Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Show Goes On

Slowly, slowly, the stage is being set.  I have just a few more moves to make before the show goes on.  Today Jim and I went to Omaha to see the dental oncologist.  It was one of those appointments that we all wish could have been made in conjunction with some other Omaha appointments, but even dental oncologists like to take vacations once in a while. This appointment only took an hour for him to look over all my teeth and gums and pronounce them healthy.  He explained very thoroughly what was going to happen in my mouth during radiation and gave me a hug when we left.  I think I'm beginning to look a little shell-shocked.  

Radiation is at the same time a both very dangerous and very wonderful thing. Where it goes it can leave it's mark forever.  They say it is like having a sunburn all the way through.  The good thing, is that it kills cancer cells.  The bad thing is that is also destroys salivary glands, which leads to dry mouth and lessened protection for the teeth.  I had heard that one before.  Another bad thing is that radiation also hardens the capillaries it touches which hinders wound healing.  That is why dental work has to be done BEFORE radiation, any teeth pulling, any thing that requires healing, because afterwards, the healing is compromised severely due to damage to the capillaries.
This really was rather interesting because it explains so much what I've heard about other people having dental problems during and after head and neck radiation.

Now, how much damage will actually be done inside my mouth depends some on the PET scan that will be done next week.  It is supposed to show if there might be cancer in the lymph nodes of my neck (or anywhere else for that matter), and that determines just how much of my neck will be radiated.  I don't know that they expect to find any there.  I don't think that they do.  It's just that they like to know where clear margins are before they begin.  If there is none there, there is a good possibility that my bottom teeth will escape treatment, which will lessen some of the above mentioned problems. As for my situation, having healthy teeth and gums to begin with menas I can be proactive and not expect trouble down the road, just a few speed bumps in the care and cleaning of my teeth.

Right now, it seems like every time I turn a corner in this journey, there's a bigger hurdle to overcome.  I think the reason for this is that I'm geared up to fight a battle, but it isn't here yet.  I'm still just getting ready.  The waiting is the hard part and it is starting to get on my nerves.

The end is in sight, however.
I mean the beginning is in sight. 
Tomorrow is the bone scan.
Monday, the port goes in.  
Thursday, I have the PET scan, 
and Friday, I have a dental cleaning and fluoride tray made,
all here in Kearney.  
Yay! No more travelling to Omaha for two weeks and I am totally exhausted from a seriously enjoyable family holiday, and Lynette starting de-tasseling today, so we had an interrupted night, so we are all going to bed NOW.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite.
hee hee hee


Bonita Sue said...

No kidding, the waiting IS the part that gets on the nerves. It seems like our mind is fairly resilient and can cope with almost any sort of reality, but when you have uncertainty in what reality is, it has nowhere to go in its quest for stability. I think the thing that eases it is to cling to the stability there is in prayer and spiritual life.

Dan & Cyndie said...

thanks so much, dear friend, for your willingness to share all the ins & outs & ups & downs of this journey with us. so another chapter is about to begin and your journey continues.
we love you :)

The J's said...

Oh, I am totally understanding of the waiting thing.... :P
You are sure learning alot with all this! So many things I didn't realize went along with it all.
Knowledge & Preparation, sounds like a good combination.
and keeping a good sense of humor to of course! :D

Raimie @ The Prairie Hen said...

Dear Auntie,
So glad your armor is coming from the right place. There are so many things a person could grab onto to try to help them through a time like this... but when you have proved the protection of our God, those things seem so insufficient.

I love your spirit of curiosity and interest in the science side of your treatment... must be the reader in you.

Raimie Lu

gkey said...

Dear Going On,

Every time I open your blog, I see that quote from Ma Ingalls. You are facing this "what must be done..." with a cheerful spirit, even when there are hard days. That is so commendable, and an inspiration to us who are not currently facing this type of thing, but needing to keep the right attitude to whatever life brings our way.

One of our hymns comes to mind often when I think of you: (#375)

In ev'ry part the battle rages on,
All through the night until the break of dawn.
Be of good courage: Christ the Lord shall come; Till then, be strong, be strong!

In ev'ry life, a conflict fierce and keen; At ev'ry gate, an ambushed foe unseen;
Each Canaan has its Jordan yet between~ Until the Master comes.

Be not afraid~ the Overcomer stands
With help and courage in His out-stretched hands.
He who has led, forever understands; For His dear sake, be strong!

Fight on~ but once the battle rests with thee, Then thou shalt rest for all eternity. To hang thy shield of faith in victory, O soldier brave, fight on!

How He helps us