Alright. It’s a few decades too soon in my life to be fussing over fake teeth in a restaurant but that is exactly where I have landed. Or an acrylic mouthpiece of sorts, that is. Then there’s the one with metal wires in it. Aaaargh! This is all kinda gross, especially with bits o’ lunch in thar!
It’s not your average bear that carries around a bottle of mouthwash in a gallon Ziploc freezer bag with 2 paper towels, a funny little brush and a clam-shell plastic box with air holes in it with a spare mouthpiece in tow. Gentle Reader, you knew I was not undergoing a normal treatment plan when I signed up for this next phase in my recovery from a serious illness. After all, who said that specialized dental appliances would stop almost 7 years of daily seizure attacks?
The answer: no one really. Persons with Tourettes Syndrome, dystonia, and tics have found relief in addition to persons with severe TMJ or Temporal Mandibular Disorders. Only one expert mentioned “atypical seizures” and another “movement disorders.” It was the Lord who led me to examine my own pattern of symptoms and triggers, led by an observation from an ENT in a recent exam, and extensive research that seemed to indicate that I, too, might benefit from this highly skilled approach within the dentistry profession. It made sense to me that a Craniomandibular Disorder Specialist would be able to relief pressure on my aching jaw. If it relieved pressure on cranial nerves in the surrounding tissues as well, then there would be a good chance that many of the episode triggers and the convulsive episodes themselves could go down. So I interviewed thirteen professionals in the USA then said, “sign me up!” My beloved agreed. Graciously, many wonderful folks helped make it happen.
And I am glad that it did happen. The convulsive episodes are now EIGHTY PERCENT IMPROVED!!! Yeah God! Praise the Lord! Holy cow! Cool beans! Plus every other exclamation of joy I have ever used on this here blog. Just Julie is going to get well! I can now lie down and get up from bed most of the time without 30 or more minutes of convulsive episodes. THIS IS HUGE! Bonus: my reactivity to noxious sensory stimuli is also down. My posture is better. I am able to eat a few more foods that I have been able to in many, many years without triggering a seizure. Other symptoms have come and gone yet even the nagging jaw pain is also reduced. I am looking forward to seeing what will happen over time as the improvements continue . . .
The battle is not yet won, however, as my devices will need adjustments and I’ll possibly need new dental appliances as time goes forward. This will require significant travel to my Doctor out of State, a leap of faith in the Lord’s provision, and a massive testing of my health status to travel by myself. Am I up to the challenge? Absolutely. We will plan carefully and proceed with caution. Looks like I am on a good path for recovery at last. I am humbled and grateful beyond what I can put into words. Thank you Jesus!
Here are a few pictures from the process from my first week on this new journey. I look a mess in most of them yet that is because I was very sick going into these appointments. I had six violent convulsive episodes just trying to do the 5 hours of evaluation and was quite depleted by the time it was over. Afterwards, my hubby and I were so trashed that we stood in the parking lot late that sunny afternoon and ate every snack and drop of water we had with us! It took days for me to recover yet somehow I knew that my life was about to change very soon. Three days later I had another very long appointment to receive my mouth splints. The changes began within a day and continue three weeks later! Stay tuned for more good news as this story develops.
Gentle Reader, if you are struggling with serious health issues, I encourage you that the Lord sees your suffering, grieves for you, and promises to be there for you for each and every breath, now and forever. Call upon His name. There is “hope beyond” what we can see. Consider trusting the person of Jesus Christ Who will see you through, carry you this day and always. I would have never made it this far without Him. I hope we can share in my joy together someday Gentle Reader. Our God is good! JJ
Assistant Josh took about a dozen x-rays to start the evaluation process.
Dr. Ralph Garcia takes a detailed history; the smell of acrylics from the lab requires wearing a mask.
EMG testing of the face and jaw
Bite evaluation by Dr. Ralph Garcia
Assistant Julie takes photos with and without the new dental appliances.
Multiple impressions are taken with soft polymers that triggered episodes when the material was cold. Trying to stay calm to get the proper fitting was challenging.
Waiting room in Dr. Ralph Garcia’s office! We definitely are not in Indiana!
A little shy first time out in public wearing the smaller of the two dental appliances so I could have a snack while watching the sun go down on Sunset Beach. So grateful that my Dentist’s office was in sunny Tampa, Florida!