MS is Getting on my Trigeminal Nerve by @danjendig

Jennifer and Dan

Guest Blogger Jennifer Digmann of the husband and wife team: DAN and JENNIFER DIGMANN MS BLOG shares information on the cruel realities of TN.

[ I’m honored to be able to share this informative guest blog article by Jennifer on this MS BLOG as part of my ongoing interest and dedicate to sharing the stories of those living with Multiple Sclerosis and the inspirational MS stories they provide. – Lisa Dasis, MSlisaSAYS ]

Twitter:  @DanJenDig

My husband, Dan, went for his regular dental cleaning earlier this week, and for as kindly as I had asked him, he didn’t punch our dentist for me.

Jennifer and Dan

Don’t get me wrong, I like Dr. Bever a lot but it was not until my own recent dental appointment that my angry trigeminal neuralgia was awakened. Sure, Dr. Bever and his hygienist probably did nothing on purpose to inflame this nerve that is responsible for carrying the sensations from my face to my brain, but I feel the need to blame someone.

Much like Multiple Sclerosis, the cruel reality of TN is that there is no logical explanation for either condition. Worse still, there isn’t even an illogical one. The painful shocking zing, along with a feeling like someone is sawing at my tongue, makes no sense. That makes me angry! Therefore I want to punch someone really hard. It may be childish but when I’m in pain, I want someone else to hurt too.

Ever feel that way?

I lived with MS for 12 years before I ever encountered any type of painful symptom. I guess MS was making up for lost time when it brought TN to my party. Now, with the unpredictable nature I’ve come to expect from MS, this new condition sadly is following suit.

My TN pain is centered on the lower right side of my face. I wince in pain and am on the verge of tears almost every time I brush my teeth. I am in pain when I apply face lotions, moisturizers or wrinkle creams. So am I destined to have bad breath, wrinkles and rotting teeth? And don’t get me started about how it hurts to kiss Dan.

Plus I love to eat, and eating is not just for nutrition. Food and fellowship and conversation go hand-in-hand in this social society. But my TN pain makes dining difficult. There is an anticipation of pain. Because chewing food can hurt, you are always asking yourself, “Is it worth the pain?” To understand what I mean, imagine chomping on aluminum foil with fillings. Yes, my TN gives me that kind of electric shock sensation.

When I can manage a fairly pain-free meal, as soon as the conversation starts, the pain comes on again. Using certain words, “S” words like “sweets” or “spoon” for example, make chatting a difficult task. And I’m no longer talking as much as or the way I used to. What’s worse is that my occasionally unclear diction has made my DragonNaturally Speaking voice-activated typing program all-but useless. So I’m not eating or talking much and the pain gets worse in the evening –yet another unexplainable trait of TN.

Dan asked me what I hoped to accomplish by writing this blog. I thought about his question, and well, I just want to complain. TN is a nightmare MS symptom and I needed to get out this frustration.

On top of that, I am writing about this to increase awareness of TN. Much like Multiple Sclerosis, more people need to be talking about this condition in order to find some way to fix it. But mostly, I want to be able to talk and live without the fear of trigeminal neuralgia robbing me of any more of my quality of life.

**In a recent development (fingers crossed), my neurologist just prescribed Tegretol and I am hopeful it helps to ease my TN pain.


To learn more about Jennifer Digmann please visit her website.

Additional Multiple Sclerosis Resources:

Sharing stories of our day-to-day life to inspire and educate people about multiple sclerosis. Jennifer and her husband, Dan, also are authors of "Despite MS, to Spite MS" available for purchase on their website.