Trigeminal Neuralgia and Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia

Guess what I have.  How did you know?  Maybe the title gave it away!

Trigeminal Neuralgia is a big fancy word for nerve pain on the side of your face.  This pain can include teeth, sinuses, ear, jaw, eye, and head.  The main nerve feeding one side of your face, running through your temple area, is called the Trigeminal nerve, which branches into an upper, middle, and lower nerve.  Neuralgia is a word used to say “pain”.

Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia is the term used to describe pain on one side of the throat and the back of the tongue.

I’m writing about this because recently this has been a problem for me.

I have been to the dentist three times to check different teeth (the pain migrates), and to the doctor twice to try to rule out sinus infection and ear infection.  It was none of those. I will be scheduling something with the neurologist soon.  I also went to a lyme literate nurse practitioner to look into chronic Lyme disease.  I have that too, and I think that is contributing to my nerve pain.  I have also discovered that stress or unhappy thoughts trigger the pain!

I am on a rotation of painkillers constantly to keep the pain under control.  I go from Acetaminophen to Naproxen sodium to Ibuprofen.  Plus, I must rest frequently to avoid triggering the pain, and also avoid any unpleasant thoughts or tasks.  Not easy to live this way because there are typically things necessary in life that are not pleasant to deal with.

I am learning a new protocol for coping with the limitations and giving myself permission to rest and let go of any unnecessary stress.  Now that I understand what this is, my heart goes out to other sufferers.  I am exploring options, but some are not very attractive, such as cutting the nerve so the side of the face is numb.  Can you imagine always smiling like you are shot full of the dentist’s numbing agents!  Yikes!  One time the medicine at the dentist got up to my eye somehow, and I couldn’t shut it without help.  We taped it shut until the numbness wore off!

If anyone has something to share about this awful condition, please feel free to comment and share experiences or advise.  Thank you!

Perspectives and the Subconscious

 

I have had a recurring dream, at least once a year, of being at high school or college, not remembering my class schedule, where my locker is, or the combination.  Finally getting to my class only to find it is over, I’ve missed most of the semester, and I have not paid my tuition, or I haven’t graduated yet.  I think this is often a recurring dream for many people.

Last night my “recurring” dream was dramatically different.  I dreamed I was at high school.  I knew my schedule.  I knew where my locker was.  My books were in order.  I was part of the popular group of kids, which was not true in real life high school for me, and I was actually helping incoming freshmen know where to go and what to do at the school on that opening day.

As I lay in bed pondering this huge shift in my school dream, I realized it had something to do with feeling like I belonged with a group of people in a learning environment.  Here’s what I believe triggered this change of perspective and also the shift in my dreaming.

On Saturday I went with my daughter to a huge gathering of the guilds (art guilds) at the Oregon Convention Center because she had a ceramic piece on display there through her high school.  I decided to wear the yellow and grey outfit I made and the felted necklace I made to go with the outfit.  I even put on some makeup, which I seldom do normally.  I wanted to fit in and feel confident among all those accomplished artists.  As I walked through and around the many booths at the convention center, I was repeatedly stopped by others who commented on my unusual necklace, telling me how gorgeous it was!  I was very  pleased having others appreciate my work.  It was validating to me.

As I was talking with another fiber artist at her booth, she encouraged me to join the Portland Weavers Guild because it is open to all fiber artists.  She suggested that I would find my tribe there.  I felt so excited about the idea I went home and began researching the guild.  I decided I would join.

When I dream about Trackerschool I always feel completely at home and part of that tribe.  Now I have another tribe to feel at home in.  I think it is interesting that Trackerschool did not change my high school recurring dreams, but meeting these other artists and being invited to join their group did.

Connections and relationships are what life is all about in my opinion!

Structure and Personal Evolution

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I feel like I am in an ever shifting paradigm.  The sand underneath me is shifting, falling away, leaving me without structure to order my life around.  What once was solid is now barely there as an almost invisible outline of what once was.

The song I learned as a child went, “The wise man built his house upon a rock; The foolish man built his house upon the sand.”  When the rain comes down, the house on the sand washes away and the house on the rock stands still.  I thought I had my house built upon a rock, but the rock seems to have been sand after all.

I am seeing that the sand is the little “t” truths I believed in: people, organizations, beliefs.  Then one day, I learn that what I believed in is not what I thought it was and my house crumbles.  In the new state of freedom from structure, I find myself depressed and dysfunctional.  Eating for comfort and watching TV to distract myself from the confusion and betrayal of what I thought to be truth.

I’m not happy in that state, however.  I like to be happy so I expand my awareness to find something to give me structure.  I think of how I learned to keep my balance when walking blindfolded across the log over the water at Trackeschool.  I reached out with my awareness to “imagine” feeling the landscape around me since I couldn’t see with my physical eyes.  That worked on the log, maybe that technique will work for me now.

As I expand my awareness, I pray to know how to overcome my depression.  I pray to understand, and to know how to deal with this unsettling change.  As I was pray, I see in my minds eye the art I made depicting my relationship with one of my sisters.  That piece of art is a series of lines coming together and swirling around each other in great excitement and joy.  Seeing that image delights me.  My mind begins to wander to other art I have been wanting to create.  I feel more joy.

I remember doing an exercise at Tom Brown Jr.’s Trackeschool where we were asking The Creator what our personal vision in life was.  The first answer I received was, “Don’t forget about your art.”  The answer surprised and puzzled me because I thought my personal vision had more to do with learning to survive in the wilderness.   I revisited the importance of art for me.

I find it fascinating how much I depend on structure in my life.  Structure feels like the house I live in.  Or perhaps the house is an interface to my journey in the physical; a way to move through this physical experience with a measure of safety, like a hermit crab carrying around a little shell .  Then the house crumbles, the shell is outgrown, and a new structure is discovered through desperate reaching.  I wonder if one day I will no longer fall into dysfunction and I will exist in joy without the imagined structure . . .

Fear and Weight Loss

When I was a newbie at Tracker School (see trackerschool.com) I wanted to go to the Scout class, which had the prerequisites of the week long Standard class, the week long Advanced Standard class, and the week long Advanced Tracking and Awareness class.  The scout class is also a week long class where during the day you learn techniques of the ancient Apache scouts, and by night your team is camouflaged and raiding other team’s camps till usually 2 or 3 am.  Most days there is a time in the afternoon where the students do exercises on a log over the swimming hole, walking the log, walking it blindfolded, jousting with out partner, and even blindfolded fighting to name a few.  For me, this sounded very exciting, but I was terrified of not being up to the physical element of the class.

Fear drove me to work very hard on getting in shape for the class.  I lost 25 lbs and was able to jog two miles without stopping.  Not too bad for a 47 year old mother of 9.

I was also afraid of the log work over the water, so I practiced walking on the narrow edges of 2 x 6 boards nailed to posts, both eyes open and blindfolded.  That preparation taught me a little of what to expect, and how to overcome my fear.  I ended up enjoying the log work more than anything else that week!

One of my teachers, Karl Direske, of Wilderness Fusion, told me, “There is only a fine line between fear and excitement.”  I can see that.  I was so excited to go to Scout class, but I was also afraid!

Sometimes the desire to do something can drive us to overcome our fear and accomplish something we really want to do.  In this case, I was afraid I would not be physically fit enough for the class.  My desire drove me to spend a couple years preparing both mentally and physically.  When I finally registered for the Scout class I was also registered for a Vision Quest class the week before, and an Ancient Scout class the week after.  One of the young men in my school, upon hearing my plan, thought three classes in a row would be too much for me and I vacillated about taking the three classes consecutively, but an older woman from the school said, “Go ahead and do it if you want to.  Don’t let him talk you out of it.  You’ll be fine.”  I did go ahead, and it was wonderful!  Not only did I succeed in the classes, I also lost another 25 lbs during those three weeks, and was finally down to my ideal weight!

Fear is the opposite of faith, but fear can be turned to faith through preparation.  That reminds me of a scripture I heard once . . . “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.”   Well, whaddaya know, ha ha!

The “Explorer” and Weight Loss

I have successfully used many different diets, but I never want to use the same one twice because it’s boring to repeat something I’ve already explored.  Instead I will try something new.  I am beginning to think that is why there are so many fad diets; people want to try something new rather than the tried and true.

I am an explorer.  I love to learn new things, and once I’ve learned, I want to move on to something else.  To stay with the same old thing would be like torture.  Some of the things I’ve explored are public school, college, marriage, motherhood, divorce, another marriage, art school, water color painting, oil painting, acrylic painting, ceramics, jewelry making, printmaking, drawing, sewing, quilt making, drying and arranging flowers, herbal remedies, holistic medicine, wild edible and medicinal plants, survival school, philosophy, spirituality, friction fire, building structures like: log and cob, traditional stick frame, barns, art studio, shed, gazebo, remodeling, decorating, accounting, gardening, to name some.  These attracted my attention and I explored them with passion for periods of time.  I have loved learning and doing each of these things and I still dabble in all of them, but if I thought I would have to do any one thing on a daily basis I panic!  I can’t do that, I’m too restless and curious to stick with one thing.

The diets I have tried that work for me are: counting calories, food combining, the “don’t eat anything after 5 pm except grapefruit” diet, the Suzanne Somers diet which is also based on food combining, the pH balancing diet, the blood type diet, to name some.

Now, I can start using any one of these diets, which I know work, but sticking to them is a real challenge because I have already used them.  It’s boring to repeat a diet because the learning has been done.

I have been trying to develop something new.  I would like to be so in tune with my body that I can sense what I want to eat that is good for me and supports me becoming my ideal weight for health and happiness.  Remembering to check in with myself deeply, and asking the Sacred Question about what I would benefit most from eating, is where I slip up.  Changing my habits can be hard, but doable if I am curious enough.  I have to want it bad enough to make it happen.

I have to ask myself, “Do I want it bad enough?  What do I need to do to make it happen?  Am I willing to do what it takes?”  I have to be still and listen to the answers emerge from the stillness.  I can ask more than once and peel back the answers, layer by layer, all contributing to my understanding.  With these answers I will know how to proceed.  I will have the power to move forward and accomplish — I will also have the power to let it go and not pursue it.  The choice is mine and the way is shown by the answers to those Sacred Questions: “Do I want it bad enough?  What do I need to do to make it happen,” and finally, “Am I willing to do what it takes?”

These questions can be used for anything we might want to pursue in life.  I spent about 10 years going to classes at Tracker School to learn to trust myself.  By asking the Sacred Questions I learned I have the answers within me, I just had to learn to uncover them and trust myself.

The "Explorer" and Weight Loss

I have successfully used many different diets, but I never want to use the same one twice because Continue reading “The "Explorer" and Weight Loss”

Sleep, Your Schedule, and Weight Loss

Fatigue is one of the biggest triggers to eating food that is not on my diet.   When I am tired I eat to try to bring my energy level up.  This usually does not work and I end up taking a nap after I’ve eaten.  Why not just take the nap and skip the calories?  I’m learning to do just that . . . unless, of course, I don’t have time, then my diet goes out the window, and once I start sliding down that slippery slope, reining myself back in can be almost impossible (I might as well have some ice cream too since I already blew it).

Why do I not have time to rest when I need to?  Because, like most of you, my time is not always my own.  I have teenagers whom I chauffeur around (willingly), I have errands to run, I have projects.  I do my best to keep my time commitments to a minimum because my anxiety levels demand it.  Even so, there are times when things sort of pile up and I abandon my diet in favor of quick pick me ups I can get while I’m out and about.

My issue with getting enough sleep would be easier if I didn’t have insomnia at night.  I don’t want to go to sleep.  I don’t want to dream because my dreams are so often frustration dreams.  I would rather be doing something I am interested in doing.  Plus, sleep would be easier if I didn’t become anxious at night when I know I’m scheduled to get up early to take my daughter to school, or scheduled to do anything before noon.  Then anxiety will keep me awake and just make things worse.  I finally realized that trying to go to sleep when I feel anxious just doesn’t work.  In addition, thanks to my nerve issues, I have been needing at least 12 hours of sleep every night to feel good and awake.   So instead of stressing about not getting enough sleep, I find I’m better off getting up and doing something I want to do rather than laying there worrying about not getting to sleep on time.  Then, when I come home from taking my daughter to school, I go back to sleep.

I do take medicine to help me sleep, which only works when I’m not stressed.  I also listen to podcasts to get my mind to stop and relax.  Or I listen to meditation music. some of which is very helpful too.  Still, getting to sleep is sometimes a struggle.

I obviously have not solved my sleep issues yet, or my scheduling challenges . . . I”m still working on finding the solutions.  Of course, there are always plenty of obstacles and excuses for not losing the extra pounds I’m carrying around. However, I will declare loudly, GETTING ENOUGH REST IS ESSENTIAL TO MY BEING ABLE TO STICK TO MY DIET!  I’m still working on it.  I hope you are all succeeding in your goals, and weight loss if that is one of your goals!  Happiness and health to you all.