This is an x-ray of my jaw that was taken a few years ago. It's a flipped image, so what you see as the left side of the photo is actually the right side of my jaw.
You remember me talking about the beginning of my problems with my jaw, and having to be particular about the kind of foods that I eat, taking extra precaution. And with my recent post detailing the troubles I've been having with my arthritis and my knee, I thought I would talk more about my most troubled joint.
Scroll back up and take a closer look at that picture. It's pretty obvious there is a difference between the right side of my jaw and the left side. The left side (your right) looks like your average jaw bone. Perfectly rounded, fitting comfortably in the joint.
But that right side . . . whew! What's going on there?!
In x-rays looking at a joint flared with arthritis, the joint will actually look like it's bubbling. That's a weird image to see. In the actual x-ray image, there was a clearer view of that. But what you can tell from this image is that there has been some extensive damage to the bone. It looks as if someone shaved off the top part . . . eeew.
And something that might not be known to the average photo-looker is that the cartilage that normally cushions the bones has been eaten away. Arthritis can be a hungry hungry hippo.
Why am I showing you my x-ray?
I don't know. Because I feel like it.
Well, it's more for people to get an understanding of worst-case-scenario situations with arthritis. One of the worst cases is that joint damage can occur. This is what has always worried me about my knees and what worries many people with RA.
Also, for future reference when I mention pain in my jaw, you'll know why!
Though this has never kept me from eating a giant burger. Or trying to recreate this situation:
Did my parents treat me like a dog and give me the scraps of their meals,
or did I just like gnawing on steak bones?
Because of my jaw, I have to take medicine on a regular basis to deal with the pain. When I don't take my medicine, I get cranky and can't talk very well. Ever heard your mother come down on you for mumbling? I have! But at least I had an excuse. What's your problem?
I also can't eat. Oh no! Say it aint so! (Fortunately, growing up, my dad was more than happy to supply me with milkshakes and mashed potatoes.)
What are my options? Well, I was given the choice of a few different surgeries. One would involve taking fat from another part of my body (belly, please) and cushioning the joint with that fat. Another would be where the doctor would go in and shave the bone into a curve. Hey, what about jaw replacement surgery? . . . Anybody? . . . No? Fine.
The troubles with these surgeries is the fact that I still have active arthritis. The fear is that, were we to do any alterations, if the arthritis decided to come back for an encore, it could destroy all of the positive changes made . . . bummer.
The other option is living with it for a while.
And here we are!
Years later, still dealing with it. I've learned to live with it and I'm not sure what it would be like not to have this problem with my jaw.
It's just one of those things. We all have odd facts about our lives. Or weird problems we have that others might not totally understand. Maybe this is mine!
. . . wait, you don't? There really is something wrong with you then.
I'm not sure what the point to leave you with is . . .
But now you know even more about me! Doesn't that just make your day? You know more about me than many people that actually know me in person. I love you, blog readers, you know that right? I don't just show my x-rays to anybody.
And a note for everyone . . . next time you see me, don't go bragging about that giant meatball sub you just ate. Or about how you went bobbing for apples this fall. Or that giant wad of gum that tastes so good. Or what a Jawbreaker is like.
Or you could just buy me a chocolate malt and I'll be happy. When's the last time you had one of those? Yum.
Thanks for being there for me blog-friends!