Volunteer Spotlight: Rosa Jimenez

My name is Rosa Jimenez. I am a licensed massage therapist working in Eugene, Oregon. I am 45 years young and have dealt with chronic pain since childhood. I am inspired by beautiful things, my fulfilling work as a licensed massage therapist, working in the garden alongside the hummingbirds and my cat.

My goal is to live happily, even with facial pain. I am choosing every day to engage in the things that create joy and fulfillment for me. In the next few years, I hope to travel frequently when my daughter begins to have my grandchildren. I hope to return to outdoor photography, cycling, hiking, and teaching in the local community college massage therapy program. I hope to be able to tolerate cold weather and wind more.

Over the years many providers gave me differing opinions of what was causing my pain. Finally, early in 2018, I was diagnosed with TN1 but I sought out different opinions as recently as December 2020.

I have tried over 30 different pain relief treatments including topical and nasal lidocaine, hyperbaric therapy, 12 different modalities of bodywork, several types of breath work, meditation, stress management, light therapy, ice/heat, nutritional supplementation, essential oils, Chinese medicine, various modalities of physical therapy, chiropractic, acupressure, prolotherapy and platelet rich plasma therapies, nerve suppression injections, high frequency micro-current, and dental work.

Hyperbaric therapy has always given me the fastest and most lasting pain relief. After a session, I may have up to five weeks without pain. Massage has been less successful; although I know many talented bodyworkers and physicians, only occasionally would I get short-lived temporary relief from massage therapy.

I was prescribed Oxcarbazepine, on which I function well. For the most part, medications did not help as much as they harmed. Although I have had some temporary and minor pain relief, I have also suffered multiple side effects. It amazes me how intent I am on taking medications to relieve facial pain flares. I have avoided pharmaceuticals before this time in my life.

It’s very important to me to advocate for my own health and bring as much information with me when I see doctors. Recently, I went to an appointment with my neurosurgeon, carrying my copy of the new FPA book, and wearing my TN Warrior t-shirt with its white ribbon on the front and “Keep Calm and Fight On” on the back. As my doctor leafed through the book, he said he has known and/or has worked under all the physicians mentioned. I had no idea! At the beginning of his career, he even worked under the doctor who created the balloon compression surgery I had in June 2020. I thought to myself, “No wonder you are so good with this and with me!” It made me want to hug him.

To anyone who is newly diagnosed, I would say there is hope. You are not alone, and you have this whole community who loves to be here for you. Perhaps the first things you try may not work but there are still many solutions for you out there. Don’t give up trying for relief and solutions. Please be kind to yourself with your incredible suffering. Use any coping mechanisms you have and try to learn new ones. They help!

I connected with the FPA while I was doing a national search for resources for facial pain sometime in 2019. I called the FPA office at a time when I was feeling desperate for solutions. When I called, I felt so very supported. They really live up to their goal of education, advocacy, and support. They really do care and they really do help!

I volunteer with the FPA so I can offer support, friendship, and advice on pursuing care to those also suffering with this horrible monster. I have immense fulfillment from supporting those in a pain crisis and living with this disease. I have felt such honor in being there for those like me who are suffering with this mysterious and difficult disease.

I fill my dance card daily and have never felt over-used as a Peer Mentor. FPA appreciates any time and energy you are able to give. The times I have been able to offer my support and listening heart were convenient, and the folks who have reached out to me have been wonderful to connect with.

I feel like what I can do best is offer validation, treat other facial pain sufferers with credibility, and honor the vast effects facial pain has on a person’s life. Those have all been things that have helped me through the hard times with this pain. Sharing our stories, validating each other’s experiences, and offering one on one support to help— these are the things that keep us going.

Nowadays, I experience extra fulfillment when I can treat a client’s pain I relate to with massage therapy, and I get “extra-extra” fulfillment when I can support someone who is living with this terrible suffering.

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By filling out the form below, you will receive a free FPA Patient Guide and periodic updates on the management and treatment of facial pain conditions. We do not share this information with any outside sources.