A healthy mum-of-six has told of the moment her life changed forever after she suffered a shooting pain while drinking a glass of orange juice.
Stacey Welsh, 33, was left in agony last month in her home in Wānaka, north of Queenstown, Australia, and assumed she was suffering from a type of abscess.
The fitness enthusiast, who is also studying to be a midwife, then discovered her pain was due to trigeminal neuralgia, caused by an injury to the trigeminal nerve, in the back of the skull.
The nerve carries sensations from the face to the brain, with symptoms of the disorder including sporadic and sudden burning or shock-like facial pain.
Stacey said the pain was so bad it was “worse than childbirth” and she even threatened to cut her face off while desperately taking herself to hospital.
She explained: “The GP put me on some medication and then I went back again twice that week and then ended up in Queenstown Hospital, threatening to cut my own face off, that’s how bad the pain was.”
Stacey was placed on nerve blocking medication, but she still occasionally experiences pain – and will ultimately need invasive surgery.
However, the medication also impacts her ability to carry out everyday activities.
The busy mum says the disorder has taken over her life and now her children, aged between 10 months and 14 years old, struggle to understand why their mum behaves differently.
The Mirror’s newsletter brings you the latest news, exciting showbiz and TV stories, sport updates and essential political information.
The newsletter is emailed out first thing every morning, at 12noon and every evening.
Never miss a moment by signing up to our newsletter here.
Stacey explained: “I’m in pain every single day, just not to the extent I was [before the diagnosis].
“My life is on hold. I can’t wake up to my 10-month-old daughter in the night. My goal was to be a midwife and now that’s on hold too.”