Serena has gone to great lengths to uncover the cause of their severe chronic pain. Like many chronic illness patients, they have run into barrier after barrier when seeking care. Serena lives in Tennessee and has been denied for health insurance 5 times. They have also been denied 3 times for federal disability, even though their chronic pain is so severe they are not able to reliably work. In the past year Serena has finally received 2 diagnoses, trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
Trigeminal neuralgia is caused by a pinching of the trigeminal nerve, which carries signals from the face to the brain. TN pain can affect any area fed by this nerve. Complex regional pain syndrome develops when the brain mistakenly sends disproportionate pain signals to the site of an injury, after that injury has healed.
In this episode of the Major Pain podcast, Serena discusses their two diagnoses and the struggle to find good care. Since Serena’s pain level is always so high, they have focused on silencing their mind through meditation in order to get through the day. Their driving focus is to be there for friends and family, amplify awareness of their diagnoses, and help others to have their stories heard.
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