Well I gave a detailed rationale in a recent post for me pursuing TMJ/TMD treatment to help alleviate intractable seizure attacks that have plagued me for the past 6 years. Basically if the cranial nerves that exit the brain at the top of the neck are pinched from tight or misaligned muscles and tissues around the face, neck, and jaw then pain and a myriad of neurological problems can follow. A physical trauma, especially auto accidents, often starts the problem. Dental professionals who specialize in this area can provide relief for movement disorders such as Tourettes Syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease, tics, dystonia, and atypical seizure disorders using various dental appliances and therapies. My research into this began a few weeks ago after an Ear Nose and Throat Doctor suggested I look into issues related to one of the twelve cranial nerves (vagus); I found that my symptoms involved seem to relate to several of them and require a broader, more functional bio-mechanical perspective.
Sooooo, since TMJ pain began for me after an auto accident in 1996 and worsened with convulsive episodes beginning in 2012, I brought up this topic with my chiropractor and brilliant primary care doctor this week. Both agreed that specialized dental appliances are a good avenue to pursue. Both have provided supporting medical documentation to support my case and the latter reviewed the Curriculum Vitae of the Dental Specialist that I have selected (after interviewing 13 dental professionals from around the country!). My hubby and I are prayerfully preparing to proceed accordingly, with faith and confidence that the treatment will be effective in due time.
Once we made the decision, we had no idea what would happen next. There are significant unknowns in this process, not the least of which is a significant financial commitment for specialized care out-of-pocket and for out-of-state travel for nearly 3 weeks. We just knew that I needed a new treatment direction and that these new interventions seemed compelling to address many problem areas (’cause hey, even chewing food can trigger episodes!). The next steps were for Steve to approach his employer for an extended leave of absence and for me to start scheduling appointments, making campground reservations, contacting family in the area, and so on. Gentle Reader, it’s only been two days and the following blessings have already come to light:
Steve’s employer granted his request for a leave of absence and will provide a company computer so that he may work remotely while we are away. Harris’s company headquarters is about 2 1/2 hours away from my new Doctor’s office by car and for the second week of our trip, Steve will be able to share an office there with a former coworker he knows who transferred there 2 years ago. Awesome! And guess what? His employer is located near the Kennedy Space Center where Harris will be launching a ROCKET FROM CAPE CANAVERAL right in the middle of the 4 days we will be staying in the area! Holy cow! How cool is all of that?
Just a week ago, I finally was able to get in touch with a best friend from my childhood with whom I have not spoken in around 37 YEARS. Guess where she, her sister, and her Dad live? Very close to the same town where I will be having my treatment! They were a huge part of my growing up years, especially after my parents were divorced when I was barely a teenager. Tammy and I spent hours playing house or school on her back patio after dragging outside a myriad of furniture and supplies from both of our homes. Sometimes we had just gotten things set up and her mom would come home from work so we had to put it all away again! Then there was the backyard carnival we made to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Her little sister, Patty, dressed up like a gypsy to give words of wisdom in the “fortune telling” pup tent! Their Dad was so very sweet to me when I would see him working in the yard, carrying tools along the sidewalk between our houses. His kindness was very comforting at a tender time in my life. All are good memories indeed. I look forward to seeing each of them!
From right to left: Julie, little brother Rob, Tammy, Tammy’s little sister Patti, and another neighbor at Halloween in 1967 or so!
If that wasn’t enough, we also hope to see an Aunt of mine who has lived in the area for decades. Steve and I last visited her 5 years ago when I was near the beginning of this illness. When I talked to her on the phone about maybe seeing her, she disclosed that she is struggling with a serious brain disease and having difficulty functioning. My heart sank. She explained quite candidly that her ability to perform activities of daily living has become increasingly compromised over the past year such that she doesn’t want to live alone anymore. She has not been able to obtain assistance from her medical providers in obtaining the supports she needs. It is not clear how aware my two cousins are of her condition; I may be the first person to visit her home for many years as all of us live 1,000 miles or more away. My heart is breaking for her while my mind as a licensed occupational therapist is churning with the possibilities of what this all means. Steve and I will start to sort this out by going to visit my Aunt with the goal to simply love on her, bring a meal, and visit for awhile. Lord knows what will follow thereafter, likely some phone calls to my cousins up north . . .
Gee, if all of this has transpired in just 2 days, I wonder what awaits us in the next week? We are praying continuously about everything mentioned here as we begin to make our travel arrangements. There are repairs needed on the travel trailer and much to do. What is certain though, is that our Lord Jesus Christ is already paving the path before us. He always does, of course, and this time we are in awe as we can see it unfolding as we speak! Very likely we will need to raise some funds for my care so stay tuned for the details and please pray with us as we embark on this magnificent adventure. I have been through dark times before and have seen the Lord miraculously “restore the years the locusts had eaten.” (Joel 2:25) Sure looks like He is moving again in our lives right now in a big way. Thank you for coming along side me with each post here, each little tear. You make a difference just being there reading this, tracking my story. God bless you for hanging in there with me!
Gentle Reader, I have hope again. :J