Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's not my fault I have chipmunk cheeks, it's my condition !!!!

My Little birthday cakes !

For the past couple of years, I've been noticing that my cheeks are getting a little bigger. I've had chubby cheeks as a child. My mom and grandmothers loved pinching them.(Still do) But in the past couple of years, they've become more pronounced. I just thought that I was getting chunkier and I have to deal with it( I was fatter a couple of years ago). Or maybe I am developing jowels. Who knows !

I've been experiencing a lot of pain, clicking and cracking in my jaws for the past couple of years. It finally got so bad earlier this year that I could no longer deny it. Everything I do is a problem. Eating a meal, talking, yawning........ Making out would be so awkward with all the cracking and popping. You could hear the popping in the other room.

My dentist completely misdiagnosed me and told me that I need braces. She basically told me all my problems would be solved with braces. My cousin who has his own practice told me to forget about that and see a specialist. He also made me a splint I wear at night. I can't thank him enough.

Basically it feels like I am a prisoner in my own mouth. It's painful, and in addition to the stiffness in my shoulders and neck, I also get headaches and pain in my jaws and near my ears.

I finally saw a specialist earlier this week and found out that I have TMJ disc displacement with degenerative joint disorder. At that point, I was just happy that I know the name to all this madness. I wasn't shocked, and I am not sad. I've had this for a while, I can finally know what this is and try to correct it.

Who knows where this came from. In the long list of diseases/conditions in my family, this is one I haven't heard of. But I do know this is one of the ways my body deals with stress. I don't take my stress out on others, and I am not a confrontational person. I tend to keep it inside.

When I get stressed, I clench my teeth, especially in my sleep. Plus I carry a lot of stress in my upper body. I clench (not grind) my teeth so hard I have scars inside my mouth, and I cracked the back of my splint I wear in my mouth at night.

Next on my list of things to do is get physical therapy and work out. I was prescribed running and yoga, each twice a week. Yoga to relieve tension and running to get my heart rate up. In addition to that I need to take a painkiller and muscle relaxant every day.

I also need to go to the store to buy Efferdent (denture cleaners) to clean my splint. I can't wait to stand in line with that.

My specialist was wonderful. She didn't make me take an expensive xray. She could just tell what was wrong by looking at me and feeling my jaw. I was also happy that she didn't just prescribe pills, but exercise as well. Imagine how much healthier we would all be if we just exercise and eat healthier.

She also told me to get on a sleep schedule because I have bad sleep habits. Many of us work so hard and take on too much that we don't get enough sleep. I have repeatedly learned that cutting back on caffeine and sleeping better will work wonders.

People can laugh and scoff at that (I did when I was told the same thing by my cardiologist a few years back). However, you only get one body in this lifetime. You can only push it so far until it breaks down.

I intend to live a very long life, God willing. My great-grandmother lived until she was 102. My grandpa died when he was 92. My grandmother is 89. If I have a chance to live a long live, I don't want to be plagued with problems that could've been easily prevented. I'd rather spend it walking and able to enjoy life than being confined in my home or in a chair.

I've heard a lot of people say that they don't mind passing away at an earlier age, that they don't mind going earlier. But it usually doesn't work that way. You usually suffer a lot from a condition before you pass away. You usually spend those last years in pain.

I just don't want to suffer something later that could've been prevented while I was young. I don't want to have to rely on someone caring for me later.

I do have to say though, that compared to what other family members suffer through, I have it good. I am lucky that this is something I can work on and doesn't affect my ability to work and earn a living. I will start crying when I no longer can earn a living or bellydance. Most of us won't live without something plaguing us. I've lived a healthy childhood and my early twenties with no problems. I've been blessed so far. I am 28 and things are slowly starting sneak up on me.

Well, that is all my little furballs.

Take good care of yourselves and count your blessings. There is always someone around the corner gladly willing to trade spaces with you, no matter how bad you think you have it.


PorkStar said...

I have chipmunk cheeks too, woo hoo!!! High five, girl!!!!

At least you may blame it on the weight change buut in my case, it's all going to my face. If I gain a little weight, it all seems to be going to my cheeks but i like to make fun of them.

As far as everything else, well, take good care of it all, I personally don't plan on living more than 69 years, i refuse to have to carry a big saggy pair over my shoulder for the rest of my life and be all wrinkly and very, very mean, because I've been told most likley I'm going to be one mean mutterfunker.

Not like I mind one bit though.

Loving Annie said...

Glad the specialist was intelligent, especially after the braces advice !

TMJ is indeed livable-with IF you fix it, but I'm wondering how she will adjust your jaw...

A night splint (is that a mouth guard ?) is good, as is exercise.

A muscle relaxant - check to make sure you don't get any stomach problems with it, okay ?

How long does she expect you to be on the painkiller ?

Cutting back on caffeine IS a good idea.
If you're still around at 102 and healthy, say a prayer for my Soul, will ya ?

We can count our blessings, in body OR in Spirit :)

Candice said...

I'm glad you can put a name to what you are going through. Now you will hopefully be able to manage it and find some relief.

I want to know how in the hell braces were going to fix your issue? I mean, other than padding her bank account,that is.

Loving Annie said...,0,6757223.story

Loving Annie said...

the article is about tooth grinding and the mouth guards --

Senorita said...

Thanks Annie,

I appreciate the article.

The article was helpful for teeth grinding, but I am not a grinder. I am a clencher, and the problem is not with my teeth, but rather my jaw and joints. That is the problem that my doctor is addressing.

I bought a custom fitted mouthguard which was expensive and had to be filed down as my condition changed.

I would probably chomp down a lot harder if I had one made of rubber. My brain would think it's a chew toy, thus making things worse.

Mike said...

Make sure the therapist show you how to reposition your head over your shoulders so it doesn't come back. Having a forward head carriage really bring the TMJ on. Remember lips together, teeth apart.

Loving Annie said...

Senorita : Oh.

Mike gave you good advice !

Organic Meatbag said...

Very true, S, very true... I feel like I got a bad hand in life in many ways, but I know so many have it so much worse... I am probably going to spill the beans about myself this week...ought to be interesting...
But I can't imagine you not being able to bellydance and have fun and not being your chipper self!