Medical mystery leaves teen unable to chew

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by Carey Pena

AZ FAMILY

Posted on February 22, 2013 at 10:04 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 22 at 11:46 PM

PHOENIX, Arizona -- Fourteen-year-old Sofia Galaz can barely chew solid food. Her jaw is literally shifting to one side.

How this happened is a medical mystery.

“It was crazy when I got the news. I felt like the walls were caving in on me. I couldn’t breathe. It was horrible” Galaz said. “Plus I didn’t understand what it was.”

“We noticed something different when she did an exam,” said Galaz’ longtime dentist, Dr. Lidieth Libby from Desert Ride Pediatric Dentistry.

Libby sent Galaz to see a specialist and they discovered that the disc between the two bones in her jaw is missing. The teenager’s jaw is actually touching bone to bone.

“It is a degenerative condition which means it will continue to get worse and worse,” Dr. Libby explained. “It is difficult for her to eat and her jaw is drifting to one side where the bone has not developed.”

“While I don’t consider myself deformed,” Galaz said, “technically I am.”

Doctors have told Galaz and her family that her face will continue shifting to one side and the deformity will become worse.

Her mom, Myra Yeomans, said she was in shock when she first saw the X-ray.

“When I first saw the images and to see how my little daughter has her face moving to a side – it’s really hard to accept. And to understand the whole situation we need to go through," Yeomans said.

The family said there are only three specialists in the country who do this very involved surgery – none in Arizona.

Yeomans, who is a very popular teacher at the International School in Scottsdale, has a lot of parents rallying around her family to try to help raise the $40,000 they need out of pocket. 

She and her husband have sold their house to try to come up with the money in an effort to give their daughter a normal life.

And Galaz can’t wait. She said she just wants to live like any other 9th grade girl.

Visit www.sofiagalaz.com for more information.

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