Such a job often required 70-hour weeks with round-the-clock hours.

Forster assumed her symptoms to be somewhat normal considering the abnormal circumstances.

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The needles, approximately 30-gauge, are connected to a monitoring machine which judges the muscular-contraction activity at the time of injection with an auditory response.

Always, the machine is buzzing at high volume when the needles are inserted.

2008 is the year Forster underwent two brain surgeries and was diagnosed with three chronic pain disorders – oral mandibular dystonia, trigeminal neuralgia and tardive dyskinesia – all of which transformed her from an independent woman working in nuclear engineering to a homebound patient fighting for her life.

For some time prior, Forster attributed the consistent headache and preliminary symptoms to stress at her job as a document control specialist for a nuclear engineering company.

Because of the rarity of her disorders, she was referred to medical specialists, many of whom were considered cutting edge in their fields.

But, being cutting edge, she discovered, did not equally entail compassion and willingness to advocate for patients.However, during a follow-up appointment, an additional MRI revealed there was a secondary tumor – this time woven within her cerebellum.Forster for the second time was scheduled for emergency surgery, during which the surgeon filleted her cerebellum to remove as much of the tumor as possible.Editors Note: Hanna Smith is a contributing writer for the Facial Pain Research Foundation.She is an award-winning journalist and assistant author of an in-progress medical biography detailing life with chronic pain.At the Mayo Clinic, Forster was treated by now-retired Dr.