I left his office feeling a little defeated and also feeling like this guy didn't even let me tell him half my symptoms. He told me to go home and google new daily persistent headache syndrome, he said he is almost positive that I have that, but wanted me to read up on it and let him know if my symptoms matched or not or if I disagreed with his diagnosis. Which I absolutely do. Not only are the daily persistent headaches characterized by "mild to moderate bilateral pain" (hello, mild to moderate pain doesn't even phase me, but the intense pain that literally gives me goosebumps and produces muscle knots the size of ping pong balls behind my temples certainly does) they are also not known to have a specific cause. I can pinpoint the day the headaches started and a triggering event. I'm sure it's no coincidence that I've had horrible headaches centered around my jaws since September of '07 after that fateful impacted wisdom teeth extraction when the oral surgeon informed me that I would probably end up with a bad case of TMJ after the surgery (my car accident 3 weeks later didn't help either). Of course, the surgeon neglected to inform me I would end up with dysautonomia, but who could have ever predicted that. It gives me the shudders whenever a friend or relative says they are going to get their wisdom teeth pulled. I wish I would have never, ever had mine out as I blame both my TMJ and POTS on that stupid surgery. I went in young and healthy, and came out a few hours later in the body of an 82-year old woman.
Unfortunately I think yesterday was a waste of an appointment. A bullshit diagnosis that my pre-med friends in college could have more accurately diagnosed. And even more unfortunately for me, that leaves me back with the same old TMJ diagnosis which is not only a very stubborn pain that's hard to knock out, it's also a condition most medical insurance companies will not cover at all. Most dental insurance companies will cover a little bit, typically $500 a year with a $5000 lifetime maximum. Which is hardly enough to cover the cost of one nightguard let alone more effective but costly treatments like botox or even surgery.
I am sure new daily persistent headache syndrome is a very real condition with very real sufferers. I just don't think I am one of them. I would be willing to bet money that that's one condition I don't even have. It almost seems futile to go to most doctors anymore when my POTS friends are so much smarter and offer better advice. I'm talking to you here, Claudia. Thanks to all my friends in the dysautonomia community for being both smart and supportive. Too bad all of us aren't doctors, we'd be a heck of a lot better at it than the ones practicing now.