Sandra’s Story

I developed TMJ (Temporal Mandibular Joint) Disorder in the late 1980′s as a result of a dental procedure. I was locked closed for a period of time and the dentist decided he didn’t know what was wrong. He referred me to an orthodontist and the orthodontist referred me to an oral maxillofacial surgeon. I had several surgeries the first year. The oral surgeon informed me I would have this disorder the rest of my life.

I’ve had eight jaw surgeries. The incisions were on the temporal areas of my face and head, underneath my jaws and the inside of my mouth from my wisdom teeth to the center front of my mouth. I’ve had custom total jaw joint replacements bilaterally, been wired shut several times, my mandible broken with steel plates installed that had to be removed several years later, two different Dow Corning silastic implants that had to be removed later, my teeth calibrated and uncalibrated, bone and tissue grafts, a partial jaw joint replacement, surgically implanted arch bars twice that had to be removed later, nerve blocks, trigger point injections several times and my hair shaved from both sides of my face and head from my ears to the upper temporal portion of my head for all of the surgeries. I had orthodontic treatment including braces and physical therapy. Insurance companies denied the majority of my health care including my surgical procedures and/or at reduced rates. I had to fight to get the health care I needed, to get the denials reversed and get the payment to the surgeons increased.

I started designing and decorating hats to wear for myself to cover up my incisions and where my hair was shaved so my appearance would not draw so much attention to my face due to the incisions, scars where my face and head had been shaved and to protect my scars, face and head from sun exposure.

I assisted my clients at Talbots at Plaza Frontenac in decorating hats for Derby Parties and special occasions.

I obtained my Associates Degree in Applied Science-Legal Studies for the Paralegal in December 2010. I’m taking Spanish to be bilingual.

I’m active in the community and giving back is very important to me.