Young Patient Profile
Name: Mackenzie Winslow
Current age: 18
Where do you live? Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
How old were you when you first experienced facial pain? I was 11 years old and playing softball when I first experienced trigeminal neuralgia (TN).
How old were you when you were diagnosed? I was diagnosed pretty quickly, just weeks after I first experienced pain. I was still 11 years old. It was an emergency dentist who first uttered the words “trigeminal neuralgia” to me and my parents. The diagnosis was confirmed at an emergency room later.
What was your diagnosis? My diagnosis is TN1 (Classical TN).
What do you do for fun? For fun, I read, hang out with my friends, color, and model in California!! I’m also applying to colleges currently. College was something I never thought I’d be able to do, especially not out-of-state. But now, after my MVD, I have the chance to really chase my dreams. It’s been so rewarding to receive admission into some of my top choice schools (I’m still waiting for most!) and to see how much they believe in my ability to succeed. MIddle and high school was difficult with TN, yet the hard work has paid off and I have been awarded scholarships I never thought possible. Looking to the future like this has really been a great experience that I’m lucky to get to have!
What has TN taught you? TN has taught me that I AM capable of adapting to new situations. I had to change much of my daily routine and it was hard at first, but it became my new normal. It also taught me the power of family and friends. I lost a lot of friends along the way, but the friends who stayed by my side proved to me that they were true friends. TN helped me see the true side of people sooner than I would have if I didn’t have TN.
What treatments (non-surgical) have you tried? MAGO (Maxio Anterior Guided Orthotic), acupuncture, upper-cervical chiropractic treatments, massages, trileptal, gabapentin, steroids, chinese herbs, marcaine injection, biofeedback, valtrex, a TENS unit, tegretol, oxtellar, and gralise.
Have you had any surgical procedures? I had a microvascular decompression on March 4, 2014.
How has your facial pain changed you? I had to grow up a lot more quickly. I don’t wish my diagnosis never happened because I think it shaped me into the person I am today. Because of what I’ve been through, I’ve realized that I want to use my life to help people. And it helped me see people’s true colors, which has given me the chance to form stronger bonds and friendships with people who are worth it.