Friday, November 14, 2008

My Tooth Broke On The Affected Side

Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, they did!!! The last tooth on the right side of my face, upper jaw, broke. I started feeling pain and I wasn’t able to eat, the next day I phoned the neurosurgeon to tell him and he said if the tooth is broken and sore its probably infected and he couldn’t do the MVD for me if there’s an infection as this could cause an infection in the brain during surgery. (That’s all I needed to hear) So I had to beg the dentist to see me, because it was such short notice and he was already fully booked, but he did see me and he knew all about TN, infact dentists have to know about TN because the trigeminal nerve endings go into all your teeth. He did a little scan which showed the there was a wisdom tooth above the broken tooth, impacting on the broken tooth because of the way its growing and that’s why the tooth was so brittle. He then said that I need to have my wisdom teeth plus my broken tooth removed surgically and for that I needed to go to an oral surgeon, to have it done in theatre. I was freaking out! I then phoned the Neurosurgeon (who I’m sure by then was sick of me calling for every little thing) he told me that the wisdom teeth have nothing to do with TN and that I should just have the broken tooth removed and go on antibiotics immediately because I only had 4 days left before the op, so I went back to the dentist and asked him just to remove the broken tooth and he said because its broken it will have to be removed surgically and he couldn’t do it. So the next day I ended up going to the Oral surgeon who said there was no need to take me into theatre and he could remove the tooth in the chair under local anesthetic. This went very well. To my surprise being poked with a needle in your gums does not trigger off TN pain at all.

Yeah, so it was quite a mission getting ready for surgery and everything went wrong at once.

Everything You Need To Know About Lyrica

The most common Lyrica side effects include:

• Dizziness
• Drowsiness
• Coordination problems
• Weight gain
• Dry mouth
• Infections
• Headaches
• Accidental injury
• Shakiness (tremors)

Some other common side effects of Lyrica include:

• Memory loss, problems concentrating, or slow thinking
• Constipation
• Speech problems
• Weakness
• Increased appetite
• Problems walking
• Twitching
• A spinning sensation (vertigo)
• Chest pain
• Gas
• Unexplained pleasant or happy feelings (euphoria)
• Vomiting
• Back pain
• Bladder control problems
• Flu-like symptoms (such as body aches and chills)
• Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
• Nervousness
• Fatigue
• Feeling abnormal or drunk
• Sinus infections
• Joint pain
• Muscle spasms.
• Signs of congestive heart failure, including difficulty breathing, water retention or swelling (especially in the hands, legs, or feet)
• Unusual bruising or bleeding
• An irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
• Any vision changes, including blurred vision or double vision
• A need to take more Lyrica than prescribed, especially if you think you may be dependent or addicted to Lyrica
• Unexplained muscle pain or weakness, especially if accompanied by a fever and fatigue
• Anxiety or confusion
• Signs of an allergic reaction, including unexplained rash, hives, itching, and unexplained swelling
• Suicidal thinking

Rare side effects of Lyrica are also possible. Because these side effects are so uncommon, it can be difficult to tell whether they are actually caused by Lyrica or by factors unrelated to the medication.

These less common side effects include:

• Sensitivity to the sun
• A stiff neck
• Hangovers
• Canker sores
• Anemia
• Hiccups
• Hair loss
• Dry skin
• Dry eyes
• Taste changes
• Kidney stones
• Menstrual problems

Lyrica is an anti-epileptic drug, also called an anticonvulsant. It works by slowing down impulses in the brain that cause seizures. Lyrica also affects chemicals in the brain that send pain signals across the nervous system.

Important information about Lyrica

You may have thoughts about suicide while taking Lyrica. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.
Call your doctor at once if you have any new or worsening symptoms such as: mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, or if you feel agitated, hostile, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Do not change your dose of Lyrica without your doctor's advice. Tell your doctor if the medication does not seem to work as well in treating your condition.
If you stop taking Lyrica suddenly, you may become worse or you may have withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms include headache, sleep problems, nausea, and diarrhea. Do not stop using Lyrica suddenly without first talking to your doctor. You may need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely. Carry an ID card or wear a medical alert bracelet stating that you are taking Lyrica, in case of emergency. Any doctor, dentist, or emergency medical care provider who treats you should know that you are taking a seizure medication.

Before taking Lyrica

You should not use Lyrica if you are allergic to pregabalin.
Before using Lyrica, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
• congestive heart failure;
• diabetes; or
• kidney disease.

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take Lyrica.
You may have thoughts about suicide while taking Lyrica. Tell your doctor if you have new or worsening depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several months of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.
Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.
This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
If a man fathers a child while using this medication, the baby may have birth defects. Use a condom to prevent pregnancy during your treatment.
It is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use Lyrica without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Do not give this medication to a child younger than 18 years old.

What Lyrica Did To Me!

I got the Lyrica and other new meds and started taking them, I was having attacks on a daily basis and so I realized that these new meds weren’t helping. I then realized that I needed the operation because nothing else had helped and they had just about tried everything possible on me.

I decided to go back home to visit all my family that didn’t live in the city with me, I knew I needed to spend time with all of them before such a major op, taking into consideration all the risks of the op, i.e. stroke, losing my hearing, eyesight, or losing my life. While I was there I saw everyone that I needed to, however I couldn’t sleep at night, I usually sleep with a heater next to my face but even that didn’t help, I walked around with a thick scarf around my head during the day even though its extremely humid there, just worried that a slight breeze would trigger off an attack.

It eventually got to a point where I did have an attack while being there with my family, I don’t remember much, I never do, but I do remember my brother trying to carry me to the car but had to put me down again because of all the weight I had put on after being on Neurontin for so long. The next day everyone around me was really down, I couldn’t understand why, I mean I always have attacks but I guess the people watching feel pain too, infact my little sister described the way I looked when I had the attack, she said my pupils were back, my jaw was almost dislocated to one side, my face was swollen and I looked dead because I couldn’t move an inch. I felt bad that they had to see me like that.

While I was there we managed to book an appointment with the neurosurgeon, and can you believe this, there are only 2 neurosurgeons in the whole of Southern Africa that do the Microvascular Decompression surgery. One of them was in Johannesburg where I live and the other was in the Mother City – Cape Town. My professor however recommended that I go to the one in Cape Town because he was very experienced in this procedure, and on the other hand the Neurosurgeon in Johannesburg hasn’t really done this procedure much. So of course I booked to go to the Neurosurgeon in Cape Town. Dr. Roger L Melvill, an internationally recognized Neurosurgeon.

After booking the Op I went back home to the city to prepare for my trip to the Cape.
I was relieved that I saw all my family and now it was time to face up to the scary realization of going through with surgery. To my surprise after getting back from the coast the sudden change of climate had brought on the flu, I spoke to the neurosurgeon who asked me to take antibiotics to clear it up before the op. So I decided to go to my GP, just before leaving I took my lunch time dosage of Lyrica, when I got to the GP just before getting out the car, I had a sudden attack which was very strange for me because usually I would have the sinus pain or sensitivity in my teeth or face, the dull ache and the pain, then the paralyzing pain, then the attack. So this was totally rare for me to not have any pain and then have an attack suddenly. I told my mum and sister who were in the car with me that something was wrong, just then a tear rolled down my right eye. Instead of going to my GP’s room we went straight into the emergency ward, while waiting there for a doctor to see me, I closed my eyes, it felt like my brain was being shook up, my ankles were swollen and my neck and hands were shaking like my nerves were going haywire. In my mind I prayed for it to stop. I opened my eyes and told my sister what happened, she then called my hubby to tell him and he immediately did some research on the side effects of lyrica, to his surprise I was having all the serious symptoms of an allergic reaction to the meds, we found out that I had just had a seizure and that the Lyrica was bringing on the attacks that’s why they were happening suddenly straight after I was taking them.

The doctor that saw me was actually my GP and he saw me through my Tegretol allergic reaction too. He gave me antihistamines to get the meds out my system and he gave me stuff to get my energy up aswell as antibiotics for my flu that I needed to clear before the op. He asked me to go off the Lyrica and back onto the Neurontin AGAIN! Boy had I had enough by then!

2nd and 3rd Set of Painblocks

In April 2008, 4 months after my first pain blocks I had a series of really bad attacks. I was back in hospital with my Professor giving me more pain blocks but this time under anesthetic and I was injected in the right side of my face. This gave me a pain free 2 weeks. After 2 weeks the pain was back but still no attacks. In July 2008, 3 months later I was back in hospital, this time the pain blocks were given to me in my face and in my neck in the Trigeminal Nerve. It was given to me Saturday midday and the very next day I was in pain again. The 1st set of pain blocks helped for 4 months, the 2nd set helped 2 weeks and the 3rd set helped 1 day. The Professor said that my body had gotten so used to it that it wasn’t helping anymore. I cried my eyes out in his consultation room that day, I told him that I wanted the surgery done for disease - microvascular decompression because there was no quality to my life anymore, I was missing so much work, I was either in pain or drugged, I couldn’t concentrate well, I couldn’t wake up in the morning for work, I was constantly depressed over my life situation, the medication was making me gain weight and lose hair like no bodies business. He sympathized with me but told me that this was a major op and that before I make that decision he wanted to try different medication on me, he said if it didn’t help me in 2 weeks then I could book for the op, but he begged me to try it. I was grateful for this because I could see that he was one of those Doctors that really wanted to know that they have done everything for their patients.

I got the 2 weeks supply of this new medication which is apparently the new and improved version of Neurontin, It’s called Lyrica. I got a 2 weeks supply of this along with Serequel and Geodan and some other meds that I wasn’t familiar with.