My Handicaps–Part Four

After 33 years with my illness (MS), here are my handicaps and the lessons
they taught me.
1.      I am legally blind
2.      Poor balance; My legs are often weak and give out, resulting in a
3.      I have short term memory problems
4.      Pain, primarily following brain surgery for trigeminal neuralgia

Now let me share the lessons these handicaps showed me.
In this blog, I will discuss my pain.

4.      Pain, primarily following brain surgery for trigeminal neuralgia

The trigeminal nerve is a facial nerve that has 3 branches on each
side of the face. When that nerve is damaged, it creates unbearable pain.
When I felt it under my teeth, it was like I was chewing glass. That is when
I had brain surgery to correct it. The nerve pain was corrected, but the
aftermath of the surgery caused other major discomforts; the left side of my
face is numb and my vision from my left eye is getting worse.

Now, 5 years later, the trigeminal pain is on my forehead, under my
nose and has returned to under my teeth. Trigeminal neuralgia is often
called ‘the suicide illness.’ Especially with MS, surgery is less effective.
The surgery can move the nerve if it was pinched, but with MS, the nerve can
be damaged in places surgery cannot reach.

There is one beautiful thing about having pain; it drives you deeper
and deeper inside. There it seems as if my communications touch an Ultimate
power. Another positive thing about pain is that it makes insignificant
things unimportant, for the main attention has to be put into dealing with
the pain.

When you find someone empathetic to your situation, it creates an
incredible bond, where real love connects you to them. Real love is not a
cure for any pain. It just helps you tolerate it much better. I feel real
love and pain force you deeper than the ideas about yourself. This is where
you find the wisdom of the body and the quality of life wisdom creates. The
pain may never be controlled, but that may not limit the quality of life. At
this time as I write this, my pain is tolerable, but I feel it is getting
closer to the pain I had before my surgery.

Too often, people are locked into linear thinking, where they
logically try to cope with the threat of death. We all have 2 hemispheres of
our brain. The left hemisphere mainly deals with linear thinking and the
right mainly deals with creativity and is connected to our emotional center.
When we utilize our whole brain, we can deal with challenges in a complete
way. If we ignore understanding or the emotions approaching death creates,
we develop a limited perspective.

Recently, I was in Hospice for three months. In the previous year, I
had written a book, The End: A Creative Approach to Death, (Amazon/Kindle),
where I included poetry as a way to include my right brain and creativity.
While in Hospice, I wrote a book of poems, A Poetic View of Hospice,
(Amazon/Kindle), trying to capture the predicament I was in.

C 2015 Marc Lerner


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