An Authentic, Sometimes Gritty, and Always Hopeful Blog for All Who Live with Severe Physical Pain

Monday, July 18, 2011

On-Going, Ever-Changing Journey with Pain

Having written about needing a "chronic faith" for my "chronic pain" last week got me thinking about just how much the term "chronic" fails to describe what it is like to live with  pain.  

Consider the definition of chronic again:  "on-going, lingering, continuing and enduring."  

BTN (Before Trigeminal Neuralgia), I thought "chronic" implied "the same".  As in the same kind of on-going, lingering, and continuing illness, treated in basically the same way. I never imagined how many different ways our illnesses change,  and how dissimilar are the responses for their management.

In September of 2005, when I was diagnosed with TN,  the severe facial pain syndrome from which I suffer, my neurosurgeon first treated it with an anti-seizure medication, called "Trileptal".  It worked well for awhile, although I felt loopy most of the time.  Later, I wound up in the ER from a dangerous side-effect of Trileptal.  During this same time, I also developed severe head-aches in the back of my head, that my doctor called "TN headaches." (His idea--increase medication, and add and new one which left me practically comatose!)

Following another medication reaction, he talked us into undergoing a  brain procedure called "Gamma Knife" in July of 2006.  Not only did it not work, I now had burning and aching in addition to the electric-like strikes of pain in my face. 

I switched neurosurgeons, who took me off the other medications, replacing them with  three new medications.  In addition to taking these, I tried some other options:  "Sound Therapy"  to try to reduce pain I experience upon high-pitched sounds. "Chiropractic Care" for better spinal alignment in hopes it would help my facial pain, and "Dental Splint Therapy" for better jaw alignment.   (Can't you just see those  dollar signs adding up?) 

Seven months after the Gamma Knife, I tried another brain procedure, a combined one,   "Glycerin Rizotomy with Radio-frequency".  This was in early 2007, and it immediately stopped all my pain!  That's the good news.  The bad news is that it lasted only thirty days.

As I write this, over four years later, my journey continues to twist and turn, climbing mountain-side byways  of hope, and creeping along dark back roads of  near despair.  

The term "chronic" just won't do anymore for this journey.  
I have decided to refer to it as "on-going, ever-changing pain". 

It still speaks to the kind of  "chronic faith" I need-- "on-going, ever changing" dependence on the only One who understands what all of this is about-- and how it can be and is used for good.  Jesus Christ, my Lord.

Until Next Time, God Bless!


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