Good Morning all,
My Fox Austin recently did a profile on Texas NORML member Joseph Kenyon. Joseph suffers from a condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia, a nerve disorder also known as the “Suicide Disease”. Check out his story from myfoxaustin.com and head on over to their page to leave a comment on the story to help raise awareness of this condition and Joseph’s fight to medicate how he chooses.
“Austin, (TX) – According to sufferers of Trigeminal Neuralgia or TN the pain is like being struck by lightning or a sudden stab to the face.
The excruciating pain is so bad many call it “the suicide disease” because it has sufferers taking their own lives.
The affliction is a hard one for doctors to diagnose. At first people think the pain could be just a toothache. However, when they realize the pain doesn’t go away after seeing the dentist, they find out they have TN.
Everyday Joseph Kenyon, a former artist who suffers from TN, feels pain.
“If it gets much worse I’m going to have to call off the interview,” said Kenyon.
“Right now it’s feeling like someone is taking a nail into the back of my eye,” he told FOX 7.
For the past six years Kenyon has dealt with sleepless nights and numerous days stuck in bed. The condition is something that Kenyon says just happens.
“I was walking from the living room to the bathroom and all of a sudden it just felt like someone shot me in the face it felt like something sharp. It hurt so bad it dropped me to my knees,” said Kenyon.
Doctor Michael Webb with the NeuroTexas Institute says this condition is usually seen in people 40 to 70 years old and is pretty rare.
“Sometimes as you get older your blood vessels become more firm and they can move a little bit and press against the trigeminal nerve,” said Webb.
Symptoms are usually pain in the lower half of your face typically on one side, the pain comes and goes and can be triggered by talking, chewing or even brushing your teeth.
Doctor Webb says TN is often caused by blood vessels compressing against the trigeminal nerve.
Kenyon has tried everything and anything to suppress the pain – from opioids to even an illegal drug.
“Marijuana stopped it. It stopped the spasms it doesn’t stop the pain completely. It gave me a feeling of relaxation,” said Kenyon.
Besides drugs, Kenyon tried a popular treatment for TN called Microvascular Decompression, a treatment that can drive the pain away for years.
In Kenyon’s case the pain came back months later.
“For a lack of a better word it’s electrifying it’s like zzz almost like a bubbling sensation,” said Kenyon.
Now Kenyon is hoping for a cure because the last thing he wants to do is live up to the name suicide disease.
“The sensations will pass hopefully, eventually you can’t give into them,” said Kenyon.
Every year – there are 14,000 new cases of TN in the United States. There are an estimated 140,000 with the condition right now. More women are diagnosed with the condition.
It’s also common for people who suffer from multiple sclerosis to develop trigeminal neuralgia.
According to the National Pain Foundation, TN is one of the most painful disorders known.”