day 36: second opinion

As luck would have it, one of the surgeons on my surgeon list was one of those I researched two years ago, when I first began my search for relief. Try to write a more convoluted sentence. In any case, I didn’t go to him because my appointment was cancelled due to another’s emergency and I figured I would be alright with the innovator of TMJ treatment, Dr. Stack himself. Oh how wrong I was.

I went in thinking Dr. Stack was the best (the BEST!) After all, he held the patent on the TMJ appliance. He cured turrets. He dismissed Parkinson’s. He was the person who began the whole TMJ revolution. Why not go to the expert?

Well, he was handing his practice over. Now, it’s not Dr. Stack’s, it’s Dr. Brown’s. And Dr. Brown doesn’t know very much. Dr. Brown pushed surgery six months into treatment, without looking at imaging, only hearing that fact that I was still suffering chronic, awful pain. Dr. Stack said “no,” but he didn’t really do anything about it. So on I went, going in for treatment and escaping with appliances that would break a week later and huge bills that seemed a waste. Now, I spend 2 grand on a brand new appliance, and I find out from this new surgeon that it’s worse than trash. It just messes me up even more than I already am.

My blood is boiling. But, guess what, I found a surgeon who won’t do surgery, who can do it if he needs to, who is convinced it’s not necessary. He did a CT-scan and it turns out I have a deviated septum. That along with my narrowed trachea from my jaw displacement means I have to work twice as hard to get oxygen. He says if we repair my septum and reposition my jaw, I won’t need to clench and my discs have a chance of falling back into place themselves. And he’ll even be able to encourage them, with the right appliances. He showed where my nerves were pinched; these caused no pain but I was completely unable to steady myself against pressure, but he fixed it all with a couple of popsicle sticks. I won’t have to fear the chance of paralysis or paresthesia of my face. And guess what? After he has me in the right place, I get to work out again. I get to lift. I get to play. I get to live. 8 weeks.

Despite all the money and time wasted, despite the utter shame of not being able to pay for my treatment myself (thank you mom and dad and A), despite the fact that still nothing is guaranteed, I can’t help but bubbling over with joy. It’s a very strange feeling, to have the blood boiling and the joy bubbling, but I’ll take it.


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