Health Update

Last May, I had the courage to share on this blog about my battle with anxiety. It was one of the hardest posts that I had to write, but I figured that the first step that I needed to take to start healing is accepting the fact that I HAVE IT. My heart has nothing but gratitude for those who have continuously shown me love and support. I’m so thankful to everybody who has been sharing their light in my dark times. I’m getting better, but there are still days when the fight against darkness seems harder than the usual. I’ve been exercising, gardening, oiling and keeping a gratitude journal. I even decided to have a haircut just like what I did earlier this year. It certainly felt like I was cutting all the anxieties away!

I honestly thought I was doing really well until a toothache told me otherwise. Yes, a toothache!

My husband and I decided to also go to Zayne’s pediatric dentist to help her feel at ease. Para din isang lakaran na lang tuwing magpapa-dentist si Zayne. A couple of months ago, Boyet started complaining of toothache. The pain was excruciating that it started to become a nuisance to his day-to-day activities. We went to Zayne’s dentist, and he ordered for an x-ray. We found out that Tatay has an impacted tooth, and a surgery was needed to remove it. To make things worse, the tooth beside the impacted one got infected so it had to be extracted, too. Because of this, two of his upper teeth were also extracted to ensure that his bite would still be normal.

I then started experiencing toothache before his surgery. I was teasing Boyet that I just wanted to share his pain! The dentist ordered for an x-ray because two of the three teeth with pain have fillings (pasta). The result came out fine, and I was just asked to use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. However, he saw something else on the x-ray results. I can’t remember the exact terms he used, but he started asking me questions. “Do you experience clicking? Extreme headache? Blurred vision?” I answered YES on each question, and I told him that I used to have a TMJ disorder.

I first experienced it when I was a senior in high school. I was brushing my teeth when I heard a loud click. I freaked out because I was unable to close my mouth! I went to a dentist who gave me a splint which I wore every night while sleeping. This was around 2000, and the splint already cost PHP15,000! Hindi kami mayaman, mga besh, kaya triggeredt ang nanay ko sa 15k. Huhuhaha!

A couple of years later, I transferred to another dentist. I had a problem with overbite so I wore braces for almost 6 years. The TMJ went away. (Siyempre, banas na naman nanay ko kasi ang mahal magpa-braces! Wahaha!)

My dentist now told me months ago that I needed to wear a splint again. I was sort of delaying getting a new one because it’s very expensive. We are back to going to fertility workups. We have been having difficulties conceiving baby number 2 because I still have PCOS. The cost of each workup cycle is not a joke, that’s why we’re really trying so hard to eliminate unplanned expenses. But the pain and other symptoms have started to become unbearable. I honestly thought that the return of my TMJ disorder was because I already stopped wearing my retainers. I was wrong.

On the day that I was supposed to fit my splint, the dentist took a picture of my face against a white wall. He explained that he needed to do it to know the extent of my TMJ problems. He showed me that one side of my face has already started drooping! Hindi ko alam na hindi na pala pantay ang fez ko!

I was then taken aback with my conversation with the dentist. He started asking questions which I honestly felt were not connected to my TMJ.

What’s your line of work?
What do you do in IT?
Are you on shifting schedule?
What does your usual day look like?

These were just few of the many questions thrown at me. I got even more surprised when he explained why he had to ask me those questions. It turns out that the major cause of TMJ issues is STRESS. He emphasized that no splint could correct my jaw if I don’t address the root cause of it. I was forced to admit to him that I started having anxiety attacks early this year. I then realized that my jaw started clicking and hurting just this year. BINGO!

The dentist told me that he’s not surprised at all. According to him, he has a lot of patients with TMJ issues who are taking medications either for anxiety or depression. He also said that he sometimes feel like he turns into a psychologist because his patients open up to him during consultations.

I really thought that I was doing well managing my panic attacks. I still have bad days when I experience palpitations followed by hours or a couple of days feeling exhausted, but I always manage to get back on track. I didn’t realize that a simple clicking of my jaws was a result of my condition. I’ve been wearing the splint for more than a week now. I feel discomfort a few minutes before and after wearing the splint, but I’ve noticed a big improvement on my symptoms.

So ayun, another lesson learned the hard way. I need to work a little harder on managing stress. Stress talaga ang puno’t dulo ng maraming sakit!


  1. Hi Jerell, I am experiencing clicking of jaws too. May discomfort na akong nararamdaman pero hindi naman lagi. Napansin ko kapag late na ako makakatulog, which is maybe 4x a week, ganun agad. I work at home, managing two full-time jobs tapos my anak and yaya less. So I am so exhausted most of the time. Tsssk. I hope you are doing great and happy. Much love. xx

    1. Hi, Jea. I didn't have the slightest idea that my TMJ issues were caused by stress. Akala ko parang physical anomaly lang kasi sungki ako and maliit ang jaw.

      Thank you for your well wishes. I hope you also feel better soon!

  2. Awww, Je. Hope you continue to feel better na. Fight natin yang stress na yan! Gratitude journal, okay yan, madami ako kilala na naggaganyan at nakakatulong sa kanila to make it through each day. :)

    1. Thanks, Edel! I use my office planner as my gratitude journal. Para lang ma-feel ko na amidst all the craziness, I still have something to be grateful for! :)

  3. I hope you feel better soon. You are right, stress talaga ang kalaban. Minsan di mo alam na nasstress ka na pala. Ang indication ko, naglalagas ang buhok ko and hyperacidity. Pag ganun, I try to take it slow and I eliminate some of my stressors (ex. yung chismosang officemate lol).

    1. Thank you! Ako din dati either hair fall or dandruff + acid reflux kapag stressed. Nakatulong 'yung essential oils ko pero hindi ko narealize na TMJ pala ang kapalit. :p


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