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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

PAIN -- In My Tooth

Tired, and ready to go home after teaching swimming all afternoon, I made myself a cup of coffee to go.

Walking to the car, talking with my son, I took a sip.

PAIN shoots up the right side of my mouth.

PAIN radiates around my jaw and through my cheekbone.

I stop walking, and cluth the side of my face.

My son, oblivious to my situation, continues talking.

I pull myself together enough to tell him that I cannot talk, and he needs to wait a moment.

I realized that the mild pain, that I had noticed earlier that day, was not connected to my sinuses or my ear. (In the past, I had pain from toothaches that turned out to be sinus infections)

This was no mild toothache; this was serious PAIN.

I had been to the dentist a month before, in July. Everything was fine. I felt some sensitivity in several teeth, but all the x-rays looked good.

Taking care of my teeth is important. One possible side-affect of my chemotherapy is damage to my jaw.

Zomera (Zometa) generates dense bone tissue that can reenforce bones tissue that was destoryed by cancer. Zomera does not reverse the bone damage, but it is effective in preventing fractures. Unfortunately, it cuts down on the blood supply to the jaw, and that can create other problems, like osteonecrosis of the jaw.

The next day, Monday, I went to the dentist.

My dentist, it turns out, was on vacation. One of his partners, who had done a root canal for me several years ago, saw me right away. He was unfamiliar with Zomera, and referred me to Hadassah.

That night, I could barely eat or drink. Hot or cold food/drink caused shooting pain, that took almost half an hour to fully subside.

So, this morning I went to Hadassah's Mouth Clinic. This clinic specializes in providing dental care to patients who have other serious medical conditions, such as cancer. The doctors there are familiar with Zomera, and how to treat patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.

The dentist who treated me was terrific. At first, I was worried, because he looked so young (read: inexperienced) and was Israeli (read: I expected him to be brusque and condescending). My preconceptions were unfounded. The dentist patiently answered all my questions, explained what he was doing as he went along, and consulted with the senior dentist when he had any questions. He was gentle, careful, and experienced; he practiced dentistry for 10 years before deciding to specialize in treating patients like me.

The dentist took care of the first stage of the root canal. He applied a topical antibiotic to the inside of the tooth, and put in a temporary filling.

I will have to return, either to him or to my regular dentist, for a permanent filling and a crown.

Meanwhile, now that the anesthetic has worn off, I am in pain again. It is not nearly as debilitating as it was this morning. But the dentist did warn me that it could take a day or two for the pain to subside.

The pain, and the stress, wore me out.

I came home, fed my kids lunch, then crashed. (I slept for almost four hours!)

I am no longer sensitive to hot and cold. In theory, I can eat anything.

In practice, chewing hurts.

I am out of ideas of soft foods. (How much yoghurt can a person eat?)

I am hungry.

Didn't we agree that cancer patients should be exempt from all these other minor health problems?

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Anonymous said...

Hey Rivka,

Try semolina porridge. I always look for excuses to eat it. Yummy.


Shevy said...

I had my (upper) jaw broken for orthodontic purposes almost 20 years ago and I had to eat soft foods for days.

Milkshakes, tomato or other cream soups, vegetable cocktail drinks so you're getting your veggies.

Even overcooked mac & cheese was too chewy the first few days. I tried baby food but blecch (my kids thought that was hilarious). Do they sell cans of Ensure or Boost in Israel?

I think the first "real" food I ate was potato with sauce. I baked a potato, then mashed it up really well and poured warm tomato sauce on it and mixed it up.

Hope that helps and you should have a refuah shleimah!

Ehav Ever said...

Hello Rivka,

It was nice meeting you at the conference. I will mention your name in a Mi Sheberach this Shabbat.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried Polenta? It's like a corn porridge, but it has a little bit of texture. I'm Italian and cook it a lot as a side dish. Parmesean cheese and makes it taste great. You can add herbs like basil, parsley, and garlic too. If the acidity doesn't bother you, you can put a little tomato sauce on top.
Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

aha, my chance to try mb again with you. The best food we have for healing is called Rice Cream - you cook up brown rice with lots of water - 1 C rice to (5 cups water if you want soft porridge and can manage that) 10 cups water, pinch of sea salt, cook over low flame over flame deflector for about 1 1/2 hours - here where it depends on you - if you really must have it all liquid, squeeze through a soft cloth (got any diapers left??) like cheesecloth and drink the liquid (add more seasoning if too bland for your taste, ask Rena for some umeboshi, that's good for healing and adds salty flavor). If you can manage yogurt, then you can probably manage soft rice - and who knows, maybe I'll start to convert you :>)when you see how much better you'll feel!!!!

and do hope you'll feel better soon


rutimizrachi said...

Jeez! You'd think you'd get a little break here and there. Sounds like you are getting great advice; so this time, I'll just go with Ehav Eliyahu, and add you to the shul davening. Since you seem to be one of the tzadikot carrying our entire generation, may we have the Geula very, very soon!

RivkA with a capital A said...

Thanks for alll your great suggestions!!

RSI -- What's semolina? Is that Farina? How do you say it in Hebrew?

Shevy -- mashed potatoes is a great idea! I can't believe I didn't think of it!

Ehav Ever -- nice 2 meet U 2. Thanks. (please include me in your prayers every Shabbat, and during the week too) :-)

Jill -- I just copied a recipe for Polenta from someone's blog (can't remember whose) last week. Funny, I didn't think of it! How do you make it?

Klara -- you know I love you!! The rice cream does not sound appealing at all. Sorry. You know I would eat more MB food if someone cooked for me. But I'd never go all the way. I love food (all kinds of food) too much!

Ruti -- if I'm a tzadikah then we are in serious trouble!! I'm not sure what God's plan is, but I am pretty sure that I'm just a regular gal.

I wouldn't mind living long enough to see the geula (redemption). :-)

A Living Nadneyda said...

Don't forget the canned beans! They're usually pretty soft, although the skins can get in the way.

Semolina is called "solet" in Hebrew and comes in a package that looks extremely similar to flour, only the color is different (usually yellow/orange but not necessarily. Stir one part (sifted/checked) semolina into 4-5 parts boiling water (pinch of salt optional), stir well, and microwave on high for a couple of minutes, max. Add a bit of sugar and voila!

Feel better.

Gila said...

Mashed squash (orange squash)--you can steam or boil the squash and then mash it up with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper and juice from an orange. Really really easy to make, and quite tasty.

Other easy and healthy stuff--mashed sweet potatoes, hearty vegetable soup (run it through a blender at the end), cottage cheese, eggplant with tehina. The last is also easy-take eggplants and cuts slices into the skin and insert garlic. Roast those suckers until they are nice and deflated. Then take out of the oven, scoop out the meat and mash (blender is good here as well with lemon juice, tehina, spices etc. You can also roast onions and red peppers and add those to the mix.

Someone has seriously screwed up in respect to you p'tor here. I would complain, if I were you. :)

RivkA with a capital A said...

ALN & Gila -- thanks for the recipes.

Gila -- I am definitely registering my complaint!

margaret said...

Hello, I'm just surfing the net, looking for recipe ideas for a friend who's going through chemo. I noticed your blog and tooth woes. I hope it gets better. One thing you might investigate is oil pulling. It's an old Indian technique that is weird but painless and extremely effective.

Teeth gaps said...

I came across your blog and can’t help but to feel what you’re feeling. It's my first time to learn about that kind of illness. I just hope that soon, you'll be free from that. My uncle is undergoing chemotherapy too, and it hurts to see my family worrying about my condition with those new illnesses popping out of my body. You'll be ok soon. Take care

Teeth gaps said...

I came across your blog and can’t help but to feel what you’re feeling. It's my first time to learn about that kind of illness. I just hope that soon, you'll be free from that. My uncle is undergoing chemotherapy too, and it hurts to see my family worrying about his condition with those new illnesses popping out of his body. You'll be ok soon. Take care