I remember having toothache in my early twenties. I hadn’t been to a dentist for years: I didn’t even know where to start getting in to see one but got desperate. I lost sleep for days and tried everything to kill the pain. At one point, I caused myself damage with a screw driver and a hammer, trying to extract the tooth myself And I will never forget the sheer relief I felt once I finally got to a dentist and got the nasty little bastard removed.
I couldn’t have imagined that intense nerve pain never ending, and what it would have done to me mentally had I not got it resolved. I surely would have gone insane!
Yet, here I am, almost 5 years on, still dealing with Occipital Neuralgia and Central Pain Syndrome. I am currently suffering from a flare-up caused by the cold breeze of the air conditioning in an office at work 3 days ago. It was enough to raise the nerve pain levels in my head. The stabbing, burning, and shooting pains are uncontrollable. I just have to ride it out.
I have adapted to living with it in some sense. I rarely talk about it anymore. I went through a phase of writing about it here regularly a few years ago, I think It was a way of trying to make sense of it: of the forced changes in my life that I, and my family had to face. The old me was gone, suddenly I had physical limitations and I struggled to accept that it was chronic. That there was no cure. But talking about it just amounts to whinging now, everyone in my life knows I suffer. They don’t need to hear about it anymore. Hell, I’m tired of talking about it!
I was hospitalised in a flare-up last year. I had taken drastic action trying to relieve the pain in my head. As extreme as my attempt to get releif was, that incident led to me getting my first steroid nerve block injections. Something positive came of the chain of events that landed me on a hospital ward with a pain pump. I have had another nerve block procedure since, on the left side of my head, and am on the waiting list for another.
I am working closely again with the pain clinic. I have learned to deal with the stress, but I am still my own worst enemy. I do too much. My attitude of push on and work through still creates more problems for me. Slowing down hasn’t been easy. It’s taken years of retraining myself, of balancing minimised movement with sufficient rest.
But there is a little hope on the horizon. I have been referred to the neurosurgery department at Southmead Hospital in Bristol for radio-frequency ablation treatment. It is a procedure that burns the nerve, disrupting the pain signals being sent to the brain. It’s only temporary relief because the nerve regenerates every 6 – 12 months. But it’s the longest lasting relief I can hope for at the moment.
I guess I have surprised myself over the last few years of how much I can actually deal with when left with no choice but to deal with it. It’s weired living in constant pain. It brings a never-ending temptation to bite into resentment. But I have been resilient and adapted. It’s been the toughest situation I have ever had to deal with, but it is yet to break me – yet.
So I won’t bring it up again for a while. I don’t want to bore you to death anymore with ongoing accounts of my suffering. Only one of us needs to put up with it. But it’s 2am, I’m hurting and need to share. Also, it’s my blog, and I’ll write about whatever I want!
Seriously though. Thanks for reading 😉
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