If you haven't done so already, please join me in making a year-end contribution to The TMJ Association (TMJA) in the honor of families like mine and yours who bravely battle this disease each and every day.
Since my daughter, Alexandra, began experiencing TM pain, migraines, neck and back pain eight years ago at the young age of 14, the TMJA has been invaluable to us. The organization has been a major catalyst in our family's ability to push forward to find answers, and has been a source of comfort, genuine care and concern for us. We want to ensure that the TMJA has the financial support it needs to continue to advocate on behalf of families like ours - to work to advance research, promote the development of safe and effective treatments, and to improve education for clinicians, offering us hope and validation.
Alexandra and I know, all too well, the devastating real-life consequences imposed by Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) and the urgent need for advocacy for this disease. By the time my daughter was 20 years old, TMJ pain had affected her ability to focus in school and to function day-to-day. She started to significantly lose function of her jaw. Her facial muscles became incredibly tight, her ability to chew diminished daily and her pain was "off the charts." She was forced to take a medical leave of absence from college, where she was studying to become a nurse. We had to manage her pain and identify the root cause of this agony. Through the years, we sought out the "best" dentists, doctors and surgeons across the country in search of answers. Alexandra has had diagnostic testing, arthrocentesis, steroid injections, Botox injections and arthroscopy. She was diagnosed with TMD, severe bone degeneration, bilaterally displaced discs and increased inflammation. Eventually, we received the devastating news that she was now a candidate for bilateral total joint replacement. The TMJ Association had encouraged us to seek out the underlying cause of Alexandra's increased inflammation and degeneration. We did just that, and recently Alexandra was also diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease.
When illness and pain wreak havoc on our children, we as parents want to "fix it." The problem is that, right now, there are NO quick fixes, simple procedures or magic potions to cure TMD. There is simply not enough research to generate evidence-based information for clinicians or long-term follow-up of TMJ patients. But, we are confident and remain hopeful that the continued advocacy of The TMJ Association WILL change this, as the organization works to raise awareness and change how TMD is diagnosed and treated.
So again, please join me today in making a tax-deductible year-end contribution to The TMJA. Your donation will help to keep hope alive and ensure further advocacy of safe and effective treatments. To make a secure online donation, click here. Alternately, you can mail your donation to: TMJA, PO Box 26770, Milwaukee, WI, 53226.
Michelle & Alexandra Reardon