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

Follow My New Medium Publication!
Don’t Miss Updates on Christina’s Poetry and Book Releases!

Chronic Pain: Just DEAL With It??? 10 Ways HOW


A friend of mine recently said to me while we were discussing my experiences in living with chronic pain and how difficult it can be for others to understand, “well, it is a “thing.” Yes, chronic pain is a “thing,” and it is something many of us live with daily. Maybe you power through and keep on working, or you find yourself parked on the couch day after day, feeling like life is simply passing you by.

Life does not have to just pass you by.

We all do our best to “just deal with it,” a phrase we hear more often than comfortable. And in the throes of a nationwide opiod epidemic, some of us do so without medications that would have been a standard treatment. Other medications, not necessarily pain medications, are often prescribed, counseling or physical therapy recommended, or occasional steroid treatments.


The source of chronic pain often goes undiagnosed, which can lead to anxiety and unease. “What is wrong with me?” becomes a dominating thought.

There is hope.

But managing chronic pain is more than doctors, pills and therapy. It is developing a support system and a lifestyle that allows you to continue living your life to the fullest that you are able and having people around you that love you in spite of your limits. Here are a few tips to managing the pain and living life off the couch of despair.



Managing Your Pain


  • Yes, see your doctors and follow their advice. It is not a final solution to what you are going through, but they can offer medications, therapy, physical therapy, chiropractic, or possibly surgical options. Do not carry a shame or guilt about pursuing these options. You are taking care of your health the same as you would any other disease or condition. Understand that they may not be able to cure you of your condition.


  • Be honest with your family and friends. Let them know you are struggling with pain and that it is affecting how you go about your daily activities, how you participate in social engagements, and how you feel from day to day. Try to understand that they cannot feel what you are going through and some skepticism is understandable. Be careful not to burden them with complaints, but he honest. If there are people in your life who criticize you, berate you, or abuse you for what you are going through, perhaps it is time to distance yourself or burn a bridge with those people. You need a supportive community, not one that makes you feel less of a person for what you are going through.


  • Develop healthy coping skills. This is not the time to abuse alcohol, pain killers, or other unhealthy means of dealing with your pain. Self-abusive activities will only worsen what your body is already trying to manage. Find things that alleviate your pain and listen to your body. Understand that our approach may have to be alleviating or tolerating your pain, not ending it. Chronic pain is just that, chronic. If walking helps the pain in your hips, then make the time to do it. If Epsom salt baths or using your TENS unit bring you relief, then make the time to do it Taking care of yourself is crucial to living a more comfortable life.


  • Don’t beat yourself up over your limitations. Pain changes people. You realize you have limits, but this does NOT mean that you do not have purpose, value, and deserve to live proudly. While your pain may limit you, it does not define you. Try to focus on what you CAN do, not on what you can’t.


  • Ask for help. This may seem simple, but some people try to do everything they used to do and make living with the pain much harder than it could be. Let some things go if need be and ask others to pitch in a little more and lighten the load where it is most cumbersome.


  • Find joy wherever you can. Joy, smiling, laughter, even in small doses can help you to feel alive, content, and change your perspective on having a bad day. Embrace these moments and cling to them!


  • Try to accept that there will be good days and bad days. Maximize on your good days and be patient with yourself on the difficult ones. You didn’t ask to be in this position, and you may have no control over the circumstances, but you do have control over how you respond to it, how much mental attention you give it, and how you can stay positive.


  • Listen to your body and respond to it with kindness. Sometimes pain signals are for us to slow down, stop using that are of our body and let it rest and heal, or the signals are simply misfirings that will fade on it’s own. Do not ruminate or inflate problems that may be temporary. Focus on something else the best you can until it passes.


  • Say NO. There are times you just, cannot. It is ok to be present when you can, but you know that you can’t always be at that meeting, or that party, or get-together. It is ok to be absent, without guilt. If you were sick, you’d have to bow out and this is no different. Sometimes you just can’t be there…and this is OK.


  • Finally, if someone tells you to “just deal with it,” tell them: I AM.


It’s Time to Take Back Your Life
Life can be difficult, but it does not mean it is impossible.


Living with chronic pain can be difficult, isolating, embarrassing, and debilitating. If you know someone experiencing this, try not to judge or be unkind, or worse, to gossip about them to others. We ALL have our burdens to bear and we handle them in vastly different ways, the best that we can. And again, to those of you living with this condition: Stay positive, you have VALUE, and your pain does not define who you are.