Express Yourself! Life with Burning Mouth

I have discussed the power of communication before when it comes to managing chronic pain. Realistic representation of your pain levels, educating new specialists about Burning Mouth Syndrome, and even sharing with family and friends about your condition; what helps…and what doesn’t.

We have discussed counseling and therapy and I highly recommend it if you can find and afford it. It will give you a listening ear from a professional who has “no skin in the game.” You cannot overwhelm them with your frustration and pain, or frighten them about your reactions to it. You cannot express any emotions that they have not seen before. They are required to have professional boundaries, and short of your expression of the intent to self-harm or harm others, they will actively listen and then give you some ideas of how to handle these emotions. It’s a gift you give yourself.

But, you say, “I can’t afford that.” Or, “I don’t want to open up to a stranger.”

I hear you.

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Preparing for the Holidays with Burning Mouth

We have covered a bit of this ground before, and again I urge you to communicate, take the rest (and medicines) you need, and use your coping strategies to get through the stress of the holidays.

Stress can be part of the “Holiday Package.

Things have loosened up and you may be putting family events together, gathering to open gifts, and doing things you haven’t been able to do for a couple of years. It can be hard to get back into the swing of things.

Presents? Oh, don’t get me started! The logistics of getting everything to everyone with the uncertainty as to whether things will get there in time…

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When Contemplating a Flare – Burning Mouth

Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

Over the last few posts, I have kept you up to date on my new medication, Effexor XR/Venlafaxine HCI.

My Neurologist initially prescribed a very low dose with no effect. We doubled it and saw the burning neuralgia back off into a tingle for most of the day. We doubled it again and got amazing relief that lasted all through the day, keeping the pain to a very tolerable tingle. Then the side effect of muscular tics began and we had to cut that little honeymoon short.

The upshot?

I am back on that medium dose of 75mg per day and I usually have just a light tingle that escalates. Sometimes I can skip that late afternoon dose of Clonazepam ODT, but other days I need it to blunt the tingle that is becoming too strong. I haven’t had a real flare yet with Effexor XR so I am unsure whether that means it is preventing them, or the stars just haven’t aligned yet. I will let you know because the ultimate test looms ahead!

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No Free Lunch with Burning Mouth Syndrome

I shared the good news with you in one of my last posts that the Effexor XR at 150 mg per day had lessened my burning into a tingle that did escalate through the day but was easily tamed with .50 mg of Clonazepam ODT around dinner time.

I was so happy and just waiting to see if this would hold or if something would change.

As with nearly everything I have tried against this burning neuralgia, something did change.

My husband started noticing a couple of weeks ago that I had begun shaking my head in little “no” movements when I was engrossed in a TV or computer show and it increased as time went on. He mentioned it to me and I truly had no idea I was doing that. It only happened when I was watching TV, whether on the big screen or my computer or reading at night and I felt nothing unusual. He videoed me when I wasn’t paying attention and I agreed, it was a definite involuntary movement.

Weird, right?

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Continuing Effexor XR for Burning Mouth Pain

Burning Mouth Cloud

My last post let you know that my Neurologist had prescribed Effexor XR to help with my burning neuralgia.

At 37.5 mg, per day there was no discernible effect. We went up to 75 mg.

After a while at this level, I noticed that the burning had become more of an intense tingling for part of the day. I reported this to my Neurologist and he suggested we double the dosage.

At 150 mg I began to notice that even the tingling was lessening for most of the day. Some days it was hardly discernible until late afternoon when it would sometimes get too intense and I would need one dose of Clonazepam ODT .5 mg to control it. (I am approved for up to 2 mg of Clonazepam a day, so this is a small dose.)

I reported these changes as I approached a month of the 150 mg dose, and asked what he would recommend. He responded that we should give this dose another month and see if accumulated time makes any additional difference. I agreed, and so this is what we are doing!

After over fourteen years of Burning Mouth pain, tingling is a blessing. Is the pain all gone?

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Cannabis, Virtual Reality, and Another Option – Burning Mouth Syndrome

I had my yearly sit down with my Neurologist yesterday and after discussing my migraine treatment with Aimovig (100% effective, BTW, but getting very pricey with my husband’s new insurance.), we moved on to Burning Mouth Syndrome.

He asked how my pain was, and I said, “The same as usual. I achieve tolerable levels with 1 mg of Clonazepam/Klonopin ODT spread between two doses, and if I have a flare, I take an extra .50 mg to deal with that and try to get a nap.” He shook his head and said, “I have reviewed your file and you have tried just about everything out there, but there is one that I noted you haven’t tried and I think it might help. It went generic in 2006 so it isn’t outrageously expensive and you can safely try a low dose with your present meds and see if it has a good effect. I would like to get you out of pain if it is at all possible.”

Well, to be frank, this is what you want to hear from your specialist. I said I had some questions about other treatments before I jumped into another drug tryout and he sat back and listened intently.

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Burning Mouth Syndrome and Me

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Strange title for a post on a blog that has “One Woman’s Experience with Burning Mouth Syndrome” in its title, right?

But it seems to be necessary at this time of divisiveness and stress to reiterate that this is my experience. Yes, I do reference what little research has been done on this burning neuralgia, and will continue to send people to the BMS Support Website where they can read it themselves.

The truth is that NO ONE KNOWS what causes Burning Mouth. You can suspect dental work (I do personally!), or stress, or vaccines of any kind, or whatever you want to, but again I stress that NO ONE KNOWS.

When I decided to start this blog, it was for two reasons. One was to give me an outlet to say how it was feeling to me and what it was doing to me. Expressing yourself can give some relief. The second was to share what I learned about it, all the things I tried, how I got my diagnosis, and what coping strategies helped me and might help others.

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Is This Remission? – Burning Mouth Syndrome

Gigi & Miles

Last month I speculated that diving full out into caregiving for my adorable grandson Miles had distracted me from my discomfort, leading to less medication because there was less pain.

This month continues this good streak of much lower pain levels, less dryness, and the lowest dose I have ever taken of Clonazepam/Klonopin ODT.

I am beginning to suspect a level of remission is at play here, and although I know from previous experience that remissions in Burning Mouth Syndrome can be of varying time lengths and may be quite temporary, I am going to savor each and every day of this one.

It is a pity that it is occurring just as the Covid19 Delta Variant has taken our area back to social distancing and masks, even for fully vaccinated people, but I am getting lots of time with our local family (Look how Miles has grown!!) and my husband and I would be taking these precautions for our little Cystic Fibrosis Warrior, no matter what.

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Am I Getting Better? – Burning Mouth Syndrome

In May, I began a “job” again for the first time in about thirty years. I have been working as a volunteer all this time, but it was at my convenience and although there were busy times, it was not a constant or consistent routine.

Now I care for my five-month-old grandson who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at three weeks old. I drive to my daughter’s home by 7 AM each weekday morning and leave at 3:30 PM to beat the traffic home. (She and her husband work full time, right now at home but increasingly in their offices.) I feed him, change him, bathe him, play with him, and interact except when he naps. While he naps I help around the house with laundry, dishes, and preparing bottles. Now we are beginning solid food and that will be another adventure!

What does this have to do with my Burning Mouth Syndrome pain?

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