This painting resonated with me more than I can put into words; as it visually captures what I consider the amount of pain my jaw is currently in or feels like. I previously wrote about how I was going to get the right side of my jaw checked out this coming summer because I felt like something was causing problems at the back corner of my jaw. Some minor pain started to set in that area a little over a year ago, and it wasn't so bad, except it set off my nerves and then the pain was not tolerable. My whole face started to feel like it was on fire. So instead of waiting until summer, I took all the money I had saved up and put it towards a doctor/dentist; someone who specializes in both oral care and facial pain.
I had just enough to pay off a couple of visits, but my first visit was a couple weeks ago to do routine tests. They did a full scan of my skull and an x-ray and nerve conduction. What's interesting is they found that the joint on my right side has a severe compression. They can't tell if it's because of a tooth nearby that's also causing problems or other factors, so they're doing more tests. All they've told me is that it's this compression which is causing all the pain and that one of the bones in my joint have deformed due to being rubbed up against so much. I asked if it was TMJ, and they have to find out what else may be contributing to it. I'm going in this coming Friday for more tests on my muscle weakness, motion, and nerves.
Part of me is worried....I keep thinking, "Why is my jaw so messed up! It's one thing after another. Always." It's extremely stressful having to play secondary instruments for classes (i.e. flute, sax, trumpet) and no one understands. I constantly have to remind them I'm in pain. Luckily I do have a couple people around that are going through similar things, and/or understand.
Despite the frustration, I do feel better knowing I might actually find the true source of my dystonia and nerve damage. It would make sense that it comes from deep within my jaw, but as to why it's happening, or how, that's for me to find out hopefully soon. I am optimistic! It's so hard to find the source of everything that's going wrong with my face, but at least there are more signs leading to what's going on, and they're more obvious. Praying that everything works out.
I am hoping that a jaw replacement is not required, or surgery, but we'll see. I honestly will do whatever it takes to not be in pain and to regain control over my facial movements and sensations.
- Katie Berglof