Adding Up

I have always been an overachiever. Always wanted to be the best in anything I do, be it sports, music, or school. I was determined to be the best me I could be, and yes at times, well probably a wee bit more than that, it has driven me to be competitive. I think that this autoimmune disease has taught me that I should still strive to be the best me I can be, but that it doesn’t mean that I have to be the best or the brightest, I just have to be me. But that’s a post for another day. I told you all this because it seems that my body has taken up this pursuit. It is trying to be an overachiever. This is not a competition, that I think anyone wants to win, and that’s coming from me, and the extreme A-type person that I am.

It seems that my body is trying to collect as many weird and wacky, and oh so fun, conditions.

Over the past month, I have managed to add two more diagnosis to my collection. About 4 weeks ago I went to an maxillo-facial and oral surgeon, Dr P, because my jaw has been bugging me a lot. It kind of feels like what I would image it would be like to have an elephant sit on your face. He did a panoramic x-ray of my whole mouth and jaw, and concluded that I have disk dysfunction. So when I open my mouth my jaw slides to the right, and then straightens out. He also said I was clenching my jaw, and this was putting strain on the joint and the muscles around this. He also saw that my wisdom teeth are impacted. He wasn’t sure though if my autoimmune arthritis had a role to play in this as well. So off to get a CT scan I went. Low and behold, it probably is affecting my jaw as well (although Dr P still won’t completely commit to it, as there is no erosion of the joint, yet). The space between the joints in my jaw is enlarged, suggesting that there is synovitis, and it also shows the disk disease. All of this lead to the diagnosis of TMD (tempora-mandibular disease).

So I have been made a bite plate, which is supposed to help with the clenching, was put on muscle relaxants for two weeks, and told to eat a soft diet (i.e. avoid hard or chewy foods). I was also sent to physical therapist, well a special kind of physical therapist called craniosacral therapy. Which much to my surprise was not just physio for my joint, but gentle manipulation of muscles and tissue, throughout my whole body. This craniosacral therapy is a form of alternative medicine, which some people think doesn’t work. But I’m really wiling to try anything, as long as it won’t do any harm, which it won’t. I have had about 5 sessions and I must say I do feel a bit better, and my muscles are certainly less tense, so maybe it is doing something.

I will also be having my wisdom teeth taken out at some point, and will most likely have joint injections into my jaw at the same time.

The second thing that I have added to my array of diagnosis, is endometriosis, which like arthritis I have most likely had since I was little, about 11 or 12. I have had all the symptoms, just really thought it happened to everyone and was to shy to say anything. After reading about this on someones blog though, I realised that what she was talking about, was the same thing that I had experienced. So I decided to tell my mum, a doctor, who suggested going to the gynaecologist. Both my mum and the gynae came up with this diagnosis without me telling them what I thought it was, just based on symptoms alone.

So for those of you who don’t know what endo is here is the definition By Mayo Clinic:

Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus (endometrial implant)…

In endometriosis, displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped… Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions..

Endometriosis can cause pain — sometimes severe — especially during your period. Fertility problems also may develop”

To get an official diagnosis of Endometriosis you have to undergo a laparoscopic surgery, as this is the only way to see the adhesions. My doctor however has decided that at this point in time we are not going to do this. As I had two surgeries last year, he doesn’t want me to have to undergo another one at this point. So as I have typical symptoms (for once) he is going on that, and will put me on a new med that is coming out in SA this month, which he thinks is the best one around at the moment. Don’t know the name but will tell you when I do.

Finally I can report that my chest CT showed no blood clots in my lungs, so O can tick that off of my worry list.

Hope everyone is having a good day

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