I sent this in an email to a group of persons in a support group. It is easier/lazier to just copy and paste. Maybe later I will get more down. For now it is hard as my vision is very poor.
I will try to make this simple/short. In November 2005, as I ate Thanksgiving dinner, I felt a "shock' in my tooth. It happened only once but it left me curious. Weeks later, I felt more shocks. They weren't extremely painful but annoying. By April, I was feeling it when I smiled. I assumed that I had sensitive teeth and bought various brands of toothpaste - no relief. Then I read that my toothbrush might be too hard. I changed to a softer one and the shocks stopped. Good thing too - I was about to be a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding. I needed to smile a lot and I couldn't smile then.
August 2008, I started feeling the shocks again - time to get sensitive teeth toothpaste or a softer toothbrush, I thought. I delayed a bit. I am indecisive and couldn't decide which brand toothpaste to get since I hadn't had that much luck before. New toothbrush? How much softer can my toothbrush get? It was already ridiculously soft.
But one day, I rubbed my eye and felt the shock. Definitely not sensitive teeth. I quickly Googled and came across Trigeminal Neuralgia. The description was everything I was feeling.
By October, I could hardly eat, talk or smile without pain. I went to the doctor and she looked at me curiously and suggested I had shingles or some such and gave me steroids that Friday. Monday I was back in the office still in pain. One person suggested I had TN but it was quickly dismissed. However, they made an appointment at the neurologist for me. By the day of my appointment, Thursday, October, 23, I was in severe pain. It took the neurologist a minute to diagnose me with TN. He gave me a script for Tegretol and one for blood tests and an MRI. Normally, nothing is found on the MRI, he said, but he still needed to checked.
Tegretol brought oh so sweet relief that weekend. And side effects. I got my blood tests done and my MRI later.
On November 13, 2008, happily medicated, I went in for my results. Tumor. Epidermoid tumor wrapped around nerves VII & VIII and partially engulfing the V nerve - the trigeminal nerve. The doctor was surprised the Tegretol was giving me relief and said I immediately needed to see a neurosurgeon.
The neurosurgeon journey is another post itself. However, two weeks ago, I scheduled surgery to remove this tumor. I go in on April 21, 2010.