A previous dancer told how makeup caused a rare nervous illness that left her at home – and unable to kiss her boyfriend.
Mackenzie Lea, 21, was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia – a condition of chronic pain that affects the nerve that connects the brain to the face.
The aspiring doctor from Alberta, Canada, began to feel pain in her face when she was 10 – but eventually stopped.
She assumed that a 12-year outbreak had a migraine and felt nothing again until three years later.
In July 2013, Mackenzie was putting on makeup when she suddenly felt unbearable pain.
She feared for a lifetime thinking she might have a brain tumor – and immediately scheduled a medical exam.
MacKenzie said, "I thought I had a brain tumor and I was dying because I didn't think this level of pain was possible without knocking on death's door.
"I was putting on makeup to touch my face when the pain was triggered.
"I was terrified and had no idea what was going on."
Doctors were initially puzzled – and started Mackenzie on a drug course, including antibiotics and allergy medications, while trying to find out the cause of his debilitating pain.
But another intense outbreak in October of that year left Mackenzie hospitalized for a full week.
TESTS AND CHECKS
She underwent brain tests and had fluid removed from her spine for testing while doctors desperately searched for a diagnosis.
It was not until April 2014 that a doctor finally managed to solve the problem.
Mackenzie explained, "I talked to the doctor for a few minutes about my exams and the medication I had tried.
"He decided to do a physical exam and asked if the pain affects one side, so I said it was mostly on my right side.
"He asked if it would hurt when he touched my face and I said I would rather he didn't because it would hurt.
"Then he said he knew what I had and asked if I could give him a few minutes to do some research.
"When he returned, his face had gone pale and pale and he said he had never seen an affair in children, but it was trigeminal neuralgia.
"I felt a lot of emotions, but the main one was relief, because all I wanted was a diagnosis.
"I told myself that once I had a diagnosis, they could treat me and I would be fine.
"I never imagined that modern medicine would not be able to treat anything.
"The look on his face was a little disturbing and I knew he was going to tell me something bad.
"I was told it was a very rare form of nerve damage, and there was no easy solution."
Nervous agony: What is trigeminal neuralgia?
Trigeminal neuralgia is sudden and intense facial pain.
It is often described as acute acute pain or as an electric shock to the jaw, teeth or gums.
Trigeminal neuralgia is usually caused by compression of the trigeminal nerve.
This is the nerve within the skull that transmits feelings of pain and touch from the face, teeth and mouth to the brain.
Pain attacks are usually triggered by activities that involve a slight touch on the face, such as washing, eating, and brushing teeth.
But they can also be triggered by the wind – even a slight breeze or air conditioning – or the movement of the face or head.
Sometimes pain can happen without a trigger.
Attacks usually occur in short, unpredictable bursts, which can last from a few seconds to about 2 minutes.
The attacks stop as suddenly as they begin.
In most cases, trigeminal neuralgia affects only one side of the face, with pain usually felt in the lower part of the face.
Very occasionally, pain can affect both sides of the face, although not usually at the same time.
People with the condition may suffer pain attacks regularly for days, weeks or months at a time.
In severe cases, attacks can happen hundreds of times a day.
Strong medications resulted in Mackenzie breaking out into painful wounds – leaving doctors with no choice but to opt for complex surgeries.
Mackenzie went to the knife as surgeons tried to relieve the pressure on his facial nerves.
But three months after the operation, she was back in the Intensive Pain Rehabilitation Program.
The program involved physical, mental and occupational therapy to deal with their condition.
Such was the gravity of her condition that Mackenzie's life stopped and she had to give up her dreams of studying medicine.
Any slight movement or stimulation on her face left her in agony for days – which means she can't even kiss her boyfriend Jon.
But after turning 18 in February 2016, Mackenzie was transferred to an adult neurologist.
The expert has taken a different approach to treating her condition – including using Botox, blockages and infusions.
Since then, their outbreaks have been much less common and their pain less intense.
I can barely move without feeling overwhelmed by pain, so working is not an option
She added: "I have crises from time to time, but it's not progressing.
"Before, I was thinking of going to medical school and I was also a dancer, but it all stopped.
"The side effects of medication and the pain itself make it difficult to focus and learn.
"I can barely move without feeling overwhelmed by pain, so working is not an option.
"There are things I wanted in the future, like having children, that may no longer be possible.
"I feel lucky that my boyfriend met me before my illness and he could see mine to my full capacity."
"He saw what I am capable of, both in a capable and disabled body.
"One of the hardest things is to feel a burden when he's young and capable, and I worry about holding him.
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"Sometimes it hurts to kiss him too, which can be really frustrating for us.
"Even if someone is not dealing with this disease specifically, everyone has their own burden.
"I'd love to show people that taking a bad hand doesn't mean you can't have a satisfying life."