Anneli van Rooyen's road to recovery
Pauli van Wyk
Johannesburg - Singer Anneli van Rooyen is recovering well after the operation to her right cheek joint in June, but she is still experiencing an uphill battle with sore and stiff facial muscles.
Van Rooyen told Beeld in an e-mail that "the operation was a huge success, and the rehabilitation of my jaw, facial and mouth muscles that were pinned down for more than three years by the disrupted joint are also doing well".
This follows a disastrous operation against trigeminal neuralgia in October 2007, which severely disrupted her right jaw joint and irreparably damaged her fifth trigeminal facial nerve.
Few people are aware that Van Rooyen had suffered from a migrating burning pain on the right-hand side of her face since 1988.
She was only diagnosed with Atypical trigeminal neuralgia in 2004.
It is a condition that causes intense burning facial pain in any or a combination of the three branches of the trigeminal facial nerve. These nerve branches control all of the facial muscles.
The operation in 2007 caused permanent nerve damage.
Van Rooyen is undergoing physiotherapy to rehabilitate the facial, jaw and mouth muscles. The treatment however leads to worse pain because the muscles haven't been in active use for so long.
Once the facial muscles function normally again, Van Rooyen will consider an operation where an electrode is placed in the motor cortex of the brain, where pain is registered.
This electrode will interrupt the pain message as it travels from the nerve to the brain, thereby reducing pain drastically.
"Meanwhile, I keep the faith and rejoice in my countless blessings and gifts," Van Rooyen said.