Seems like lots of dust has collected over here since my last blog post in February. Turned out, my ghost of TMJD past crept on me again causing me a few months of agony, which I’m still dealing with day to day. However, I can say I’m better than before as I was not even able to sit and write at the computer.
What is TMJD you ask? It is a disorder of the Temporomandibular joint. Yep, that tiny little joint that helps open and close your jaw for talking and chewing. If thrown out of whack (whether it’s muscular or a disc problem) it can cause just about every single ridiculous symptom you can think of. This disorder is also clever at disguises, as it does not always make its debut appearance at the jaw joint. Mine came in the form of what I thought was a heart attack, which actually turned out to be referred pain in my sternum from a pulled pectoral that came from my back, which was reacting to my neck being misaligned because of my jaw. Now why on earth would that happen? I’ve had a faulty jaw pretty much all of my life after a terrible fall as a child. My jaw never really found its secure place so I would grind away at night. As an adult I would grind my teeth under stressful circumstances. And like many women my age, who are trying to balance it all without burdening anyone (Ya, I’m over that), I carried the stress with me and nestled it in my jaw and muscles. I’m sure the long hours in front of the computer 7 days a week (while adjusting to single motherhood) played a huge role in all of this too. It erupted. The universe gave me a clear warning through a four letter acronym and a string of horrific symptoms (vertigo, tinnitus, seriously scary visual disturbances, excrutiating pain and adrenal fatigue) to start taking care of myself. But what does “taking care of oneself” really mean? Easier said than done because we’re creatures of habit, and finding a starting point can be very challenging. But I was given no choice and started with the help of an amazing functional medicine doctor, an intuitive massage therapist and the support of amazing women who have left me in awe with their courage and strength. I’m also grateful to have my mom to talk (vent) to and a boyfriend who has blown me away by simply being nurturing and present with me every step of the way.
I was diagnosed with TMJD in 2006 after a very difficult time, and eventually healed after treating the symptoms. Why did it come back? Because like I said, I treated the symptoms … and not the root cause. This time around, while settling down my symptoms with massage and splint therapy, I’m treating the root cause. And without getting into long details, the bottom line is that my mind, body and spirit were not one. They were running in three directions, which is why I actually never felt any physical pain until it was out of control. Connecting spiritually, eating the right foods to nourish and heal, exercising, feeding my soul with creativity, getting closer to the people I love, shedding what doesn’t suit me anymore and being in touch with myself at all times is the new direction. In doing that, the symptoms are less daunting little by little. I’ve adapted an entirely new daily routine, which includes prayer, meditation, yoga … leafy green drinks, gluten free meals … and a list of wonderful things that I plan to share more of on this blog. The Art Muse will now be about the art of living. Sure, I will still throw in a few art shows and how-tos but the perspective is entirely different. As I still slowly pull the shades, I feel that this disorder came back as my personal guru to take me down a new path. When you can’t move and your senses are compromised, the way you see the world completely changes.
There’s so much to share, I’m excited to start writing again. Thanks so much for your stopping by the blog. It has certainly been a while and it feels great to be back. Hope to see you along with me on this journey!