Post-Op Update

Well, it’s me. My surgery went pretty much according to plan. My dentist extracted all four of my impacted wisdom teeth. He was amazingly careful and thoughtful when it came to my jaw and all of the problems that he knows I have with it. Thank goodness, because even with all of the precautions he took I’m in a ridiculous amount of pain.

I can barely open my jaw wide enough to stick the pills I was prescribed in my mouth. This is one occasion that my over bite is working in my favor, without it I don’t think I’d be able to get anything in it at all. I’m to eat only mush-like food for the first week (yum…) and even that’s causing me a lot of grief. I can’t really talk so texting is coming in handy at the moment. My dentist said that after a few days if my jaw feels ready I should start light physiotherapy on it. He numbed it during the surgery so that it would stay numb for the first 4-6 hours after I woke up, which was also probably very helpful pain-wise. Once the freezing wore out though, it was highly unpleasant. 

My dentist had to cut two of my wisdom teeth into tiny pieces to get them out. Stitches were put in all four areas so I don’t have to worry too much about them bleeding. My nose is a mess from the tube they put through it and down into my throat. My nose wouldn’t stop bleeding until later today. Cold water and things feel lovely on my mouth and throat.

I’ve been instructed to follow an ice on, ice off routine. 20 minutes with the ice on my jaw, 20 without and so on, all day. It’s a pain in the butt but the ice feels good and it’s supposed to make quite a big difference. They didn’t have to do the catheter and I didn’t have any urinary retention afterwards (yay, but odd), so that was good. As soon as I was fully awake in the hospital I just wanted to go home and sleep. I’m in a lot of pain, but compared to the last surgery I underwent it’s nothing. I’d say this pain is about a 6 or 7 compared to the 8 or 9 that I had after my last eye surgery. But still, even a 3 out of 10 is unpleasant so, I’m definitely not walking on sunshine.

There is humor to be found though. I can’t look in the mirror because it makes me want to laugh and that would hurt too much. That’s because my face is so swollen that I’m starting to look like an entirely different person. The Godfather or a chipmunk comes to mind or an over exaggerated caricature of myself. It seems like it’s still getting bigger.

For once the nurses at the hospital actually seemed to know what Marfan Syndrome was, or at least they’d heard of it. Though, one sounded surprised and confused when my chart said that I had aortic root dilation, which I think is the most important thing for them to know about MFS.

I was searching for stories about other people who suffer from TMJ who had their wisdom teeth removed. I wanted to know how long it took them to heal and what their experiences were. If you have a story feel free to share it.

To Do or Don’t: Liberation Therapy

There’s been a lot of talk over the past two years about a controversial new treatment being performed on Multiple Sclerosis patients in order to relieve their symptoms. Conceived by Dr. Paolo Zamboni, the procedure known as ‘liberation therapy’ consists of using balloon angioplasty to open narrowing or blocked jugular veins. The possible connection between these veins and MS was made evident during a preliminary study conducted by Zamboni. Of the MS patients studied 90% showed problems such as stenosis (narrowing veins) or defective valves.

Of the patients in the study who received the ‘liberation therapy’ 73% saw a decline in the severity and intensity of their symptoms. This included Zamboni’s own wife who also suffers from MS. Unlike drugs such as Copaxone liberation therapy is intended to be beneficial long term instead of needing to be repeated weekly or monthly and unless the veins become narrow again your symptoms should stay at a decreased amount.

 All of these results seem positive and promising. Despite this evidence there are many skeptics out there, and even though Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world (50,000) the surgery is still not available anywhere in the country. If Canadians wish to have the surgery they are forced to travel outside the country to places like Mexico and Poland, greatly increasing the cost. The travel distance on top of the cost of the procedure itself has prevented many who wish to have the surgery from being able to do so.

I’ve personally known two separate individuals who have had the surgery. One has seen a positive change since the procedure, while the other has not. This goes to show that not everyone responds to it but it also proves that some do.

I think that instead of setting money aside to fund trials that all of the provincial governments should help those who need the surgery pay for it and in turn study the effect it had on their symptoms afterward. That way the patient has a chance to get help while the government can get the access it needs to that information. Some provincial governments are taking a similar approach, though, it still seems like their attempts are harder than they have to be. The Alberta government for instance is going to study patients who have already had the procedure outside of Canada, while New Brunswick will help MS patients access treatment. Though, I think the best approach would be to combine both of those means into one.

Multiple Sclerosis is a terrible thing to suffer with -and it’s on the rise. I think that any step that could be beneficial to the people who’s lives it ruins is worth so much more than scientific evidence and the skepticism of big name researchers. They’re all worried about the scientific ‘facts’ while the real fact is; it’s helping some people. That, to me, is enough proof.

The name itself is looked upon negatively having some believe that calling it ‘liberation therapy’ provides a sense of false hope or high expectations. It’s true that the procedure has a long way to go before it is widely accepted. But already it’s making great strides towards that goal. The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada has noted the treatment as promising. Not only that but it’s got people all over the world talking. And that’s often a big step towards changing the opinions of those who don’t believe.

What are your opinions on ‘liberation therapy’ and Dr. Zamboni’s study? Do you know anyone who has had the treatment? Did they benefit from it and if so how? Leave your comments below.

“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” -Sven Goran Eriksson