Jaw Surgery Again ~ RePost From TMJ HOPE

RePosted  from TMJ HOPE.


My Road to Feeling 85% Better After a Diagnosis of Chronic Intractable Pain – Part One

Making the decision to have TMJ total joint replacements implanted at age 24 was not easy. Advice came from all directions and all viewpoints; I should do it because it would increase my quality of life…I should not do it because it was a gamble and I was “so young.” Everyone had an opinion, and I tried hard to listen patiently as each friend, acquaintance, medical professional, and even stranger gave me their point of view.

I received so many emails that were well-meaning but very negative. They demanded to know: how could I possibly make a decision that would effect the rest of my life at age 24?

My answer?

How could I not? I had no life.

The first two to three years after I had my TMJ total joint replacements implanted were hard, I won’t sugar coat it. Some days I wondered if I made the right decision. Some days I was almost sure that I had made the right decision, and other days I felt it was a mistake. For the most part, my pain was still out of control more than it was in control, and my opening wasn’t that great, either.

However….Slowly, it got better.

How? Well, I made a commitment to exploring every avenue of pain management open to me. My doctor was committed too, and he often reminded me that he would do whatever he could to help me feel better. Slowly we started to figure it out and I began feeling a little bit better. I started working again and dating too. But it still took me hours to wake up in the morning. I had days where I was totally couch-ridden, but because I felt better than I had in a very long time, I resigned myself to that being my “normal.”  Hey, at least I wasn’t crying all the time anymore, right?

For a couple of years, everything remained the same. I felt okay sometimes and awful others, but never great…or even good.

Then, a bunch of changes in my life were the catalyst for a bit of a (good) wake-up call. I got a puppy (a golden retriever named, what else, but Hope), I started eating a little bit better and even exercising. I started a new business that was flourishing.

Things were better than ever.

I wondered – was it possible for me to feel EVEN better??

I started thinking back on the past 6 years and everything I was told…chronic intractable pain….permanent nerve damage…..

Was it possible that the doctors were wrong – that I wouldn’t have to suffer with chronic intractable pain for the rest of my life?

See, I’m a strong optimist. I look on the bright side of everything, and am constantly seeking growth and trying to improve my life. For once, I had given up the optimism for TMJ disorder and settled on what I called “guarded realism.” I knew that someday I would need more surgery. I knew that someday my pain would skyrocket.

Someday, the other shoe would drop. Wouldn’t it? I didn’t have the answer to that question and that was (and still is) scary.

However, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the years (and especially over the past year) is:

You can NOT sit and wait for the other shoe to drop and stop living your life in the meantime.

No one is ever going to show up at your door to anoint you with the “you’re not sick anymore” certificate.

No one will ever stumble across the answers to your health problems and give you the answers once and for all.

The only person that is going to help you get better…..is you. And the only time worth starting….is now.

You’re worth it.

On Thursday, I’ll be back with another post to talk with you about what happened when I stopped waiting for the “you’re not sick anymore” certificate….and how you can help yourself get better, too.

About Stacy

Stacy is the Founder & Executive Director of TMJ Hope. After being mauled by a dog, she experienced severe jaw pain that was not relieved by conservative treatments. After several surgeries, she had TMJ total joint replacements in 2006.

2 thoughts on “Jaw Surgery Again ~ RePost From TMJ HOPE

  1. I read the whole article and I’m not surprised Dr. Dolwick is one of the physicians experts on the matter. This “expert” is the one who operated on me not once but twice. After a big failure, this eminence decided not to admit the damage committed on my body and the permanent Nerve damage that He caused. Yet, He had to operate a second time to repair what he didn’t want to FIX the first time. Doctors are so Irresponsible and just by listening to their egos don’t see that the person they have damage is not just one but a whole to include the family. My Nerve damage was in the Trigeminal Nerve affecting my face, Eye, Head and now extending to my arm and the leg ALL in the same affected area. What a difference would had been if this “Magnificent Dr. Dolwick would have listened to the constant pain to my complaints, but he preferred to ignored them and continue with his life. Shame on you and on Drs like you. To make matters worse, I couldn’t take the case to court because the lawyers are afraid of Him??? Oh boy, there is no justice for the patient in this society?? who is representing Us??

    • Sadly the ones who are representing us is ourselves only. Which makes gathering together for support, information, and advocacy even more important. I wish I knew then what I know now.
      Thank you for writing and sharing your story. My hope is one day we’ll be heard

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