neuralgia. My prayer is that you will be full of peace this Christmas.

 O Holy Night

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices.
O night divine, O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine!


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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Resources: clothing to shield your face from cold wind

Yesterday morning, I watched the Today show and noticed some fabulous clothing items that seem useful for people who have trigeminal neuralgia. They are made by Loki and have adjustable masks for the face. One of their jackets is pictured above.  If you like Loki's "morf" pullover hoodie, you can find it on their website Loki clothing.

If you'd like to know about the shield that is pictured, it can be purchased at Grainger products. Grainger products

I added a new resource September 21, 2012. Here is the link to that page:

If anyone has another product or resource, please let me know. It looks as though a warming trend is coming our way. Take good care.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gluten-free no chew broccoli cheese soup recipe

Two 32 oz cartons organic (gluten-free) chicken broth
1 cup peeled potatoes, finely diced
1 tsp onion powder (optional)
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1percent fat)
14 oz bag frozen broccoli florets
8 oz cheddar cheese (I used 2 percent sharp cheddar)

In a covered 6 or 8 quart pot, bring chicken broth to a boil. Add potatoes, onions, garlic, and salt. Put the lid back on and bring back to a low boil until potatoes are extremely soft. They, along with the brown rice flour, will give your soup body. When your broth comes to a low boil, turn it down to a simmer.

To create a no-chew soup, you'll need to boil your broccoli separately, until it is soft. Place it in a blender or run it through a food processor until it is pulverized.  Place it into the soup and stir. Add cheese to the mixture, stirring until it melts. Heat until it is a desirable temperature for serving.

For a garnish, sprinkle a little extra cheese on top. It's a full-bodied soup that isn't terribly heavy or rich.

To find other no-chew recipes on the site, use the Google search tool on my blog. Thanks!

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cold, Christmas, and Comfort

For people who have trigeminal neuralgia, Christmastime can deliver a double whammy. The pain caused by the cold can be paralyzing, making work and social interaction burdensome. Sometimes just surviving the pain is the best one can do.

Just when we're expected to enjoy "Walking in the Winter Wonderland," we are forced to retreat. The best time of year sometimes becomes the cruelest. And this is true for many, not just for people who have facial pain. The pressure of expectations weighs heavily on our minds, hearts, and spirits.

We're not going to be perfect, our friends and family aren't going to be, and perhaps the holiday will be less than idyllic. And that's okay. The key to surviving the imperfection is to find solace.

Finding comfort in one's situation can seem impossible, but it is doable. One way to start is to trim our list of activities. If you've gone to the neighbor's Christmas party and taken your special homemade divinity every year, it may have become an expectation. Expectations equal pressure. When we decline an invitation to a gathering, we often hear and sense others' disappointment. But we can get past it.

We must take care of ourselves. People tell one another to do this all the time, but often the phrase is uttered without considering its meaning. This Christmas, let's embrace the message.

Take care of yourself.

To fend off depression that can result from facial pain and as well as holiday stress, make a plan. Take a mental inventory of things, tangible and intangible, you find comforting. Write them down. Find them if you don't know where they are. Be prepared to spend a few hours alone when the rest of your family is socializing.

Need some suggestions? Make a list of music for your I-Pod especially for this time, a list that may include anything from tear-jerking songs to happy holiday tunes. You've experienced a full gamut of emotions in your life, and it is acceptable to feel them now. Believe you will have better times, less pain in the future. Unless we believe things will get better, they won't.

Put your favorite DVDs by the player. Brew a pot of your favorite tea or coffee. Peruse your favorite photo album. Prepare an online list of the funniest videos you've seen on YouTube, and have them ready to make you laugh.  Have something to read that's easy and brings you comfort.

Now is the time to schedule ways to connect with people we love. If your family or friends are distant, make a date to text them if it is painful to talk. If not, make a date to Skype or call someone special.

Recognizing our limitations also helps us let ourselves off the "expectation hook.' Sometimes getting out or pushing through can help us feel better, but sometimes it makes pain worse. No one can make these decisions for you. You are the best judge, the best predictor of the outcome. It's important to resist the pressure of going along with everyone else if you believe the activity will trigger more pain. Stand your ground: take care of yourself.

As individuals, we find solace in different ways. What brings you comfort? Your comment may help someone else.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Memorializing Cherry

A week ago, my friend Cherry died. She had been ill for a few weeks, but she seemed to be getting better. Then she suddenly died. My mother knew Cherry since they were in elementary school.

Cherry lifted me up and supported me while trigeminal neuralgia seemed to be winning in a war it had launched against me. Although she had not experienced facial pain, she never doubted the intensity of my suffering. There were times when she put her needs on hold to stop and pray for me. One day when my speech was painful and distorted, someone laughed at me. Cherry spoke up because it made her angry. She was the type of friend who could be counted on in times of trouble.

Cherry was a blossom who didn't fade but continually bloomed. I'll always miss her.

Years ago, I wasn't able to go to funerals or stand outside because of having trigeminal neuralgia. Monday I was able to do both, celebrating her life and acknowledging Cherry's passing. Although I am relieved that she is no longer having pain and is with the Lord, I will always miss her.

At the cemetery, the wicked wind chilled the mourners. It slapped my face, reminding me of the electrocution-type pains it would have caused me years ago. I thank the Lord for the opportunity to live a "normal" life again.

Thank you, Cherry, for your prayers, your love, and your laughter.