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Gamma Knife Ends the Pain of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigem Patient Sharon Sharon’s outgoing personality is back.

For more than a decade, the pain of trigeminal neuralgia kept Sharon silent. “I was afraid to talk, eat or chew gum,” she said. “Everyone just thought I was a really quiet person.” The pain was the worst Sharon had ever experienced. “It felt like plugging in an electrical cord and placing it under my tongue,” she said. “It was unbearable.”

Sharon’s first attack occurred while she was out for a nice dinner with her husband. “Suddenly I had a terrible pain in the side of my tongue,” she explained. “I couldn’t eat. It lasted all weekend.”

Sharon saw a dentist right away, but nothing was found. When the horrific pain returned again, she saw her primary care doctor, who diagnosed trigeminal neuralgia and prescribed medication.

A laboratory technician for the Port of Sunnyside, Sharon kept her condition from co-workers and even her grown children. Afraid to chew, she brought yogurt to work every day. Only her husband knew the excruciating pain she was suffering.

Sharon saw an ad for South Sound Gamma Knife in a Yakima newspaper. She called immediately, and had Gamma Knife surgery at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma in January, 2010. In less than a month, she was weaned from all medication for trigeminal neuralgia. The pain was gone. She has been pain-free ever since.

“I can talk again. I can even chew gum, which I really enjoy,” Sharon says. “It’s like the pain never happened.”

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