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The Last Five Months of Pain

Updated on October 10, 2017

In late May of this year, I woke up one morning and rubbed my hand over my eyes like people normally do when they wake up. I got a sharp shot of pain to my right eye. That has been the start of an adventure that has had its ups and downs.

As early June started I got more and more quick stabbing pain to my right eye. It felt like someone stabbed an ice pick into my eye for just a split second. I went to my regular eye doctor and he found nothing wrong with my eyes. He referred me to a neuro-ophthalmologist. Before that appointment, my family doctor diagnosed me with Trigeminal Neuralgia, a nerve disorder to the face. I was placed on the painkiller gabapentin. I was getting about 60 shots of pain to the eye every day.

When the appointment with my neuro-ophthalmologist arrived she gave me a battery of tests. She was afraid I might have a stroke so she sent me to the emergency room. We know how emergency rooms are. I got there at about 6:30 p.m. I got my blood taken very quickly but waited in the emergency room until 1 a.m. before an MRI and a MRA was done. I was seen by about 5 different doctors and they decided to admit me until they had further discussions on what to do. Before noon three doctors came into my room and decided to send me home. I was to see my family doctor and my neuro-ophthalmologist again. The neuro-ophthalmologist saw that a blood vessel in my temporal area was enlarged. She was afraid I had Giant Cell Arteritis. I had a right temporal artery biopsy done and thankfully it was negative.

The pain was continuing and with the advice of my family doctor, the pain medication was increased. In the last part of August and much of September, I had no pain. I was lowering the dose of the pain med and then toward the end of September, the pain came back as bad as before or maybe a little worse. I have been increasing the pain medication again and am taking more than I was before. I have been feeling these tiny shots of pain to the right eye now feeling more like an electric shock.

Two times in the past couple of weeks I touched a certain spot on my face just above the upper lip and slightly to the right of my nose. I got the most severe facial pain I have ever felt in my life. The pain shot to my eye and drove me right to my knees. The pain radiated around my eye and lasted for probably 30 to 45 seconds. It was a pain of 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. I got to my reclining chair and sat there gripping the sides of the chair as hard as I could. I gritted my teeth and let out a couple of screams. Finally, the pain stopped and I sat there wondering what in the hell is causing this pain. I have read that Trigeminal Neuralgia causes severe facial pain. I will vouch that the statement is very true. I would not wish this pain on anyone.

Yesterday I saw my neuro-ophthalmologist again and a couple of tests were repeated. Photos were taken of my eye and everything was pretty much as it was in early July. Now I have to wait until mid-December to see a neurologist. I hope he can do something about the pain and get me off of the pain medication. This pain med makes me so sleepy. For now I will get shots of pain to my right eye when I eat, sometimes when I talk, when I brush my teeth, blow my nose, shave, and I am near 3600 mg a day of gabapentin, the maximum daily allowed amount of dosage.

Copyright Larry W. Fish


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    • Larry Fish profile image

      Larry W Fish 5 months ago from Raleigh

      Eric and Flourish, thank you for your comments. Yes, the pain can be very intense. My understanding is that Trigeminal Neuralgia can go away for months or a year and

      come back with greater intensity. I can not imagine how that would be.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      My prayers are with you. For some reason I tend to think that the proximity of the effective nerves to the brain has something to do with the intensity of pain. Almost like not having a filter.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Larry, I know precisely what you are talking about! I had a bout of this a number of years ago on one side of my face (left) and I can only describe it as a cross between an ice pick stabbing sensation radiating from my eye and electric shock down my face. I was given the same drug but not at that high a dose, and it made me both sleepy and very hungry. I had to stop taking it. I tend to sleep off pain but the pain intensity and unpredictability made it difficult to relax. I was also working full time and it made life miserable because moving my face (as in smiling or talking as you’re expected to do for work) sometimes made things unbearable. Ice packs tended to help. They tried Lyrica and that did not help. Tried a lot of other meds that failed. Finally, a Botox injection actually helped — instant relief. I wish you the best and I hope you’re able to see someone more quickly.