I am proud to say that I have Fought Like A Girl. In July 2013, I was a 20 years young, enjoying life and being married to my wonderful husband. We had just celebrated our first anniversary, and I had a special gift for him. I surprised him with our wonderful gift, our son.
One month later, on August 10, 2013, I was sitting on the couch, enjoying a jar of pickles, when I got hit out of left field with searing, shocking bolts of pain on the right side of my face. I was screaming, crying. I thought perhaps I was dying. I crawled to the neighbors’ house. They dialed my husband’s cell, since I couldn’t open my eyes or mouth. He rushed home and took me to the ER.
After a six hour wait at the ER, the episode had passed, and they told me, “Oh, it was probably just migraines,” and sent me on my way. This reoccurred several times. At 20 weeks, I had had enough of no answers. I was finally allowed to see the labor and delivery doctors, and I begged for answers. He took one look at me during a flare up and said, “Ma’am, I believe you have trigeminal neuralgia.” Since I was pregnant, we tried gabapentin to no avail.
After delivering a healthy, perfect baby boy at 43 weeks, I went into a six month remission. It was the most wonderful six months of my life, enjoying holding my newborn with no pain. I thought I had won the lottery. Then I got in a car wreck, T-boned by a lady texting. I got whiplash, a crushed chest, seat belt burn, and the next morning, bam. The TN pain returned.
For the next few months, we would try the max gabapentin dosage of 3600mg, and I ended up having hallucinations. I tried Lyrica, Trileptal, and Tegretol for the next few months. Finally, I begged for surgical options. I was tired of not being able to hold my son and tired of being on the edge of quitting. The inability to leave my home without an attack, the inability to turn on the fan or A/C. The inability to brush my hair, wear make-up, etc. without a flare up.
My neurologist agreed to bring me in for microvascular decompression surgery. I was so elated. I showed up at the Medical University of South Carolina, so relaxed, so prepared. I knew I was in good hands. I woke up and knew my surgery had been successful. I had no facial pain. I cried. I laughed. It was the second greatest day of my life. Not only was my surgery successful, but my healing process has been incredibly positive. I was released after only 24 hours, while most people need three days. I walked after two hours and ate after four. I had only eight stitches instead of the typical 13-15. I really have won the lottery.
My TN can come back at anytime, so it is up to me to take advantage of every pain-free day until then. I’ll be returning to school in January to finish up. I’m going premed to hopefully specialize in neurology to help other warriors.
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.