Learning to Live With It

It's the middle of winter here in New Zealand, and we're already seeing signs of new life all around. It's a gorgeous, sunny day today so I've just had a traipse through my garden. It's heaving with welcome signs of spring, like the purple flowers starting to put out their spears on the hebe shrub, … Continue reading Learning to Live With It

Sounds of Silence: TN and Tinnitus

Silence is golden - or so it's said. I wouldn't know. I always thought silence was a utopian exaggeration. An absence of ambient sounds with plenty of space for background noise to make itself known. A fantasy state dreamed up by children-should-be-seen-and-not-heard types as an excuse to punish children who took the 'seen' part of … Continue reading Sounds of Silence: TN and Tinnitus

Sixteen Habits of Mind

June 1st. Here in New Zealand that means the last, colourful leaves of autumn drifting off from the trees. It means the feijoa and passionfruit crop is over for the year, and it's time to prune the trees to replenish and make room for spring growth. Time to buy that electric blanket to replace the … Continue reading Sixteen Habits of Mind

5 Ways to Distract Yourself from Pain

There's a change in the air. The tropical, coconut lemony smell of summer has faded.  The air is thinner, clearer. Last week, the air was thick enough to wrap around us like a blanket - now it's more like a filmy sheer curtain, with a window behind it letting in an uncomfortable draught. Most days … Continue reading 5 Ways to Distract Yourself from Pain

The Words in my Notebook

Words - I love words. Words that probe and words that play, words that delve and words that dance. Words that explain, words that explore. I'm not so keen on words that complain and words that hurt, but they do have their uses. I have notebooks full of words. What writer doesn't! But some of … Continue reading The Words in my Notebook

Why Trigeminal Neuralgia Needs to Lose its Nickname

Billy Bones. Roribug. Little Bear. Flop-Eared Houndybeast. These are some of the nicknames I have for my daughter and grandchildren. Well, the last one belonged to our dog, who had many and varied nicknames. The kids don't have floppy ears. I'm sure we'll all be familiar with the concept of nicknames as affectionate (or otherwise!) … Continue reading Why Trigeminal Neuralgia Needs to Lose its Nickname

Getting a Slice of the Cake

Change. A single, soft-spoken syllable. Yet it's a powerful little creature, reaching into every corner of our lives. Sometimes it's an invitation - welcome and exciting. Sometimes it's a burden - disruptive and frightening. It's a bundle of contradictions: progress and retreat, secret and flamboyant, havoc and harmony. It can bounce into our lives with the … Continue reading Getting a Slice of the Cake

A New Kind of Normal

There is a storm brewing. I can feel it in my face - the way my eye burns, a vice tightens on my skull, and one hundred knives fresh off the whetstone slice at my gums. Just for starters. To everyone else in my family, the sky looks perfectly innocent. Perhaps the breeze has a … Continue reading A New Kind of Normal

Dear Healthy Person…

Dear Healthy Person, Congratulations. You won in the lucky jackpot of healthy genes. You are twenty of me. I think I lost my ticket. I am a twentieth of the old me. You can work, eight hours a day, five days a week. Maybe more. I used to work eight to ten hours a day. … Continue reading Dear Healthy Person…

Ten Ways to Understanding

A constant claim from many people with chronic pain conditions is that nobody can understand the pain unless they have experienced it themselves. On a superficial level this is obviously true, at least in that people who don't have chronic pain conditions, have not felt what it is like to have chronic pain. But I … Continue reading Ten Ways to Understanding