the first of what will be four appointments is now complete. i don’t have the courage to look at his work. as i left his office i wondered, how do women who have endured mastectomies, even double mastectomies, look at themselves after. how do they handle the scarring, the change in how their breasts look? the reconstruction and the weeks or months it takes to recreate what was once there? how do they allow anyone else to look at them, their husband or boyfriend. how do they feel in their clothes and when they look in the mirror and their shape is distorted?
when you face an unexpected situation, sometimes there is a trigger within that causes you to take a different perspective.
as i sat in the chair and he prepped me i thought of the many times i had felt the same “pinch,” the same sharp, piercing pain down in my belly. and then it subsides. but this time was different. he started working and i heard the whir of the drill and the smell of burning rubber. i watched a video weeks ago about a root canal re-treatment so when he asked for “sodium hypochlorite” i knew it was a cleaning solution (it is used to disinfected the canals). as soon as he put that solution into the tooth flames shot through my cheek. i just knew my face was melting. he asked if i was in pain and i said yes. it continued. he was quite calm and had the assistant insert anesthetic, twice. i balled my right hand into a fist, like you do when you’re prepping for a blood test and you squeeze the rubber ball. moments later the fire was doused and smoldering.
when he finished he explained what would happen next. they gave me ibuprofen and apple juice. i took 3 before leaving the office. as the numbness wears off i feel pinpricks in my lip and jaw like when your foot is asleep and you put pressure on it. i haven’t mustered the courage to look in my mouth and see what’s left of the tooth. i go back in two weeks for more torture. may the Lord give me strength to endure this.
to the women who wear pink, run in races, and raise funds for a cure i say, you are my heroes.