A Difficult Tell-All

This could kill you–words you don’t want to hear from your doctor.

Photo by Milan Popovic on Unsplash

There are no rules in writing. And there are no closets to hide in when it comes to “over-sharing.”

Where do you draw the line? For me, I draw the line at exposing my family members’ and friends’ stories in a way that is disrespectful of their privacy.

But for myself — all bets are off.

I haven’t always felt this way but as I strive more and more to live in my truth,it becomes harder to not disclose the difficult, the embarrassing, the truly raw and personal.

Which is why, of late, I have been more open about my health struggles. Other Medium writers have inspired me to be more truthful about this part of my life.

So, in the spirit of vulnerability, I’d like to share, without apology or pity-seeking intent, today — I am in pain. Considerable pain. Earlier today it was laying-on-your-face-on-the-couch-and-sobbing kind of pain.

And because I write, because that is what I do…here I am.

Nerve pain is no joke.

It is a raging beast that seizes you and has its way with you. There is no fighting it. You lose. Very few medications will even touch it, aside from opioids (which are not prescribed anymore here due to the opioid crisis) and some medications such as Lyrica (which I am allergic to) and a few other medications such as Neurontin, which is not a pain medication, but a medicine that helps calm the nerves.

You can take all the Tylenol you want — nothing. I already take an anti-inflammatory daily so Ibuprofen is off the table. Do NOT Ice nerve pain! Unless you want the lightning show to be ICE-LIGHTNING pain.

I take a very substantial amount of Neurontin to treat my chronic pain and nerve pain. 1800 mg per day. This is also an anti-seizure medication often used for people suffering from epilepsy. This has caused me significant weight-gain, but it is the most effective treatment available to me.

So the fact that I am having horrific nerve pain, and have in conjunction had facial seizures, in spite of all the Neurontin and anti-inflammatory I am on, then I guess that says this tooth thing is serious.

For those of you that haven’t read my post explaining the situation, you can catch up here.

I saw the orthopedic doctor yesterday and was very pleased to hear that I do not need neck surgery to deal with the disc issue and bone spurs in my neck. This is the first good news we’ve had all week! But the doctor did say that she believes I am suffering from some type of pain disorder and gave me a referral to a pain clinic. She recommended CBD oil treatments as well.

Given my body’s response to pain (inflammatory, exponential, difficult to manage) the current dental nightmare that I am in is even more unbearable.

I need emergency surgery to remove three teeth, two impacted wisdom teeth that are sitting on the nerves causing Trigeminal neuralgia, and an infected tooth feeding infection in and around one of the wisdom teeth. 

PLEASE READ THIS–THIS IS HOW YOU CAN HELP: https://www.gofundme.com/manage/nzw54u-emergency-surgery-needed/donations

The occipital nerve is also part of the problem even though it is on the back of my head— because for me and whatever pain disorder or condition I have when one nerve gets inflamed — it invites its nearby friends to the party.

Facial Pain, Trigeminal Neuralgia
Facial pain info, trigeminal neuralgia is an inflammation of the trigeminal nerve causing extreme pain and muscle…mayfieldclinic.com

This is what my dentist said to me after a drastic exclamation at the x-ray imagery; composed and alarmed he explained:

  • I have never seen anything like this before in my career.
  • It is no wonder you have been in terrible pain.
  • The nerve damage in your face may be permanent at this point.
  • You cannot wait.
  • This could end your life.

So, there it is. Full disclosure. I guess I should point out that 2 days prior to the dental appointment my boyfriend lost his job.

Aside from what I make on Medium (and 8 weeks in, that’s not a super whole lot yet) he is my only source of income.

The tears in my house the last few days have been many. There have been intimate moments of shared fear and worry, and my current medical situation has done nothing to alleviate our worries.

Yes, I’m whining here. And that is ok. I am grateful to have this thing — this writing thing — as an outlet. Perhaps someone out there in the world of words is reading this and thinking — I AM NOT ALONE. (I see you, by the way. I get you. You are ok.)

Pain teaches you empathy. It is a costly lesson.

After the recent ER visits (x4 in 6 days!) and doctor visits, a stay in the hospital, and the last 2 weeks of intermittent nerve pain through my face, I sit here grateful for my dentist. He wrote me a pain prescription (the first one I have had in nearly 3 years), he empathized with my pain, and he showed true concern over my health.

I know you are hurting. And I am sorry. — memorize these words. This is what you say to someone who is hurting.

If someone tells you they are in pain, do not look at them suspiciously. Pain is sometimes invisible. That does not mean it isn’t there!

So, as I wait nervously for my June 4th surgical consult, and work to “raise” the money for the surgery, I will write when I can. I will keep trying. I will get up, show up, and do the best I can. That’s the plan. And when the pain is too much, I will bear that as bravely as possible.

Nerve pain is a beast. it does not care who you are or how tough you are — it wins. –Christina

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. Lance Armstrong

Expect there to be some poetry over the next few weeks that may be a bit more “deep and dramatic” than my whimsical faeries-on-swings, happy singing moon stuff 😉 

It’s ok — pain is a great creative catalyst.

Thank you all for reading. It is of great comfort.

Support Groups – The ACPA
Back to About Us main page. You can start an ACPA group. ACPA groups welcome anyone who is living with an ongoing pain…www.theacpa.org

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Author: Christina M. Ward

Poet, author of "organic"

One thought on “A Difficult Tell-All”

  1. Hey there, I am so sorry to read this. I will get onto a letter soon and explain a bunch of things. I have been through something similar. In the meantime, I want to share something that helped me with pain that my daughter shared with me when she had food poisoning. It’s free Reiki on YouTube by a user called Divine White Light. I do understand that many people don’t use it for various reasons, and that is okay if you chose not to. I use the one for pain when I get migraines, numerous times. Good luck, hang in there.

    Liked by 1 person

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