If you read my last blog, you know how I struggled with a dental infection, chronic hip pain and immune reactions for almost two years. The story ended when the dental implant was finished in early September and I had a beautiful molar that cost as much as a diamond ring. I was hopeful that my issues were behind me and my immune system would begin healing.
However, by late autumn, my body could not take the ever-increasing hip pain any longer and I began repeatedly fainting — always in public, much to my embarrassment. I visited my regular doctor thinking I was having blood sugar or blood pressure issues, only to find out, once again, my blood work was perfect and maybe I should “take an anti-depressant,” (though my blood sugar hovered around 59 and had spikes down into the low 50’s). I walked out wondering why I wasted my time and energy, yet again, for zero results. Instinctively, I felt my problem was adrenal related, and the hip pain had something to do with it.
After a few more weeks of suffering, I relented and met with an orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed a tiny rupture in my L-5/ S-1 disc. It was pushing on the sciatic nerve, radiating pain across my pelvis, into my groin and down my right leg. “A laminectomy would fix it,” he said with complete confidence, so I scheduled surgery five days before Christmas. I wanted to trust him, but my gut was doubtful; I wondered, is that teeny-tiny rupture really the cause of such deep pain or is it the result of fainting in full-stride a couple of weeks prior? Turns out, my gut was right.
The Immune Puzzle
Throughout the two-year ordeal, I had continued with Vitamin C IVs and as many immune strengthening procedures as I could afford, but it wasn’t enough. My practitioner at the time recognized that my problems were too layered for her level of knowledge, and recommended another clinic with two alternative doctors who had practiced for decades and specialized in severe immune deficiency cases.
I got an appointment at the new clinic right away. We created a plan to get me through the impending surgery while repairing my immune system. Hope was restored and I went forward with a positive attitude.
The day of surgery, the surgeon assured me I would have immediate relief, yet four days post-surgery, the pain had increased and I could barely walk. He said to give it more time, “Sometimes nerves take a while to heal.” Recovery didn’t happen and my pain worsened.
Bed-Ridden at 41
Feb 6, 2012, I had a second laminectomy and four other procedures. The surgeon was baffled and tried everything to offer some relief. To no avail — the pain intensified until I was bed-ridden in agony. My blood pressure kept dropping and I kept fainting. One morning it fell to 60/40 and I had to be taken by ambulance to the ER. After a week in the hospital and test after inconclusive test, they started acting like I was faking it. Yet my legs would fold from underneath me upon standing, and I would crumple to the floor from back spasms and electric shocks that would paralyze my entire body. The doctor started talking about fusing my spine. I refused to have any more surgery and left the hospital with a heavy heart and no solution.
Weeks passed while I lay in bed depressed and hurting, not eating until three in the afternoon some days because I couldn’t get to the kitchen. By then, I was only able to walk with assistance and wondered how this would all end. The nerve pain was so excruciating, the sheets touching the tips of my toes felt like nails being driven into them. Involuntary screams ripped from my mouth when back spasms racked my entire body. I toyed with giving up, but my faith kept me going, and I believed there was an answer out there somewhere.
I dug deep and used my Type A personality and German stubbornness to make sure I did not quit exploring every option — I was hell-bent on getting better. I continued to drive myself to the clinic (an hour away) to stay with the immune-repairing program, knowing that strengthening my system was only going to help.
After several months, my allergies to food and nickel improved, and I had stopped fainting. But, the nerve pain remained and I began coming to terms with the potential of living in a wheelchair…and then a miracle happened.
Friday, April 13, 2012, was the day my life changed forever. My doctor was off that day; I was at the clinic for allergy desensitization. The practitioner conducting the procedure noticed the tears gently streaming out of the corners of my eyes as I lay on the exam table, and asked if he could get the other doctor (Dr. M) involved. Why not? I was open to anything (and it turned out to be divine intervention).
Dr. M listened carefully to my story until I finished, then after pondering, he asked me if I had ever had a root canal. “Huh?” was all I could think. He explained that he had seen dental-related nerve pain often, and shared a story about a man in his thirties who hadn’t walked in seven years. He came to see Dr. M and discovered it was a dental infection that went undetected by X-rays. After removing the tooth and treating the infection, the man climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro a year later.
He muscle tested the dental implant and found a weakness, so he injected it with Novocaine to numb the area and see if there would be any relief. My pain slowly ebbed like a wave rolling out to sea; I got off the exam table easily and walked around the clinic like a normal person. Everyone working there watched. Our eyes got as big as the full moon and we were all silent for a moment. Disbelief….relief…a miracle! I cried tears of joy. I think Dr. M did too.
Pain Washed Away
Three additional times, a week apart, he numbed it, the spasms released, and the pain washed away. During that time, we tried healing it with ozone and a laser, and my periodontist removed the crown and screw, to no avail. The implant had to come out.
May 15, 2012, immediately upon its removal, I walked out of the periodontist’s office on my own. I could walk without a cane! I live a very normal life now. I’m back to exercising, and though I see a chiropractor about once a week to keep my lower back healthy, I am grateful every day that I am able to walk and never take for granted my ability to be in this world without a cane, or worse.
From my horrible life-altering experience, I grew in ways that I never would’ve understood before. I still feel blessed every single day that I can do normal activities; things I thought were over for me. I have patience with people who are hurting or those who may walk “too slow” in front of me. My compassion for others has grown and I try to take life as it comes — in moments. If I have an uncomfortable day, I allow myself rest and remember what a bad day truly consists of.
The strength and knowledge that I gained throughout this ordeal, as well as a deeper faith, have helped me deal physically and emotionally with the even bigger life-altering events that have happened since. I hope by sharing this information, it continues to shine the light on thinking outside the western medicine box and may help one person solve their own health mystery.
In the next blog — how to determine if your teeth are making you ill. The science behind it and resources to explore.
“To know truly is to know by causes.” Bacon
[from the book Root Canal Cover-Up, George E. Meinig]