The pain in her face was literally breathtaking. "I tried to do Lamaze breathing," Becky recalls. "I couldn't even pray it hurt so badly."
The cause? Trigeminal neuralgia, a condition in which inflammation of the trigeminal nerve causes excruciating pain and muscle spasms in the face. "The pain was sharp, as if someone was taking an ice pick and jamming it up my teeth," Becky says. She also likened it to having an electric wire inside her cheek.
"People have called it the 'suicide disease', and I can imagine why," she says. "It was worse than labor pain. It hurt to eat and drink. It was difficult to smile. It affected everything I did."
Today, Becky's life is back to normal, thanks to her neurosurgeon, Dr. John M. Tew of the Mayfield Clinic, and a surgical procedure called microvascular decompression, or MVD. Dr. Tew made a small incision in the back of Becky's skull, where the trigeminal nerve connects to the brainstem, and freed the nerve from painful compression imposed by a small blood vessel.
Hope Story Disclaimer -"Becky's Story" is about one patient's health-care experience. Please bear in mind that because every patient is unique, individual patients may respond to treatment in different ways. Results are influenced by many factors and may vary from patient to patient.