People’s reaction to me wanting teeth is interesting. Most people are in the camp of ‘of course, it must be SO difficult without teeth’ but occasionally voicing my desperate wish for teeth gets brushed off with an ‘oh, that’s not an issue, teeth don’t really matter, you’ll get them when you get them’.
I’m not sure what the latter reaction is about. People who say it do mean well, and I know the main thing is that the cancer is gone but… Like… Would they think being without teeth is inconsequential if it were them? Eating is difficult, talking is difficult and I still look like there is something wrong with me… Is that something I should feel happy about and that it’s nothing? I know I’ve been through a lot and I am a lot better off now than I was a while ago but it doesn’t mean it’s all better and easy now…
Though people do like to believe I’m better. When I was having chemo I remember someone saying to me ‘oh so you’re getting better now!’ I looked blankly and said ‘well I’ll be getting a lot worse for a while… But yes, the idea is that I will eventually get better…’ Makes me feel for those who’s cancer/illness isn’t as black and white as ‘sick/better’.
But believe me, although I am waiting with bated breath for the day I have teeth, it’s not like I’m putting my life on hold until that day. I’m out doing things and meeting people, I never thought twice about that.
In fact I’m really starting to feel like me again (until I look in the mirror and see my face, but whatever).
This week we had a big meeting at work with a whole lot of our clients. A fairly daunting idea really in light of a year off from work, and not feeling up to full strength, and looking and sounding odd – thinking about meeting new people, catching up with old, having to remember details about things that have happened, presenting to a group of people who don’t have English as a first language…
But we have such fantastic clients. Catching up with the ones I knew was so lovely. They knew what I had been through, they even follow along with my blog (hi!). They were excited to see me and find out how I was going.
And the new ones were also so great and meeting them and chatting was no hassle. When I finished my presentation I even got a ‘Bravo!!!’ from the person I was sitting next to when I returned to my seat.
People are great. Aren’t people great? I really feel like I’ve achieved something this week! Also, it will be my first day of 4 days at work in a row!!! Yes, I will need Friday to sleep. But I’ve managed 4 days. And big days. I think I’ll try keep to this schedule for a few weeks and then see if I can step it up to 5 days.
On top of all this, my bestie turns up from Australia on Saturday. Haven’t seen her for over 3 years. If anyone is at Heathrow on Saturday and sees two hugging, crying girls… That’ll probably be us.
Watch out world, Jen is almost back, with or without teeth! (Though teeth soon, please, thanks)
9 Comments Add yours
Nearly back to being ‘you’ . Thats really good to hear. The rest will follow. Dong worry.
Hi there: I know exactly how you feel about having teeth. I had my upper jaw removed due to having a rare form of osteosarcoma ( bone cancer) in my upper jaw. Actually it was discovered during a dental exam. My front tooth was throbbing. My dentist saved my life as he spotted the minute tumour in the cartilage in the roof of my mouth.
Long story short my upper jaw from my front teeth to my back jaw was removed. The surgeon left two sets of molars and bone so that one day dentures could be made and hopefully be functional.
I went for approximately a year without teeth. I lived on mashed food and smoothies.
My speech was muffled and swallowing was difficult.
After healing for several months the dental surgeon fashioned a prosthetic palette. No teeth but at least it was easier to speak.
Our health care in Canada doesn’t recognize cancer in the jaw. They do not pay for what they dream as cosmetic teeth! My community held a benefit raising a portion of the money . We used that much needed cash to pay for my new prosthetic upper jaw/denture. It was a lot of money for me back then.
The prosthetic helps hold up my nose up and enables me to talk, swallow,and breath. My sinus cavities are just open holes in the skin covered roof of my mouth.
To look at me …one would never guess anything was amiss. My face looks average. This was many years ago. I have had two prosthetic dentures made in the last 27 years. Recently I had dental bone grafts done so that posts could be put in which made my dentures attach better . Again the cost was huge.
In Canada it is all considered cosmetic. However a prosthetic leg , arm, finger are manufactured for life. Doesn’t seem fair.
What will your dental surgeries and prosthetics cost you? I hope your system is better than mine. It’s been a struggle. But now I can smile!!!
Oh wow! Thank you for your message and for reaching out! A year on mashed food and smoothies sounds tiring! Thankfully I’m munching away ok even though I only have a few teeth left, all on my left hand side. And wow, I’ve been speaking fine, that must have been so frustrating to have gone that long struggling to talk.
Mental that Canada doesn’t recognise cancer in the jaw – what, it doesn’t think it exists? Or it doesn’t think it’s cancer?
Sounds like you’ve had a really hard time of it.
None of mine will cost me because it’s not elective surgery, it’s part of my cancer and its treatment. I am constantly grateful for the UK Health system. Sure, we pay a lot of tax but it looks after us,. Very lucky.
Glad to hear you can smile now. Never stop, you’ve earned the right to smile. xx
You’re going so well, Jen.
A busy but good week by the sounds of it. Fingers crossed for a clear MRI scan and progress towards getting those teeth in place. Wow, getting there 🙂
Yes! Each thing another rung in the ladder. Climbing up, hoping to avoid any snakes to take me back to the beginning of the board!
HI Jen, when you get those teeth, Mike and I are going to treat you to the biggest steak, gosh hope you like steak 😯 go girl go 😉 xx
That sounds amazing! Count me in! It can be our steak eating teeth party! Woohoo!!!
Such and inspiration and so happy for you!!!
Thank you and thank you!!