Category Archives: Cancer Tips

Breast Cancer Survivor’s Beach Day Oath

1.  I will go to the beach and not let insecurity keep me from enjoying the sunny days of summer.

2.  I will not COVET my neighbors breasts, even the saggy ones.

3.  I will let people imagine how I got my funky tan lines.  

4.  I will make-believe that the blue dots on my chest from radiation actually do look like freckles.

5.  I will not keep hiking up my bathing suit top and sneaking peeks at my chest to make sure my scars aren’t showing.

6.  I will not care if my chest is super flat, it makes me look thin.

7.  I will find a nice bathing suit with a lining I can cut a hole in for the prosthetics instead of buying those expensive bathing suits where they cut the hole for you, Because breast cancer is expensive enough.

8.  I will live by today’s research and wear SPF approved by EWG if I’m out in the middle of the day for more than a half-hour, but if it’s less than that I won’t wear any to get my dose of VITAMIN D, which is supposed to keep cancer away. 

9.  I will try to keep up with current research just in case rule 8 changes.

10.  I will imagine people are looking at me because “I”M HOT,” and not for any other insecurity I have about my body or my chest.

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If your hand is swelling, take off your ring.

What is your worst fear post-cancer?  This is an easy one.  Of course 99.9% of us would say reoccurrence.  But beside cancer coming back, which of course trumps everything else, is this:

Life Debilitating Issues

Very quickly most women accept, but don’t talk about, the number one fear.  Because most of us don’t really have a choice.  That fear would be losing any sensation in our breasts.  Now granted, we don’t need breast sensation for everyday life, but it certainly is debilitating when it comes to our sex life for sure.

The second fear, of course I’m assuming this because this would be my fear, and that is lymphedema.  Nothing made me more scared pre-mastectomy than seeing pictures and hearing horror stories of lymphedema.  I’ve always been crazy scared of life being debilitating post-cancer.

So a few months ago, one week post-surgery, I had just finished painting my daughters room, when I realized my hand was swollen.  Eek!  I immediately started crying to Jeremy.  You all think I’m really strong but really I’m a big’ol woos. 

I'm showing this picture because this is the one I sent to my plastic surgeon. His first response. Take off the rings. It takes a Harvard education to realize you should TAKE OFF YOUR RINGS WHEN YOUR HAND IS SWELLING...LOL!

There’s a really long story here about me freaking out, and how poorly I handle a little swelling.  But you might fall asleep.  I did learn something through it that I’ll share with you:

A.  Remain calm.  If you’ve never had swelling before, chances are it will resolve itself.

B.  Wrap the swelling and elevate.  I put my compression sleeve on because that is the only thing I’d been given.  It did nothing for the swelling in my hand.  Your local drugstore has tape that sticks a little when you wrap it.  You can unwrap it and re-wrap it.  So wrap in so it’s snug but not too tight.

C.  See your family doctor.  Mine was concerned it might be an infection so he prescribed antibiotic.  But a family doctor can also refer you to physical therapy or a lymphedema specialist. 

D.  Be purposeful about getting that referral.  Here’s why:

For a year or so I’ve had reoccurring pain in my hands.  Both sides.  It felt like the skin hurt on the back of my hands and lower arms and then under my armpits.  I let it go because any time I mentioned it, no one seemed to know what it was.  I started to think it was just something I should learn to live with, after all “I had mastectomies, right.”  I just figured it was the way it was.  I couldn’t possibly hope to be pain-free, right?

Wrong!

That is terribly wrong think’in.  Don’t live with pain.  Haven’t I always said you need to be your own advocate?  Why don’t I take my own advice?  The pain in my arm was probably a sign of circulation issues, even if no one else had experienced that pain.  My hand swelled because it was tired of being ignored.  Another symptom I had was numbness and tingling in my hands….again, just thought I needed to learn to live with it.

I started physical therapy for “thoracic outlet syndrome” almost 6 weeks ago and I haven’t had pain or swelling since.  We’re still working on the numbness.  I can’t tell you what a relief it has been to be pain-free.  Some of the things she’s working on with me is posture.  Without a double mastectomy we have poor posture, but women who have had mastectomies or breast work tend to try to hide it by bad posture.  I’m learning to stand up straight, and who knew I had muscles in my back that needed to be strengthened!

So the moral of this story is: don’t live with pain ladies.  Seek help. 

Oh….and take off your ring if your hand swells!

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Red Shoes

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I dated a lot when I was younger.  Of course, if you wait till you’re 27 to get married like I did, you’re bound to have a few dates.  I went through a lot of frogs before I found my prince charming.  And when I found Jeremy, or he found me as I’d like to think, he was quite a bit younger than me.  I like to say he’s three years younger than me but for 6 months of the year it sounds like he’s 4 years younger than me.  I know, it sounds horrible doesn’t it.  I was a senior in high school when he was in eighth grade. 

Here are some things he likes to tease me about.  And I say tease, because it was our deal when I agreed to marry him that he would never ever, under no circumstances tease me about being older than him…..and well, that did me a lot of good now didn’t it!  He teases me all the time.  So one thing that happens quite often in the car is that we’ll hear a song I loved in middle school, and I’ll say “oh I love this song” and I’ll turn it up and then I’ll turn to him and he’ll have this blank stare on his face, like “I’ve never heard this song?”  And this is because he was in first grade and WHO REALLY REMEMBERS ANYTHING ON THE RADIO IN FIRST GRADE!  And I’ll be reminded of how old I am.  The second thing that COULD happen is that he has heard of the song because of some retro station from the 80’s or because he just knows more music than I do.  But anyway, music can say a lot about your age.  And the other thing that happens is that I will have some memory of being some place and I’ll say “when have we been here before?” or “why do I remember this?”  And he’ll groan and say…..”Jen, that was with XYZ boyfriend!”  And we’ll both laugh because we both know that I dated a lot, especially for some reason in my 20’s…..I suppose I was trying to narrow in on the kill, but still, he thinks it’s funny.  Partially because sometimes I say “oh, I went here with so-in-so.”  Or something to that effect.  Jeremy didn’t date as much, although he had a lot of “girl” friends…..you know…..or so he likes to say. 

This is going someplace, I promise.  So I dated a lot in my 20’s.  And here’s maybe the reason why I dated so much.  I was in my 20’s when I was in seminary (Jeremy is not a pastor nor did he go to seminary in case you were wondering), and I was a single woman on a campus with a 3 to 1 ratio of men versus women.  Need I say more.  There were lots of men to choose from and not so many women.  And a good portion of those women were second degree students who were coming back to school as older adults.  And a good portion of the men were younger and out of college.  So if you were remotely attractive, you were KNOWN on campus.  And because every man knows he needs a wife to be in ministry…..I mean who else is going to play the piano for you if you get placed in an old country church…..lol….and be the part-time church secretary.  OK…I’m totally stereotyping here, but unfortunately that is the way it WAS for a long time.  Thankfully not so much anymore.

So one day I hear word that a “Beeson Pastor” has been asking around about me.  It’s a small campus and a friend of mine was a Beeson pastor.  Now a Beeson pastor was an elite group of 20 pastors on campus that were invited to come and get their doctorate in a one-year type program.  They were paid, given an apartment, and flown all over the world to see churches that were pace-setters, so-to-speak.  So this guy just happened to be single, and seeing that he was a Beeson pastor, and decent looking, I gave word back that I MIGHT be interested.  You have to play cool ya’know!  So he calls me and we went on a date.  For about a month, things seemed to progress.  He seemed like a really nice guy.  Then all of a sudden, I quit hearing from him.  I think maybe I saw him around campus a bit and he just seemed to be aloof.  At first I was sad.  I moped around for a few days.  I ate ice cream and didn’t care what I looked like.  But after a few days I picked up the pieces of my semi-broken heart and got back in to living.  In fact, for several days I purposely thought…..this man is NOT going to see me looking bad and I did my hair extra well, and dressed up.  I not only looked better, but I felt better. 

And so it is with cancer.  I am putting cancer behind me.  I’ve been looking good and feeling good.  I dress up and do my hair because I can.  I have hair and I have the energy to do it.  I have a pair of red shoes that I love to wear.  I have enough black and grey in my closet to last me a week, I live in neutrals, but lately I’ve been wearing my red shoes a bit more.  I even bought some red lipstick.  I’m feeling more bold.  I’m feeling more courageous.  I’m not as scared that cancer’s going to sneak up on me.  I like my new breasts.  I feel like I am beginning to resemble the woman I looked like prior to cancer….something I wondered might never happen.  I’m feeling strong enough to pursue what it might mean to make myself feel whole again (I’m talking my breasts here and future surgeries to improve my breasts).  Those red shoes represent strength and courage and my ability to recover.  They remind me that I am no longer the wall-flower that I wanted to be when I didn’t have hair and wanted to sink in to the floor every time someone looked at me longer than 2 seconds.

I don’t know where you are in the process.  Cancer is an awful diagnosis.  I can’t promise that you will ever feel completely whole again.  I can’t promise that you can or will move on.  But I hope that at some point you will.  I hope at some point you can pull out those red shoes and stand tall and strong.  I’m amazed that I can, but I am!

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Cancer Tip: Skip the Wine

People ask me all the time what I do to prevent recurrence.  The two big things are: lots of raw fruits and vegetables, (I also eat cooked, but I always try to have several raw during my day.  And I eat lots that are high in antioxidants like brocolli and any close relative of the broccoli, like Kale or cauliflower.),  And then I excercise at least 5 days a week.  What I don’t do is drink alcohol.  I know, you’ve all heard health benefits, but with a history of breast cancer I stay away from it.  Here’s why.

Interrupted

Cancer is really like having a conversation with one of those really anti-social people who dominate the conversation all the time.  Like the people who only talk about themselves and never let you talk.  Or when you do talk they cut you off.   Sometimes it’s so obnoxious that all you can do is stand there in sheer bewilderment because you just can’t believe they don’t get it.

My life has just been getting back to normal lately.  I started working again this summer.  I decided to quit talking about taking a class towards my long-term goal of becoming a midwife and actually doing it.  My children are keeping me busy.  Meleah, my middle child, turned five on Thursday.  And like all children’s birthdays, we celebrated once on her birthday and then we threw a shin-dig on Friday night.  On Thursday I also got a call that they had an opening for me to get my ultrasound done with Dr. Jacobs.  Take note:  It’s never a good idea to have scans done on important days.  Birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day.  These are all off-limits for scanning.  They really should just shut the scanning machines down on days like Valentine’s Day because it really isn’t fair for anyone to find out they have something suspicious on a day like Valentine’s Day, ya know.   Seriously.

So here’s why cancer is like an anti-social interrupter.  Because when they looked at my scan, they didn’t like what they saw.  They actually weren’t totally clear on what they were seeing.  And they were honest, they don’t see a lot of post-diep patients in Kalamazoo.  They see a lot of implants, but not a lot of diep.  But something looked weird, and weird enough to say “let’s do an MRI.”  So I get this dang interruption on my daughter’s 5th birthday.  And when I get home, what I really want to do is go hide under the covers of my bed and have a good cry, but instead I get to put a smile on my face and celebrate her birthday.  And today I went to my first class and tried really hard to listen to the topic and not think about my interruption, and this afternoon I ran around like crazy getting ready for the party and I’ve decided that in order to truly get your mind of something you must remain very, very (did I say very) busy.  And surprisingly enough, I did forget my interruption tonight at the party and had a very good time celebrating Meleah’s birthday with friends. 

But now the house is quiet.  I am dreading my MRI scheduled for 6 am tomorrow morning.  I can’t sleep and I find this strangely familiar to the blogging in the middle of the night I did in my early diagnosis when I couldn’t sleep.   And to be completely honest, I’m angry about this interruption.  I really want to scream obscenities at this cancer interruption.  I want to stop the madness of the interruptions so I can be completely given over to things like my daughters 5th birthday because this was afterall her day, her special day,  and dang it cancer, you weaseled yourself in once again.

Inevitable Change

Change.  It’s never easy.  At one point this summer I tried to wean Elijah from his Baa (bottle) and unfortunately after a week of progress, I gave in during a moment of weakness (or maybe tiredness).  So here we are again.  2 months later and I’m determined to wean him off the Baa.  I’m  just not so sure I’m prepared for the fits and the crying.

Change is scary for most people.  Some people roll with the punches.  Accept what is.  Tag along willingly.  Others of us, we fight or we cry or we refuse to change.

I’ve had to accept a lot of changes in my life over the past few years.  Some change you have control over.  You can say “no, I don’t care to head that direction,” and you can turn right around.  Like a regular Dr. Suess book.  And then other changes come and they don’t come with choices attached to them.  Cancer is one of those choices.  I suppose you could choose to do nothing.  But doing nothing is an almost immediate death wish.  Even those that don’t choose traditional chemo, decide to make some change in their life, like eating differently, or trying natural therapies. 

The thing that’s tough about change, is that it is inevitable, whether we like it or not.  I had to choose chemotherapy, even though it made me sick as a dog some days.  I had to choose mastectomies, even though it caused and still causes me physical pain.  I had to choose radiation because there was no alternative.  Studies show it works. 

Without these changes, I surely would have died.  Inflammatory breast cancer is invasive and within months it would have invaded at least one organ of my body and pretty soon it would have moved on to several.  There’s still a chance a tiny, inconspicuous cell is wandering around looking for a home to attach too.  But by doing treatment, I drastically reduced those chances of it happening.

We aren’t the only ones having a hard time with change.  Back when they crucified Jesus, they didn’t like what he was about.  They misunderstood what he was about.  It scared them. 

“The chief priest and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so they could put him to death.  But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.” (Matthew 27:26-59)

Jesus died because of change.  He offered a new way of thinking.  He was what we call the “new covenant.”  And because He brought a new way of thinking, they put Him to death.”

Change was scary for me.  But I knew if I didn’t change I would die.  I didn’t fight it.  I didn’t ignore it.  I educated myself as much as I could and I trusted those in authority over my care.  I sought second opinions, but ultimately I moved ahead and accepted the change taking place in my life.  Even now, I am struggling with the new normal in my life.  But I can let it consume me or I can accept change.

I think sometimes the need for change is not as apparent as cancer.  Sometimes it is cancer creeping in slowly, quietly, undiscovered till it’s too late.  Sometimes change comes forcefully.  Sometimes change comes through division.   Sometimes we know change is taking place and we get angry when someone discovers and brings it to the surface.  We liked that it was hidden.  Weather we like it or not, Change is going to happen.  And chances are, if we resist it, change will happen anyway.

Here’s a quote.  Nothing like ending harshly, but it is ever so true.

“He who rejects change is the architect of decay.  The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetary.”  (Harold Wilson)

The last time I was in to see my plastic surgeon I made a comment to him……it came out like a question, but I really think I was making a statement.  I said “will I ever adjust.”  He said “you will.”  I think I meant:  “I will not adjust.”  Either way.   His response still stands.  “I will.” 

We will adjust to change.  And if we don’t, things will change anyway.  So it’s best to make the decision to change, or maybe to say to yourself, “I’m willing to try.” 

I hope if you are experiencing change right now in your life, whether it is change that is welcome or not, you are able accept it, and maybe even embrace it down the road.  I am still learning to embrace many things about this change in my life.  I am adjusting.  My prayer is that you will too. 

(I’ve never done this before, but I feel led to do it today.  If you feel like you could use prayer in your life, for changes that are going on in your life that maybe you aren’t ready for.  Leave a comment below.  You can just say “pray for me” and anonymous, and I will say a quick prayer for you.)

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Clergygirl Cancer Councel: Memoirs of a First Chemo

It must  be the first week back to school.  I have good intentions to write something and then I just get tired, or busy or sense that I am experiencing writers block and I ignore my site for a while.  But usually when this happens I think about my next post.  Or maybe I get a few going in my head.  So I’ve got one brewing.  And on this early Saturday morning, thanks to 3 wonderful little kiddos who are getting back in to a routine, I am up early and am feeling rested.  So I write.

I’m not sure anyone ever walks in to their first day of chemo, without feeling absolutely petrified.  First, you really don’t know what to expect, especially if you’ve never been in a chemo room before.  I had not.  Secondly, the idea of toxins pulsing through my veins was a little disconcerting to say the least.  Most of us are a little concerned with what we put in our bodies to begin with, like pesticides on our fruit and vegetables.  So the idea of actually choosing to put something lethal into my veins in the hopes that it kills one thing, to save the rest, well, if I’m being honest sounded completely crazy.  Like when you’re in high school and you do really crazy things just to see if you can do them.  Heart racing, palms sweating, just to see how it comes out.  The two times I remember this strange rush is:  A.  When I was a lifeguard for a middle school camp when I was in high school and one of our friends had the wise idea of canoeing in the middle of the night.  the camp was in the middle of no where, with absolutely no lights to even know how to get back.  I tried to get them to stop, but in the end jumped in a canoe (peer preassure ya’know).  Thank goodness, we found our way back and no one tipped.  And then:  B.  Jumping off a cliff at Johnson Shut-in’s (MO) with the “guys” in college.  I needed to be the brave girl, not really sure why.  But it was a long way down to the water….lol!

I often tell people that chemo and cancer was enough of a thrill rush for me to last a lifetime.  No need to jump out of an airplane.  No need for deep sea snorkeling with sharks.  I’m fine right here in my safe little house.  Flying sometimes seems a little scary to me now….lol!

So cancer diagnosis and that first entrance into the chemo room is something like that.  Thrill rush, but without the smile.  And here’s the good thing that I can tell you about chemo, that might ease your mind if you are going in for the first time.  It worked.  It attacked the right cells and I had a complete response.  The cancer was gone. 

So when I walked in the chemo room for the first cocktail, as they like to call them.  I took the long walk to the back of the room.  I always took the back corner.  Maybe I thought I could hide back there.  Maybe I thought it would be quiet.  I actually think Jeremy and I were hoping they would forget about us buried in the back corner and we’d get out of doing it.  But alas, I was pumped full. 

If you’ve never been to a chemo room, it’s usually a large open area so that a handful of nurses can keep an eye on several patients and if there is a bad response, they can see immediately and take action quickly.  At first, this was hard for me.  I didn’t really want people watching me doing this seemingly inhumane thing, like I was going to end up inebriated from my cocktail or something crazy like that.  But you know, in the end I was happy to be near people I could chat with, and quite often those people chose the same back corner like me and they were on the same schedule as me and so I looked forward to chatting with them and having a familiar face at chemo. 

But on my first visit to the chemo room I will always remember two women.  Here’s why:

The first woman was a someone who I had known growing up through church.  I didn’t know Martha very well, but I knew she had breast cancer.  When I was diagnosed, she immediately tried to help.  As a breast cancer survivor, I am familiar with this desire.  When I had my first day of chemo, she came and sat for several hours with me.  Bless her heart, it was a very kind thing to do.  She sat and filled me in with the life that sat before me.  She told me about chemo, and radiation and reconstruction and reccurance. 

The other woman was my age.  She was in the chair next to me.  I didn’t know her (then, but I do now….Hi Kristen:))  She was my age.  She was wearing a bandana on her head and her husband was there with her too.  I remember thinking, wow, she just seems so calm and relaxed about this.  I remember wondering if I too would come in to the chemo room with such confidence eventually.  I remember they both had their laptops and they both went to work.  They laughed and smiled and chatted with the nurses, as Jeremy and I sat their frozen in our seats, wide-eyed and scared.  But watching her gave me hope that there would be some resemblance of normalcy about my life again and that I would actually adjust.

But here’s the deal and why I want to tell you about these two women. 

Martha, the woman who sat with me for several hours actually died of breast cancer last July.  Only 5 months after sitting with me for my first chemo.  I so appreciated that she was willing to do that for me, but Martha knew she was dying.  And I knew Martha was dying.  Whatever conversations I had with Martha were pretty grim.  It really wasn’t what I needed for my first chemo session, two weeks after diagnosis.   Jeremy and I discussed it later….and we felt like it was so kind of her to do that for me, but it really wasn’t very good for me emotionally.  What I really needed was a woman who was surviving breast cancer and was moving on with her life.

But here’s the funny thing, just a few months later I met another woman with breast cancer through a friend.  We were at similar points in our journey.  We talked on the phone and later agreed to go to a fundraising event for the American Cancer Foundation.  When I arrived at our meeting place, there she was.  The confident woman next to me at my first chemo cocktail.  We have remained in contact and email often as we encourage each other along the way.  She is doing well and so am I. 

All that to say, that if you are facing your first chemo, and you’ve just been diagnosed, cling to the people who can give you hope.  You will have many opportunities to read blogs, visit with survivors and meet others on this cancer journey.  Some will be negative because they have to be.  It gets really cruddy sometimes on this cancer journey.  It sucks to be diagnosed and it sucks even more to get mets.  And sometimes the treatment is really draining.  You will be negative at times along the way as well.  But my advise to you is to let healthy people read those blogs and listen to the crud.  Let the ones who are surviving read those blogs. 

Stick with the people who are upbeat.  Not that a good dose of reality isn’t good sometimes, but too much is hard emotionally.  Cling to the Kristen’s in your life right now.  Seek out survivors.  Do what you can to stay positive.

My New Discovery

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Remember (how can you forget) how I’ve been complaining about my new “bright white” breasts thanks to the donor site being my lower belly which I guess never saw the light of day.  I think I have my mom to thank for this one since she didn’t allow me to wear a bikini when I was a teenager…..lol.  Anyway, I have pondered my options.  First, I have asked my plastic surgeon over and over again if there is anything I can do.  C’mon….with all the beauty procedures out there, there’s nothing to permanantly tan my skin?  Nope, guess not.  So he said go tanning.  I’m not really in to that since I’ve gone through cancer already and my mom has a history of skin melanoma.  So I thought and thought….like all women do about their imperfections and I decided my last option would be a “fake tan.”  Now most of  you know I am pretty cautious about what I put on my skin.  I am a regular reader of a web site called “environmental working group” and I regularly check their cosmetic database for cosmetic toxicity before I buy. 

Of course nothing on the shelves at Target is safe.  I thought a few might be, but then realized they were listed twice in EWG and some of the ingredients had been left off so it looked safer than it was.  But I finally found a product that looked safe, and more importantly, sounded like it worked.   Let me tell you, the sunless tanning products do not have great ratings. 

So I ordered myself a bottle of  “Mexitan Sunless Tanning Spray.”  

I’m pleased to say, that twice a day gives my new breasts a healthy glow….tee hee.  They blend totally naturally and it doesn’t wash off unless you stop using it for several days.  Very cool.  I know this effects no one but Jeremy and I, but it makes me feel better.   Now I have scars but I don’t glow in the dark:)

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Lanolin: Save the Skin (part 2)

It’s become apparent to me that lots of people are out there searching for relief from the pain of radiation.  The reason being is that my post on “save the skin” gets the most hits of anything I’ve written….lol!  WordPress gives you your top posts daily and that one is the one that gets the most hits usually.  The second one is the boob cake from my “bye-bye boobs party.”  Not sure about that one, but it is what it is….lol! 

So after I posted the “save the skin” post I realized I hadn’t included my very favorite moisturizer that I used regularly throughout radiation.  Even now I use it almost weekly on my reconstruction scars. 

When I was nursing my children I discovered a product that would heal my cracked nipples over-night.  If I was ever getting sore I just dabbed some on and by morning, whatever soreness was completely gone.  Lansinoh is basically pure lanolin.  It’s ultra gooey so I would only put it on at night before bed and I only used it a few times a week.  But it is probably the best moisturizer out there for dry skin.   It’s pretty thick but if you put a glob on your skin and wait a few minutes it will soften from your body heat and then you can rub it in to your sore radiated skin.  Go ahead and do it thick, it will soak in by morning. 

You can get it at Target and it looks like this

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Prioritizing

Overall my kids have fared pretty well through this cancer journey.  I’m sure they have absorbed more than I think.  But overall, they have weathered the storm nicely.  There have been a few little hitches though.  The results of focus being on mom is starting to rear its ugly head, and I’m thankful that I have the time to deal with those issues now. 

One thing I just knew would eventually sneak up on us were the children’s teeth.  Yes, their teeth.  When Charis had her dentist appointment a few weeks ago, I held my breath and waited for the results.  Gasp…no cavities….what do you mean no cavities!  What a relief.  But within a few days, Meleah was complaining of a tooth ache.  Busted!  So we’ve been to three dentists in two weeks.  We have an appointment with the fourth next week.  My four year old has 8 cavities that lie between all of her molars.  It basically looks like we never brushed her back teeth….and well…..I didn’t for a year because I was too tired to worry about teeth.  So the first dentist doesn’t work on children, but looked and said there was a problem, so he sent us to dentist number two.  He looked at her teeth and said she had cavities on all her back teeth and he wants us to go to the hospital for outpatient work and anesthesia to fix them.  He also lectured me on my reverse osmosis water and lack of fluoride.  I went for a second opinion.  We did the outpatient thing with Charis when she was two and frankly, I won’t do it again for baby teeth.  Not when anesthesiologists cost as much as they do!  (try $800 with deductible and that wasn’t even the fees from the hospital and the dentist!)  So we went to dentist #3 today and he was a very nice man, and they did talk her in to letting them do x-rays.  He said he would do the work in office and do a few at a time.  But later that day a friend of mine told me her experience with this dentist and now I’ve called a fourth dentist.  Dentist #4 fills cavities with a laser.  How about that….a laser.  Supposedly my friends child felt nothing and they don’t need any shots for pain or anything.  We see dentist #4 next week.

Hopefully my lack of concern with my children’s teeth during cancer will not be as big of an ordeal as I fear.  I promise to be more diligent, but I refuse to let those dentists make me feel guilty.  I told each one of them I had cancer and her teeth had not been priority….lol…pulling out that cancer card again!  But they all quit trying to guess how she had so many cavities and quit asking me questions like…..did she have a “sippy cup?”  No, she was a breast fed normal child with a mama who had cancer.

And if you are a mama going through cancer…..I give you permission to not get everything right!  Teeth are important….but your children will survive and new ones will come in even if they rot out of their little heads first.  It’s Ok to prioritize and it’s alright when you go to bed at 6 pm and you know your husband will not remember to have them brush their teeth, but WILL get them to bed safely and on time.  It’s OK to worry about you right now.

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