When I was growing up, my grandma would often come stay with us for a week or two and she had one hobby I’ll always remember. Jigsaw Puzzles. She always had the most complex scenes – beautiful yet incredibly difficult. Whenever she got to that piece #998 and discovered it was missing, I loved to search around under the table looking for those last one or two lost pieces.

I feel like this is exactly what’s going on with my health problems, a 1,000 piece puzzle, where the missing pieces are dental related. The last time I wrote, I was awaiting exploratory surgery in my jaw. This procedure was planned to take biopsy tissue samples of the bone near where my wisdom teeth #17 and #34 were removed seven years ago. Three weeks ago, I successfully made it through the procedure, which was a truly pleasant experience considering the circumstances. The surgery was like wisdom teeth extraction where my gums were cut open and the surgeon drilled out samples of the jaw bone to later send out to a lab. Unlike my previous wisdom teeth surgery, I was awake the whole time for this one. Dr. Stuart Moreland in St. Louis performed the procedure. Like Dr. Yu, the physician I’m working with that discovered my dental issue, Dr. Moreland was very helpful in educating me through the process and really took a look at my health in a holistic approach.

During the surgery, a few surprises were found. On the right side, where I’ve had less pain lately, he found a cyst and some foreign looking, black, tar-like materials inside the jaw tissue. Perhaps some packing material or leftovers from my wisdom tooth removal seven years ago? I’m not sure. After he removed the junk from that side, he tested my meridians and they showed a normal reading. So then it was time for the left side, the source of much of my jaw pain for the past year. Once the bone was removed he tested my meridians and it showed an abnormal reading. So a close-up x-ray was taken right there and he found something. Something? I wondered what something could be. The doctor went back in and like an archaeologist finding a long lost treasure, pulled out a sharp piece of what looked like a sliver of bone. It was the root from the old wisdom tooth that never made it out during the surgery years ago. All I could think of at that moment was “Hallelujah, thank you God!”. I hadn’t expected they would find anything, let alone things that were not supposed to be floating around inside my jaw. Immediately after the surgery, the doctor sent me over to Dr. Yu’s clinic for an hour-long IV infusion of vitamins and minerals to help with my healing and prevent further infection. The infusion was comforting and instead of feeling like sleeping the rest of the afternoon, the vitamin/mineral infusion gave me so much energy I had a hard time sleeping the rest of the day.

I went back a week later to have the stitches removed and talked more about the procedure with the doctor. Soon I hope to hear back from the lab on the biopsy results. Three weeks later, I traveled back to St. Louis for a follow-up visit with Dr. Yu. It seemed my jaw was healing fine but some of the pain on my left side had returned. Also, two weeks after the surgery, I began to notice new symptoms. My knees swelled up more than usual, my elbows started hurting, the heels of my feet were painful and my left thumb felt stiff and swollen. During the visit, I could tell Dr. Yu wanted to figure this out, so he tested my meridians and they all showed normal readings this time. Then he used what looked to me like a Rife type of machine programmed for deep parasites and light therapy to show a “spotlight” on the meridians. It was time for another meridian test on my jaw. This time he checked for specific spots all around the area until one particular spot showed an abnormal reading. Meridian testing is a little beyond my comprehension when it comes to the specifics, but it was interesting to me that I still had pain on left side of my jaw and this form of testing was able to “see” it.

If my jaw is still the source of infection, what’s next? Dr. Yu gave me a few options. I could try a short course of triple antibiotics for 30 days… or try something else. Another option was an ozone injection in my jaw to clean up the infection. This is why I love working with Dr. Yu on this puzzle. He explained that he would prefer I not have another surgery right now because the trauma would be too much for my body. I explained to him about my concerns of destroying my gut flora with the antibiotics and he acknowledged the issue so we agreed to try ozone for now. After a brief shot of novacaine, he took a huge syringe and filled my jaw with the solution. It felt like I just got hit in the face with a hammer. Thankfully, the pain subsided pretty quickly and I didn’t feel any side effects – until two days later. Once we got back home, I awoke feeling much worse than normal, jaw pain all around, with sore stiff muscles over my entire body. Since then I’ve been indulging in frequent naps, epsom salt baths, sleeping as much as possible and taking a few homeopathic solutions for lymph and dental drainage.

In two weeks I’m due for another follow-up visit to check for progress. We’ll see if another ozone injection is best or if antibiotics are needed for the short-term. I’m convinced that my gut won’t be able to handle any antibiotic protocol and it will destroy my gut terrain, but is it possible to increase my intake of probiotics and fermented, cultured foods during and after a short course of antibiotics to make it through without too much damage to my immune system? If you’ve faced a similar decision, knowing the consequences, I’d love to hear your story.