My long absence from this blog is due to my latest attempt to figure out what is causing me 3-5 days a week of headaches. In May I had a routine dental cleaning and afterward suffered my usual 2-3 days of migraine. The difference this time was that after bugging my dentist the last two visits about my post-visit pain I finally got the courage to ask him about my bite issues. Prefacing my question with the comment that I was almost afraid to start because past attempts to fix my bite issues only made things worse, I nevertheless dove in headfirst.
It seems my bite is not only bad, it is unique. My dentist wondered aloud how I could chew a meal at all given my particular problem. I silently wondered why this is the first time he has mentioned it to me. Then he says that it is probably time for me to see an orthodontist. So off I went, thinking I was doomed to wear braces again. Well, the short story is that I am so messed up that braces alone will not do the job. So in June, after many xrays, photos and molds being made, I began wearing a big plastic bite splint, which gives me a lisp, and went on yet another alteration in my diet and started taking even more supplements. In January, the braces go on and about a year later I am looking at jaw surgery to enlarge my lower jaw, which is the source of all my bit problems and probably the cause of all the facial pain and then another year of braces.
I hesitated to write about this for awhile because there is so much sensational information out there about TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder), which is the clinical name for my problem. The cause of my TMJ issues mainly involve my undersized and recessed lower jaw, stress and my teeth clenching and grinding at night. I have worn a night guard for about 10 years and it has kept me from grinding my teeth, but does nothing to prevent clenching. Neither does the splint, but it protects my joint. The surgery I am facing is not TMJ surgery, of which much negative press exists, but rather jaw surgery to correct the defective small jaw.
So now I take an anti-inflammatory drug and I am on a soft diet (sigh) which means nothing hard or chewy, no steak, no nuts, no carrot sticks, for God's sake. Looking back on things, I don't wonder why eating too many nuts not only caused me to gain weight, but also triggered a headache. Probably it was the jaw action, rather than an allergy to almonds that was the culprit. I do notice that I feel better on the soft diet and the fish oil and glucosamine and all the salmon I am eating make my skin look great! The other upside to spending thousands of dollars on braces, etc. is that after it is all done (2.5 years from now) I should look 10 years younger since extending my lower jaw will take up some of the slack skin of my aging body and make my nose look smaller. If it cuts my headaches down even one third, I will be happy and think it money well spent.
Unfortunately for me, my days of eating pretty salads like the one featured above are over for the time being. I made this salad in May prior to my diagnosis and it featured Japonica Mahogany Rice, roasted chicken thighs, chopped apple and toasted pecans and dried cranberries with a walnut oil and red wine vinegar vinaigrette. Today I would have to crush the nuts into oblivion if I wanted them and skip the dried fruit and cut the apple up REALLY small.
Some of you may wonder, as my husband did, whether this new diagnosis means I can eat gluten again. The answer is a resounding “No”. I still think the malabsorption caused by the gluten had something to do with my migraine with aura. It is still the case that I am migraine-with-aura free since going gluten-free and discovering my reactive hypoglycemia. I think the TMJ was responsible for a lot of the other headaches that have no aura. Also, after having unintentionally eaten gluten recently (Tums Smoothies can contain gluten it seems), I know that I still have a problem with gluten.
I remain, Karen, herself gluten-free