true life stories

Melissa Seymour: My perfect life is over

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sydney Swans great Brad Seymour's wife has been transformed from high-flying businesswoman to bed-ridden invalid. She tells Jacqui Lang of her battle.

Until late last year, dynamic Sydney businesswoman, author and mother-of-two Melissa Seymour led a fast and exciting life. The wife of former Sydney Swans star Brad Seymour was running her own busy PR agency and loved entertaining at their Sydney beachfront apartment.

"Mel's always been a bubbly, go get 'em girl," says Brad.

But now Melissa, 35, can barely get out of bed and uses morphine daily – "which turns me into a bit of a zombie" – to ease her chronic pain.

"I had a fantastic life until seven months ago, when I just woke up with sharp pain in one side of my face," Melissa says.

"The pain has not gone away since – except when it's masked with the use of really strong drugs. My life hasn't been the same since, nor has Brad's or our children's."

At first, Melissa suspected she had shingles and tried to carry on while taking painkillers.

"Then late last year I had to fly to LA for a weekend with a client. I was in so much pain, it was then I realised how much this condition was wrecking my life."

After extensive tests, Melissa was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a facial nerve disorder affecting one in 15,000 people. The crippling pain means she finds it difficult to care for Saskia, 2, and Jonah, 6, or devote enough time to running her agency.

"Mel still looks fine, but there's been a big decline in her usual happy disposition," says Brad, who's now the family's chief cook and cleaner.

"Until this happened, I had no idea what chronic pain was; childbirth doesn't come close," says Melissa…

Read the full story in this week's Woman's Day, on sale June 22, 2009.
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