I Will Be Brave

In January of 2016, I was diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia. It is sometimes described as the most excruciating pain known to man. It’s also been referred to as the “suicide disease” because 25% of people diagnosed with it eventually choose to end their own lives. Trigeminal Neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from your face to your brain. I was given little hope of the pain subsiding from a neurologist and was eventually offered a brain surgery that had minimal percentages of success long-term. I felt hopeless, defeated, and grief stricken. I couldn't bare the pain, but I also couldn't bare the possibility of leaving my husband and children behind. I cried all day, every day for months – to the point that I had bruises under my eyes. After several months, I had gotten to a point where I no longer could speak without causing tremendous pain; even a cold breeze could set off the pain. My community of friends and neighbors came together and brought meals to my family of six, took my kids when needed, and sat with me in my silence, watching movies to keep me company. Finally, the medications started to help relieve the symptoms. There is no cure for Trigeminal Neuralgia, but with medication, I will continue to be nearly pain-free most days. One of my dearest friends gave me a Giving Key necklace that had the word “Brave” engraved on it. I didn't feel brave those first few months, and when I was given my diagnosis, I felt like a coward. On days where the pain returns, it reminds me of what I went through and reminds me of what I may face in the future when the medications lose their efficacy. I will be Brave, for my children, husband, friends, and for myself. I will have hope, perseverance, and strength to live and to help others suffering from the same disease.