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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board


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Old 05-23-2005, 11:03 AM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: The Sunshine State
Posts: 223
meditation HB User

Hi everyone. I am sitting here at work and my mind is like a whirlwind. Maybe this is my way of asking advice...maybe it's a vent.

I am still awaiting approval for my insurance company for a total joint replacement...crossing my fingers on this one....because the pain has totally exhausted me. I can honestly say I do not know how much longer I can keep this up and work. And, that would open up pandora's box. (if I left)

And, then I think about...I have lived on my own since I was 17. I have my own apartment, car, know, responsibilities. This TMJ, as most of us know by experience, has caused me to be near the brink of bankruptcy. I've put close to $15K on my CC to cover the initial treatment...barely can afford the payments...That alone was overwhelming. Now, I have the added pressure of the surgery.

Yes, my ins. will probably cover it. But, then we are talking copays and deductibles that will probably run close to $5K..which will come from ????

I am staying with a friend right now..someone who will probably be helping me "physically" with the surgery....helping me take care of myself.

I guess I am feeling a little like, what do I do?

My family can care brothers are really all I have and you know, they do not even call to see if I am ok. So, why would I call and ask for help. I feel like I am close to falling apart...My mom wants to help with a selling her home...but, she is in her late 60's..I can not do that to her.

I know this is all emotional stuff that is not worth the time or trouble. But,
how do you guys get through all this overwhelming emotional stuff...caused from the financial strain. I've even tried getting a credit increase and was squashed...even though I've never been late....

I feel like why did I go and get my M.S. degree and work hard when all of it feels like it is slipping away from me...Why did I work so hard to loose it all???

Sorry for the pity party...I am just trying to gain some perspective...thanks you guys.

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Old 05-23-2005, 02:07 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 84
pwc HB User
Re: help

dear meditation,

i have read your posts and have followed your story. my heart goes out to you. you should take some comfort in the fact that by posting your history and the procedures you have had and what has happened to you since that you are truly helping other people who are suffering from this hellish condition. you should know just how big your heart is (and everyone else's on this board) when you take the time out of your schedule and reply to questions and offer advice and solace simply out of the generosity of your heart. how many doctors have you seen that have offered to help you just out of the generosity of their hearts? i wish i had met some. as i have said, no medical professional could answer my pointed questions. it was getting questions answered from people on this board that has directly lead me to literally pinpoint my problem. i hope you have a few good friends that will be able to help you out physically: driving you to the dr., getting prescriptions filled, just holding your hand... i wish i had an answer for the money problem that this tmjd causes. i can't believe how the co-pays add up. i try to submit every bill to dental and medical. and, i also count what is not covered in my taxes for the medical deductions. it helps a little but not much. the 5K you quoted sounds about right when it comes to co-pays if i remember my tallys after i had surgery. even if you could get better coverage or an add-on on your policy, most don't cover tmj related issues. did you look into your disability coverage through your job?

Old 05-26-2005, 10:55 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: The Sunshine State
Posts: 223
meditation HB User
Re: help

I've been trying to take some time; you know, for the all elusive perspective.

I tried getting on disability before this whole screw thing happened. My payroll rep. told me that since I didn't get on it when I was first offered benefits, that I am out of luck. But, keep in mind, no one told me about the benefits that were being offered...I was the only employee of the company this happened to.

Yes, I could fight it. But, the company is trying to cut my pay and benefits (health ins) so, I am not going to fight it, right now. I would rather have the health ins. at this point.

We'll see. I don't know what the solution is...there just has to be one...



Old 05-26-2005, 11:36 AM   #4
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 1,407
luvtocamp HB Userluvtocamp HB User
Re: help

I pray that things work out for you. don't worry about the money now- I know its hard but its really only money. Once you feel better with your degree you'll make it back and more. Maybe your Mom can take a small home equity and help you out a little, I'm sure you'll pay her back. Something will come up. Just keep positive and see in your mind how great your life will be like several months from now. Tough times nerver last, tough people do, and you are definately strong to be enduring all of this.

Old 05-26-2005, 02:12 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,179
TiffanyAnn HB User
Re: help

Hi Meditation:
I am a person who is dead set against surgery. I admit that I haven't been to the board alot lately and I don't know your story and your treatment history. All I can say is I hope you have done your homework on all the problems these type of surgeries can cause.

That being said I really just wanted to offer some support. You are definitely carrying a huge load right now. I was wondering, you said your mom has offered to sell her home to help you but you don't want her to so what I was thinking is something along the lines of this: Do you think it might be possible for your mom to sell her home and maybe get something smaller or perhaps you and she could live in the same residence to conserve money by sharing the bills? I don't really know you situation but it just struck me that if your mom wants to help maybe there is a way to work it where you both get a better deal.

I sure hope things work out with your situation as I know that stress does nothing but make TMJ worse.

Old 05-27-2005, 07:27 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: The Sunshine State
Posts: 223
meditation HB User
Re: help

Hi everyone.

Thanks for the support.

I don't know what the solution really is.

I am totally against a person who has never had surgery ever having surgery on the Tmj...OK. There are exceptions...facial deformaties...the like.

My first surgery was when I was 13. I really didn't have a mom made it for me. She thought she was making the most informed decision she could...there was no internet back in those days.

I had a total of 6 bilateral procedures......and, the last one worked. It worked to the point where I threw out my bite splints, my therabite, my CPM unit. Gone, in the trash. That open joint procedure gave me my life back. I didn't have the opportunity to have most of the normal moments teenagers have...because of the tmj. But, I was determined to enjoy my 20's. And, I did. The last surgery, an open joint procedure w/ear cartilage grafts, saved my life. I was close to suicide, at that point, due to the pain...I couldn't deal with it. But, as soon as I woke up from that surgery in 93, WOW amazing. I felt weightless. And, for the next 11 years, I earned an AA, a BA, and a MS degree....People always stated to me I wouldn't even finish high school...well, ha ha I excelled in college.

Since I bit on that screw last year, I've backslided. I am partially angry because the restaurant is doing nothing to help with my medical expenses...they say, "you had a medical history" SO what!!! I've never had to be on a pain patch before. And, never once, did doctors ever say, "I recommend a total joint replacement." They are confusing muscle spasms and flare ups with a joint issue that was caused by biting on a metal screw...ah!!!

Second, I am angry at myself and what this is doing to my life. I lived this once. And, I feel like.., "What did I really learn?" Think about it. I am just as upset, angry, sad as I was then. I really don't know if I have really grown as a person.
I was hired almost 2 years ago at my dream job, teaching AA degrees at college....I was an ace at it, a pro. Now, I can barely get through my one class. I usually run to the restroom to break down and cry, because of the pain.

I am constantly afraid of losing this job....and, this intensifies with the impending surgery and recup period.

And, I rarely go out with friends. Some have dropped off the face of the earth...they were insensitive to what I faced. One had the audacity to say (about my rapid weight loss due to a liquid diet and the severe pain), "I wish I had that problem." Nice, huh? Besides that, I am in too much pain most times to even attempt being a social butterfly.

In terms of the money situation, I really believe there is a solution...but, not my family. I tried my brothers and my half sister...they won't return my calls or emails, great family, huh? My mom is ill. She is 67. I can not do what her other kids take money from her. She deserves some peace.

I went to my brothers because I feel they shell some of the money responsibility. There was money to treat this, back in the early 90's. They accepted checks...from my mom...for new cars, trips, and furniture...that would at least have covered my treatment to now, my ded. and copays for surgery and hospitalization, and money to live on while I recup. Yes, my mom gave them the checks; but, they were old enough to realize that their sister had medical issues facing her.

So, as I sit here this night, pumped full of morphine...I just pray that God will take care of this. If it means I lose my apartment, my car, my job..then so be it. I just want my life back the way it was before may 15, 04.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts and words.

Old 05-27-2005, 07:33 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: The Sunshine State
Posts: 223
meditation HB User
Re: help

Oh, sorry for another post. But, Tiffany Ann...

My mom and I once lived together. There is history there...that is all I can say. And, it is enough that, even though I love her...I can never revisit the option of living with her again..

My family...well, we love each other...but, it's just different.

I know there is a solution. It's just about stepping back, for a moment, and gaining some perspective...that's all.

Thank you.

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