Thursday, March 27, 2008

Back from the GI Department ...

Well, I'm back from the doctor, and he confirmed what I thought. I have about 5 or 6 ulcers in my esophagus, drug induced. I really need to do a better job at taking my pills. So, he prescribed me some lidocaine to help with the pain. He wants me off my meds until I heal, but I can resume taking them in 7-10 days, but I must make sure I take a full glass of water before and after taking them. As far as the blood in the stool goes, he saw no issues there, it must have been coincidental and could have been a hemorrhoid or something, but since I've never had one before, I didn't know.

If anything good came out of this, I was terrified of the IV for my jaw surgery. I had one today and it wasn't so bad, so that is one less worry I have for my upcoming surgery.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Problems with Meds ... a minor setback ...

I mentioned in a previous post that I am on a protocol of meds which my OS has me on pre and post op to stabilize my TMJ's, but I haven't gotten the feeling from the boards I read or the blogs I read that too many people follow the same protocol. I did considerable research before I started taking them to know what I was getting myself into.

One of the meds I am on is doxycycline, although it is an antibiotic it apparantly has a secondary effect of joint stabilization. One of the things I had learned in my research that the OS or pharmacist did not tell me was that you have to be very careful when taking this medication, you should not take it before you lay down (and it was prescribed to take at bedtime).

To make a long story short, I have been on the meds since November and usually try to take the doxy during the day, but sometimes I forget and take it at night along with my vitamins and the amitriptyline. The feldene I usually take during the day as well but I take it at night if I miss my daytime dose.

Well, last night I started to get pain in my chest, it felt like something was clogged in my esophagus. It was uncomfortable all through the night and when I woke up this morning. So I called the gastroenterology department at the clinic I go to and they couldn't get me in for an appointment until next Thursday, which is 9 days away. From everything I've read, if it is what I suspect it is, my issue will be cleared up in 7-10 days if I stop taking the medication. I believe the doxycycline has formed an ulcer in my esophogus, this is commonly referred to as drug-induced esophagitis. I had read this from another patient that was on the med for joint stabilization before I started taking it, and today I did some more searching and indeed this appears that this does happen with doxycycline.

Well, tonight before I went home from work, I went to the restroom and have a considerable amount of blood in my stool. This freaked me out, so I called the after-hours line at my clinic to see if I should go to urgent care or what. Usually they can't do much and ask you to see a specialist anyway. The triage nurse told me to call the gastroenterologist back tomorrow and tell them about my new syptoms and they would probably get me in tomorrow.

I know I am self-diagnosing here, and of course I could be wrong which is why I will make sure I get in to see the doctor tomorrow. I just wanted to give warnings to anyone out there reading my blog who is also taking doxycycline. I have read this can happen and it really is preventable, you just need to take plenty of water each time you take the pill and make sure that you are up-right for at least 10-15 minutes after taking it to prevent it from lodging in your esophogus.

I will post an update after I get in to see a specialist, in the mean time I continue to feel the uncomfortable pain in my chest but other than that I feel ok.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

3.5 month progress ...

Well, I think the pictures speak for themselves ... I continue to be pleased with my progress and movement. I had my teeth cleaned on March 5th, the first time since I've had my braces on. I decided to get them cleaned every 3 months vs. every 6. I went to the ortho on March 10th for my Sure Smile Scan and they took new photos. So, here are my 3.5 month progess photos, of the front view (look in particular how much my lowers have moved!), my upper arch and my lower arch:

Because I have such a large filling on one of my upper molers, the had to do the sure smile scan manually versus the imaging that they typically do. Apparantly it causes a reflection that screws up the imaging. So they had to apply alchohol to each individual tooth to take the shine off and give them a matte finish ... and boy did that hurt on my upper and lower front gum area. Now I have a nice canker sore way up in my upper and lower gum area. Since I never get canker sores there, I'm quite certain it was from the alchohol.

Dr. L didn't change my wires, he kept the same ones on, but he did do a little more shaving and shaping on both my uppers and lowers. I couldn't believe what a difference it made on the lowers. There are still a couple of teeth on my lowers that sit high on the gum line, but the shaping really smoothed things out.

So, I'll get my Sure Smile wires on April 19th. Dr. L said I should call my OS's office in two o three months to get my surgery on the schedule. He said Dr. P will schedule a few months out because he knows that people have to plan things around it. So that answered my questions, he does not need to see my molds before he will let me schedule surgery. He will trust Dr. L's opinion on when I will be surgery ready.

Prior to surgery, they will take all of the new x-rays, molds, and digital images. It sounds like Dr. P performs the operation electronically. I have heard of OS's performing the operation on the molds, but not digitally. That is when I will know exactly what movements they will be making and the size of the movements.

I have a feeling that from this point forward I won't see a lot of change, it is more just fine tuning until my surgery. It is weird to think that I am only 6 months out from surgery ... only 3.5 months ago I was thinking it would be a year. That time has flown by, as I know the next 6 months will too.