Words from the wise

Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day

Today is Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day a condition that affects just 10 people in every 100,000.
As the name suggests it is a condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which is the network of nerves responsible for the feeling in your face. What that effectively means is that sufferers experience severe facial pain which can be triggered through touch, movement or it can start just for the sheer hell of it. It is an extreme and unpredictable illness, which is literally a pain to deal with.

It’s an invisible condition, which means it’s often difficult for people to understand or empathise. It’s also not always that easy to explain the problem when you’re forced to stop talking as a wave of pain gets the better of you.

My medical history, like other moments in my life, has been fairly chequered. I live by the adage that you play with the cards you’re dealt, you just make sure you play well.
I thought that my TN had been put to bed many years ago via two lots of surgery, but unfortunately last year it decided to rear it’s ugly head again.

I don’t write this for sympathy. I’m old enough and ugly enough not to require that. It’s more to highlight that everyone has their own battles to deal with. We may not be aware of them, but showing some compassion and understanding in your day to day life may help those that are struggling. People strive to do their best and overcome hurdles, without other people making that harder.

I am very lucky to have a fantastic family and support network. I love my job, the people I work with and the work we produce, yet I also acknowledge that meeting the demands of work and home life can be challenging at the best of times without the introduction of a chronic pain condition. We all try to find balance and develop mechanisms for coping, whether that be routine, meditation or exercise.

William Elliott Whitmore said, “ when life throws a punch son, you gotta take it on the chin” and with that in mind I, like so many others with the condition, roll up our sleeves and get on with life.

So next time you’re in a meeting and someone pauses mid sentence, or seems a little distracted, give them a break. They may have a bigger battle going on under the surface.

To find out more about Trigeminal Neuralgia visit https://www.tna.org.uk/ and feel free to donate here. https://www.tna.org.uk/donate/


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