I know, I know … what kind of title is this for a blog post? I was trying to think of a more creative title but finally settled with one that is direct and to-the-point. And yet, I am sure some of you will still be wondering what Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) is all about 🙂
It started some time earlier this year when I began experiencing tightness around my mouth, especially when teaching or preaching. I thought I was just tired and with rest, it would go away. That was not an inaccurate assessment, but rest was not what I did nor diligently pursued.
A few months later, I experienced difficulty eating. When I shared this with Serene, she was not thrilled, thinking I was being fussy and difficult, complaining about her cooking 😦 Well, over time, it got worse and I really couldn’t chew without my jaws aching.
Two weeks ago, in a visit to my dentist, I casually asked if it was a sign of ageing that I should be having problems eating and chewing. Based on what I shared, the dentist said it was not a dental problem but a muscular one. And so, I googled for some answers and came across this term, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ). It sounded serious and I sure prayed and hoped it wouldn’t be what I am having. Unfortunately, a visit to the ENT Specialist confirmed it 😦
So yes, I have TMJ, but thankfully, it’s not at a serious stage – others experience severe headaches and locked jaws!! That said, it’s quite uncomfortable and rather inconvenient. Mealtimes are especially tiring and I must be very careful what I eat. Anything too chewy and the aches will set in. Talking and smiling is also affected as the muscles are all strained and tight. This affects the times I have to teach or preach at long stretches. Maybe I have to stick to 15min sermons from now on – haha!
All said, I know the grace of God is upon me and He will see me through this. Since He has called me to preach and teach, this small impediment is not going to hold me back one bit! I have already repented of my irresponsibility in not resting and pushing myself too hard. I am visiting the physiotherapist for treatment but I must also do my part to slow down and to rest, both physically and in Him.
Last night, I felt led to read Jeremiah Chapter 1, to review the Lord’s call once again. How comforting it was when my eyes fell on verse 9: “Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth…” Yes, Lord, stretch forth Your hand and touch my mouth. Release the tightness in and around the mouth. Bring healing and restoration to the joints and to the muscles that I may not be hindered from preaching and declaring Your word!