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