Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Trigeminal Nerve is Healing

The injury that started the process of the now infamous MRI was to the fifth cranial nerve which is also known as the trigeminal nerve. It was the complete numbness on the right side of my face caused by the nerve that prompted me to begin the process that led to the discovery of my tumor. Now when I say complete numbness, I am very serious. If you were to cut my head in half, right down the middle of my nose, the entire right part would be numb. This includes my nose, mouth, eye, and tongue! (Believe me on the mouth and tongue part. It is no fun to eat half a bowl of chili thinking it is plenty cool only to "put the food in the other side" for one bite and realize it had been burning your mouth.)

Now, just to look at me, you would never know that I was having problems. Regardless of how funny it felt to me, from the outside I appear/appeared normal. This is perhaps the part that most perplexed my doctors because this typically appears with "pain" and shows minor signs of palsy or drooping. Leave it to me to be different yet again!

For six weeks I had this complete numbness with no signs of it letting off. Finally, about four weeks ago, I started getting my first signs of healing. (I have been heard joking that it just needed a little adrenaline rush to get started.) What were the signs? A tingling sensation usually around the edges of my nose, mouth, and eye. Although very annoying, I reminded myself that this was a good sign in the long run and it meant it was healing. Luckily that feeling was easy to maintain because it would only occur every few hours for a few minutes at a time so other than a few annoying "itches" it was no big deal.

A week ago that changed. I had noticed the "tingling" gradually changing and happening more frequently but it was never more apparent than when it nearly brought me to tears on the 13th of September. No longer was it an annoying tingling, now it was more of an intense burning. The only thing I can really compare it too is a case of REALLY bad chapped lips or windburn spread over the entire right side of your face. It was extremely intense and ibuprophen was just barely taking the edge off of it. (Ok, so four ibuprophen would almost take the edge off.)

So I called my neurologist (not to be confused with my neurosurgeon) and he called me in a prescription for Gabapentin to try to ease the pain. All I can say is that it is working great!!! Over the past week I have had spells where my face almost feels normal (or at least what I remember normal to be.) I do have occasional "break-through" burning but it is manageable. The numbing is mostly still present but now it's in various degrees of intensity.

Personally, I can handle all of this because I know it's a sign of healing. I just really look forward to the day this finally goes away because, although not related, it's a constant reminder that I'm dealing with something major inside my head.


  1. hi, i just read your post....was wondering if your nerve healed back to normal.


  2. hi read ur case
    Can you tell me what are the other signs of nerve recovery. I had a hip surgery after which my peroneal nerve is damaged and had foot drop. I feel sometimes a pinched type of thing in the numbed area. What is it. The thing have passed six month ago.

    please mail me ur comments at