Went to see the dentist today. The jaw pain I mentioned back in January transformed into tingling and numbness over most of the right side of my face. There was also the occasional earache. I thought it might be caused by my wisdom teeth finally moving and impinging on a nerve.
At this point in my life I have no interest in having my wisdom teeth removed, so I was dreading the visit to the dentist.
Turns out there are no problems with my wisdom teeth. My symptoms all trace back to the jaw clenching.
I’m slated to get a mouth guard now. It’s a simple, molded piece of plastic you wear on your teeth when sleeping to minimize the side effects of jaw clenching or teeth grinding (bruxism). The dentist said it may take wearing the guard as long as I’ve had the problem to get back to normal. That would be about 5 months. I can do that without a problem.
I’m glad to be on a path to get rid of this. I’m also more attuned to the side effects of side effects now. The numbness and tingling came about as a side effect of jaw clenching and the jaw clenching came about as a side effect from one my anti-depressant cocktails (that I’m no longer on). That’s one of the drawbacks of these high powered drugs, their side effects can be non-trivial.
As part of my medical history for the dentist, I told him I have prostate cancer. He shared with me that his wife has breast cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. He said she feels good only every other week. I’ve heard similar things about chemotherapies from others. In my last post there was a link to an article that mentioned one doctor with over 100 prostate cancer patients who were delaying or foregoing chemotherapy altogether due to its impact on quality of life.
I don’t think about chemotherapy often. It scares me. I question if I will even accept the treatment. If I had to make the decision today, I’d probably agree to it one day at a time, but I doubt I’d remain on it beyond a few days. With any luck, though, that decision will be at least a couple years away.