I gotta change my teeth!

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

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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!

Sunset Beach, Florida, Tampa Bay, wife, husband, couple, married, sunset, sunrise

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!


The plans are set, the slow ramp up has begun

The research behind me the appeal for support made clear

Now to endure the daily wrath before newness may settle in.

Another new treatment, oh help me make it to then Lord!

So much at stake if we do not win

This horrific battle of which I have hated so very much.

One thing is clear:  Who holds the future:

My Lord, my King in Whom I trust

Surely He grieves my suffering and waits with us.

My beloved is tired from the journey . . . so very loooong

Mere moments of goodness, many hours of strife

And yet he loves me just the same.

I am humbled.

Perhaps some goodness will come soon?

sunrise, path, beach, anticipation, waiting, tomorrow, sunset, summer

I wait on thee

The needs are placed in the hands that be

My Lord in the lead guiding him, guiding me.

Appointments are scheduled, travel plans now made

Funds graciously coming in from the recent campaign.

I am humbled and anxious and weary and weak

Not knowing which way to turn or what to speak.

We must prepare now and pack as the time to leave nears

So much is there to do, to organize, coordinate, make some repairs.

If it be so that I will sell some things to help this lofty cause

To obtain the treatment that will heal my nerves and my jaw.

Three episodes today, when eating lunch then trying to make dinner

So I pureed my meal and with lots of yummy butter; it was a winner.

It’s too late to cry sans the stains have stung my cheeks and my clothes

I wonder if we will ever get answers from the One Who already knows?

Regardless I will forever choose to rest in the arms of my King

He brought me here, promised deliverance, so I trust Him with everything.

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The beat goes on

Looking for some meaning in this holding pattern of life

I find only the dings along the bottom of the barrel, cold and damp.

Went on a little adventure with my love only to land in a world of hurt

The ghastly symptoms embarrass me in front of a friend not yet known.

I really try to find a way out of this hell, I really do

With answers only to wait, check this, measure that as it is not time yet.

If only I had the eternal eyes of my Savior perhaps the angst would be less

The long naps on a sunny day awakened with distress of illness would be no bother.

“When?” would be replaced with patience, “why?” with simple faith and trust,

Pain with appreciation of endurance granted only by my dearest Lord.

Hold me now as it is too late for my strength to carry me any more

As this heart ticks off more moments, let me know that with You I will go on . . .


What could be the cause?

For how many things can you test, research, treat, and repeat

Before you get to your end with hands empty again and again?

Like a parasite sucking the life out of you while it hides in waiting

Adding to your pain, lighting the match of your symptoms once and again.

Don’t expect the ones paid to know to really know anything at all my dear,

Outside of their textbooks even if they read them, even if they look at you at all.

Because if you don’t fit the pattern you really may have no where you can go

And temptation will come to do things only animals might do to get by.

Sounds sick but there is someone out there who understands this bad rap

And sits with you facing that brick wall with pieces of dreams that no longer fit.

You can’t make this stuff up yet this is your reality.  How cruel it really is.


The One who really knows

Has that name you cannot forget

He hung in front of scoffers

Hands nailed, sharp spear in His side.

He chose to hang from that cross

To bear the consequence of this world

The effects of evil you endure

That just wasn’t supposed to be.

He still weeps for your pain

Knows it all very well

Stays near, hear Him speak

Words of comfort if you but dwell.

Never let Him go little broken one

It will help you endure

One day all will be well

That promise is ’cause He loves . . .

And on that you can rest.

Yes, it is now time to go to bed.


Don’t fear the seizures that may come

They have made you braver than anyone

Who else could face the tempest each night

Yet rest in his den without trust in something more?

How ever have you come this far

When so many would have died two thousand times

If you were not given supernatural strength

He has ordained for the days to come?

Only your Lord knows the day and time

When all will be made well, be made right

Until then you hang in there my precious child

I love you and will rock those shakes in my loving arms.

Think on that when the tears surely come

Knowing all are held in my two hands

I count them, bring them my righteousness

In a way only I now understand.

You must trust me albeit a bit blind

Have I not restored from the locusts before?

Have I not given you the love of your life

The dreams of your heart in your home?

So with confidence that comes from Me

Go forth into the night as it becomes day

Knowing My time is not of this world

And your gifts don’t come wrapped as for others.

You will be rewarded for trials

I have promised and this you know

Just trust in your Lord, Jesus Christ

For His love, His goodness will be evermore.


And so I did.  My title was the wrong question.  My answer is Jesus Christ.


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