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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Getting ready for radiation treatments

Since my cancer is in my mouth, drastic steps have been taken. I've had nine teeth pulled out, perfectly good teeth, because they were damaged enough from 58 years of life that they might cause a horrible side effect called necrotic bone which would lead to my losing my lower jaw. So I no longer have molars. One premolar had to go too. I'm grateful they left my front teeth.

The radiation treatments start Monday, May 14. They made a plastic mask to hold my face still because the radiation has to go in specific places. As there's no way to hold my tongue still without making me choke, I have to try to do that myself. The side effects are the death of many salivary glands resulting in permanent dry mouth. My sense of taste will be damaged for at least months, maybe permanently. My teeth will have to be treated with extreme care and a lot of dentist visits from now on. I've had extremely expensive fluoride trays made. I thank God my church had resources available to help me pay for part of all the dental work. My long-suffering Mother paid for some too. Nothing like being unemployed and not having insurance while all this is going on.

The mask was very interesting. It was a mesh of plastic that they heat up with warm water and then mold to my face. I can breathe through it with no problem and open my eyes a bit if I need to. I didn't find it claustrophobic, for which I'm grateful. I have a tube of that mesh in my mouth to hold it open and help me hold my tongue still. The first thing they tried triggered my gag reflex. This will be clamped onto the headrest, and then I'll be slid into the radiation machine.

I HATED having my teeth pulled. I HATE having no molars and having such a hard time eating. I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS. But this kind of cancer likes to return, and I WANT TO LIVE. Even though my life has been in the crapper the last few years, I still want more of it. I want to keep writing. I want my husband. I want my mom. I want my cats purring, soft and warm in my lap. I want to get to travel some more. I want to own a home again, and plant a garden. There are too many books I still want to read. I want to have more good times. So for all this, I'll endure what must be endured.

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