A 21-year-old, Mackenzie Lea, was recently diagnosed with a rare disease, trigeminal neuralgia which made her unable to even kiss. The woman from Alberta, Canada, was worried that she is dying from a brain tumour which turned out to be a chronic pain condition affecting the nerve connecting the brain to the face.
The first time she experienced pain was when she was 10. However, it eventually stopped and when she was 12 the condition returned back but she thought it's just a migraine. Recently, after applying makeup the pain became debilitating and she knew it was something else.
"I remember my first facial pain was when I was 10, then it stopped for a while and resumed when I was 12. I attributed the pain to migraines, but the pain became debilitating when I was 15 and I knew it wasn't just migraines anymore," Mackenzie told Metro, "I thought I had a brain tumour and that I was dying because I didn't think that such a level of pain was possible without knocking on death's door. I was putting makeup on so touching my face when the pain was triggered. I was terrified and I had no idea what was happening."
Most of the tests done to find out what's wrong with her turned out to be negative. So, Mackenzie was referred to a complex pain clinic where she discussed all previous scans and the medication she has tried. "He asked if it would hurt when he touched my face and I said that I'd rather him not touch it because it would hurt," she explained.
The doctor knew at that moment what she had and asked her if she could give him a couple of minutes to do a little research. He came back and told her it was trigeminal neuralgia. He further added that he'd never seen such a case in children before.
"The look on his face was a bit unsettling and I knew he was going to tell me something bad. I was told that it was a form of nerve damage that was very rare, and there wasn't an easy fix," she added. Doctors had to take her off strong medication after it was leading to sores. Doctors had no choice but try complex surgery trying to ease pressure on the nerves in her head.
Despite all this, she said, "I feel lucky that my boyfriend knew me before my illness and he got to see my at my full capacity. He's seen what I'm capable of, in both an able and disabled body." She further added, "One of the hardest things is feeling like a burden as he's young and able and I worry about holding him back. 'Even if someone isn't dealing with this disease specifically, everyone has their own burdens to carry. I'd love to show people that being dealt a bad hand doesn't mean you can't have a fulfilling life."