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Devastating Diagnosis by Mikael
August 4, 2008, 9:24 pm
Filed under: TMJ, Updates, Venting

According to my previous post, I was having problems with my TMJ (my jaw being completely locked)… It was unfortunate that I was not able to perform at the Relay for Life cancer walk on Friday. I was so disappointed because performing is one of my favorite things to do… But everyone loved the songs and we gave away Cd’s of the 2 songs to the survivors and the people who donated.  It was a really fun experience.

But the day before (Thursday), I decided to see a TMJ specialist that was recommended by my dentist.  He did a lot of strange tests with my mouth and jaw like a CT scan, feeling around a lot as well.  What he told me about stopped my heart.

While my mouth was open, he called for another nurse and said, “Make an emergency appointment for Mikael tomorrow.”
What was that supposed to mean?  My eyes widened and I knew that probably wasn’t a good thing.  He left for a while, I assume to go over the CT scan and other test results.  First words out of his mouth when he returns, “Well, little lady, you have a lot going on.”
To which I respond, “Is that a good thing or bad?”
“In this case it’s bad.  Your the closest we ever get to an emergency TMJ case. Frankly, I don’t know how you are going to be able to perform tomorrow.”

I can’t quote him directly for the all the other details he told me.  About 40% of my bone on the right side of my jaw is completely gone… It’s some sort of arthritis, I think he said.  Muscle spasms are radiating through my right jaw from trying to push my jaw open.  He said he needs to make a splint for my jaw, but because I can’t get my mouth open wide enough, he can’t even get a mold of my mouth to make one!  I’m prescribed 2 medicines and 3 supplements I need to take at least twice daily.  A muscle relaxant (something like Valium), anti-inflammatory, fish oil (which taste nasty when you burp– I swear they cause the burping too), calcium/magnesium, and glucosamine pills… I’m like a pharmacy!

The emergency appointment was for a physical therapist, who is supposedly insanely difficult to get an appointment with.  Again, there was a lot of feeling around my jaw and a lot of questioning.  Except the whole time, I felt like he wasn’t listening… It’s my right side that was giving me problems but he did work on both sides of my jaw. I guess I can understand, but I wish more attention had been paid to my problem area.  I really wanted to be able to perform that night.  Some wands were stuck into my mouth and on my cheek to help loosen the nerve endings, little patches were placed on my cheeks (shocking me for a little bit), and heating pads and an ice pack traded off from side to side.  After showing me exercises that should improve jaw functions, they placed this weird tape on my cheeks (my best friend said I should have painted them pink so they would look like i was supporting breast cancer) that was supposed to take strain off of my muscles.  Felt strange at first, but easily adapted to.

But still I couldn’t open my mouth enough to even eat right, let alone sing.  So I had to play the recordings of my songs for the cancer dinner and walk.  I took off the tape yesterday, seeing as it was falling off so it probably wasn’t doing it’s job anymore.  The exercises the physical therapist gave me have become something of a habit, but usually leave me more incapacitated.  However, I do have better use of my jaw now!  I can open it a little wider… but it is still locked.  I have another appointment with this physical therapist today and again on Wednesday.  Then tomorrow morning I meet with the TMJ specialist, and I can’t wait for that since I’m hoping my jaw can get open enough for a splint.

My voice teacher at my college thinks we should just do a half hour each week or an hour every other week still… I don’t think she got the message that singing is physically painful! Hopefully by the time school starts back up again it will be better though. *crosses fingers*

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