Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Diagnosis

After 2 years I have a diagnosis for my migraines, neck/shoulder/back pain and poor quality of sleep. Who knew all it took to figure it out was a simple x-ray? And a sensible, capable doctor. But whatever. I'm obviously still working on not focusing on the past and being bitter :) Bare with me!

Okay, anyway. Here's the deal.

I saw Dr. Auvenshine, TMJ specialist, yesterday for FOUR hours. The $440-priced appointment was pretty dang thorough. They interviewed me, surveyed me, performed ultrasounds, x-rays, put weird contraptions on my head and magnets in my was a lot. Oh, and I had a migraine during this. I was doing a lot of deep breathing to get through it all. SO thankful to have my mom by my side. Seriously.

So then we finally had a consult with the Doc. The "jaw issue" unfortunately has been going on for so long that it is now a multi-faceted issue. Five, to be exact. 

1. Slipped Disc:  The teeny tiny disc that is in between your jaw joint and (some other face bone?) has slipped out of place, probably years ago. Doctor said it may have been any small fall that did it, since I have never had a car accident or any trauma to the face. That's scary to me - the fact that any slight blow to the jaw can eventually do this kind of damage down the road?? 

That disc has caused a lot of havoc. My brain apparently is always confused (ha), because it can't properly place the jaw. It is constantly working to find "home base," as Doc put it. I feel more pain on the left side though because it has been compensating for the right for so long. If you look at the x-ray of my right jaw bone, it's all chipped away from bone-on-bone. Lovely. The left jaw bone looks good though.

The pain and muscle tightness I have under my ears, behind ears, right under jaw bone, on the top of my head, across the forehead and in the eyes ALL stem from the jaw problem. It also contributes to my neck, shoulder and back pain, but it's hard to say how much of it affects those areas. 

Oh, they measured my muscle tightness (which is really cool that they can do that) in my jaw. Anything below 3.0 is concerning. Usually they see just below that. Mine measured in at a 0.3. Like as in LESS than 1. Umm...yeah...ouch. It's amazing I can still talk, really.

2. Constricted airway: I guess my airway in my throat is too small. It may be partially due to the swollen, tight muslces, or maybe not. No way to tell until I start treatment (I'll get to what the treatment is). So less air = less sleep. Or not good quality sleep like I need. 

3. Deviated Septum: This I've known for several, but haven't fixed. If anyone wants to donate $6,000, I'd be happy to fix it! When I say deviated, I mean DE-viated big time. Like it's nearly closed up. This contributes to lack of air, lack of sleep. So #2 and #3 combined make me breathe through my mouth at night, then forcing me to swallow several times per minute...causing me to stop breathing several times a minute...ALL...NIGHT...LONG. More lack of sleep

4. Sleep: It's important to note here that lack of sleep is the #1 most important issue at hand. Any of you who have had long-term sleep issues or actual insomnia can relate. No sleep intensifies everything - the muscle and jaw pain, aching joints, migraines, dizziness, nausea, mood swings, anxiety, stress. Then my immune and adreneline are working over time to compensate which hinders my healing. That's why I'm always saying "No I don't want another baby right now. I NEED sleep." It really is absoultely necessary for my road to recovery.

5. Spine Alignment: Somehow the upper part of my spine (neck region) is out of whack. When you look at the x-ray, my vertebraes are all misaligned. It could be from the muscles being so swollen or just how my body has grown. He said I have a really long neck and tend to carry my head forward. That could have caused this issue or not. 


What do I do from here?

1. Hop on board with Dr.I-don't-take-insurance-I-drain-your-bank-account-Auvenshine's six-month treatment plan. That means getting another mouth piece, wearing it 24/7, learning physical therapy I can do myself, and I'm not sure what else. I'll learn more next week when I actually start. 

2. Massages. Massages. Massages. Basically continue what I've been doing - 1-2/week to continue to try and loosen things up. My poor massage therapist is probably sick of me. And sick of working out the same knots and trying to losen the same muslces that just. won't. give. But I'm thankful I have a good one who is willing to help me. (still working on my attitude here)

That's pretty much all I can do right now. We'll have to pray my airway opens when I start wearing the mouth piece. And hopefully some day I can get a nose job! This all should improve my sleep. It's all so overwhelming. You probably wouldn't be surprised to hear that I almost fainted during the consulation and then broke down and cried while paying for my appointment. I was paralyzed when we left the office and felt totally numb. The air had been knocked out of me. All of the x-rays, and images of crooked, messed up bones shook me. What had I expected? A simple answer? Immediate relief? I think part of me did. 

Thank God for my mom. I'm telling y'all she's an ANGEL. She knows just how to support me and love on me during these sometimes excruciating times. Now, a day later, I see this from a more positive perspective. The treatment cost and iffy outcome was a hard pill to swallow. I don't want to pay a single cent more to something that may or may not take it all away. And I want to KNOW when I will feel relief. But that's not how it works. I'm getting more okay with that. Everything is a process that I'm dealing with here. Everything in life, really, is a process.

I'm so tired. I usually would wrap this post up in a nice, deep, thoughtful, and maybe witty paragraph, but I'm so so drained. Today wasn't as painful as yesterday but mentally, I'm beat. So there ya have it. The answer. It's bittersweet. 

But I have a God that will turn it ALL sweet, soon enough. I have faith. He has yet to let me down.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 3 / iPhone shots

Apparently all it takes is three days. That's it. I'm kinda over the Internet already. Honestly, I didn't even want to blog tonight but I know I'll be happy I did. 

Can I tell y'all how productive I've been this week? I know that in part due to this no-Facebook-no-time-sucking-Pinterest thing. I mean I even got crafty today! I don't do crafts much. I mean they were simple: painted a glass vase and framed Proverbs 31 to hang in my bathroom. I'll post photos of those soon (don't get too excited).

So I have found that texting is my new go-to, especially when I feel the urge to fill a few free minutes with Internet-browsing. It's my Nicotine gum. I get so side-tracked texting that I completely forget about my desire to get lost in the virtual world.

Really my go-to should be praying, but baby steps, okay? 

My 40 Letter challenge is actually going really well. I'd be lying if I said I'm really excited and eager every day to sit down and write several pages with my actual hand. I mean who writes anymore?? I've been getting some serious cramps during these letter-writing sessions. Such a first-world problem, I know. Anyway, once the pencil hits the paper, I get in the zone and really enjoy it. By the time I'm sealing the envelope I feel so warm and fuzzy and old-school for mailing a hand-written letter. I love it! Seriously, this is my favorite thing I've done in a long time. 


Okay, on to iPhone pics. 

Valentine he made at school. John 3:16 - LOVE!

At Church

My coffee partner in crime lately. Bad idea? Probably. Especially since tonight he was asking for it at 6pm.

Do you notice anything different??? I NEW TABLE! After having that ahem, totally awesome, glass table for 7 years, I feel like we're moving on up in the world with this beautiful wooden one. Thanks Momma for the hand-me-down! :)

Bubbles never fail to entertain.

My vote for *Picture of the month
(A picture tells a thousands words right?)

Brett got him a new Texan's helmet. O'Ryan couldn't even form complete sentences (literally) for like 5 minutes he was SO dang excited! "I...I...I wuv it...what is this?...I...I needed this...who gave me?...I wuv...see my? it bwack?"

Loved it so much that he rode to school wearing it. 

Mommy attempted a mohawk, but humidity killed it.

Ha. This was just a bit ago. Check out that smile. And the two dogs, butt-to-butt, fighting for a space on that couch. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 1 (AKA: Detox)

Well I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that Day 1 of no Internet until O'Ryan's bedtime was much harder than anticipated. Within the first hour I was awake I went for my phone to check this or that online at least 10 times. I'm hoping this sacrifice will ultimately bring me closer to Jesus, but today I was finding myself wanting to already cheat or make up excuses. Well maybe one of the 36 e-mails I received in the last 2 hours are reeeeally important. But, I made it. And I'm mentally exhausted. How pathetic.

I've actually been wanting to cut down on Internet time for a while now. I wouldn't say I'm on it every free minute, but like most people, it's my go-to for any amount of down time. I started thinking about how much time I spend thinking about the Internet...what I want to post on FB, what my next blog post should be about, wondering what's 10-day forecast is. Just all of that thinking alone requires of a lot of mental work and time on really, nothing. Nothing too important at least.

Last night when I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Kelly's Korner, I remembered! Lent! There was my opportunity to cut back on online time. Even though I was like an addict trying to resist my choice of drug, I succeeded. Of course it's only Day 1, so I'll keep you posted.

The other thing I decided to do during Lent is 40 Letters in 40 Days. This exact idea was on Kelly's blog. Immediately I thought, I am SO doing this!! It's right up my alley. I can't tell you how many times I think about certain people in my life - from the past or present - and just wish I could tell them how I feel about them (good things of course). There are some people in my life that have positively impacted me and have no clue! I'd like to write them a letter and let them know. I've always been a leave-a-note kind of person, so this is pretty exciting for me. Maybe it's weird. I don't know. I mean some of these people will be a little thrown off, but that's fine :)

The whole point is to let people know they're cared about, appreciated and noticed. And I'm alll about that.

I just love Lent - the whole idea of sacrificing something for 40 days, as Christ did in the desert just before he began his public ministry. During his 40 days and 40 nights, I can't even imagine how much growing he did. You have to completely lean on God and trust Him to get you through an intense time of fasting and prayer such as that. I yearn to have a season of enormous growth like Jesus did in the desert.

Although my sacrifice is quite different from Jesus' 40 days, I pray for a similar result. I know God will grow my faith, prayer life, and will power :) But He will also celebrate with me the joyous season of preparation for the Easter celebration!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My Favorite Things - January

OH, LOLA! by Marc Jacobs
I used my Macy's gift card to purchase this perfume. It smells sweet, light and fresh - just my style.

it's a 10 (miracle leave-in product)
My hairdresser (best one I've EVER had BTW) gave me this for free when she was cleaning out her drawers. I scored big on this one. I think it's kind of pricey. Normally hair products claim to do this or that but never deliver much. THIS PRODUCT DOES!!! It's make your hair softer, shinier, smoother, and less frizzy (and more).

REN Peek Mask
OMG this product is amazing. I got it for free when I spent a certain amount at Sephora. It is full of Vitamin C and lots of other great things for your skin. Just after leaving it on for 10 min and rinsing, it's like I have brand new skin!!! It says to just use it once/week. I love this stuff. 

Haagen-Dazs Sherbet
Discovered this last night thanks to my Nanny. FAT FREE. And it's like an explosion of frozen raspberries in your moooouth. They come in these teeny tiny buckets; perfect for a mini dessert to hit your sweet spot.

H-E-B scarf
This is so random. But I picked up this scarf at H-E-B on a cold day last month. It's my FAVORITE! It's really good quality and super soft. I think it was $9?

Kitchen Organization
I went crazy the past few weeks with organizing our kitchen drawers, cabinets - everything! Thank you Pinterest. It feels so much better that everything has its own little place. 

(Mini tension rod from Wal-mart used to hold spray bottles - saves lots of room)

Promises for Life Devotional
I absolutely loooove this devotional. I've never really done one just on my own. I picked this up at Barnes & Noble. I just do a day or 2 when I have time. Each day includes scripture and inspirational sayings on a certain topic. Then there's room to either answer a question or simply jot down your thoughts on that specific topic. I LOVE IT!

Bath & Body Work's Shea Foot Lotion
The True Blue Spa line at B&BW is AWESOME. It's cheap (and B&BW always has coupons) and creamy and smells amazing. During the winter I try to put this on my funky dry heels nightly. Try anything from this line...they're all great.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day At Home

- This morning I was able to sleep past 8am! Thank you Brett.

- O'Ryan and I had Shipley's for breakfast - nutritious and tasty. (at least mine were plain cake, yum)

- My very lofty plans for today (body combat, cleaning, errands) were quickly cancelled after realizing my body had other plans.

- I'm dealing with about an 8 on the pain scale today. Did some research on doctors to call, but am overwhelmed with where to start. Latest thing to pray for: Which specialist will FIX me??

- Feeling a bit defeated, yet strong. I go back and forth. Like every hour.

- One word to describe O this week: WHINY.

- It's drained me. The only way I can post right now is because he's finally found a way to entertain himself WITHOUT needing me for a few minutes. Had to take advantage.

- The days are long; the years short. (right??)

- I have a lot of fun things coming up...v-day and Mardi Gras-themed play dates, Superbowl get-together, birthday party, showers, trip to N.O...I pray pray pray I can attend at least some of those!!!! I'm the flakiest of flaky right now, but at least people know I can't help it.

- Back to our day at home...

- We watched Dumbo & Up today. Quite the contrast of Disney movies. I realized Dumbo is realllly boring.

- During O's loooong 45 minute nap, I did some of the HW for the Beth Moore study I'm doing. Her studies are infamous for having loads of HW but I LOVE IT. It gets you learn, grow and are challenged.

- It thundered today for a while and it was so relaxing. I love thunder - O'Ryan, not so much.

- "G" is coming over soon to spend some time with us. Have I mentioned how awesome she is???

Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Here's O'Ryan at his friend's party at a nearby with Maqui. When a migraine struck, I called Maqui and asked her if she'd take O to his friend's birthday. Thankfully she did! And O'Ryan was able to get his cupcake (two, actually) he had been begging for.

David's thing is the zoo. I can remember him always loving to take us during my childhood. Well now he has another youngin' to take!!! We got that call all parents love to get from the g-parents..."Can we come pick up O'Ryan and take him for the rest of the day?" He was packed and ready to go in record time I think.  Migraines had taken over our household last weekend so we welcomed the break.

Post-zoo trip.
Mission accomplished :)

G came by last week. I snapped a few cute pics of them.
Quite a pair!

Awesome photo Elizabeth took at Andrew's birthday.

I just asked O'Ryan for a caption for this: "I ate TWO cupcakes for Andrew's birday because I HAD to."

Yesterday was R-O-U-G-H. But here's a sweet moment.

I wonder how many photos I have of O'Ryan eating with a big dog FACE in the background begging??