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I’m an Alligator with no tooth brush. – Finding some relief amidst TN pain.

So, the weather bottomed out like a rocket this past Sunday. Wow! I woke up hurting so bad, but got in a hot shower immediately. I find that when I can’t take the pain, standing in the shower and letting the hot water run on my face gives me some relief. Tell you a secret, I even open my mouth and let the hot water fill it. Then, spit it out on the shower floor.

On really bad days, my face feels shot up with novocaine, but I have zips of needle like pain through my cheeks. Scrunching my face feels so odd. My teeth feel like they are full of cavities, my roof of my mouth and tongue feels burnt by scalding food and the back of my throat is numb. I typically get a pounding headache knocking on my brain from the left side.

Even though it was a whopping high of 14° out, I’m inside, bundled up and still pain. I wish I could come up with a method to my Trigeminal Nerves madness.

Since, I am trying to figure out if I am having an inflammatory response to something I am ingesting, I stopped taking CBD oil. I want to see what happens over time. I need to schedule an appointment with my GP to discuss refills on Cymbalta. I’d like to know if I can become allergic to it over time. I have been on it for years.

Since I am a mother, wife, and active in extracurricular activities, life doesn’t stop even when I feel my worst. I have a full time job and a work team relying on me too.

Stress tends to have an effect. Days that I have a lot on my plate seem to cause a flare up. I have always been a go getter. I like challenges and adversity. I like being busy. My nerve however…does not.

I have reduced my work load taking extra curricular actives off my plate. If I know something is gonna stress me out, then I don’t take it on. It’s definitely a change of pace for me.

Things that I have learned that help are Gabapentin, heating pad, warm air (hair dryer or the faux fireplace), hot showers, and sleep. Only if I could work from a hot shower. I love sleep. Sleep is an escape. I don’t hurt when I sleep. If I can sneak a nap in, once I get up, I feel like I can make it through the day.

Last Sunday, I was ornery. I try my best to have patience with my family, but when I am in a lot of pain I am mean. I mean, when I was in labor, I yelled at my husband (who was trying to help me,) “don’t you have calls to make?” I wanted him away from me. I wanted to punch something…HARD. I am reminded of the quote from Water Boy, “My Mama says that alligators are ornery because they got all them teeth and no toothbrush.” I have a toothbrush, but I can’t feel it, when I brush my teeth.

I try to do something that focuses my brain on something other than pain. I usually try to be creative or do something constructive. Some days, I just don’t have the concentration level to even be able to focus.

I drink a lot of coffee, A LOT! My teeth and mouth feel so very cold. Coffee is like a warm hug that restores feeling, as soon as I swallow the cold returns. It at least gives me a little relief.

I guess writing all this, I hope to reach people that maybe going through the same thing as me. Sharing tricks that I do to help the pain may help another warrior just starting their journey with this terrible disorder.

I also hope that I can educate others about TN. I never knew it even existed until I was stricken and had to learn the hard way about what works for me.


Published by Karen Piehl

I am a wife, mother, friend, artist, baker, decorator, risk taker, mess maker, coffee lover, quirky, creative, and a wonderfully made child of God. I wear a lot of hats in the creative world, but my love and passion is baking and decorating cookies & cakes.

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