Return of the TN Beast


I keep hoping that one day I’ll wake up and the pain will be gone. I give myself that benefit of the doubt. My gift to myself is the desperate hope that one day I’ll just wake up and I won’t have trigeminal neuralgia anymore. That technology will have advanced to the ranks of Star Trek, and someone will take a tiny device, hold it over my face, and “fix” me.

On the way home from the Writers in Paradise conference, I had a pain attack on Route 70 as I crossed Florida, driving through acres of farm land and empty fields. Four days later, I had another one. A day later, I had another one. The attacks are once again increasing in frequency and intensity, as they do every year for a month to three months.

As I get older, the pain worsens, and every time it hits, I wonder, “Is this it? Is this the attack that will somehow prove fatal?” I know that’s irrational, because trigeminal neuralgia isn’t fatal. But it feels like it should be. This pain that exists without reason, without meaning, never makes sense to me. I write about it, hoping to raise awareness, hoping that one day someone will figure out a way to “fix” it.

I’m a mechanic. I like to fix things. As the TN beast returns to me this year, I wish I knew how to open my own head and reroute the wiring, fix this error that’s manifested in my nerves. I can fix electrical wiring, so why I can’t I fix this?

I don’t know how. I can’t fix it. And for someone who enjoys fixing things, this is truly troubling.

I keep fighting. As the TN beast returns, I’m going from battle to war. Maybe I’ll never win. Maybe none of us will win. But we keep fighting.

We have no choice.

4 responses to “Return of the TN Beast

  1. Thank you Rose for raising awareness for those that suffer with facial pain. As someone who could not even imagine what that must be like, the best we can do is be there to support people like you and perhaps donate to the Facial Pain Association so they can hopefully one day find a cure. If not a cure, perhaps they can work toward treatments or anything. For those interested, here is a link for that:

  2. You’re a brave young woman for sharing your experience and raising awareness of this sometimes unknown, often misunderstood disease. Keep battling. This IS war, and you’re a fighter. I can’t wait to watch you plant the battle flag on your successful victory one day soon!

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