Thursday, June 6, 2013

Night Terror

Yesterday evening I went to the dentist. By coincidence I had an appointment to fill a suspected cavity that the hygienist thought she saw at my last cleaning on April 18. My dentist had been out of the office that day. That means he wasn't there to perform the neck exam that he always does. He probably would have been the person to discover this cancer. Of course those two weeks didn't make any difference but it's a funny coincidence.

At the consultation at Dana Farber, Doctor Rad gave us a stack of paperwork to give to my dentist ASAP. All outstanding dental work has to be done before treatment can begin, and I need custom fluoride trays made because during and after treatment apparently I'll have to soak my teeth in fluoride for 30 minutes per day. If I hadn't had a recent cleaning I would need one.

One of the requirements was a "full set" of dental x-rays. I assumed that meant the normal set that one gets once get annually during dental checkups.


This was a set of 14 films, 10 of which are quite large and could barely fit in my mouth. When she put the first one in I didn't realize that it was larger than usual and I closed my mouth too quickly and jabbed the sharp edge of the film into the roof of my mouth. Ouch. A couple of the bottoms really didn't fit but I had to bite down to grasp them. They were digging into the floor of my mouth very painfully . It brought me to tears.

That surprised me. I had gone to work all day and had many conversations with people about my current status and I had been fine. Now I felt like I could barely talk to anyone in the dentist office without crying. I was dreading the filling - any discomfort was going to put me over the edge. Fortunately all the dentist did was make the fluoride tray molds. The suspected cavity was a false alarm.

Thank goodness.


Lumpy the Lymph Node has grown and is a little uncomfortable but is not causing real pain. But I woke up at 2:00 AM dreaming that Lumpy was very painful. We're about to leave on Sunday to do Something Really Fun for 5 days before treatment begins. Suddenly I was imagining being very uncomfortable or in pain on the trip.

As I lay awake I realized the real cause for my edginess. I have my PET scan this morning to check for metastases - to see whether the cancer has spread to other parts of my body than my neck. I believe I heard Doctor Chemo or Doctor Rad say the other day that if this cancer has metastasized it is not treatable. So there's a lot riding on this PET scan.

I realized I'm terrified that we're going to find mets.

This is the most scared I've felt since I first heard I might have cancer.

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