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
My husband, Steve, and I recently attended Dr. David Jeremiah’s A Life Beyond Amazing event in our town. I enjoyed Dr. Jeremiah’s presentations: first to get acquainted with his family life then his message on enduring life’s challenges as unto the Lord. However I must say that the fundraising prayer by one of his staff was tacky! The music was loud, motivating, and moving. Overall I must say that it felt good to be worshiping and learning in the company of fellow believers in Jesus Christ again.
I really wanted to meet Dr. Jeremiah after the event. No problemmo as just one of about 10,000 people in attendance, right? Very carefully we made our way to show center from the nosebleed section of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. My balance was a bit off from the sensory overload from many directions as I still battle Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. Nonetheless, I was a woman on a mission and soon found ourselves in front of the stage talking to the gifted musicians still lingering around. I complimented Dr. Jeremiah’s granddaughter who sang in the worship team and asked where I might find her grandfather? “He had to leave for a fundraising dinner,” was all she said. I was disappointed but understood. Fort Wayne, Indiana was the starting place for Dr. Jeremiah’s ministry and many members of the church he had founded here were in attendance; surely there were special activities going on to which Steve and I were not invited!
We tried to find some restrooms that were not swamped by the crowds still leaving the arena. Having been there for shows many times before, when we headed down an open hallway where some smaller meeting rooms were located. We encountered the vocalists again and saw a meeting room bustling with people just before we found our destination. The hallways were virtually empty except for a few late-comers headed to what looked like a reception. Then just before I turned to go into the lady’s room, I saw him! Dr. Jeremiah was walking with his wife headed for that same room and it was becoming clear that we had just passed the room where his post-event activities were to take place.
This was my moment and I stepped up to it. I walked up to Dr. David Jeremiah with my arm outstretched to shake his hand. He accepted it and looked into my eyes briefly as I said what I had rehearsed in my mind ever since I had expressed a desire to go to the event days beforehand. It went something like this:
Hi. My name is Julie ____. Several years ago you gave a message that included the teaching that God’s man in the middle of God’s will, will not perish until the Lord God ordains it. I wanted to tell you how much that message has meant to me as I have battled a serious illness with seizures every day for the past 5 years. Thank you. Keep doing what you are doing!
His spoke words that followed mine as I finished the sentence from his audio tape, as if he had just given the message yesterday and not over 10 years ago! He thanked me and quickly continued to his destination with his wife. I continued to my own destination with a sense of wonder and amazement. That moment was ordained by God for sure, just for me, just for him.
My spirit was calm and full as I thought about all that had transpired over the past 2 1/2 hours. Steve and I drove home lightly chatting along the way, mostly quietly in our own thoughts. I would be very sick with convulsive episodes within the hour of returning home and showering. My senses were completely overloaded from the loud music, close proximity to other people, and the effects of some new treatment ramping up. For the first time I did not feel traumatized by the serious illness that I have been selected to endure. My own words provided the comfort I needed to get through the darkness of the night.
God’s woman, in the middle of God’s will, will not perish until the Lord God ordains it. He has a plan and purpose for our lives even in the midst of suffering. And should I finish well, the tasks before me no matter how difficult, there may be reward someday but first there certainly will be a closeness to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that transcends my understanding. I want that. And touch points in life like these will help me to craft my own life beyond amazing.