heal vagus heal

Jun 6, 2014

So much has happened since I last posted over two weeks ago.

So much.

First, we had a wonderful surprise birthday event for my mom in Salt Lake. My little brother flew in for her birthday and when she saw him she fell into his arms and sobbed tears of joy. Her heart filled up with piles of healing – I’m so glad I got to be part of this miracle for her.

Second, we have been selling the puppies and just tonight we found the right family for the last little cutie.

Third, last week my friend Sheri’s brother-in-law committed suicide. Our group of friends are working hard to support one another and let the Savior heal our hearts. It has been such a hard week for everyone involved.

Fourth, in spite of falling on the first night, reinjuring my right foot we just spent the past 4 months healing, and having a whole mortifying passing out/shaking/urinating episode in the middle of the campground, we survived Swim Camp and are now home rubbing Miracle Salve all over our burned faces. I am hoping to get a whole post written about our 2014 Swim Camp adventures, but I can’t guarantee anything as my body is really struggling.

And now for the update I’m sure you are all waiting for…how is the jaw doing?

Can I just avoid the whole topic and pretend that everything is fine? Can I somehow convince you (and me) that I am not scared out of my gourd?

Nope. It’s time to commit the words to paper (or screen) and face the new situation we are facing.

ARGH. I don’t know if I can face it.

Okay. Here is the deal. I have been passing out and have shaking/seizure episodes for 18 months now. These have been mostly caused by irritation/damage to the femoral nerve in my hip. It sends out a panic message like “Help, help, I am being squeezed by the pubic bone/hip socket/adductors and I don’t like it one little bit!” The message goes out like a lightening bolt to the rest of my body which sends my heart rate skyrocketing and the vagus nerve responds by shutting everything down which results in the passing out and shaking. The vagus tries to reset everything much like turning off your computer can make all the frozen/malfunctioning programs start fresh. The reset process usually takes 1-3 hours and then I am good to go again.

Well. Everything has changed. The vagus nerve runs through the jaw and is now being directly irritated by my jaw dislocation issues. So instead of just responding to the femoral nerve’s cries for help, the vagus is now sending out its own panic messages. The vagus is the power cord for almost all the body’s main functions – heart, breathing, and digestion to name a few. I have all sorts of new symptoms showing the vagus is in distress. The passing out and heart rate episodes have greatly increased over the past several weeks – there have been over 20 episodes since the May 2 fall. I feel nauseated whenever an episode occurs. Additionally, I have been burping, choking, yawning, and gagging. Swallowing my own saliva without consciously thinking about it brings on a several minute choking situation. My food sits in the esophagus for hours, then sits in my stomach for many, many more hours. I rarely feel hungry. And I can’t stop shaking.

Jeremy is quite concerned and now that I understand his concerns, I am concerned (scared silly may be a more accurate term) as well because this is looking quite bleak.

The vagus nerve can become hypersensitive by being irritated/stretched/trapped for too long. No one knows how long is too long, but when it does happen, it seems to be permanent. I believe in a God of miracles and absolutely know He can fix it, but according to the medical literature, vagus nerve hypersensitivity has no fix. The body functions it is in charge of either stop working altogether or they work in chaos…heart rate all over the place, digestion being super slow or ineffective, losing the ability to speak, or control breathing. And all of this causes regular passing out and shaking episodes so the body can reset.

Oh my. My brain is full of all of this new information and is desperately trying to come up with a solution, but it can’t so it just keeps going around and around in circles.

The next step is to go see Dr. Guinn in Salt Lake City next week and have a cat scan done of my jaw. Then we will know a lot more about its condition and what we can do to get it to stay in the correct mechanical position. We will learn how many thousands of dollars it will cost and how frequently I will need to travel the 3+ hours to Utah to attend appointments with Dr. Guinn.

And then we hope that the time it takes to get into the correct mechanical position is short enough that the nerve is not damaged beyond repair. It’s a lot of ifs and a lot of hoping.

Please pray. Please pray that the vagus nerve will recover from the damage it is experiencing right now while my jaw is not working properly. Please pray that the nerve will be protected from hypersensitity. Please pray for my peace of mind. Please pray for my heart to give this all to God and trust in His power. Please pray for my children’s spirits to be filled with faith in Him and patience with me. Please pray for my Richard. He is carrying a heavy load and though he is manning it well, I know he needs bouyed up.

To all of you have been praying, thank you. Thank you with every cell of my body. There is no magic wand to make me all better, but there is the power and love of God and that is a bajillion times better.

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  1. Melinda

    Hugs and prayers for you, Tracy. That does sound very scary! Keep your wonderful faith going. He loves you!

  2. Charlene

    I’m so sorry. Ehler’s stinks. Have you considered applying for social security disability? It would help cover a lot of your medical expenses. I know it is hard to do, but it might give you a better chance of getting the care you need now and in the future.

  3. Tasha


    Oh, how my heart goes out to you. Thanks so much for the updates. Your writing is so sincere – honest about your struggles and feelings, but such a reflection of inner strength. I don’t know how you have kept going and stayed so faithful. I don’t know why God has allowed you to go through this.

    We are all grieving and hoping and praying along with you. I always put your name on the temple prayer roll each time I go.

    Keep trying. God will bless you. We love you!
    Tasha & Lamoreaux Family