The Extended Forcast is Good!

Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.  Psalm 55:22

But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.  Philippians 1:12

I am 2 days post surgical removal of 2 root-canaled teeth and THE CONVULSIONS ARE GONE!!!  Yipppeeee and praise the Lord!  This 3 years of daily hell for me and my beloved husband, Steve, is finally over!

While there is still much work to do to detox mercury toxicity and re-evaluate chronic Lyme and mold illnesses, I feel more optimistic that I will be able to tolerate those treatments someday.  Until this week, I was failing.  I was bedridden most every day with convulsive episodes.  The grief and impact was huge on everything from our finances to my aching neck.  My husband no longer got a full night of sleep and this illness had changed virtually every activity inside/outside of our home.  How would Steve find me when he came home from work?  Would he have to make me my pureed dinner and feed me again before bed tonight?  Carry me to the toilet?  Our hearts were weary after 3 years of this living hell.

Nine months ago I began investigating how two sore molars in the upper left section of my jaw might be impacting my health.  Four dentists and three oral surgeons, a cone beam CT, MRI, and pano plus regular x-rays later (including a consultation out of State) we had no objective data to guide us.  Everything looked “fine.”  The teeth had bothered me for over 13 years!  Fifteen years ago I had all my amalgam fillings removed but was never guided to chelate for mercury.  Were there silver filings containing mercury remaining underneath the crowns over these two teeth?  We will never know the answer to that question.  My saliva had started tasting metallic.  Eating started triggering the convulsive episodes.  With Steve’s support, we took an expensive leap of faith and pursued a dental solution.

Additionally, seven weeks before what would become the big day, I started eating only on the right side of my mouth.  Two and one-half weeks later I started a pureed diet to eliminate the chewing action that seemed to make things worse; all this was quite a feat since my struggle to get well led me to eat low oxalate, virtually dairy-free, and completely sugar/sweetener-free, gluten-free, and mold -free foods too!  Another two weeks later and 1 week before the surgery I noticed that using plastic utensils delayed the onset of convulsions after eating.  Even drinking my foods through a straw helped initially then ultimately triggered episodes.  I feared eating anything at all!  The only problem with that was hunger and thirst could also trigger convulsions or make them worse.  I felt trapped!

Three and one-half days before the dental surgery my doctor recommended trying an EMF deflecting device.  “It might help” he said, like so many other recommendations I had received all over the spectrum of traditional and alternative medical care.  After one such technology (a Rife machine called a Beam Ray) I tried 3 years ago to treat “Chronic Lyme,” the daily tic attacks started.  Within a year these episodes would escalate to waking seizure attacks then convulsive episodes lasting 2 to 5 hours per day.  We had tried to shield me from wireless technology in our home in the past yet the results were initially helpful then inconsistent.  This time the GEOMACK from Spain reduced the intensity of the convulsions 50%.  That reduction gave me a tiny boost of strength that I needed to physically and mentally prepare for surgery.  My husband got some much needed sleep as well!  Could their be an electrical cause after all?  (See this blog for more anatomy and discussion.)

The morning of the surgery went as usual.  Convulsive episodes began shortly after opening my eyes and periodically as we prepared to leave the house.  Seizure zips ripped through my hungry and thirsty frame as my beloved drove us to the hospital.  We were still reeling from the large check we had to carry with us since the oral surgeon insisted on performing the extractions near a crash cart, I guess.  And after some prayers, many silly jokes and one last shake/rattle/and roll with placement of the IV in my arm, the time had come to let go and not look back.  We reviewed my situation with the anesthesiologist and oral surgeon, surgical tech, and several nurses.  They were not to abort the mission if I seized under anesthesia!  Just wait a moment and get the job done.

I’d like to say that I woke up in a calm, blissful state but that simply was not the case.  I became nauseous and pain management was a problem over the next day and one-half.  Oh well.  One thing was certain:  THERE WERE NO SEIZURES OR CONVULSIONS!   The “battery effect” of dissimilar metals in 2 adjacent crowns over root-canaled teeth WERE FRICKIN’ GONE!  No more tazoring of my brain would continue.  And hey, if there was hidden infection in the root-canaled teeth then the problems caused therein are now also “history.”  The hell is over.

My job now includes retraining my brain to relax when falling asleep instead of bracing for impact.  My job now includes remembering all of the relaxation techniques I used to train my patients in psychiatric hospitals to deal with anxiety.  I need to rework those memory pathways and feelings of impending doom that followed me, waited for me every night, every morning, every time when I was exposed to noxious stimuli, or even on the clothing or breath of my beloved anytime, anywhere.  Hey, no problemmo.  I am ready to live and the extended forecast is good!

Thank you and big hugs to those of you who have followed my story for any length of time,  You have been an important part of my lifeblood to go on when I could not.  Sometimes my husband could not be home with me and I was alone, feeling terrified mostly of even greater suffering and it came.  The worst episodes were never captured on YouTube videos because my warrior husband was needed to hold me tightly to keep me from greater harm instead of holding onto a camera.  Sometimes the Lord was silent even when I cried out to Him when breathless, facing death again and again when my breathing stopped.  When He did speak I gained the courage I needed to face the next trial.  In the end, death was not my greatest fear.  Dying without my Heavenly Husband was.

But you know what?  I made it through.  Steve made it through.  A new chapter in our lives is about to begin.  I’m going to take some time now and regroup.  I am very weak.  An infusion of my Jesus is needed.  The warmest embrace with my beloved must follow.  And really good food cannot be far behind.  After tomorrow the putty d’ jour will be history!  Yeah God!

Pureed Tri-Color Carrots, Cauliflower, Bacon, Ground Round, Potato Chips, Homemade Broth, and Sea Salt
Pureed Organic Tri-Color Carrots & Cauliflower, Bacon, Organic Beef & Potato Chips, Homemade Broth, and Sea Salt in the Recovery Room!

With love, JJ

But the Lord was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.  Psalm 18:18b-19

Cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.  Psalm 55:22

UPDATE:  The holiday from convulsive episodes did not last, unfortunately.  There were many benefits from having these two infected teeth removed:  significantly less mouth pain, less congestion in the upper shoulder and neck, decreased TMJ symptoms, decreased auditory anomalies, reduced ringing in my ears, and more.  Then there was a miracle:  our insurance company covered most of the $10,000 bill.  Amazing!  :J

Only my potato chips remain crushed today

Who knew that finely crushed, Unsalted Kettle Potato Chips would be like a salve to my wounded frame today?  In the spirit of my previous foodie post, I must say that finely crushed chips make my creamy beef stew-ish soup puree quite special.  Since there are potato chips in my belly, life will go on after all!

Yes, there is other good news after enduring 36-hours of hell, ending about an hour ago:  we believe we have identified the trifecta-root cause of much of my illness.  However, unlike a horserace where a bet on a trifecta identifies win, place, or show, we are not sure of the order of these little fillies:

  1. Two infected teeth with root canals
  2. Inflammation secondary to the infection and
  3. Dental galvanism from dissimilar metals in the crowns of the root-canaled teeth.

Now we recognize that while we certainly won’t know the exact cause until the teeth are extracted and I have treated the infection, if needed.  I am on a waiting list for a local surgeon after a trip to see a qualified biologic dentist out-of-state resulted in being passed on to someone else equally far from home.  My husband has led us to the decision to find someone else locally; I am on a waiting list to have my appointment moved up from April 2nd with the best local oral surgeon.  Those Gentle Readers who have followed me for awhile know that I have thought before that we found the “root cause” of everything.  The “it” still could be complicated by underlying Lyme disease, mold neurotoxins and the definite mercury toxicity fueling it all.  Yet one thing is now clear:  these teeth still have to come out!

Here’s a brief summary of these three new factors in my own words:

1.  When a person has a root canal procedure, a dead tooth is left behind.  The primary root canals consisting of nerve tissue and blood are scraped out and a rubber-like substance called gutta percha is stuffed into the remaining cavity.  While the opening is treated with an antiseptic, no one can ever know for sure if any secondary root canals were left un-cleaned and untreated.  Any remaining nerve and blood tissues dies and can provide food for aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.

Between the root canal channel and the outer enamel of the tooth is the dentin, consisting of 3 miles of dentil tubules.  These are too numerous to be completely sterilized before placement of the gutta percha.  Thus there is a possibility of infection seeping into the dentil tubules.  When a tooth is healthy, all of the dental tissues are washed with blood but this is no longer possible with the severing of the blood vessels during the root canal procedure.  However, if the infection grows, the bacteria can eventually seep from it’s hidden little factory in the tubules into the jaw bone and surrounding blood supply thus potentially affecting the mouth and rest of the body.  It is well-recognized that these bacteria can be exceedingly dangerous.

Lastly, during a root canal procedure the periodontal ligament is often left in place around the dead tooth, adding further risk for infection and necrosis from this dead tissue lying next to the gums or jaw bone.  Only in the dental industry is a once-living, now-dead tissue and a dead structure (the tooth) allowed to stay in the body; otherwise this tissue would be surgically removed as in the examples of damaged frostbitten fingers, gangrenous toes, severely burned skin, etc!

2.  As spoken by the nurse in my doctor’s office this past week, reddened tissue means inflammation and often indicates the presence of infection.  Pain in the upper left portion of my jaw has lasted over 13 years, increasing lately to the point of requiring periodic Ibuprofen and topical treatments such as (diluted) clove oil.  I now chew food only on the right side of my mouth, avoid hot and cold temperatures, and consume soft/pureed foods so as to minimize the chewing and pressure on my teeth that trigger convulsive episodes.  Geez!

3.  Though considered controversial by traditional dentists, it is easy to find hundreds of mainstream and holistic dentistry sites that have described the dental galvanism (aka “battery effect”) that can occur from the use of dissimilar metals in amalgam fillings, crowns, and dental appliances.  I had my amalgam fillings (generally consisting 50% of mercury) removed many years ago yet there remains a question if there is any remaining underneath one of my crowns.  The bigger issue is that three of the four crowns in my mouth consist of a combination of metals.  To establish if the presence of metals (in the presence of saliva) creates any currents between my teeth, yesterday my husband and I touched the probes of a voltmeter to the surface of the two teeth in question.  The voltage was TWICE that of my skin on my arm!  Steve questioned if this small amount of voltage would be of any clinical significance?  Note that microcurrent (significantly less than the voltage we measured on my teeth) is used in rehabilitation for the treatment of pain.  This means that the body must be affected by tiny currents.  Too bad the current in my teeth is not mitigating pain!    Conversely, I wonder if this battery-effect is over stimulating a part of my brain, triggering the convulsions instead?

Now to flesh out number 3 a little more, I refreshed myself on a little neuroanatomy.  The upper branch of the trigeminal nerve innervates the upper and lower jaw of the mouth.  The trigeminal nerve originates from a part of the brainstem called the “Pons” which sits on top of the spinal cord inside the back of the skull; three branches extend on each side of your head and across the face with the mandibular branch dividing over the top and bottom of the jaw.   During dental procedures, this is the nerve into which a dentist injects a numbing agent such as Novocain.  The motor division of the entire trigeminal nerve derives from the basal plate of the embryonic pons, and the sensory division originates in the cranial neural crest.

Fifth Cranial Nerve Distribution:  Trigeminal Nerve (from Wikipedia 2.27.15)
Fifth Cranial Nerve Distribution: Trigeminal Nerve (from Wikipedia 2.27.15)

To hypothesize what electrical stimulation from 1) this battery-effect flowing 2) BACK TO the brain in the first two of these three areas could mean for a person, I took some liberties and looked up the symptoms of the person who has a stroke affecting these three areas.  (The cranial neural crest has more significance in embryonic development and stem cell research than the discussion here so I left it out.)  My findings are fascinating.  Please note that the exact symptoms will depend on which biological “electrical circuits” and junctions are affected since the structures are so small and interrelated; we cannot know for certain which structures will be affected.  Regardless, I have listed a few symptoms that I do experience from each of these respective areas during my own seizure attack or convulsive episodes.

  • Damage to Basal Plate Symptoms:  Loss of movement, such as stiff, rigid or weak muscles; tremors or body shakes; aphasia (difficulty speaking); changes in eye movements; or changes in motivation or personality.
  • Damage to Embryonic Pons Symptoms:  Weakness of upper and lower extremity (arm and leg on same side as damage); dysregulation from inhalation to exhalation (difficulty breathing); sleep paralysis (inability to move when falling asleep or after waking up and altered dreams); difficulties with balance (ataxia); dizziness due to vertigo; or clumsiness of a hand or arm.  A person with a severe stroke may need help with self-care or feeding as a result.

Wow.  These all have happened in some combination with each “tazoring” as I call it.  Thankfully there are higher parts of my brain in the cerebral cortex that appear unaffected and thankfully the symptoms are not permanent so far!  I would not be able to write this blog if the damage was permanent.  But I know I cannot overthink all of this.  After the onset of acute upper back pain two days ago, I feared what the range of random electrical charges on my weakened frame could do to my heart.  Or was it a heart attack?  Well, no.  I had gone too far.  Pain comes from thrashing around and will be dealt with when I return to physical therapy and chiropractic care sometime after dental surgery.

Wasn’t this interesting?  There is much hope in putting all of this together.  Please join me in praying for the Lord’s will in all of this.  And if it is the Lord’s will, I would love to have these two crazy teeth outta here ASAP!  Time for these little ones to go!  I prefer to be toothless in Indiana with crushed potato chips on my soup of the day instead of this saga continuing.  Even if my hypothesis was wrong, I am grateful for the mental stimulation, the challenge of the hunt.  I trust that the Lord will use all of this for His glory.  Maybe this insight will help someone, somewhere, someday?

And you know and Lord willing, this year I AM GOING TO GET WELL!!!  Yeah baby.  Take care Gentle Readers.  JJ

 

 

LOD, GF, SF, LDF, MF Smoothies CAN Be Done!

Muppet French ChefWhen faced with extreme dietary measures, the faint of heart may indeed faint.  And so did I initially!  Now I am 5 days into a necessary pureed low oxalate, gluten-free, sugar (sweetener)-free, largely dairy-free, mold free diet and still alive.  Cool beans.  But without the beans of course!

Such is life when faced with the reality of dental issues triggering convulsive episodes.  What’s an occupational therapist on an extended leave to do about that?  Well, adapt and carry on!  So carry over your best mega-blender (favoring the Vitamix) and get it screaming.  This is going to be LOUD.

Notes:  these recipes lack sugar, sweetener, and most seasonings that “normal” people would add to make these foods taste better.  Persons not on a low oxalate diet will probably use almond, rice, or boxed coconut milk in place of the coconut milk listed.  Add these to your own taste.  The liquids always go in first; frozen foods are last.  Flavors generally intensify, especially when “cooked” in the blender at high speeds.  That generally translates to limiting the number of veggies or fruits as things can taste really weird with too many ingredients.  Adding avocado or cucumber can be o.k. for fruit smoothies if you add a little more fruit.  If you can, “chew” the liquid as you consume it to stimulate salivation; saliva aids in digestion and chewing helps you to feel more satisfied.  Lastly, I have not had much luck freezing completed concoctions.  However, I have had great results freezing small portions of yogurt and coconut milk:  when allowed to thaw some first, it seems to thicken fruit smoothies nicely!

Smoothies

Start with 4 oz. grass-fed plain yogurt (vanilla coconut or almond yogurt) and 4 oz. unsweetened coconut milk (canned or Caila Farms) in the bottom of the blender.

Add 1/4 cup frozen strawberries or blueberries.

Pour in your favorite protein powder:  3/4 scoop Whey to Go Lactose-Free Protein Powder.

To make the smoothie more sustaining, add up to 1/2 avocado, 1 T. oil (avocado, grapeseed, or other organic oils.  No olive oil here!)  The avocado also makes it very creamy without altering the taste or color.

Add whatever seeds, wheat germ, or nuts you can tolerate:  1 T. raw pumpkin seeds, 1 t. wheat germ.  If you have a yucky-tasting supplement you are taking, throw it in too!

Blend until smooth which is usually 1-2 minutes.  Note that you may need to turn the blender on and off, tamp down the frozen fruit to keep it in contact with the blade, or add larger strawberries one-at-a-time to protect your unit.  To make it thinner, add more liquid or blend it longer.  As with all of these recipes, use a spoon (or your fingers) to get all of the smoothie out of the blades, nooks, and crannies at the bottom of the Vitamix.  This stuff is gold and none should go to waste!

Soups from Leftovers

Place 4 oz beef (bone?) broth, about 1 1/2 cups of beef stew (or similar leftovers such as casserole), and about a cup of a single vegetable (if none are in the beef stew/casserole) in the blender.  Last night I added about 3/4 cup of frozen peas.  Yes, the smoothie was green but when hungry, you will close your eyes and get over that quickly!

Add at least 1/2 t. sea salt and don’t be surprised if you need more to make it taste better.  Soups are generally pretty salty foods.

To make the soup more sustaining, add 1 T. ghee/organic butter or oil (avocado, grapeseed, or other organic oils.  Olive oil is o.k. here if you like and are not LOD or MF.)

Blend for about 7 minutes or until the mixture is pulverized beyond recognition, heated, and steaming when you open the lid.  Thicken if needed with 1T. potato or corn starch.  Add starch in small batches after the mixture gets warm as it will thicken quickly!

This recipe might need less blending time if all of the vegetables are pre-cooked.  Taste with a spoon and adjust seasonings.  Give it a “cream of ____” name and enjoy in a mug or with a spoon in a bowl.  Or begin again with broth, salt, leftover potatoes (or other vegetable), a few roasted leeks or onions and about 2 T. plain yogurt for a yummy potato soup!  People pay big bucks for this type of delicacy at fancy restaurants you know!

Soups from Raw or Frozen Ingredients

Place 4-8 ounces of meat (or veggie, bone?) broth and half as much unsweetened coconut milk into the blender.  Add at least 1/2 t. sea salt and don’t be surprised if you need more to make it taste better.  Soups are generally pretty salty foods.

Add 4 oz. of cooked meat:  Low Sodium Boar’s Head turkey breast has no preservatives or spices; small chicken breast or larger thigh, 5 0z. can of cooked chicken breast, trimmed & cubed pork chop, etc.

Top with about a cup of 1-2 types of vegetables that taste good together and are not both green in color!  Frozen veggies in smaller pieces are easier on your blender, of course.  Mixed vegetables usually don’t taste very well IMO as there are just too many flavors!

To make the soup more sustaining, add 1 T. ghee/organic butter or oil (avocado, grapeseed, or other organic oils.  Olive oil is o.k. here if you like and are not LOD or MF.)

Note that you may have turn the Vitamix on and off, tamp down the ingredients, or add the frozen ingredients slowly to protect your blender.  Blend for about 7 minutes total or until the mixture is pulverized beyond recognition, heated, and steaming when you open the lid.  Thicken if needed with 1T. potato or corn starch.  Add starch in small batches after the mixture gets warm as it will thicken quickly!  If it tastes bad, add more salt (or seasonings if you can, especially onion and garlic).  Follow with labeling it a gourmet name as noted above.

Breakfast!

I generally eat either dinner leftovers or a meaty dish for breakfast so I have limited ideas for what might taste o.k. for the rest of the world!  In general, gluten-free instant oatmeal is softer than slow-cooked and can be made heartier with 1 t. of ghee/butter, mashed fruit, 1 scoop of Whey to Go, and powdered nuts/seeds/wheat germ.  I have pulverized very crispy bacon to a powder and added it for a fabulous and blood-sugar sustaining oatmeal in the middle of the night!  Remember to add the whey or protein powder LAST and after cooking; it cooks to an almost scary, crunchy brown texture in when microwaved!  (White rice) grits would probably also work well with ghee/organic butter.

*************

Well there you have it:  my survival plan until I can get some teeth pulled.  This will also be my menu right after the dental

procedure as well.  Thank the Lord and my Intended Beloved for the gracious gift of a Vitamix years ago!  Steve spoiled me one Christmas with a reconditioned unit and we have used it most days of the week since then.  See how the Lord is sooooooooo good to me?

Time for some more soup . . .  :JJ

The decision to be tooth-less?

It’s not like I am planning another wedding or something.  I’ve done that twice and twice is enough!  If a couple of teeth are missing I just can’t smile or laugh really BIG so the void in my mouth is noticeable.  Not that anyone would be looking at my molars anyways!  I suppose there are the exceptions for some of you out there . . .

Then my beloved teased me that I might have trouble eating bacon and potato chips.  Not!  I grew up with a GIANT bag of Better Made potato chips on the refrigerator and a dad who had to have a generous helping every day plus ice cream.  When we visited his parents where they lived in the Irish Hills, between the view of the lake and the country kitchen was another HUGE bag of Better Made potato chips on the frig.  So if I have two opposing teeth anywhere in the yard then there will be Unsalted Kettle Chips too!  And bacon, just because we can.

Don’t you love Facebook?  Or maybe you hate Facebook?  Perhaps you would love to hate Facebook a little more since it can be such a “time eraser” extraordinaire.  Well anyways, I have joined many groups who have the answers to this or that ailment I have faced over the past few years.  Recently I joined the “Bottoms Up” group to learn more about digestive health, only to realize that I did not want pictures of worms in feces gracing the screen of my smart phone if I were to check it when dining out somewhere.  Yuck!  TMI for sure.  Delete!  The mercury, root canal, mold avoidance, Lyme disease, methylation, candida, etc. peeps have all greatly contributed to my vast brain swell of mixed anecdotal/psuedo research information.  There’s a cause and cure for everything right there in my newsfeed.  Even business opportunities, rudeness and meanness fit in where pretox/detox really should dwell.  But I digress.

These forums have been part of my lifeline too.  I have made some sweet friendships with gals who run in the same groups.  Members have helped shorten my learning curve and evaluate relevant research, news articles, and success stories.  Many folks really do get well!  Then they drop out of the group and the rest of us left behind try to figure it all out before we also leave the comfort of the group nest as well.  Hey, I won’t mind moving on if I can take a few happy FB Friends with me, eh?  Currently they are helping me navigate the potentially painful decision of whether or not to have two teeth with root canals extracted.  These puppies may be a source of years of discomfort from hidden infection, possibly contributing to some of my chronic health issues.  I am already in the preparation stage of mercury chelation which certainly wreaks havoc in one’s brain and body.  Gratefully my brilliant functional medicine Doc is leading the way along with acute spiritual discernment from the Lord and my beloved hubby.

This treatment crossroad is more confusing than some others.  Extensive testing has not revealed hard data on the need to extract two teeth (yet it just doesn’t seem like complications of a sinus infection or trigeminal nerve inflammation either).  Travel would be needed to a skilled biologic dentist who can meet my needs for extra TLC should we decide to proceed.  The requirement for all of this extensive screening became extremely clear this afternoon after a very bad appointment with a recommended, local oral surgeon in a musty office!  Bad, bad.  Steve and I prayed about all of this as we navigated a particularly rough evening for me tonight, placing our trust again in the Lord to guide us.  I’ll make a few more phone calls tomorrow.  At least a dear friend gave me the tip of a concoction with cloves to manage the moderate pain in my gums.  Cool beans.  It worked quite well!

So for now I’ll be eating bacon and potato chips on the right side of my mouth and cutting up other delicacies into small bits so as not to trigger seizure attacks or pain.  Thank the Lord for our VitaMix which chops, whips, cooks, and practically washes the dishes for you afterwards!  Like teeth, little things can mean a lot to a gal like me.  See how good my Jesus is:  providing for my every need and heart’s desire too.  Avocado-coconut smoothies anyone?

As I close I must profess that through it all God is good.  All the time.  God is good!  JJ

Toothless smile girl