I hate the dentist, but I hate cancer a bit more

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I had to go through tons of scary, painful and, at times, embarassing tests. But, what really terrified me was when my Oncologist asked me when I had seen my dentist last.  I was ashamed to say it had been more than a few years.  You see, I had this irrational fear of the dentist (which, to this day, I still feel is completely rational!) – and the longer I didn’t go, the more terrified I was at what might happen when I did.  My doctor informed me that before I started chemo, I had to have a full dental checkup and fix any problems.  I must say, at that point, I was more afraid of going to the dentist than starting chemo. I ended up getting through it, however, and it actually wasn’t as bad as I had envisioned (the dentist that is, not the chemo). Now, my Oncologist and Rheumatologist are recommending that I get infusions of Zometa due to bone loss from a combination of having Lupus and being on Arimidex for post breat cancer treatment. Zometa has the dual benefit of helping slow the bone loss and also decreasing the risk of cancer recurrence. Sounds good, right? Well, guess what, I can’t start the infusions until I get a full dental exam. Ugh. So, I put on my big girl pants, made the appointment and went. Things overall are good, however, they suggested a deep cleaning and a crown for a tooth with an old filling. Apparently, Zometa can cause problems with the jaw bone and any potential dental problems need to be taken care of before starting the infusions. Plus, any type of chemo puts you at a higher risk for infection, and that can be extremely dangerous if any dental problems arise during treatment, which my doctors have said will probably be for 3 years. I have put off the follow up visits for a few months, actually, because I had to get dental insurance, was sick of going to doctors, and, yes, I was scared. But, it’s the new year, and, once again, I need to put on my big girl pants and get this taken care of. I have an appointment next week and, hopefully soon after that, I’ll be able to start the Zometa treatment. If I was able to beat cancer, I certainly can deal with the dentist, right? I’ll let you know….

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