The jaw pain is getting worse. Almost unbearable. I broke down and called my dentist today. I’ve been putting it off, because I know all of these random problems all fall under the Lyme umbrella. I feel like I’m so close to getting the diagnosis and treatment, that it’s silly to involve more medical professionals at this point in the game. But I had to do something. The earliest I could be seen (without taking more time off of work) was the end of the month, so reluctantly I took the appointment. I’m hoping they will be give me some suggestions on how to deal with this pain, until the underlying issue is resolved.
I saw online that ice and heat both tend to help with inflammation, so I decided to start with the heat. I don’t have one of those nice bean bag heating pads that Haverford Wellness Center had, so I made my own home-made bean bag. One microwavable Ten Minute Uncle Ben’s Brown Rice (still in the plastic) shoved into my husband’s (clean) sweat sock. I popped it in the microwave for a minute, and instead of a side dish for dinner, I had a my very own heated bean bag. It was warm and cozy, but the smell was a bit disturbing. Not sure if it was the plastic, the brown rice, the sock . . . or maybe a combination of all of them. But honestly, I didn’t care. The fact that it took the edge off of the pain, I was very willing to suffer through the stench.
We know that Lyme affects the joints and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a small joint located in front of the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet. The TMJ is the fourth most commonly affected joint in Lyme disease. Symptoms may include ear pain/pressure, ringing in your ears, dizziness, vision problems, headaches, jaw pain and limited ability to open your mouth. When my jaw pain first started, I stumbled across this website. It’s a great feeling to know that you’re not alone — especially on a crazy journey like this one.
I was having a “woe is me” kind of afternoon, because I had been feeling pretty good all week and then BOOM the TMJ kicked into high gear and my aches and pains returned. There was also a break in the freezing cold weather this week, so there are more people than usual outside running. The more runners I drove by on my way home (as I struggled to stay awake at the wheel), the angrier I got. When was I ever going to be able to run again? The physical challenge of my day has become, being able to stand long enough to cook dinner. Last week, I had to leave the dinner table, because I was exhausted from trying to cut my chicken. I left the dinner table, collapsed on the couch and just laid there, while the tears streamed down my face. It was devastating.
I know that I am one of the lucky people (blessed people — there is no such thing as luck). Because I have educated myself on this disease, I have become my own advocate, very early on in the game. I know that this is nothing compared to what a lot of Lymies suffer from and I am thankful for that. So, when it seems dim and the light at the end of the tunnel seems so far away, I have to realize that the finish line may seem far away, but at least I’m in the race.