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  • Disabled

    At 18 years old I was pushed down 150 stairs I lost part of my mobility from my waist down. Later I was chased out of a grocery story by the same guy due to my job.

    As the dawn of adulthood arrived lifes journey began,
    With dreams and aspirations the world embraced your plan.
    Fate took a turn delivering a blow
    Presenting challenges and a different path to follow.

    In the midst of bliss when skies were clear
    Your chosen path deviated,. You persevered without fear.
    With a spirit and heart that shines so bright
    You face obstacles that obstruct your sight.

    From, within newfound strength emerges to prevail
    A boundless courage and unwavering will to sail.
    Unrestricted by limits imposed by destinys hand
    You rise above undeterred and innately grand.

    Though there may be moments of weakness or doubt
    Your resilience tells a tale that transcends throughout.
    Every step you take becomes a triumph in its right
    A soaring spirit unconfined and unbound by plight.

    Adapting is your gift as you redefine what it means
    The essence of strength in all its scenes.
    Your story becomes a beacon for others to admire
    Inspiring hearts amidst trials that may transpire.

    For in your courage one can witness with clarity,
    A portrait of resilience to be seen in totality.
    A testament, to fortitudes resounding song,
    Staying strong when things have gone wrong.

    Rebecca engle

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  • What’s the answer

    In the depths of secrecy a storm quietly gathers,
    Challenges, with ovaries a struggle
    Medications combat the cries of pain
    Doubts creep in as time seems to wane.

    The idea of having children feels distant
    Anxiety builds with doctors delays persistent.
    Once secure now ovaries face uncertaintys grasp
    Decisions loom heavily making thoughts clasped.

    There is no comfort in this fight
    Yet bravery grows stronger with each daily plight.
    Strength is discovered in enduring lifes strife
    Hope perseveres amidst the life.

    Though fears and doubts may linger on
    Resilience emerges through this challenging con.
    In battles both seen and unseen, by all eyes
    A spirit endures, unyielding and wise.

    Rebecca engle

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  • To: Everyone who has ever been a caregiver or care receiver

    I have been happily married for 51 years to a former New York Jets professional football player turned lawyer and educator, my husband Hank. We met and married young in my sophomore year in college. I was a pioneering woman student in the first 4-year class of women admitted to Princeton University. Being married in no way slowed down my academic ambitions: I graduated Phi Beta Kappa in three years from Princeton, where I was also a founding member of the women’s varsity basketball team and the Medieval Society of Princeton. I went on to earn a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies at Yale University and a law degree at Columbia University School of Law. I was among the first women to make partner at my international law firm in its New York City office. There I founded and headed the firm’s Exempt Organizations group representing charities, their boards, and their donors. Among my clients were the Louvre Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Robin Hood Foundation, and Doctors Without Borders USA, of which I was the founding American director and where I still chair the Board of Advisors. I also taught the law of nonprofits at Harvard Law School for 9 years.

    My husband and I have led an exciting personal, educational, professional, and recreational life together. That great life was turned upside down on April 18, 2016, when Hank collapsed at the gym and was rushed by ambulance to the hospital. After many examinations and tests, doctors determined a problem with his brain. Now, almost 8 years later and after having seen more than 70 doctors and specialists, we still do not have a diagnosis for my husband’s brain condition. We do, however, suspect that the brain challenges that he fights every day are attributable to the 16 years of his life spent playing tackle football from Pop Warner to the pros. Recent studies by the Boston University UNITE Brain Bank and the Concussion Legacy Foundation show that the risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (“CTE”) increases with every year of tackle football played. Development of CTE is correlated with number of years played, number of sub-concussive hits received, and the force of each hit. Unfortunately CTE cannot yet be diagnosed during life. Hank has joined thousands of athletes and their families in pledging his brain to the UNITE Brain Bank after his death. Although he does not exhibit any of the typical symptoms of CTE, we wonder whether the disruptions of his autonomic nervous system that he now lives with are an atypical presentation of CTE.

    When my husband was stricken in 2016, he was suddenly debilitated, unable to walk more than a few steps without using a wheelchair. For a man who considered himself a 65-year-old stud, this was a shock and very depressing. In an instant, our favorite activities of mountain climbing in Europe, snow-shoeing in New England, and trekking in Scandinavia were over for us. Everyday living was so challenging that we had to move out of our house to the home we had bought for my Mother where we might live on a single level.

    Thinking my husband was dying, we decided in 2016 that I should see a ”widowhood counselor” to help me deal with the sudden changes in our lives. The counselor asked me one day, “What in your earlier life made you so extraordinarily capable of coping with challenges?” That question stopped me in my tracks. I hadn’t analyzed capability. I was just a doer—somebody who got things done by putting one foot in front of the other, solving complex problems step-by-step with clear intellect and determination. Where did that life approach come from?

    When I was 16, my parents announced to my older sister, younger brother and me that they wanted to have another baby. My older sister was married and moved to the west coast a few months after my mother gave birth to my younger sister during my junior year of high school. Unfortunately, my Mother experienced afterbirth bleeding and was repeatedly hospitalized for surgery, even having a near-death experience. My Father was so stressed with this, he had a heart attack and was hospitalized in a different hospital. I found myself at home with a precious infant sister, a younger brother to feed and get to and from school, household scheduling and tasks, and visiting my parents in their respective hospitals. This was a formative coping experience for me, yet one that I know confronts many other young people all over the country and the world. Over the years, my Father had multiple additional health issues that required my involvement including managing my parents’ affairs. After my Father’s death, my husband and I moved my Mother across the street from us so that we could be more deeply involved in her Alzheimer’s care. We managed her medical care, her finances, and spent hours with her every day enjoying her company and supporting her aides. In fact, my husband’s 2016 collapse came at the same time that my Mother’s dementia significantly worsened requiring more of my daily involvement as she stopped walking and needed to be moved in and out of bed several times a day with a Hoyer lift requiring two people.

    In my academic life, being in the first class of women at Princeton had presented its own challenges. Many male students and alumni were openly hostile to women. A professor organized a shunning incident against me in a course where I was the only woman student, which only motivated me to work harder. I earned an A+ in that course and an apology from the professor. Only recently did I realize that I never had a woman professor at Princeton, at Yale Graduate School, or at Columbia Law School. Dealing with men and their conscious or unconscious biases was par for the course. Sports were no exception. As the former captain of my high school varsity basketball team, I suited up my first week at Princeton and went to the gym to shoot baskets, hoping to get into a pick-up game. When I asked for a basketball at the equipment room, I was told by the several cross-armed equipment men that there were no basketballs for “girls”. When I asked about the 4 racks of basketballs behind them, I was told those were only for “men.” My efforts to win over the equipment men failed but I was not about to accept that treatment. So I went through the building until I found the new women’s athletic director and explained my problem. She rolled her eyes at the equipment men’s recalcitrance and told me to walk back slowly and ask for a ball again. By the time I got back downstairs to the equipment room, one rack of basketballs had been rolled to the side and bore a hand-lettered sign saying “Girls.” I went back to the gym every day for many days to shoot baskets with balls from that rack. I was the only girl asking. The “men” never let me join a pick-up game, but the women’s athletic director did watch me every day. The next fall she called me and said, “I’ve decided to form a women’s varsity basketball team and my first call is to you!” I was glad to join. And by the time later that year that I married the big football star, the equipment men who had once denied me a basketball were such my close buddies that they offered to throw me a bridal shower.

    In graduate school, I was the only woman Ph.D. in my graduating group along with 6 men. The head of my department said, “I’ll place the men in their jobs first and then I’ll get to you.” My reaction? “The hell with this! I’m getting my own job.” And I did. That infuriated the department head, who believed it was his right to place graduate students. When I decided to apply to law school several years later, he refused to provide any paperwork documenting my Ph.D. Rather than fight with an older aggrieved man, I contacted the head of the Yale Graduate School. He said, “Well, I could direct him to write for you but who knows what he might say. I would prefer to write for you myself.” Thus, I ended up with a much better letter of recommendation than I would otherwise have received. I was accepted at both of the law schools to which I applied. When I graduated as an honors scholar from Columbia Law School, I was advised that I had 3 strikes against me: I had a Ph.D., I was married, and I was a woman. A senior professor advised me to “Go be a big fish in a little pond.” I told him “But I want to be a big fish in a big pond” and so I accepted the offer of a top-10 international law firm in New York City. After working at the firm for over 30 years, I was honored to receive a trophy as a “Trailblazer” being the first woman in the Firm’s more than 140-year history to have “run the table” from summer associate to partner to senior partner/group head to retirement.

    The late Rosalynn Carter famously said “There are only four kinds of people in the world: Those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.” Managing my husband’s healthcare at the same time I was managing my Mother’s care during her last years was incredibly stressful. Nonetheless, I know that I am incredibly privileged having had supportive family, friends, aides and health insurance to help me bear this load. I have turned my intellect to learning as much as I can about brain health and supporting Hank with medical appointments, tests, physical therapy, neuropsychological therapy, nutrition and sleep. In addition, I have sought out opportunities for my husband to replace his past sports activities with intellectual activities that help him cope with the grief of losing his former life while stimulating his brain. The main activities Hank turned to were writing poetry and singing his poems. In a caregivers group I participate in at our local Glen Cove Hospital, I was asked to share with the group an activity that my husband could manage. When I said that Hank had taken up poetry to help him cope, the caregiver sitting next to me piped up, “Well, I am the Poet Laureate of Nassau County, and I teach poetry.” I literally ran after this woman at the end of the meeting and cornered her in the hospital hallway. “May I bring my husband to your class, please?” She replied, “Yes, but you can’t just bring him. If you come, you have to write too.”

    So that is how Hank and I started working with now-former Poet Laureate Evelyn Kandel, who is also an Unsealed Writer. We have spent hours and hours preparing for and with Evelyn and our new classmates in her weekly classes over the past several years. She encouraged Hank to write a book about his football and brain experiences, which he mustered the effort and courage to do. His 2022 book, entitled “Head Hits I Remember: Football, Dysautonomia, and my Brain” is a very honest exploration of his athleticism and brain challenges. Our poems are also included in the new anthology of Evelyn’s students entitled “13 Poets From Long Island” published in September 2023. So from having to “give up” many activities Hank and I did for decades before, we have now elected to invest our time and energies in our “new normal” which includes poetry and singing alongside daily exercise, nutrition and healthy sleep. I am thrilled to report that Hank has made huge strides in recovery, vastly improving his physical stamina and walking ability. We have also met and enjoyed the company of a new set of friends whom we now regularly see via Zoom poetry meetings.

    Ironically, on October 15, 2023, in a simple trip-and-fall, I managed to break my knee cap into three pieces requiring surgery, three weeks in the hospital, and wearing a cumbersome Bledsoe Brace. Now I am on the cusp of starting outpatient physical therapy to regain my normal walking gait. What a turnabout in our lives! In an instant, I was transformed from the perennial care-giver to the care-receiver. We quickly learned several lessons. First, thank goodness for the family and friends who jumped in to help us—his sister and my sister dropping off food for Hank and having him for dinner, for instance. Remember the precious infant sister I cared for? She is now my health-care proxy actively engaged in my recovery. Second, Hank actually benefitted from swapping roles. He found strength to drive himself to and from the hospital to visit me and the confidence to manage household chores in my absence. Third, we were reminded again that life circumstances are never static; they ebb and flow constantly. Despite my feeling incredibly fit and stable, one day-dreaming step looking up at the sky through beautiful willows had proved otherwise. None of us is invincible. I am not invincible.

    Equally as important, I, a caregiver for so long, have had to relax into being the care-receiver, asking for and accepting support from my family and community of friends. I am extremely grateful to all of them, including my “new” friends and colleagues in poetry. Many public libraries and adult-education programs offer classes in poetry, in journaling, in writing. I encourage anyone needing to jump-start a change in outlook to give them a try.

     

    Check out my poem in the book 13 Poets From Long Island” on Amazon – It is free for those with Kindle Unlimited.

    Victoria B. Bjorklund

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  • UNANNOUNCED

    Should Sadness visit unannounced

    And you wonder “why?”

    Greet them at your door

    Have them come inside

    Offer them a drink

    Ask them why they’re here

    Pull open the shades

    So Sunlight will appear

    Politely and gently

    Listen to concerns

    Kindly end the chat

    Ask them never to return

    But if Sadness reappears

    And their shadow mars your Zen

    Rely upon your Feng Shui

    And close your door on them again

    Ricardo Albertorio

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  • More Than a Ramp

    This is a ramp; at first, I took a picture to post on my social media platform to credit Buffalo Wild Wings for having this ‘assistant’ for people like myself who need an alternative to reach their destination. Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate not having to worry I might have ‘egg on my face’ before I enter the establishment or my cheeks being red, not because I had spicy wings, but because I fell.

    Having two letters attached to my name is hard. These letters are CP. If I wanted to take the ‘steps’ — in my case, the longer route, I would say cerebral palsy, but my parents call me Jake instead of Jacob for a reason, right? Yes, my jokes are making this longer.

    As I thought about posting this picture to social media, I pondered, “How could I post this phenomenal demonstration of universal design and make it universally understood?”

    As I muddled for an answer, my subconscious blatantly interjected, “Your fudging kidding me, Jake? You know better; this is about your valid desire and craving for others to comprehend your sometimes paralyzing negative thoughts when ‘boxed’ or thinking you are ‘boxed’ because of two letters, CP.

    So…after all of that stewing over, I realized the ramp served as a reminder, “I do not only need a ramp for physical assistance; I also need it for mental assistance! Fortunately, I do, and I hope you all do too! Keep unsealing your stories; this UNSEALED family has you!!

    Jake

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    • Aww Jake this is so sweet. I hope The Unsealed can be that “ramp” for you and others, showing everyone we care, and helping everyone to get through the difficult moments and emotions in their lives. Thank you so much for sharing. <3Lauren

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      • The Unsealed definitely serves that purpose for me. I hope it does for others as well. The group certainly is a nonjudgmental space to UNSEAL the “drink” that is emotion!

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        • This is so true. You’re so right about The Unsealed and I’m glad you’re loving this community and the opportunity to share with others and inspire with your words.

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  • Growing up with migraine

    I grew up with migraine, it was like another member of the family. Always there, sometimes quiet, sometimes not but, always pretty need.

    I spent my childhood in waiting rooms; chiropractors, neurologists, nutritionists all for my 4 year old brother who was getting daily attacks. As a child there were times this was fun. I would get to miss school to come to the neurologist in Manhattan. I got to know the man at the pizzeria next to the chiropractor so well that he let me put on whatever I wanted on the TV while my little brother was next door getting adjustments on his spine. As a child there were also many times this made me mad and annoyed at my brother. When we had to leave a party or family function because of his attacks, when we didn’t have chocolate in the house because he was on an elimination diet, when I was put in charge of taking care of him when we were are friends houses and their parents didn’t know what to do.

    When I wasn’t in waiting rooms I could be found on the other side of a dark bedroom door wishing my mom could come play with me or help me with my homework. Or waiting on the outside of the bathroom or at the top of the stairs while my mother vomit from one of her episodic attacks. I was never allowed to wear perfume because it could trigger an attack for my mom.

    When headaches became part of my daily life I didn’t think anything of it. When my vision blurred, I broke out in sweat and it felt like a knife was stabbing behind my eye I didn’t panic, I knew what it was. As I began my career as an occupational therapist my anxiety and depression worsened and I began mental health therapy for this. I casually mentioned my daily pain and my therapist seemed shocked. This was the first time I realized not everyone gets headaches, it’s not part of everyone’s life.

    It had always been part of mine and I genuinely didn’t realize it wasn’t part of everyone’s. When these attacks began to worsen and increase in frequency I visited my PCP and asked if I should see a neurologist. Her response “no, you’re young, here’s this medication”. A medication I later found out can make attacks worse when I finally saw a migraine specialist. My good friend a fellow warrior pressed me and advocated to me and after months of the attacks becoming more severe I finally began my journey on living with chronic migraine and not letting it control me.

    Crystal Mulligan

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    • You are so strong. It may not have been fair for you growing up but you had to live with such a painful condition that hardly fazed you. Thank you for sharing

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    • Wow Crystal, that’s a deep story and I’m sorry you deal with this. I wish your PCP was more mindful of the medication you were taking and was willing to send you to a doctor who could help you better. I know it must be hard to manage something that you can’t control. I’m glad you don’t let it affect your daily life and I wish you happiness, health…read more

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  • Darkness of Death with Diverticulitis

    Its was Thursday, May 11th, 2022, my husband agreed to go to urgent care because he had the pain that of a kidney stone, which he’s prone too. Results of the urine analysis showed traces of blood, consistent with a kidney stone trying to pass. The doctor sent us on our way with meds and a script for an MRI if the stone had not passed in 24 hours. That night my husband tossed and turned, waking me as he got out of bed at like 3 in the morning to go to the bathroom. When I awoke I could see him holding his lower left abdomen, his pain visible by the light in the hall hitting his face as he opened the door, and even more so in his hobbled out of the room. My husband is one of those manly men, he wont show he has anything wrong with him, which is why I became on high alert. I allowed him space in that moment.

    I woke up the next morning to hurdle the kids off to school. I texted him on my way to drop the kids off – “Good Morning baby. Get ready, when I get home we are going to the ER to get your MRI.” I had already call the insurance company to see where we could go and was told it was a 45 day approval process for a nonemergency MRI. We were not waiting that long! I could feel the darkness looming, unsure of what the energy was, but heeding the warning it presented. We didn’t even get breakfast because I knew if we did we wouldn’t make it to the ER. My husband highly dislikes doctors let alone hospitals. Also, he had already talked me out of taking him to the ER the two previous days.

    My husband was taken back, he explained he had a script for an MRI for the kidney stones but the insurance wouldn’t cover it unless it was emergency or preapproved. He did an MRI and then I was let back to wait for the results with him in his ER room. He was so visibly uncomfortable he sat in a chair rather than the bed. When the doctor entered the room, the darkness was still present and a bit stronger, he explained to us that my husband was being admitted and put on IV antibiotics due to a majorly inflamed bowel of his left side. Its important to note you could see a bulge on his abdomen even through his clothing.

    He was immediately administered 2 bags of antibiotics plus a bag of fluids. Once transferred to his admitted room, we realized he was on the surgical ward. In that room is where I found myself face to face with the darkness. This wasn’t just any energy, this energy was death and it was here for my husbands life. I watched for three days as my husband became more and more ill. His skin wasn’t that of the beautiful caramel, white chocolate mix anymore, instead he was yellowish green. His eyes became sunken in and every night I laid in that hospital bed I prayed it was not my last night with him. I could feel me becoming a widow. I could see snippets of my future being a single mom again, carrying my mother in law through the grief of her baby boy. I could see myself being her history repeating itself. I was helpless, powerless! It was as if I had concrete around my feet keeping me in this place of darkness, wrapped in the dark coldness of death.

    I vividly remember having to go home and deliver this news to my Mother in law. She doesn’t speak English so I had to go get my niece to translate for me. I gave my niece a small debriefing, I’m so grateful for her receiving the information and not succumbing to the possibility she was going to lose not just her uncle but her god father as well. As soon as my niece and I walked in the house I could see it on my mother in laws face she knew there was grave danger lurking. It was the hardest news I’ve had to deliver. However, I’m beyond grateful for her holding down our home while I tended to our love.

    At one point I felt like I was losing my mind! Between being by my husband and children’s fathers side in the hospital, updating his employers, maintaining calm, cool and collected for our three beautiful children, and not having answers for my concerned mother in law and all of my husbands siblings, I was literally running on fumes. I would run to the lobby and eat turkey slim jims for breakfast, lunch and dinner; sometimes not eating at all. My husband wasn’t allowed to eat and I wanted to spend as much time as possible with him because I knew if I didn’t I would never forgive myself for not being with him in his final hours.

    On Sunday, I ran home to prepare the kids and house for Monday so I could take the kids to school in the morning. Shortly there after I arrived at the hospital to a voice message from our daughter crying. All I understood out of the message was that our son was out. I called our oldest daughter to find out what was happening. Our dog got out while she was feeding him. I ran to my car to run home and find the dog. As I ran passed the nurses station I heard the voice of death – “You must choose.” I immediately ignored it, as it has no place in our lives to dictate anything. As I went through the back streets looking for our pup before arriving home the voice returned – “Your dog or your husband?” I answered aloud this time; “I will not choose! You have no place here! Nobody will die!” I later found out, simultaneously my husband and mother in law had a similar encounter. My husband was asked “Your mothers life or yours?” My mother in law was asked “Your life or your sons?”

    When I arrived home, my mother in law already had found the dog so I went back to the hospital. When I arrived and parked I remember I have my own healing and cleansing abilities and right now we are fighting for my husbands life! Why not do everything possible? I ran back home and grabbed my needed supplies. I ran to my car with everything and hurried off with all my witchcraft to heal my husband! When I arrived my husband informed me he was waiting on discharge papers and we could leave. The most relieving words I’ve ever heard leave my husband tongue.

    When we arrived home, everyone rejoiced! The darkness was subsiding, and quickly. My husband started to regain his strength. It was beautiful to pay witness as my husband went from the frail state he was in not to long before in the hospital. To be home with my husband and not be a widow was the greatest gift I could have ever received for mothers day. In the end my husband was diagnosed with Diverticulitis. I am not a widow. My mother in law didn’t have to bury her baby boy. Our children get to live life with Papi by their side. Most of all, our family made it through this life altering event and we made it without life repeating history.

    AL Gonzalez

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  • Kanani shared a letter in the Group logo of Health, Wellness and Chronic ConditionsHealth, Wellness and Chronic Conditions group 1 year ago

    This post is viewable by the Unsealed community only.

    Living with Thyroid Eye Disease: Becoming an advocate

    This letter is only available to The Unsealed subscribers. Subscribe or login to get access!

  • How My Teeth Saved My Life!

    The year 2022 was a year that gave me the most hope and reminded me the value of my own life. It, like others, gave me high highs and some scary low lows. One of my highs was that I was able to spend the time and money to begin my journey to fixing my teeth again. I found the perfect dentist and I spent majority of the year with her working on perfecting my smile. It was painful at times and even more so draining. However, my confidence and self esteem sored through the entire universe. Another high is how my teeth journey saved my life!

    I received a root canal on the tooth behind my K-9 tooth on the bottom right side. This was a Wednesday and I was sent home with antibiotics and Motrin 800. By Friday I was back in the office with slight swelling and lots of pain. My dentist gave me Tylenol 3, prescription strength Tylenol that had Oxycodone mixed with it, and was told if the pain persists or swelling worsens to go to the hospital. Saturday, I was still in bed with the pain and my husband begged me to go in to the Emergency room. I hate hospitals! After hours of procrastination, I settled for the urgent care.

    I have been to the urgent care once before for sever tooth pain and they were able to give me a shot of Tylenol that take effect immediately. But even more so, I knew I needed a stronger antibiotic because there was no way this wasn’t a sever infection with the amount of pain I was in and the meds I was already on. When I was explaining to the urgent care doctor what had happened throughout the week he looked at me and said, “I do not give narcotics for tooth aches.” To which I responded, “I do not need narcotics, nor do I want them. I have Tylenol 3 that isn’t working. I need a stronger antibiotic.” I also asked to have my ear looked at due to it being in pain. He prescribed me a much stronger antibiotic, gave me the shot. Then sat with me to gave me an exact schedule on how to take my meds to keep the pain at bay. I had full relief for a few hours and then over the course of the day the pain came back.

    Sunday rolled around and now I am not just in pain but I’m also sleep deprived because the pain didn’t allow me to rest. When I looked in the mirror I saw the swelling was no longer in the isolated space on my jawline, where the root canal took place. There was literally no definition between my jaw and neck with the swelling. After seeing this, I asked my husband to drive me to the hospital. I explained to the doctor everything that had transpired from the root canal to the urgent care to this day. Again I was met with “We don’t treat dental work. All I can do is give you a CT and some Motrin.”

    At this point I now have pain in my right cheek bone, right nostril, my neck, my jaw, my right ear. I also was experiencing extreme pressure behind my right eye, a migraine that covered the entire right side of my head, and the swelling was so bad that I could not turn my head. While my nurse was doing his intake on me, the imaging technician came to do my CT. While waiting for my nurse to finish up I could see him looking at me and at his paperwork in his hand, slightly confused. Just then he interrupts to ask “Are you having pain in your neck as well?” I responded to him “Yes. I’m having pain all through here,” and I used my hand to show him my entire right side of my head, face and neck. He then walked away in the direction of my doctor.

    When he came back the nurse was done and he took me to get my CT. While on our way I learned despite my complaints and visible swelling the doctor requested a CT of ONLY my jawline. The imaging tech asked the doctor to change it to my entire head and neck as well. My husband and I waited patiently for the results, hoping I would leave with some sort of relief. The doctor came back and explained to me that the CT showed I had Sphenoid Sinusitis and I would need to follow up with an ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist). She explained the migraines are the toughest there are because its from the sinus. She said the good thing is there was no abscesses, which I knew because I’ve had abscesses in my mouth before when I was a child, and that was my response when she said that. The doctor sent me on my way with the recommendation to see an ENT.

    I want to make it clear, when we were given this information there was absolutely no sense of urgency from the doctor. While on our way home we looked up what this Sphenoid Sinusitis was and it scared me a bit. Then I remember I jump to worst case scenario in these situations and I didn’t want to go through that. I called my mom the next day to tell her, she explained the ENT would put a camera in my nose and flush my sinuses through my nose and immediately I was like “NOPE!” Over the course of the next couple of weeks I avoided the topic and even attempting to find an ENT like the plague.

    However, this was a huge mistake that I didn’t realize would literally effect my life terminally! Soon I was sick all the time with a head cold I just couldn’t shake. I had gotten to the point where I was just a vessel moving through my day to day life the best I could. It took every ounce of energy to get up and take the kids to school. For a month my routine became; get up, take the kids to school, come home and sleep, get up to pick the kids up from school (I slept in the car while waiting for them to get out) then go home and sleep. My family became progressively more concerned for me and honestly I did too. With the little bit of energy I had while laying in bed between naps, I began reading up more on Sphenoid Sinusitis and learned the following:
    Sphenoid Sinusitis is a rare disease with potentially devastating complications such as cranial nerve involvement, brain abscess, and meningitis. It occurs at an incidence of about 2.7% of all sinus infections. Although headache is the most common presentation symptom, there is no typical headache pattern. Common symptoms of Sphenoid Sinusitis include but are not limited to; headaches, earaches, neck pain, pain behind the eyes and around the temples, post nasal drip, sinus congestion and sore throat. Sphenoid Sinusitis can cause severe complications that are potentially fatal and therefore must never be underestimated.

    Then I found an article of the severity of this disease in its worst state and I realized I had all of these symptoms. The weakness, lack of energy, sleeping all the time, this was my body being over taken by the disease. I knew I needed help and I needed it immediately! When I found my ENT, due to the hospital I got my diagnoses from he wasn’t fully sure it was this so he ran lots of tests. One of which was a breathing test, I scored a 29, the lowest, normal rate should be 78. As soon as he saw this he gave me a breathing treatment in office. He sent me for a blood allergy test. I was put on an inhaler twice per day, an emergency inhaler, an allergy pill once a day, a nasal steroid, an oral steroid and an antibiotic and was instructed to come back in a month for a follow up and results review. When I went back a month later, I was sick again with the same symptoms minus the excessive sleeping. I did feel the best I had felt in months. I did another breathing test and a follow up CT. He found that my Sphenoid sinus cavity was still half full with infection. I got sent home with my second round of steroids, third round of antibiotics and another follow up for a month later.

    A month later I walked into his office and I thought I was cured. I still got a cold again, at this rate I was getting it once a month but it wasn’t lasting as long. The follow up CT for this appointment showed that my Sphenoid sinus cavity was only 25% filled with infection and he wanted it gone. So, a third round of steroid and a fourth of antibiotics, but this time a different, stronger one and another follow up a month later.

    One month later, no cold, full of life and no infection in my sphenoid sinus cavity gave me the almost all clear. Doc wanted to see how I did for a month without all the meds. I went a month only using my allergy pill. This follow up CT showed no infection! I was cured! But, I wasn’t. I never truly will be. I will live with this for life. Every time I get any type of cold I have to be put on steroid and antibiotics to ensure this never gets out of control and takes my life.

    Last year, I felt my body giving up. I felt the life draining from me with every cold, every sniffle, every nap. I genuinely feared I wouldn’t wake up one day. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, an aunt and so much more. A lot of people will hurt and be lost if I had not been working on my teeth! My mother would have out lived her youngest child. My husband would have been a widower and would have had to raise our children without me! My children motherless! I’m incredibly grateful I began my journey to fix my teeth, for if I had not I may have not found this in a time where it was fixable.
    My teeth literally saved my life!

    *The Sphenoid Sinus Cavity is a sinus cavity that is within your brain. When it is completely full of infection this can causethe infection to overflow to your brain.

    AL Gonzalez

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    • OMG!! I am so sorry you went through all of this. It sounds absolutely terrible but I am glad they were able to diagnose and treat you and your feeling better. <3 Lauren

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    • You are so strong to think that a person can go through something like this and continues to stay in their right mind amazes me. I would wish to have as much strength as you had going through this process. Thank you for sharing your store to us mand teaching us about The Sphenoid Sinus Cavity.

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    • That sounds like it was horrible. I’m so glad that you are feeling better. Thank you for sharing your story and educating us on what you went through. <3

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  • Fighting the Worrying Beast and Beating it Down

    Dear Worrier,
    How frustrating to feel like a basket case all the time. Most people, as they age develop a laisez fair attitude. They have lived the majority of the life and they are still able to take a breath. But not me. A few years ago in my early sixties I noticed I started to look at the dark side of life. I always worried I would experience a terrible tradegy in my life. Plane rides, car rides, covid, crowds, swimming in the ocean,big dogs all became frightening to me.
    As I aged, I had to learn to manage the worrying beast. Mornings had become the worst part of my day. I would just lay there and ruminate about a myriad of scary issues.
    I am happy to say I have learned a coping technique. Its a simple solution. I rise , walk my dogs and get busy with my daily activities. At this point I can feel the negative thoughts disappear. . For me, being productive and busy is what liberates me from the beast.
    Moving foward, I am determined to embrace and focus on the positive aspects of my life. My children’s acheivements,my new home, and the fact that my spouse and I have each other to navigate thru life. I know that there will always be trials and tribulations in my journey but there will also be immeasurable joy.

    Shelley Brill

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    • I also fight the worry beast. Unfortunately that beast has been with me since I was only 5 years old. I found that I clean a lot when I start to worry. It’s great until I crash. I’m glad that you found what works for you though. And I’m sure that joy will come with every waking day. Thank you for sharing.

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    • You are so right, and I love it. See, all you had to do was to stop just lying around thinking and worrying. Once you get busy, you don’t have much time to worry. I’m like you though, I worry a lot as well, about my daughter and grandkids and I mean a lot, but I noticed when I’m very busy, I don’t worry as much. When I’m home alone and I do live…read more

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  • Feeling Grateful for The Unsealed

    Dear Unsealers,
    This has been a difficult week for our country. I feel like we are more divided then ever. I am glad I can safely express my myself here at The Unsealed. Everyone needs an emotional outlet and that outlet is different for everyone. But I like being here and telling you all that I am grateful that we are kind to each other even when we disagree. Thank you all!
    Shelley

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    • I strongly agree that we all need an emotional outlet. I can’t imagine a life of not being able to express myself. I’ve noticed that this platform is exceptional for civil interactions.

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    • Right on, Love it. It’s always good to have someone or someplace else to vice your opinion, vent, speak with others about what’s happening all around us and with us. A great feeling!

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