As some of you may know, I have lived with severe degenerative arthritis most of my life. It has manifested itself most severely in my jaw, resulting in the cartilage & bones completely deteriorating. Over the past 25 years, I have endured more than 20 major surgeries and procedures to stop the jaw bones from rubbing together and crushing each other.
One procedure left me with the bones fusing together so I could only open my mouth 1 1/2 fingers wide. I lived like that for 10 years, until a good friend of mine pointed out that if I ever needed intubating, they would have to literally break my jaw or I would die. Big reality check! So, once again; more surgery. This time my body rejected the silastic implants. I had 3 surgeries that year; the first to put them in, then to replace them (day before Thanksgiving) and then remove them all together (day after Christmas) after they realized how badly I was rejecting them. At the time, they "thought" they removed all the pieces, but eight years later I became septic after having arthrocentesis, due to a severe infection from pieces that they missed, and so I had more surgery. With problem still plaguing me, I was referred to Mayo Clinic. The first thing the doctor said was "you have had so many surgeries, but they all have been the wrong ones". I just sat and cried.
He promised a solution, so yet again, I had 2 more surgeries where they implanted Chrome-Cobalt plates on each side hoping that would be the final solution. From all of these surgeries, and the doctors messing around with the nerves, I developed severe and permanent nerve damage resulting in daily debilitating migraines. With a heavy heart, I realized that I could no longer perform my job to the best of my ability and so, I retire from my 20+ year career as a Sr. Medical Malpractice Underwriter. That was absolutely devastating. To this day, I am faced with horrific migraines and pain from my jaw. I can't even count the number of deck parties we had with friends. I would hear them all laughing and enjoying themselves, while I was stuck in my bedroom with the shades drawn to keep out the light and the windows closed to keep out the noise. I just sat and cried. Now, I have more treatment options available, albeit quite painful. I get 20-30 shots of Botox around my jaw, hairline and scalp. Several other in the my neck as an ocipial nerve block, and then 10-15 Lidociane shots Joe calls a "Halo" - all around my head in a horizontal plane around my eyes and ears, every 3 months to help. I would love d to say that it got rid of them, but it doesn't. I wish I could say that I can wake up and feel well enough to do fun things, but I can't. I wish I could say that story ended there, but it doesn't.
Unfortunately, the chrome cobalt plates have now failed. The screws that keep the plates attached to my bones are not even touching the plates. So yes, as everyone already knows, I have a few screws loose - literally! I am now faced with needing total joint and jaw bone replacement. This will be accomplished with 2 separate surgeries. The first is January 31st. Where they will take out the plates, screws and abnormal bone growth and insert a temporary mechanism in both sides of my jaw. The second (and more extensive) surgery will be 2 months later where they will drill down my bones and insert a titanium bone/joint structure. Each surgery requiring at least 2 months recuperation. Because of the problems caused by the "implant failure", I had to take a leave of absence 3 weeks earlier than planned, plus the surgery and recuperation periods, which, all told, will be just about 5 months that I am/will be unable to work. Joe will also be unable to work the 2 weeks that I have each surgery, plus additional days when he drives me for any follow up appointments.
There is also the travel, food and lodging for Joe each of those 2 weeks and any subsequent follow up appointments, and the medical expenses not covered by insurance. Joe and I have always had a very hard time asking for help when we need it most, and it isn't any easier for us now; but, facing the next 5 months, here we are. We are turning to you, our friends and family, and asking for help us with the heavy financial burden of this whole ordeal.
Any amount, whether large or small, or prayer, or positive thoughts, are so very much appreciated; more than words can ever say. We truly thank you from the bottom of ourhearts for reading our story and offering any monetary or spiratual assistance. , but mostly for your for your time and generosity in our time of need.
May God bless you and keep you always. And, may he shower and comfort you with kindness and generosity from friends and family if ever you find yourself in a time of need.