Elementary school teacher, 28, with rare condition called ‘suicide disease’ can’t have children
An elementary school teacher diagnosed with the ‘suicide disease’ that makes her feel like she’s being ‘electrocuted’ up to 25 times a day raises money for an operation that will allow her to have children.
Laura Cruz, 28, of Castle Donington, Derby, was diagnosed with the extremely rare condition trigeminal neuralgia, also known as the ‘suicide disease’ due to the severe pain it causes, which cannot be treated with painkillers.
Mrs Cruz, who got married over the summer, is raising money GoFundMe for an operation in January that will allow her to have children. Due to her current medication, she is not advised to have children because it is likely to cause deformities.
The surgeon hopes that the surgery will leave Laura pain-free for between two and 10 years, and that she can buy her time so she can come off the medication and try for a baby.
Ms. Cruz said, “This disease has completely destroyed my life. I can’t brush my hair or my teeth, eat, sleep, stand in the wind, or touch my face without feeling like I’m being electrocuted in my face.
“The flare-ups are so bad that I now understand why it’s called the suicide disease.”
Laura Cruz, 28, was diagnosed with the rare condition trigeminal neuralgia, also known as the ‘suicide disease’
Laura has been advised against having children due to her current medication, and after she married Troy Cruz, 29, over the summer, she is raising money on GoFundMe for a surgery that will allow her to have children.
Laura shared how she woke up on January 12 of this year with a faint tingling in the right side of her lip.
This developed into severe pain within weeks, with doctors initially mistaking the rare disease for shingles.
But after visiting a specialist and analyzing MRI scans, Laura was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia and began experiencing the severe pain up to “25 times a day.”
This means the surgery is her last hope of starting a family with her husband Troy Cruz, 29.
After visiting a specialist and analyzing MRI scans, Laura was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia and began experiencing the severe pain up to “25 times a day.”
Laura was given antiviral medication but continued to see her GP as the pain worsened and was first told about the condition in February
Ms Cruz said: ‘I’m on pain-reducing drugs but I still have breakthrough pain up to 25 times a day and it’s so bad I sometimes scream out loud.
“I ended up in the emergency room after my most recent flare-up where I was told to go home because there was nothing they could do.”
Trigeminal neuralgia is also referred to as the “suicide disease” because of the intense pain and higher rate of suicidal ideation in patients with severe migraines.
There are also links with higher rates of depression, anxiety and sleep disorders.
The Trigeminal Neuralgia Association UK says the condition is considered the most painful condition known to the medical world.
The 28-year-old photographed on her wedding day. She said everything is causing the pain because it’s winter: ‘The cold is making it worse and I’m currently struggling to get through work’
Ms. Cruz said, “I just got married and I feel like a burden to my husband.” Pictured on vacation with husband Troy
The surgery that could give Laura time is called a microvascular decompression, an invasive procedure that relieves pressure placed on the trigreminal nerve by blood vessels that touch or wrap around the nerve.
The surgeon makes an incision in the scalp, behind your ear, and removes a small piece of skull bone.
They then separate the blood vessels from the trigeminal nerve using an artificial pad or sling made of adjacent tissue.
WHAT IS TRIGEMINAL NEURALGIA?
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is defined as a ‘sudden, severe, brief, stabbing pain that occurs with attacks lasting up to a few seconds, usually only on one side of the face and caused by a light touch’.
Patients describe such seizures as an electric shock, with some being so severe that they are brought to their knees or unable to move.
TN affects about 1.5 in 10,000 people, with pain usually felt on one side of a patient’s face, particularly on the cheek or lower jaw.
Although unclear, TN appears to be caused by the ‘misfire’ of the trigeminal nerve and the transmission of pain signals.
Some experience such pain a few times a month or as often as several times a day.
In most cases, TN is progressive and worsens over time.
Treatment usually focuses on strong medication to ‘numb’ the nervous system.
Such therapies are usually anticonvulsants for epilepsy, which can cause severe allergic reactions.
If medication is ineffective or TN continues to affect a patient’s quality of life, surgery may be needed to reduce nerve activity.
“The MRI scans show that I had blood vessels wrapped around the nerve and that’s what was causing the pain, so I’m raising money through GoFundMe to have surgery to decompress the nerve and put bits of Teflon filling in between the nerve.” and place the blood vessels. .
“We were supposed to be on our honeymoon and we both wanted to try having kids after we got married, but this disease has completely taken over my life.
“When I looked up the condition and saw that it was nicknamed suicidal disease, I was terrified.
“There’s no cure for it, so I remember thinking, how am I supposed to live with this?
“At the moment everything is causing the pain and because it is winter the cold is making it worse and I am currently struggling to continue working.
“I just got married and I feel like a burden to my husband.”
Ms. Cruz and her husband Troy, who works as a cameraman, got married over the summer and hoped to start a family this year.
She said, “The surgeon hopes that the surgery will give me pain-free age between two and 10 years so that I can come off the medication and try for a baby.
“That was the most devastating thing for me.
“It will come back one day, but if it can give me time to start a family, then that’s what I care about.
‘Waiting times on the NHS range from six months to two years and I can’t wait that long – the pain is unbearable.
“The surgery is booked for January 20th, I just hope I get enough money through my GoFundMe page.
“This is an invisible disease and a lot of times people will think I’m okay, but I want people to know more about this disease and realize that this is serious.”
So far Laura has raised £6,965 on her GoFundMe page for what she hopes will be life-changing surgery in January.