Something you can’t see? Trigeminal neuralgia.

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The constant aching, tingling, the feeling that someone is using my face as a pin-cushion. Various other sensations that are difficult to describe, minus the severe pain attacks. And thank goodness I haven’t had one of those since November. The atypical pain never goes away, however.

Everywhere you look, the limited resources on trigeminal neuralgia tell us this chronic pain disease is invisible. It cannot be seen, they say. In the past, I had nightmares that my face was bruised, beaten. I would get up and look in the mirror. Nothing there. This pain is invisible.

But today, when I stepped into the kitchen to fill my coffee mug, I saw my reflection. And it looked different. The left side of my face is drooping, something my neurologist told me in 2013. The nerves are exhausted. The left side of my eye leans down a bit. The left side of my mouth, as well. It’s barely perceptible, but it’s there.

So, tell me, Medical Science: If trigeminal neuralgia is invisible, why can I see it? Am I just imagining this? If the rest of our bodies can become exhausted, then it stands to reason our nerves can as well.

2013, prior to learning the pain I have had my entire life is TN.

2013, prior to learning the pain I have had my entire life is TN.

2015. There are subtle differences in the way my skin droops on the left side, though I do believe I have bilateral TN.

2015. There are subtle differences in the way my skin droops on the left side, though I do believe I have bilateral TN.

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