For over a year, Jim Kirkpatrick has suffered from excruciating facial pain and it is caused by trigeminal neuralgia, also know as the "suicide disease."
"My cheek, my uh, my jaws, my forehead, even touching the hairs on my eyebrow, that has been one of the most intense pains," said Kirkpatrick.
The pain is often triggered while doing daily routine activities.
"Eating at times will trigger the pain, in the shower will trigger the pain," said Kirkpatrick.
Jim went to see Neurosurgeon, Kim Burchiel for help and he was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia.
"It's intense, it hurts," said Kirkpatrick. "It keeps you awake; it affects every aspect of your life."
"The cause of the neuralgia we think is the fact that a blood vessel in the back of the brain has wedged itself up against the nerve and basically sat there for years, maybe decades just beating up against the nerve," said Dr. Burchiel.
Anti-seizure drugs can be the answer for some with the disease and brain surgery is another option.
Dr. Burchiel can perform microvascular decompression, or MDI. This includes making an incision behind the ear and placing a tiny Teflon pad between the blood vessel and the trigeminal nerve.
"We're shielding it, allowing it to effectively heal and recover if it can from the damage that has been produced by years of beating on by the artery," said Dr. Burchiel.
Jim Kirkpatrick is now considering all of his options before making a decision.
"I've been through quite a bit of investigation already in trying to find what the alternatives are."
With or without surgery, Jim is hoping to find a cure for his pain. Doctors say the surgery does help about 70 percent of patients and the relief is often immediate and long lasting.