Back in November, I called to make a Doctor’s appointment in order to figure out what was going on with this pesky swollen lymph node. Unfortunately I already had a Dentist appointment for the exact same time as they wanted to make the Doctor’s appointment. I had recently had a root canal and needed to go for the follow-up so they could cap the tooth. I cancelled the dental appointment with every intention to go back to the dentist to finish up the root canal.
Well if you are reading this blog, you know what become of the swollen lymph node. And once you start chemotherapy and radiation it is not a good idea to go to the dentist. Because your immunity is decreased, they don’t want a bunch of mouth bacteria stirred up. ANY type of infection can be serious during treatment. In hindsight, I should’ve tried to have the dentist squeeze me in before chemotherapy started, but seriously, dental work was the last thing on my mind. So part deux of the root canal never happened.
And today, just two days after I finally got my ability to eat back, the dead tooth cracks and falls apart in my mouth while trying to each a fried clam. It figures. And the irony of it is that I was going to call the dentist sometime during the next week or so to make an appointment. One of my co-workers had recently told me that the radiation would make all my teeth fall out. I guess I should’ve listened! In all seriousness, I did not have radiation to my mouth, and though some saliva issues may have caused a few minor dental problems I don’t believe that is why my tooth broke apart. I just had a long overdue need to see the dentist.
Even with the tooth issue, it has been a really good weekend. Robbie and I spent the last four days in a cabin in the mountains. Robbie asked me what I liked the most about our getaway, and I said the quiet. And I don’t mean just the quiet of the wilderness, but the quiet that comes with no responsibility. It was the first time since all of this craziness began that I really had time to digest what had happened and to deal with it on an emotional level.
There is definitely a shift that occurs when you go from cancer fighter to cancer survivor. In my opinion to fight cancer, you need to be in battle mode. There isn’t much time to reflect. It’s all about doing everything you can to win the fight.
But now that the fight is over, I do have the time to make a decision about who I want to be. And to be honest, I don’t feel having a big celebration. I feel grateful and exhausted. I feel like I need to find ways to give back to others going through this type of experience through blogging and participation in discussion groups. I need to participate in organizations that raise money to find better treatment and cures.
But I do not want to gloat or showboat. Cancer was a bad-ass opponent. And just because I won this time, it doesn’t mean that I’d win the next round. I do not want to tempt fate. I’m going to lay low and hope that she just passes me on by and lets me tell my tale of how I went there and back again and lived to tell the harrowing tale.