Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Invisible Trigeminal Neuraligia

Whenever I tell people that I have Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), I always get curious looks or straight up confusion because no one has heard of the disorder. If you have been in contact with someone that has had the disorder, you can empathize, but you can never fully understand the level of pain that we are doomed to suffer.This disorder is characterized by episodes of intense facial pain that last from a few seconds to several minutes or hours. The episodes of intense pain may occur paroxysmally. To describe the pain sensation, patients may describe a trigger area on the face so sensitive that touching or even air currents can trigger an episode; however, in many patients the pain is generated spontaneously without any apparent stimulation. It affects lifestyle as it can be triggered by common activities such as eating, talking, shaving and brushing teeth. Wind, high pitched sounds, loud noises such as concerts or crowds, chewing, and talking can aggravate the condition in many patients. The attacks are said by those affected to feel like stabbing electric shocks, burning, pressing, crushing, exploding or shooting pain that becomes intractable.

Individual attacks usually affect one side of the face at a time, lasting frvom several seconds to a few minutes and repeat up to hundreds of times throughout the day. The pain also tends to occur in cycles with remissions lasting months or even years. Pain attacks are known to worsen in frequency or severity over time, in some patients. Many patients develop the pain in one branch, then over years the pain will travel through the other nerve branches.

It may slowly spread to involve more extensive portions of the trigeminal nerve. The spread may even affect all divisions of the nerve, and sometimes simultaneously. Cases with bilateral involvement have not indicated simultaneous activity. The following suggest a systemic development: rapid spreading, bilateral involvement, or simultaneous participation with other major nerve trunks. Examples of systemic involvement include multiple sclerosis or expanding cranial tumor. Examples of simultaneous involvement include tic convulsive (of the fifth and seventh cranial nerves) and occurrence of symptoms in the fifth and ninth cranial nerve areas.

Due to the length of some attacks, it has been nicknamed the suicide disease, fun right? There are theories about causes such as compression from a tumor, MS, or in my case No apparent cause. When did this pain disorder start, how did I know when it presented the first time?

When my Hell Began

I was diagnosed back in the end of 2009 during a tumultuous period with my previous employer and the Machiavellian attempts to make me quit rather than fire me. I naively believed that everything with my job was OK and that because so much had happened that there was some loyalty among thieves, so to speak. I was sorely mistaken. My job title was Probation Officer at Judicial Correction Services (that probation company that has been in trouble recently for putting people in jail just for not paying their fines). Upper management had it out for me since day one and my supervisor, we'll just use his initials, KH used his position to manipulate and pretend that he had my best interests at heart. He pretended that opportunity for advancement presented itself and all I had to do was apply. You see, I was skipped over for whatever reason and other unqualified people were made managers ahead of me. The office manager at the Hueytown office, who did nothing and the sheer mediocrity of his job performance is amazing, either got fired or promoted, then fired, no one knows the official story, but I was made to believe that I could run the Hueytown office. The reason that I wanted to go to Hueytown, the sole reason was that KH and his personal drama with his numerous affairs wouldn't be at that office. It was relegated to Birmingham and Homewood, but at Hueytown, he and his idiot wife wouldn't show up there and that's the only reason why I wanted to go. Unbeknownst to me, the magistrate at the court didn't like females or I should say, preferred men and as usual I was the victim of  one of JCS' famous ambush meetings. But, KH knew the magistrate preferred men, because one of the PO's that transferred to our office came from Hueytown...interesting isn't it? But he sent me there anyway and chastised me for asking the clerk too many questions.  Also, at JCS, if you have breasts and a vagina, you can't run an office, you can only have the title of "Lead PO" unless you are part of the main clique. If you refuse to play the game and drink the Kool Aide, they will find a way to mentally break you down and make you think that there is something wrong with you, not what you really see and if you are a capable, competent employee who hates double standards or who likes things to make sense, then you get a target marked on your back.

 Apparently, I accused a co-worker of being a racist, even though my statement had nothing to do with him or racism. This Klu Kluck that works there mentioned that a male got mad at him for no reason, I asked was he a young black male because he was an older white male and a investigation ensued, culminating with a public shaming office meeting. How was I accusing him of being racist? Just like a male would challenge me for being a female in authority,  a young black male would challenge an older white male. That's only common sense. I wonder is English his first language...But, you know what...the guilty speaks...In JCS world, especially in my case, the nebulous "they" always told the truth and conversations were one sided and I seemed to always talk to myself. Every time I was "told on", I always spoke to myself, the other person was just there and never mentioned his part in the conversation. For 5 years this is just a taste of what I experienced...

As a result of my so called racist statement, I had to be transferred to the Anniston, Attalla office like some sort of penance for being bad. Really?! I couldn't go back to my old office because someone else had transitioned to my old position. The Attalla commute was a 95 mile commute one way and nothing about their court procedures made sense. Why did I have to suffer? I never acted out at work, my men never came and embarrassed me on the job, harassed the staff or created an uneasy work atmosphere. That behavior gets you Regional Manager, doing your job gets you a scarlet letter.

I never officially interacted with the magistrates because I didn't feel 100% comfortable in those courts and I thought they would be more comfortable with the staff members they knew. Plus they whined that I was too professional...who complains about stuff like that? While the irritation of the entire situation swirled through my mind and I tried to convince myself that this wasn't some elaborate ruse from KH to get me to resign, one day on the freeway heading to the most boring town that is Attalla, a sharp pain on the left side of my jaw hit me. I thought I would crash my car on the side of the road. It stopped, then it started again, the pain was so intense, it was like an electric shock went through my face. I knew it wasn't a cavity, because cavity pain is a constant pain, not something sporadic. Tears came from eyes as I held my left side of my face and just prayed that I could make it to my destination without killing myself.

I finally got to the office and immediately did an Internet search and TN came up, and the symptoms matched perfectly but read the diagnosis could only be confirmed by a neurologist. My heart sank as I read the symptoms, the treatment and learned that pretty much nothing makes the pain go away. Well I hadn't seen my neuro since my last nerve block about 2 years ago and I knew an appointment would take some time. I bought tubes and tubes of orajel but the pain was unbearable. Every time those electrocution pains struck, I prayed to die.

Back to Birmingham

KH gave me a call one day and advised me that I needed to meet with him, the regional manager that looks like Minnie Mouse of  the God forsaken place I was, and the office manager, DF, who is probably one of the dumbest people that I ever met, that never came to the office, at the Kirkland Clinic. Oh...another ambush meeting...and it was the dumbest one yet. Apparently, I pissed off magistrates that I have never talked to, insulted the entire town by saying that "I'm going back to civilization" (that's a stretch even after the racist thing), and that I went on a profanity laced tirade in front of kids because the paper jammed in a printer. Because jamming paper is a new phenomena and it threw me for a loop. I  still laugh at that one, everyone knows that's not my character, even one of the people that told the most lies on me laughed at that. Also,  I was rude to a defendant because I told him he was taking advantage of the PO's in that municipality. This so called rudeness was because the guy was on probation on a court from the Homewood office and he was reporting and paying there, and he was allowed to report and pay at Homewood for the Attalla case and he wasn't doing either. So I advised him that what he was doing was outrageous and he knew better. So then, this Minnie Mouse looking witch, lets call her JSG, sits there all high and mighty telling me that I'm disrespectful and I'm trying to get her court money. But she sat there cheering me on in the other room when that event occurred, did she have a lapse in memory, or was she just stupid, but in the ambush meeting, the very event she applauded was used against me. Again, no one knows who "observed" these events, there was no way to confront my accusers or even know their identities. But, "they" always told the truth in JCS world. Satan, Dracula, and a witty leprechaun could give an account of something I said or did and they would foam at the mouth to write me up, no questions asked. As a result, I was transferred back to the Homewood office, but not to the court where I did the best in and where I thrived in, nope. That would be fair and in my best interests. I got sent to Homewood Court, where there was a male magistrate who has OCD and was just a bitch in general who need a butt load of psychiatric treatment, along with one who was operating on any given psychiatric medication on any given day and was high as a kite and dumb as a brick.

This is the time I began treatment for my TN and the meds began affecting my memory, big time and it made me very depressed. I couldn't remember basic things like where I put something a few minutes prior, much less anything complex. There was no way that I could handle doing Revocation hearings, so I allowed the actual lead PO, the one with no case load, works part time, but gets paid more than full time PO's with 400 person case loads, or handles the day to day operations of managing a caseload assigned to someone else,  and experienced no consequences when something goes wrong, to handle revocations and pull petitions, we'll use the initials, EC. That was a mistake and somehow a warrant gets filed quicker than any other warrant in the history of warrants and a 5 year quest to throw me out the door has been realized. KH concocted a plan, quite transparently, to ensure that his wife and I not be in the same building. How stupid, we couldnt work in the same building. The office was moving to a building down the road where her job was located, and we couldn't even work in the same building. I hear there was jubilation in the kingdom of lies. Had I been assigned back to original court that I worked, I would've worked in an office on the other side of town and I wouldn't have been anywhere near KH's idiotic wife, but the problem was, I did too well at that court, and I wasnt supposed to. My performance invalidated all the b.s. that KH told me, therefore I couldn't go back there

I do believe JCS was my TN trigger, every twinge of pain is my continual parting gift from my five year nonsensical hell ride of romper room phuckery. Imagine being lied on, professionally trashed behind my back while being praised in front of my face, harassed, intellectual property stolen, manipulation, denied raises and promotions while people who can't even spell get promoted, add to the mix a psychotic female who had the need to establish her territory by constantly calling to curse out, slash tires, follow people, or just show her ignorance in general to establish the strength of a relationship with a cheating husband that will sleep with anything with a warm hole, inconsistent rules, lies, continually being set up for failure and constantly being told "your crazy, your arrogant, your mean, your bitchy, your paranoid, your a racist, or my favorite "I heard that you said...". I can go on and on...all of it...Monday-Friday for 5 years.

What are my options now? Anti-seizure meds, narcotics, muscle relaxants and finally when the pills stop being effective, surgery. Oh yeah...the side effects of the anti seizure meds are liver damage and osteoporosis, so it's just fun all the way around.

All sufferers have one thing in common, we are strong, sane people that want to get well from this debilitating disease. We are also dismissed by doctors that are unfamiliar with this disorder and made to feel neurotic and crazy. We suffer in silence and bravely fight through the pain. The world would be a greater place if everyone could experience this pain for just one day and then they could fully understand and empathize with sufferers with chronic facial pain.  

Hopefully, this will educate some about why Neuralgia sufferes behave in the manner we do. We so desperately want those around us to understand why we cannot talk, brush our teeth, or experience the slightest breeze without being "electrocuted."