I hope I can keep up this positive attitude up throughout the week. The familiar butterflies in my tummy were just starting to fly away.
What is this business of root scaling? A few weeks ago I decided I had enough sick leave built up to tend to routine checkups, including my eyes and teeth. The results showed that my eyes have not changed, but my teeth are another story. They are still 100% cavity-free, pearlie-white, and strong, but my gums have receded a bit. I noticed that they receded during chemotherapy, and I noticed that they did not "grow" back. But the change was minor, caused me no problems, and ceased to get worse after chemo ended. Well, my dental x-rays revealed that the problem is much greater than my phenotype suggests. I have had significant bone loss due to bacterial biofilms that have formed beneath the gum line. (Shout-out to bacterial biofilms and those of you researching them. They are the coolest, but not when they are in my mouth.) My outstanding dental hygiene regimen that has long included daily brushing, flossing, and mouth-washing was not sufficient to prevent these pesky bacteria from digging in in the relative absence of my immune system. Boo.
I was diagnosed with early periodontal disease, which can be stopped in its tracks via root scaling. The hygienist will use a special sonicator tool to disrupt the bacterial biofilms that are thriving below my gumline. It'll be relatively uncomfortable, and so local anesthetic will be offered. I will have to go in for two sessions of root scaling, having half of my mouth scaled at a time. Tomorrow will be the first of the two. It will be a bummer, but not so bad. I just harken myself back to the spine biopsy, or the post-mastectomy drainage tubes, or any day during chemotherapy, and I instantly realize that I can handle a couple of sessions of root scaling. Boo-M.
One reason I am in such a good mood is that I had a remarkable weekend. I took the girls to the Twin Cities to see one of my dearest friends from grad school, my amazing college roommate, and one of my favorite former labmates. We also visited the Minnesota Children's museum and Minnehaha falls. Nothing like introducing your children to old friends to bridge the gap between life pre- and post-cancer. Needless to say, it was a most enjoyable and therapeutic weekend.
Come and get me, scans, -grams, and exams. You will reveal no cancer in this girl.