Hey folks, this is my first post here. I've read this page a billion times in the last few months, finding a bit of comfort knowing that I'm totally not alone.
My story is just like all the others, but I'm scared that this is just the beginning. I'm 23, and generally a healthy person... aside from my cigarette habit. I got all four wisdom teeth pulled in March and everything went to hell after that. I wound up with dry sockets, which took a while to heal. After those were healed, I had a burning, aching pain in my lower left jaw. I returned to the oral surgeon who figured it was just bone fragments. He cut me open on the spot without sedation (traumatizing to say the least, but I'll skip details) told me it looked like osteomyelitis, and performed the first debridement (April). They also did a CT scan, which showed a rather small, but definitely-there swiss cheese effect. I was put on Clindamycin for a good month or so and they did another debridement (early May). They then put me on a PICC line (6 weeks) for Rocephin. The first PICC caused a blockage of lymphatic fluid and poured nastyness out for a week before they decided they had to put a new one in the other arm. They did another debridement (June) and were finally able to culture it successfully. They found Alpha Hemolytic Strep, Eikenella corrodens, and Prevotella Intermedia. So guess who got to learn of the (sarcastic) joys of Flagyl. I'm sure you all know how bad that wrecked me. All this time, I wasn't able to work and spiraled into this horrible depression/anger/self pity, which I'm sure you are all familiar with. I couldn't get my mind off of how unfair and cruel life is. Hah. Finally the light at the end of the tunnel....
After six weeks of the PICC, they did another CT scan. The image showed no changes, which my doctor said meant that there is no more damage being done. I was still feeling little flare ups a couple of times daily, but NOTHING like they used to be. They took the PICC line out and left me on the Flagyl for a few more weeks for good measure. Then came the glorious appointment where my Oral Surgeon took me off the Flagyl and declared me cured. I felt like I oughta get a certificate or trophy for that. They pretty much told me that they hope they never see me again.
Four months of my life revolved entirely around my pain. Everything I thought or did had something to do with it. I had no motivation and completely let the pain take over my life. I couldn't believe the toll it was taking on me. I had regular thoughts of suicide throughout the days, especially considering the ease of using a PICC line... But now that the infection is supposedly "gone", I'm back at work, starting school next week (to be a Radiology Tech, all my scans and surgeries got me totally obsessed), and feel like I have a whole new attitude. I keep busy, find energy when I have none, and don't waste a single minute feeling sorry for myself.
Here's the thing...
I read this page and see that most of you have been dealing with this twenty billion times as long as I have. None of you have been "fixed" after four months like my doctor seems to think he's done. I've been off antibiotics for a week now. I've felt like my old (and improved!) self for a week. A glorious week.
Well, the pain is very slowly and subtly creeping back. I wonder if I'm crazy, maybe I'm so used to the pain, that I still just think I feel it...?
I couldn't stand to go back to that routine. A week of feeling like I could take on the world, and now I'm absolutely terrified of losing that. Hah... typing that up got me crying now. Haha... I'm crying to the internet...I'm scared to even call my doctor. I can't hear bad news.
Those of you who have suffered so long must be incredibly strong.
I really want to hear that I'm not sick anymore.
I really need to hear that no matter what, I can still have the life I want.
And I guess at this point, I really just need to know that somebody gives a shit. Everybody's sick of hearing about it. Nobody knows what to say. At 23, I have a lot of time ahead of me. I can't spend it this way.