There’s No Tooth Fairy at 52

My chemo – probably the Xgeva – made me throw a cap off of my right canine tooth today.  My tooth, ground to a nub by my dentist in Miami 15 years ago, now sits between an incisor and the tooth that kicked all this dentistry off so many years ago. I would cover my mouth because the discoloration that no amount of bonding would cover showed through. Prior to the magnificent new smile my dentist gave my face, I lived to go to the Movies.  It was in those dark, cool cinemas, I could laugh loud and proud. And I love to laugh and to tell jokes, and to lift the corners of a friend’s sad eyes with a bad pun or off color made up limerick. Or produce eye rolls with my on the fly songs about my cat or a situation with my cancer. 

I ran my tongue over my teeth and thought from the texture that the blueberry scone had deposited a blueberry skin onto my tooth. Upstairs, I grabbed my toothbrush and put some sensitive mouth toothpaste on my brush. And looked painfully into the mirror. I am glad my husband wasn’t home because I wailed hard. NO NO NO NOT THIS TOO – FUCKING CANCER TAKES EVERYTHING EVEN MY SMILE. I cried for about an hour. Maybe I needed a good cry. There’s too much going on right now to take time to cry. I feel these days I need to get things in order at home. I don’t feel well. I know my disease is “stable” and I know I am having a really hard time getting an appointment with my oncologist and palliative oncologist, but it’s not personal.  A dentist can fix my lost cap sooner than later. I hope. Craig offered to cover it for me since I cannot even afford to eat in Northern California on my own. I can smile for the little things and cry for the big ones. 

Today he and I we were talking about being tall and how people expect tall kids to be tough. My 16 year old stepson is almost 6′ 5″ – I was 6′ at his age. People also expect you to reflect a maturity beyond your years when you’re a tall kid. Its our burden and the curse of the tall. I said I always felt like an awkward Amazon and Craig said, “you are a beautiful warrior – as the Amazonian women were. You even have your right breast smaller from a surgery like they did to shoot their archery equipment more accurately. And you’re hitting the cancer head on withtough grace like you do everything.” I beamed at him and blushed at his comment. I wished it was after the tooth loss since we had a few stupid fights after the touching comments of the morning. Maybe I need more than he can give. I’m afraid he’s feeling safety in his depression so he doesn’t have to deal with some tough things going on in his world.  It’s so aggravating to be so all alone with my cancer and pools of festering lies we uncovered recently for the personal gain of an 18 year old.

But better days come. They have to. Right? But there won’t be a tooth fairy flitting around the bedroom waiting until I fall asleep to put a crisp 5 spot under my pillow. I don’t know where the cap tooth is and I probably swallowed it anyway. I cannot handle cancer sometimes. I just wanted to at least keep a decent looking corpse for the dying young crowd to cry over, but that’s not going to be the case if this keeps up.

Ilene

Female. East coast transplant living in the Bay Area of California. Living with Stage IV breast cancer. Married to the coolest guy in the universe who occasionally suffers from serious depression. Love my stepsons, although I never thought I'd have that thankless job - ever! And my best friend Simon is also my cat. How I have survived with stage IV: treatments including chemo and surgery; palliative oncology; tenacity; a dark sense of humor; support groups; and my newly reinvented career as a vintage and antiques maven. Some days I miss the old me who led a well respected and well paid life as a business strategist in high tech. So much for that. I blog to simply share my experiences and my poetic approach with others who have cancer of any kind or with their care givers and those who love them. If one person at the very least finds a little commonality or a friend out in the ether tor a smile, a common nod about this experience, or even a link to assistance, then I have accomplished a small but extraordinarily meaningful goal. Go team.

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