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Wise Women Blog Lana

Happy Days

Welcome back Wise Women. Sorry - I know I have been missing in action for some time and I thank Gigi for having my back and keeping things going. She is a perfect “Wing Woman”.

It's great to be back girls!

Brain Surgery Because I Am A Woman Over 50.

I have had my fair share of surgeries over the last couple of years, or so I thought… Two weeks ago I underwent BRAIN surgery, yes girls that’s right… BRAIN surgery.

My sister Vicki (now deceased) had brain surgery to remove a tumour some years earlier and I remember thinking to myself “there is no way I can do that, that’s never going to happen to me…I’m too much of a coward”. Well I did have brain surgery but not for a tumour it’s for Trigeminal Neuralgia. This disease is insidious!

My Trigeminal Neuralgia affects the right side of my face and the intermittent pain is like electrical shocks and a hot sharp knife stabbing you through your face at the same time. I’m not kidding. No wonder they dub this the “SUICIDE DISEASE” as the pain is unbearable. Many sufferer’s can no longer kiss their partner, children or grandchildren. Eating, cleaning teeth and even a slight breeze can cause an attack – it can strike at anytime. This disease can be life destroying. It usually occurs when a vessel near the trigeminal nerve stretches and loops over the nerve. I had two offending vessels. This is a rare disease that mostly afflicts WOMEN OVER 50. (Although males can get it too).

I often wonder about my husband who has to watch me helplessly as I have another “episode” of uncontrollable shocks. How unfair this is for him. I’ve had Trigeminal Neuralgia for more than 7 years, although thankfully, I have had many remissions for long periods of time where there has been no pain at all. Just the anxiety that it could strike anytime and for no particular reason.

I want to enjoy my semi retirement, I want to have fun, spend precious and quality time with my children and grandchildren, travel and be free of pain

I had been taking a cocktail of medications including anti-seizure medication which really fogs up my mind and makes me very forgetful. Around friends and family I tried to appear “normal”, sometimes unsuccessfully. It must get pretty bloody annoying for my family and friends when I repeat the same story within 30 minutes. My concentration level sucked!

My family and friends stuck by me – thankfully. I love them for that!


It’s 6am and I am being wheeled into surgery. I desperately try to bribe Peter the friendly orderly to take me through the nearest exit for $100. “The going rate is $200”, he says with a laugh.

My husband and daughter follow my trolley snapping photos. The nurses must have thought I was a celebrity and the paparazzi were following …I have an active imagination…

When we arrive in the OR, I am wearing a red hat instead of white. I tell my surgeon this is because I am a flight risk…he laughs.

The truth is - they actually have me mixed up with someone that is allergic to latex! Time to worry!!

I had been sort of calm up to then, even though I knew the surgeon was going to drill a hole in my skull – probably because it was so bloody early in the morning (I’m not a morning person). Also, I’m an optimist and never really seriously considered dying from this operation although I was warned that this could happen. If I really considered death, I would have cleaned out my bedroom drawers and wardrobe as they are an embarrassing mess!

I started to feel and sound a bit panicky so the "dream doctor" knew exactly how to remedy that situation….”just a little sting Lana”, the next thing I knew I was in intensive care.

My head felt like a lead balloon. My husband, son and daughter took turns to visit me (only two at a bed). They tried their hardest to look unfazed by all the tubes and wires and the sound of me groaning. I couldn’t keep my eyes opened for long which is a good thing so I couldn’t see them trying to deceive me with their fake attempt at "braveness".

I was dizzy and my head was throbbing. I couldn’t urinate so my “dedicated nurse Steven, 23 years old and fresh from university, suggested I should have a catheter inserted. The nursing Sister joined him and asked if he had performed this procedure before. “Only in University” he said. That was not the answer I wanted to hear!!

I’ll spare you the horrid and unspeakable details but he tried twice - unsuccessfully.

I was in so much bloody pain and discomfort I said to God, “If you are planning to take me anytime soon, now would be a good time….” Of course I was just going through a low point at the time as I was unable to sleep and the pain relief medication gave me no relief. It was in a living nightmare.

The following afternoon I had another CT scan and was cleared to go back to the ward. Anna, the Physiotherapist said she will have me sitting up when I get back to the ward. I was so nauseous I suggested she wear a raincoat.

This dizzy, spinning feeling is worse than any hangover I have experienced….well…almost.

It has been 2 weeks today and I spent a week in hospital and have now had the 20 odd staples removed from my head. I’m completely numb on the right side of my face and head. It’s like an invisible line has been drawn down the middle of my face as one nostril is numb and so is half of my tongue. My jaw is out of whack so I can’t chew on the right side. I have a blocked ear probably due to the CSF. This hopefully should all pass over the next few months (fingers crossed). 

Was it a success? Well I do not know for absolute certain as I am still taking half doses of my medication. But is seems to look that way as I have no trigeminal neuralgia pain...yay!

I am a sceptic so I’m not ready to do the dance of joy just yet only to disappoint myself later. I’m seeing my doctor in 3 weeks. So let’s say I’m highly hopeful.

Wise Words

“Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it by use.” — Ruth Gordo


Until next time Wise Women - take care of you

Lana xx


Lana ! | Tuesday, August 26, 2014 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink | back to top


Lana, a horrible story well told, I was on the edge of my seat........I know you are improving day by day and pray that you will be pain free in no time....love G
Posted: 26-Aug-2014 08:50 PM | Anonymous |
You are very brave lana it's a lot a person should have to go threw hopefully for you and the family it is a success especially you thinking of you xxxx jacky talbot
Posted: 26-Aug-2014 11:17 PM | Anonymous |
Thanks G for your prayers and encouragement. Lana x
Posted: 27-Aug-2014 03:27 PM | Anonymous |
Thanks Jacky for your lovely thoughts. Much appreciated. Lana x
Posted: 27-Aug-2014 03:30 PM | Anonymous |
No Doubt about you Lana you have always been a person that will have a go. I wish I had your confidence. I wish you well and good luck.
Posted: 27-Aug-2014 03:36 PM | Rhonda Miller |
Thanks Rhonda my old friend for your lovely comments. You know how to make an old girl feel good.xxx
Posted: 27-Aug-2014 03:55 PM | Anonymous |
The red hat would have freaked me out! Fantastic that you're through the op.Just carry on getting better!
Posted: 27-Aug-2014 06:14 PM | Karen B (UK) |
Such a brave lady! Keep positive and I hope it won't be too long before all the numbness goes and you have a full recovery💕Marilyn
Posted: 27-Aug-2014 06:56 PM | Marilyn Parry |
Hi Lana, wishing you all the best. You're one very strong & brave girl. Hope your recovery is fast & successful. Love to you & your family, take care, Kerri xox
Posted: 28-Aug-2014 07:54 AM | Kerri |

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