Mold and trigeminal neuralgia were put in the search engine today. I have talked vaguely about my having trigeminal neuralgia. For those not familiar with trigeminal neuralgia, it is a condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, one of the largest nerves in the head. It is responsible for sending impulses of touch, pain, and pressure from the face, jaw, gums, forehead, and around the eyes. Trigeminal neuralgia can feel like a sudden severe shock-like or stabbing pain on one side of the face. These attacks can last several seconds and happen over and over throughout the day. Some attacks can last months at a time.
I began developing trigeminal neuralgia as the bacterial and fungal infections in my sinuses continued bombarding me one right after the other. I developed osteomyelitis (bone infection) in the sinus bone. I had several surgeries to keep scar tissue and the infection cleared from the bone and the sinuses in general. The pain was so intense. I was on pain medication from surgery and it seemed to help. I couldn’t stop the pain medication or I couldn’t function. I needed a pain pill in order to stop the pain in the morning so I could get up and start my day and head to work. I needed a pain pill sometimes in the middle of the day so I could focus on my job. Lastly I needed a pain pill to numb myself enough to be able to try to sleep. The pain was so intense that I felt like an ice pick was being jabbed into my left eye and twisted. The pain would radiate down through my left maxillary sinus, my jaw and my left ear.
When my ENT thought I had been on pain medication too long, he decided to try me on Neurontin (Gabapentin). It took a large dose to calm the nerves down. I think the maximum dose was 1800 mg. and I was on 1200 mg. The face and eye pain calmed down but at the expense of the side effects of the Neurontin. The side effects for me were dizziness. I was so dizzy that I was afraid to drive and once walked several miles to and from his office to avoid driving and the possibility of an accident.
As time as moved and we have been able to keep my sinuses in better order, the neuralgia is less frequent. An exposure to a chemical that I might come into contact with will cause the nasal passages to swell, produce large amounts of mucous and trigger the neuralgia and the pain. I no longer do well on Neurontin or pain medication (probably from taking so much of it). Now when it flares I just have to apply heat and rest and wait it out. A sinus infection whether bacterial or fungal will also trigger the return of the symptoms. We have to keep my antifungal treatment at a level that keeps the fungal infections from re-occuring as often. I am including a picture of the trigeminal nerve to show how much of the left side of my face is affected when I have a flare-up.