“Get on the Brain Train!”
As a licensed medical massage therapist, Emily dedicates her life to helping patients get out of pain. Around the winter of 2010, she started experiencing pain of her own. This was not a usual headache. This was excruciating, debilitating pain that felt like an electric shock into her left eye. She visited many doctors and was seen by numerous specialists. During this time, the pain began to expand into her cheek and ear. In 2014, she was diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia. TN is one of the most painful diseases known to man; in fact, it is sometimes referred to as the ‘suicide disease’ due to the large number of patients who commit suicide because they can no longer live with the pain.
In April of 2016, Emily and her partner Kevin went to the University of Pittsburgh to be seen by a neurosurgeon who specializes in a type of brain surgery called Microvascular Decompression. The surgeon found two veins compressing on the Trigeminal nerve. He surgically implanted a Teflon pad to reduce friction on the nerve. Upon waking from surgery, Emily felt a noticeable difference in the amount of pain in her cheek, but sadly, the eye pain was still present. She was hopeful that over the next few months, the nerve would heal and she could return to her normal life.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. In fact, it was quite the opposite and the pain expanded and intensified. Emily continued to see specialists in the state of South Carolina but always received the same answer, “I don’t know what to do for you.”
Through an online support group, Emily learned of a physician in California who was changing the lives of many TN patients. She began to research him and quickly decided that this was the doctor who could help her. Dr. Linskey reviewed Emily’s imaging and has decided that he can assist her. In addition to seeing several compressions on the nerve, he has also seen an area of enhancement on the brain MRI that other doctors missed. This may be the reason why the eye pain was still present after the previous surgery. There may be a meningioma pressing on the Trigeminal Nerve. Emily has an appointment at the University of California, Irvine for her initial consultation. At the consult, she will discuss the findings with the doctor and a surgery date will be set to re-do the MVD, relieve the additional compressions, possibly remove the mass, and place a titanium plate on the skull.
This surgery may or may not be covered by insurance. The surgery will require a 1-2-night ICU stay and an additional 1-2-day stay in a regular room at the hospital. Upon discharge, she will be required to stay within a few miles of the medical center in Orange, California for a minimum of 10 days. Emily will not be allowed to return to work for approximately 3 months. She will need money to cover her travel expenses for the consultation and then again when she flies out for the surgery. She will also need funds to cover about 4 months of missed income. Let’s come together as a community to help this mom get her life back!