Jim Kavanagh: Overcoming Trigeminal Neuralgia


I was diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia and had surgery to repair the myelin sheath around the nerve.

 

Part 7 | Change in Habits

Jim talks about how little he has had to change his lifestyle post-surgery. He still works out regularly, golfs as much as he can, and drinks alcohol in social situations.

 

About Jim Kavanagh

Jim was born in Scotland and moved to the United States in 1955, residing in Fair Haven, New Jersey for most of his life.  After high school, he joined the air force and spent a year in Vietnam.  It was there that he was exposed to agent orange, which may have caused his condition.
 
He developed trigeminal neuralgia about six years ago.  After a toothache and chronic pain, he saw a dentist and an oral surgeon and was placed on a nerve-healing medication.  The pain came back after he had moved, so he saw another dentist and then an endodontist.  The pain persisted even after having a tooth pulled (the alleged culprit).  Jim saw more perplexed dentists and specialists until he was finally sent to the head of dentistry at the UMDJ.  
 
This doctor sent him to the Facial Pain Management Center, where he was finally diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia.  After a tiresome search, he happened to find a doctor in his own hometown who did work on the trigeminal nerve.  Despite a dramatic increase in his medication, Jim experienced a debilitating bout of pain.  At this point, his doctor decided he needed to be operated on.  
 
After a successful surgery, Jim is currently pain-free and continues to live an active, healthy lifestyle.
 
 
 
 
Learn more about the 360 interview series.

 

Previous Chapters: 

 

Part 1 | A Little Bit About Jim

Jim provides some background to his life story, as well as the events leading up to his diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia. After meeting with several confounded dentists, endodontists, and oral surgeons for severe oral pain, he was sent to the head of dentistry at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.


Part 2 | Trigeminal Neuralgia Diagnosis

Jim tells the story behind the diagnosis of his facial pain as trigeminal neuralgia and the search for a neurologist. Eventually, his search led him to a doctor located in the town he lives in. Also, he explains the tremendous pain he experienced as a result of his disorder and the scheduling of his surgical operation.


Part 3 | Cause of Agent Orange

Jim talks about the possibility that his condition was a result of exposure to agent orange during the Vietnam War. Also, he touches on a conversation he had with his wife prior to surgery. Finally, he goes into detail about what was done to him during the surgery, and the relief he felt when he realized his pain had left him.


Part 4 | Risk of Surgery

Jim talks about the amount of risk associated with his surgery. He was aware of the potential dangers but did not hesitate to go forward with the operation due to the unbearable pain he was experiencing.


Part 5 | After the Surgery

Jim talks about his experience after his surgical operation. Seeing his friends after waking up was emotional, and he was very impressed with the care provided by the hospital staff. Also, he reports not having any negative physical symptoms post-surgery.


Part 6 | After the Surgery

Jim talks about the occasional fear that his pain could come back, and details just how debilitating that pain was before he was operated on. Today, he is pain-free and very grateful for it.


 

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