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An ear troll by any other name…

Yesterday I headed down to St. Paul’s Hospital, the hospital where I was born, for an appointment with a specialist.  I’ve been having issues with what I’ve dubbed “the ear troll” for months now, since the beginning of July.  Well, some rather surprising news was revealed; it turns out it’s not an ear issue at all.  I have Temporomandibular Jaw/Joint Disorder (aka TMJ or TMJD).

TMJ can mimic things like Eustachian Tube Disorder, which I was told by a family physician was the problem, because the jaw joint is actually located right next to the ear canal.  In fact, if you put your finger in your ear and open your mouth you’ll feel the joint moving.  That joint is what’s been causing all the ear aches, head aches, popping noises, dizziness, disorientation, and other associated problems.  It’s nice to have an answer, but I’ll admit…  I was hoping for a quick fix, and there is no quick fix for TMJ.

Dr. Shoman has put me on a liquid diet for a week, to allow my jaw some time to heal.  And wow!  It’s been almost a day and a half and I’m finding it rather difficult to adapt to.  With most things only containing 100 – 200 calories, meals have to be every couple of hours or you get real weak, real fast.  You can only drink so much thick liquid at a time, so you really are limited to small amounts.  I find if I get busy or involved in something I’ll end up shaky and faint.  So I’m having to be very conscious of my intake and my timing.  I’m very much a chew-and-enjoy-your-food kinda gal, so this drink it down thing is definitely not me.  I have a feeling that before the week is out I’ll have gotten to the point where I’m willing to lick dip off a ham stick just for the taste of real food – to be honest I seriously considered it last night.  LOL  And the idea of all those yummy crisp veggies just sitting in the fridge waiting for me?  They are darn difficult to resist.  This diet has been kicking my ass so far, but I’m determined to have it licked (pun intended) by the end of this.

After my jaw has been rested, we’ll decide the next step from there.  Chances are my treatment will involve consultation with two or three specialists including Dr. Shoman (who’s an ear, nose, and throat guy), and oral surgeon, a dentist, and possibly my family doctor as well.  We may also end up enlisting the help of a physical therapist at some point, but we’ll get there.  Spring is my deadline.  I’ll be fit and well adjusted again by Spring.  Just in time to get back on the show circuit.  Momma is missing her dog shows in a REAL big way.  LOL

Missing out, and pouting about it.

So tonight’s blog post brings you a bit of a pity party.  I’m not a happy camper, and I don’t really feel like posting something that’s all nicey nice.  I’m not putting on a happy face, and I’m not going to pretend I feel great about things.  The fact of the matter is, I’m upset and I’m sad, and it’s my damn pity party and I’ll cry if I want to.

With this darn Eustachian Tube Disorder, I’ve been S.O.L. when it comes to driving.  Generally speaking, it tends to be at it’s worst when I’m in a car.  I’m guessing it has to do with the pressure inside the vehicle.  My ears snap crackle and pop a ton, and I find it disorientating and distracting.  I’m also far more likely to hear myself breathing and my heart beating all from within my head.  Driving is just not happening these days – which means I haven’t been hitting the shows.

For those who don’t know me well, I spend my Springs, Summers, and Autumns hitting the shows.  My youngest sister and I pack up my vehicle and we do road trip after road trip, all over the place going to dog shows.  I LOVE handling.  I feel at home in the ring, like I belong there.  I’ve shared here before about how much I love showing, love everything about showing…  and it’s something I sooo look forward to.  It’s chaotic and hectic and filled with WAY too much politics, but I love it.

With this ear issue, I haven’t been to a show since this Spring.  I’m going a little stir crazy.  The one thing that was making it all okay was the Saskatoon show coming up the first weekend of September.  It’s a HOME show.  Which means I don’t have to go road tripping, I don’t have to drive.  It’s a show I can do… and I’ve been clinging to that like a mad-woman.

Today I logged on with the intention of registering Alice, and possibly Marnie too, for the show.  Only, I get to the site to discover entries are closed.  Yep.  They are closed…  and I’m close to tears (the only thing keeping me held together is knowing if I break down and cry the girl is going to ask why, and when I tell her that we can’t go to the dog show she’s going to cry too… because it’s one of only two shows SHE gets to show at every year – and like me, she loves being in the ring).

Why am I so shocked considering the show is fast approaching?  Well, I get a constant influx of emails letting me know when different closing dates are approaching.  That way I don’t miss entering a show that I want to be at.  I never got one for Saskatoon.  If I had?  I’d have damn well got my entries in.

So that’s where we are.  I can’t drive to shows right now.  I can’t even drive around town, no way I can drive for hours to hit the shows.  So the one show I’ve been holding onto attending, the one show left this year that I can still do…  and I missed the entry deadline – by almost a week.  And yes, now that the girl is asleep, I’m in tears.

I wrote to the show secretary, to see if there was ANY way we could still get in.  I explained that I never received the email about the deadline, and how the ETD has made it so I can’t drive to any other shows…  but it’s too late.  Pat was sorry, but there just isn’t anything she can do.  It’s what I expected, but I had to try.

So yeah.  Kind of a lousy day.

I miss my dog shows.

Friendship is Magic and/or Mental Health

I was thinking about the title Friendship is Magic, and while it may not really be magic, it can grant you mental health – which is pretty darn close.  Friends keep you grounded, they kick you in the pants when needed, and provide support when no one else can.  A good friend is like having a mental health provider on your speed dial.  And that, my friends?  That really is magic!

I’ve been stressing out about this whole ear issue of mine (and if you could hear the voice in my head, you’d note I said issue in the very proper British form where you hear the S sound vs the American ishu which is why it appears in italics.  Because while I’m Canadian, and we SHOULD pronounce everything in the proper British way, American English has ended up rather prevalent.  So you KNOW I’m taking pains to bring attention to a word when I pronounce it – even in my head – properly).  I’ve been worrying about the possibility of long term effects, and whether or not I’ll be able to continue with some of my very favourite things.  My health has taken a lot from me over the years, and the idea that something else may be taken away is a whole lot to digest.  When I brought this up with her, she reminded me that while some of my symptoms may be explained by the Eustachian Tube Disorder (and therefore possibly scary and somewhat permanent) that the severity of these same symptoms could be related to other related problems that are just as likely temporary.  Which means while I’m taking a break from one particular favourite activity right now, that things may still get better and I may be able to get back in the saddle (as it were) before too terribly long.  Without a good friend in whom I could confide, I’d still be stressing myself into a tizzy.  I still have a twinge of worry, but I’m definitely feeling better.  Friendship is Magic when it comes to Mental Health!

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Oh!  See http://howjsay.com/index.php?word=issue to hear the difference in pronunciation.  😉

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