So as many of you already know the Feeding Kate anthology is in the mail and currently landing on doorsteps across the globe. Here's a picture if you haven't seen a final copy yet...
Awwww... so pretty. Many thanks to all the contributors and to Laura Benedict, Laura K. Curtis, Neliza Drew and Clare Toohey for all the time you've put into making this anthology available. And many, many thanks to all the people that supported the charity and donated money to help with medicals bill. Please know that any money not used for my jaw will be distributed to the Lupus Foundation of America.
As for the jaw... I was originally scheduled for surgery on November 16th, but after researching my surgeon and getting anxious at his willingness to agree to surgery without any x-rays or even an MRI, I decided, with the support of my spouse and friends, to seek another opinion.
I met with my new surgeon at the end of October, had an MRI in November... had the results by the end of the month and new before December that surgery would not be in my future. The MRI revealed the damage that was done during the botched surgery in 1999. It looks like that surgeon removed cartilage, muscle and the entire jaw disc on the right side of my face. They have no explanation as to why he would do that, and it doesn't matter now, anyway. It can't be fixed, that much we know.
But the problem that I'm having is with the left side. The MRI showed a displaced jaw disc and severe scar tissue build up from the previous surgeries. They suspect the problem I'm having isn't so much with the disc being out of position, but with the scar tissue that is breaking up and getting lodged inside the joint... causing cracking, creaking, grinding, and popping noises, preventing me from chewing for extended periods of time. Although surgery is possible on this side, it isn't a viable option since this would be the 4th procedure... increasing my risk of nerve damage, and not even guaranteeing the disc would stay in place because of the damage to the right side.
The surgeon and I agree that the best course of action for my lovely face is jaw splint therapy. What? What's that? Jaw splint therapy is actually a really good option for people with TMJ problems. I've been given a jaw splint to wear... some people wear them 24 hours a day, having them adjusted periodically, and over time the splint helps push the dislocated disc into place. For me, they've decided to have me wear a splint only at night... mostly to prevent problems with grinding my teeth in my sleep. The splint will help keep me from putting too much pressure on the joint at night, and in conjunction with physical therapy to break up the scar tissue I should be able to fully regain motion in my jaw... keeping it in working order for many years to come.
Of course keeping my jaw healthy will require sacrifices by me... I've been instructed to stop eating chocolate covered almonds. He also wanted to eliminate my bacon cheeseburger habit, but when I promised him I'd smash them down really good and only take small bites... he relented. Chocolate covered cinnamon bears are off the list too. This surgeon is killing me. He really is.
So far things are going well. I started my splint therapy last week and I've already noticed a huge difference in the way my jaw feels and moves. I had to turn the splint back in for repairs already... apparently I grind my teeth in my sleep more than they realized. I bit a hole in it by the third night. The repair job didn't hold, though. I cracked the repaired piece off in my sleep, swallowing it and scraping my throat up trying to get it out. They've since decided to make me a new one. =) I'll be starting physical therapy next month... with the same physical therapist that helped me recover from my car accident in 1998. I can't wait for them to see how well I can walk these days... no more "baby steps" for me.
And I've only hit one snag, maybe two, so far. My insurance paid their portion of the MRI, but have denied the bill for the radiologist that read the results. *rolls eyes* And of course the dental is fighting the cost of the splint... letters are being written and history is being collected... blah blah blah. My goal is to have them pay as much as possible. We'll see how that goes.
Oh, and for kicks and giggles... here's a photo of the piece of resin (plastic thing) I swallowed. It's the size of my thumb nail with sharp, jagged edges. So lovely... these things only happen to me.
And, again... thank you all so much for the contributions and the support. I'll be forever thankful.