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