Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: The "Suicide Disease" - Chicago's Northwestern University interviews my Brother-in-law

Monday, March 03, 2008

The "Suicide Disease" - Chicago's Northwestern University interviews my Brother-in-law

John has been suffering from a horrible disease called "Trigeminal Neuralgia" since he was 22-years-old. It's unfortunate that anyone should suffer from that kind of pain, but especially unfortunate that someone that young has had to have their life revolve around medical treatments for that pain - treatments that have either been temporary or have only dealt with a fraction of the entire problem.

It seems that the journalism portion of Northwestern, "Medill News Service," did a story on him for their paper which goes to the entire Chicago area.

Imagine a pain so severe that it feels like your face has been struck by lightning — a pain that makes your face so sensitive to the touch you can’t even be kissed on the cheek.

This is the kind of pain that sufferers of trigeminal neuralgia, a rare nerve disorder, say they have to live with.

John Kerkemeyer, of Romeoville, was 22 when he was diagnosed with the disease 14 years ago. Kerkemeyer was having lunch when he first experienced pain he said must be worse than electric shock therapy.

“I bit into a chicken sandwich and had a shooting pain that wrapped around the side of my face,” Kerkemeyer said. “The next thing you know, I’m on the floor in my knees in tears and it wouldn’t stop.”

“For me it was just like somebody taking electric shock to your mouth and yanking your mouth sideways at the same time,” Kerkemeyer said. “I didn’t want to eat; didn’t want to open my mouth; didn’t want to talk; I didn’t want to do anything.

While they do mention the operation John had in 2003 to alleviate the pain, they don't emphasize that it doesn't get rid of all of the pain and can reverse itself at any time...something he knows and lives with.

I assume it's obvious why they call it "The Suicide Disease."


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