Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The condition my condition is in...

I thought the best place to restart my blog was with a little personal insight about myself.

I've been told on numerous occasions to get my head examined, and in 1996, it became apparent I really needed to. On a blustery day in late fall, I stepped off a streetcar in midtown Toronto, heading home from a very rewarding day of work.  Though the wind was up, to that point it had been a great day and I was looking forward to a relaxing evening at home. As I stepped off the car, I felt a sudden shock on the left-side of my face. I initially thought I'd been hit by a stone/bullet, who knew. There was no blood or anything to show any physical issue, other than the excruciating pain and the fact that my eye was now closing.

I made it home and the odyssey began. I'll keep this part short, after months (in fact 18 of them) and five trips to different ear, nose and throat specialists, I was introduced to a very compassionate and caring neurologist in Toronto who diagnosed my condition as Trigeminal neualgia (Great breakdown from the U.S. National Library of Medicine Trigeminal Neuralgia explained). Essentially the way I normally explain it, the protective coating on the facial nerve (much like an electrical wire) has been stripped and the live nerve (wire) is exposed and easily triggered. The pain that occurs is hard to describe and unless it's completely shut down my eye and I'm unable to speak briefly, hard for others to see. The condition comes and goes and can occasionally be controlled by medication that make me feel very dopey (I avoid taking it whenever possible).

Chronic Pain, Facial pain, Tic douloureux
Source: Wikipedia Commons
      I've had my condition for so long, that I've actually learned for the most part to manage the pain via meditation, relaxation techniques, being as busy as possible and more. In 2011, with Joan's blessing and Spencer's great concern, I visited a neurological surgeon in London to discuss the option of having surgery. The verdict is still out on the overall effectiveness of long term relief, and we're still looking at this option. The major downside is the absolute fear Spencer has (unfounded, but he is only 10) and the amount of recovery time (the surgeon said up to 12 weeks at home).

But to get back to the purpose of this post; since December 2012 the pain has increased significantly again. This is not unusual as it can ebb and flow when it strikes, but this recent bout seems more pronounced. It's most aggressive when it first returns, and I'm out of training in managing it. I'll be rescheduling another appointment with the surgeon and revisit the options. The medication I'm taking is less effective today than it was initially and frankly, I'd rather manage the pain and be lucid than not.

So to the purpose, I'm going to use this form to track the progress and share with you our family's journey. In addition, I'm asking for your assistance. Part of my pain management program is trying as hard as possible to control how I relate to others. I've found that when battling the issue, I can lose patience much faster than normal. If you catch me feeling sorry for myself or being rude, please kick my butt. It's a fine line for me occasionally as I can be a passionate defender of my beliefs ;). Spencer is really good at keeping me grounded. They say that what can't kill you, only makes your stronger. This definitely can't kill me, but it is very annoying at times.

Thanks for listening and for understanding. Have a great week - I plan on it. :)

I'll be starting a new blog as well focusing on business, social media, customer relationship management and more. That blog will be written twice weekly and the first edition will be out in February 2013.


With props to Kenny Rogers and the First edition:


  1. Wow Gordon,

    What a journey you've been on - I can't imagine what it must be like. Best wishes to you in finding options and solutions. I'm with you in that I would rather manage the pain and be lucid.

    You are strong and positivist and that goes a long ways. I can't imagine you being rude, but if you are, I'll provide my assistance :)

    Take care and let me know how I can best help.


  2. Hey Gordon, thanks for sharing a piece of you. I have a 9 year old son so I know how he would feel also. This year is going to be your year Gordon. You'll beat this condition, keep the fight up! All the best, Ian

    1. Thanks Ian,

      I appreciate the feedback and support. All the best.


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