Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Crafts we make at Cancer Camp

So one of the perks of this club is the craft class we all get to attend. We all sit around large tables and make things out of our hair. You know me, I go for the cute and cuddly things, so today I made a little bunny and a fuzzy little Easter chick. I am hoping to add a teddy bear and a scruffy puppy to the collection.

That's how it was this morning, the hair on my comb. Whoa. Damn girl. I removed the mass from my comb, put it in my hands and rolled it around and around like when you make a meatball. There it was. A soft compacted golf ball of my hair.

OK. I had to cry again. Just a little. I guess I need to starting composing that Requiem in D for my hair. It's like losing an old friend, somebody who's always been there, through every little thing and every big thing.

It's like losing an old friend.

It's wicked hard.

So I noticed and felt this little bump inside my mouth couple days ago. On the gum, the part inside next to my tongue and next to my right fang. It hurt and I could feel it with my tongue. Weird.

I am one of those people with teeth like The Great Leslie. Every dentist I have ever been to has asked me if I had braces, sorry, that's how perfect my teeth are. I have two fillings. I don't ever have dental problems.

This was weird. Am I getting an abscess or something? Don't tell me I've waited till I was 51 after a lifetime of excellent dental report cards to now need a root canal. and while I'm on chemo? Oh geez.

I called the dentist yesterday. Figured I better get it checked. They are very good at getting you in pretty quick when you are in pain. Even quicker when you tell them you've had a breast cancer diagnosis and have started chemo.

I usually take the stairs up to the office. I took the elevator today.

They all greeted me with that look, the one I am getting used to. It's the "oh you poor poor baby, oh, look at your cute self with breast cancer."

The dental assistant asked me a few questions, when was my diagnosis, when did I start chemo. She typed as I talked. Then she starts asking me how I'm doing, and giving me her best speech about everything is going to be OK and and and...

Rule Number Two when you are talking to somebody dealing with cancer.

Don't patronize me and don't act like you know how tough this is, cause you don't.

You have no flippin idea.

She took photos of my gums, yup, there it is, one bump on the inside gum, and two smaller bumps on the outside gum next to the cheek.

Oh man. I cannot believe I have waited till I was on chemo to have a problem with my teeth or gums.

"Have you ever been to an endodontist?"

Uh no. What the hell is an endodontist?

"A special dentist that performs root canals."

Aw shit.

[listening to my ipod while I am writing my blog, theme from "a man and a woman" comes on. wdygwygafm?]

Why was I always so cocky about never having dental problems? I apologize husband.

She takes some x-rays. I wait for dentist. My dentist looks like Michael McDonald if he were to shave and get a shorter haircut and was a dentist.

Dentist walks in and says right off "First of all, I am very very sorry to hear about your diagnosis. That is difficult news to hear. I am sorry." He means it. He knows there is nothing else to say.

Very good. This is good advice. When bad things happen. Just tell the person you are sorry. Sorry they have to go through this. Sorry for their loss. and then get quiet, and let them feel the magnitude of your limited empathy based on trying to IMAGINE what this must be like.

Don't say a bunch of goofy Pollyanna things that don't mean shit and only piss a person off.

"OK let's see what we've got here."

He looks at the photos up on the tv. My ugly blisters. I never had acne or hardly a pimple either. Sorry. I just didn't. I have always been part of the good hair, good skin, good teeth club.

Then he looks at my xrays. He seems a bit shocked. I think by the photos he also thought I'd be easing on down the road to the endodontist.

He comes around and sits down next to me. Oh now what. He is giving me that "you poor baby" look.

"Well, the good news is this is not a dental problem. There is nothing going on with your teeth. This is a chemo problem. This is called mucositis. It's very common in cancer patients on chemo."

Oral mucositis is a common and often debilitating complication of cancer treatment, Wikipedia

"I'm afraid there is nothing we can do to remedy this, we can only try and help you deal with it. You could get a lot more of these, and they can be very painful. I recommend you take ibuprofen to deal with the pain, and your oncologist can also prescribe you a syrup form of lidocaine that will help. If she can't get it for you, I will."

A few pats and good luck and take care of yourself and I was on my way with a couple of sample packs of a numbing gel.

I came home and tried the numbing stuff not realizing they had given me da good stuff. I rubbed it into my gums on the spots, and damn near anesthetized my tongue, lips and cheek. I felt like I had the lips of Lisa Rinna.

Kiss me and my flubber lips.

But enough about me.

How was your day?

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