Just One Of Them Days

Today I had a meltdown. The kind of meltdown that includes tears that continue rolling despite all attempts to will them away.  The kind of meltdown that brings about those sobs where you just can’t quite catch your breath.  This meltdown happened at 8 in the morning in the dentist chair of all places! I have no fear of the dentist, in fact, I’ve had to work closely with my dentist since discovering the tumor and going through Radiation treatments.  One of the major side effects of Radiation has been a loss of saliva.  With that, I have to take extra special care of my teeth to protect them from cavities or serious infection.  Thus, I actually consider my dentist to be one more player on my team when it comes to ensuring my continued health.

Since moving to Las Vegas, I had yet to find a new dentist, so today was that day.  I was already feeling a bit off my game as I rolled up to the address which was in a not-so-nice neighborhood with graffiti tagged on the building and wondered if this was any indication of the service I was about to receive.  So, when they called my name, I attempted to make myself comfortable in that oh so wonderfully plastic covered chair. As the dental assistant began the process of x-raying my teeth, she asked me to open wide and proceeded to stuff a very uncomfortable piece into my mouth. When I was unable to bite down without experiencing pain, she impatiently told me to open wider. That’s when it all went downhill. You know the feeling ladies…when the tears reach the brim of your eyes and threaten to spill over. It always happens at the most inopportune moment, like when something makes you angry at work and you do everything not to cry in front of your boss, or you’re having a “discussion” with your significant other and despite your best efforts not to cry this time, you always do??…yep, it was just like that. I tried to focus on the lakefront scene painted on the wall in front of me, I tried to think about the day ahead, I tried everything to stop the impending doom, but there they fell. Slowly at first, and then they fell as if running towards their only chance at freedom. The assistant had no idea what to do and asked if I needed a minute to collect myself.

She left me there to deal with my sorrow, and right then and right there, I grieved another layer of the life that once was. I sat in that chair, nearly hyperventilating, and I kept thinking, “This is not my team. They would know what I’ve been through! They wouldn’t have to ask if that hurt! They would have known!!!” And then that thought morphed into a deeper reality…”That really did happen! I really did have Cancer, and I really did fight for my life, and there was so much pain, and I lost my hair, and my neck and face and mouth still hurt, and that makes me sad, and I still have to tell myself to swallow each and every bite in just that certain way so I won’t choke, and…and…and!”

It amazes me that three years have passed since my last Radiation treatment. I still have two more years to go before they give me the “In Remission” stamp of approval. While the effects of the treatment will linger with my physical body for the rest of my life, I’m so thankful that the emotional reminders are rarely present. Today, however; they were there, and they demanded my attention. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t just let it go. I was forced to face the sadness and another little piece of the pain that still remains deep inside, but as difficult as those moments can be, I’m thankful for them. They remind me of where I have been and how far God has brought me. They remind me that tears are only an indication that I’m still here, I have survived and every additional day I’m given is a huge blessing. Tonight, as I reflect on my day, I know that today was just one of them days, and tomorrow is a brand new one.