Sunday, January 21, 2018

What life has become...

Yesterday, I had four flares of Trigeminal Neuralgia.  Today, I had three.  SIGH.

Never have I had so many attacks in a single day, much less a week.  At least, never until now.  I've been enduring the brutal attacks frequently ever since I started the new nerve pain medication.  I think that this is because one of the side effects I have been battling is clenching my teeth shut.

It is the weirdest thing for me to find myself clamping my jaws together as if my life depended on it.  I work and work and work to try and relax my jaws and hold my teeth slightly apart, but when my attention wanders—and when I am asleep—I discover that my teeth are clenched tightly once more.  As a result, I have also been enduring constant headaches.  With my crap kidneys, I can no longer take the medicine that always knocks out my headaches.  And I suspect the clenching of my jaws is what is triggering the Trigeminal Neuralgia.

I saw this a while ago and loved it.  Mostly, because I still cannot quite believe that my life has become a life of pain.  I struggle with multiple types of pain.  I take four different pain meds.  I've spent part of every doctor visit for the past two years discussing pain.  I talk about it most weeks in therapy.  And my life has become incredibly isolated as I struggle to live with chronic pain.  It is hard to hide my deep despair.

To be honest, I do not believe that even my dearest friend understand just how brutal Trigeminal Neuralgia is.  Even when I say that it is known as the Suicide Illness because so many sufferers cannot bear to live with it.

  • Arthritis pain
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia
  • Pudendal Neuralgia
  • Occipital Neuralgia
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Visceral Neuropathy
  • Small Fiber Neuropathy
  • Shocking in my hands
  • Migraines
  • Chronic headaches

I find it rather defeating that, I am assuming, medication for one type of pain is causing another type of pain.  Resolutely, I started the second increase in dosage on Friday, in the hopes that, eventually, the constant shocking in my hands that I have endured for 94 days now might end.  I have a month at this dose and then one more increase to get to the therapeutic dosage my GP is hoping will help.  But will increasing the dose increase the clenching and increase the Trigeminal Neuralgia flares?

Living in fear of the next attack is not living.
It's surviving.

The good news is that the emotional numbness and the I DON'T CARE side effects have eased a bit.  I no longer feel so trapped in my own body.  I think, because of that, I had more confidence in going from 60 mg to 90 mg than I did from 30 mg to 60 mg, which I did with much fear and trepidation.  But the side effects that remain are troubling.

I do not merely clench my teeth.  I sometimes find different parts of me clenched.  My hands.  My arms.  My body.  As if I am bracing for some mighty blow.  When I realize what I am doing, I force whatever part of me it is to relax.  Over and over and over again.  SIGH.

And there is the pain.
Always present.
Singular or plural.

A life of chronic pain is like trying to get comfortable on a cactus sofa.  You keep trying because you have no choice.

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