Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I still haven't heard the results from the breast-lump biopsy. At this point, I'm actively avoiding thinking about it.

I spent almost 2 hours this morning being fitted for my new appliance, a splint. It looks like a clear plastic retainer with a flange at the front. The effect of this thing is to force my lower jaw forward. It's bizarre, and very tight, and not easy to put in without pinching the insides of my cheeks. I felt sympathy for the technician who worked for at least an hour customizing the fit, but she was good-natured about it. I suppose she has to be, it's her job.

So I wear the splint and my lower retainer whenever I'm sleeping. It's good that I don't have to wear it any other time because I literally can not talk with the thing in my mouth. I mean, I can, it's just very difficult because my tongue can't go anywhere because of the flange.

In addition to wearing this, I have to do DPAs - daily pain assessments. The thought of DPA depresses me (not hyperbole), because the problem is, of course, that every D there is plenty of P to A. In my experience, the act of thinking about pain makes the pain worse. This is probably not accurate; it's more likely that by thinking about pain in an attempt to assess it, what I'm doing is removing the layers of suppression that I have deployed at all times. But the net effect is the same: I hurt more, because I'm thinking about it (or allowing myself to feel it.) These DPAs will be limited to head, jaw, and ear pain, so I have some hope that we'll see a gradually improving trend.

In reality, I'm already a lot better than I was before my first appointment. The doc told me that my headaches were caused by muscle problems in my neck (and probably shoulders, too), and so I have been stretching them and doing some of my physical therapy exercises. I have had very few headaches since, and that's a blessing.

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