How does one decide whether to take off work while experiencing TN?

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I have had 4 episodes of shingles in the past 10 years, 3 of which were in my eyes. I've also had increased episodes of trigeminal neuralgia over the past 5 years. I have tried several medications - becoming allergic to one, and switching to another which controlled the TN but left me unable to concentrate enough to work, so I was on medical leave for 15 months. That was 2 years ago.

So now I've encountered another flare of the TN, and have started a third new medication, and am finding it to also be leaving me unable to function. In addition, I'm on high doses of steroids so I can't sleep well.

On the one hand, I feel I need to take some time off since I probably can't do my job well (I'm self-employed and reputation is important). On the other hand, I'm not sure how to spend my time while in this condition so that I don't get depressed (not to mention the decreased income). 

Any thoughts or experiences you can share that I might find helpful?

Thank you!

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  • Posted

    Hi Leslie, I am so sorry you have so much pain & discomfort. 

    I also have tried numerous things to get rid of the pain. I found the 

    medicine left me weak in my legs unable to walk. I read an article in a magazine

    about Turmeric. I tried taking 800 mg in the am. I had no pain for 12-14 hours!

    but it wasn't effective at night. I lowered my dose of Carbamazapine to 1/2 a tablet.

    I have been pain free ever since.

    Vitamin B 12 & also a B complex, taking both of these I was also pain free. I stopped taking that for now. B vitamins are for energy but we could be lacking in them. They kept me awake for almost 3 days. If you do take them take them in the am. I pray you find relief quickly!

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    • Posted

      You are so welcome. I hope your Dr. is on board with this. Taking the 800 mg of Turmeric  n the am.  It's helped me so much. My pain was so bad I couldn't eat, drink or sleep until I saw an article in a magazine about Turmeric. Trouble is if you over use it it doesn't work.


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    • Posted


      I'm so glad you are giving out the advice about the B-12 and B Complex. I, too, noticed a huge difference. But I have other needs and thought that was the reason why it made a difference for me. I'm so glad to hear that this can also help with the side effects of meds for others as well. 

      Not sure if people know, but there are two types of B-12. Methylcobalamin the most bio-available form of Vitamin B12, i.e. it is the most readily absorbed. Further to this research has shown that it remains in the body for a longer period of time and at higher levels than cyanocobalamin, which means that your body is supplied with vitamin B12 for longer if you use methylcobalamin than if you use cyanocobalamin.

      Both are excellent sources of B-12. Cyanocobalamin is definitely cheaper and more easier to find on the market. But for people like me who have absorption issues, this can make a difference. I noticed improvement with both types. Just more so (for myself, at least), with methylcobalamin.

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  • Posted

    The facial nerves seem to be activating the shingles. I would consider magnesium glycinate 400mg 3x's a day. The other options are microvascular decompression (MVD), Gamma Knife radiosurgery, percutaneous rhizotomy. On the holistic side, you can do Prolotherapy injections (dextrose injections) this has helped me a great deal but it costs a little bit of money.

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  • Posted


    Is there a way to go part-time? So that you can still make income but also have time for yourself to take care of your medical condition? Stress itself can make TN worse, regardless of the decision you make. I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. I haven't had to take nearly the same length of time off that you have and I can't imagine the decision that you have to face. Do you have anyone you can lean on to help you during these times? Sometimes having someone just being on your inner circle and gaining a full understanding of your condition and what you are going through can help elevate some of the depression and anxiety of what you are facing. It lifts a little of the emotional burden. Sharing your emotional burden is crucial right now, regardless of the decision you make. But it sounds like part-time may be a good compromise to help keep your reputation active while you take care of yourself.

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