Welcome to the Millions of Chronic Pain Sufferers in America!

Desperate, scared, in agony 3 weeks ago.

I consider myself a strong woman. I pride myself on "toughing things out" and finding answers to my problems and solving them to the best of my ability. TN has brought me to my knees.

It all started with what I assumed to be dental pain in my jaw early in 2012. I withstood it for two months assuming it would go away as it always had before...I was wrong.

Finally, I gave up and went to the dentist expecting, at the worst, a filling or root canal. It was an exercise in futility to pinpoint the pain, but dentist said rear molar needed to come out, so oral surgery was scheduled. I went through with the surgery with nagging doubts that I was doing the right thing and I honestly did not want to lose the tooth. Call me vain, but it was my first ever removed. And the uncertainty that I needed to lose it was ever present in my mind.

Months passed and though the pain was bearable, it never went away. In late September it returned with a fiery vengeance. Eating, drinking, talking, using a straw, putting on lip balm, washing my face all created stabs of pain. But honestly, it was the relentless dull achy grinding pain between the stabs that wore me down.

On a Friday filled with unrelenting cruel pain, I lost it. I just couldn't take it one more day. I called my doctor and asked her to see me. She couldn't fit me in, so I went to Urgent Care at her request.

Now, here is where all healthcare professionals should take note. I went in in pain and left in pain AND despairing. The doctor was rude, uneducated, and dismissive. I wanted to punch him. "What do you want me to do for you, DEAR?" I told him I wanted answers -- no more opiates - no more dentistry - AN ANSWER. He told me he had no diagnostic equipment, to take the prescriptions he offered and go back to my dentist, and then he said I couldn't possibly be in that much pain, so his parting remark was this....

You've joined the millions of chronic pain sufferers in America. Best of luck to you.

With more drugs and an anti-inflammatory, I went home feeling utterly defeated and like a drug-seeker that was being ignored due to their disbelief in my symptoms or his complete lack of education of symptoms of TN. I had been to this site and felt rather sure that this was the answer and had told him as much. My words fell on deaf ears. At least I could fall asleep -- though hating the "rummy" feeling with no pain relief.

Several days later, I got in to see my regular doctor and began describing my symptoms again. I consulted my many notes on my iPad that I had been noting to better present what was happening. I told my doctor that I had been researching my symptoms and I asked if it was possible I had TN. As I finished describing the pain and triggers, she began vigorously nodding her head and said,


At this point, I simply lost it. I sobbed like a baby. She didn't make me feel crazy, or stupid, or weak. She hugged me and told me she would help me with my pain. And so far, she has exceeded that promise. Lyrica works for me, although triggers are still triggers. Too much talking is the worst, much to the delight of my young adults. :)

When I saw my dentist again, I told him about my diagnosis. No more pulled teeth. No concerns about oral surgery that could break my jaw and leave me drooling. At least, not for now. He admitted that he had been grasping at straws in my treatment. I was not angry about losing my tooth to this silly TN because I knew that he truly wanted to help me. He meant well. It's just that TN never crossed his mind.

I don't know what the future holds and as we work to get dosages that work for me, I look forward to live this "new normal" and adapt my life to TN, I am hopeful. My doctor is supportive and I feel like I am being heard. I am grateful that she is well-informed and compassionate, while maintaining a true professionalism.

I feel like the lucky one. Diagnosed in less than a year. Managing my pain. I hope someone reads this who needs help and finds hope in my words. Keep pushing to find the doctor who will work with you to find an answer for your pain. It is possible.

TY Jackie. My personal physician finished the sentence when I told her that he remarked “You couldn’t possibly be in that much pain” with…

“says the man who has obviously never experienced nerve pain!” She is the best.

Can’t say how much all the info here and practical advice saved me so much time and angst before getting an answer. A real life-saver.

Sweetacacia, thanks for sharing your experience.
I’m so happy that you have a compassionate doctor , it makes all the difference.
((( hugs ))) Mimi

TY for your kind comments, Mimi. She was so delighted to see me feeling better and she took great personal satisfaction from actually helping a desperately hurting patient. My husband met her at my last appt. and she kept saying, "Doesn't she look SO MUCH BETTER?" I know the relief she felt came from genuine concern for my well-being. That is a priceless quality in a physician.

I’m very lucky too…I have a fantastic GP the sweetest man, who always listens and supports me in so many ways. My Neuro is pretty great too, I feel very lucky. Years ago I wasn’t so lucky…and was very discouraged with the medical system as a whole.
It taught me though, to be my own advocate and not settle !

I could have written that up to a point. I had worked for neursurgeons in my early twenties and figured my own diagnosis out. I too have a wonderful GP. When I was having a four day flair, he and his nurse spent three hours with me, trying to help manage my pain.

Good to read your story. Thank you. I understand how you felt about that extraction... I did exactly the same thing. My first ever extraction I felt just awful about it... guitly ashamed ... an admission of defeat ... and of course with no benefit. Well at least I stopped at one tooth...

My story is exactly like yours! Except I fortunately did NOT run into a rude JERK like you did. Everyone I came in contact with was extremely nice! Go read my story on my page and you will see. The worst part for me was going through this while my grandmother was dying and through the funeral and helping my mom, etc..... Best of luck to you!