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Tooth or Consequences

A recent thread on the WhatNext.com forums asked if any of us had experienced problems with our teeth during or after cancer treatment. The answers give a tour of dental "collateral damage."

After my cancer diagnosis in early 2014 and before beginning chemo, I'd had dental work done. That including extraction of an abscessed tooth that had split down the middle and couldn't be saved. The work concluded with my getting a crown at upper left (I think that's tooth #15, since I've had all of my wisdom teeth removed).

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Back in the Blog Saddle

I last blogged here about four months ago. Enough was going on -- including the death of a dear friend whom I'd known for 40+ years and the various issues that preceded his passing -- that I opted to take a sabbatical. I've been on a reading jag, which I've been savoring. During chemo two years ago, short reads were about all that I could handle. This is a potpourri, catch-up entry.

1. Follow-up

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Shh! Be Wewy, wewy qwiet…

My partner has a saying: "When in doubt, overdo it." Over the past few years, she has slowly been backing away from that habit. As someone with MS, it's hard on her. As her caregiver, it's hard on me. As her caregiver and a cancer patient, it's become that much harder on me.

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On Circumstances

April 13 will mark three months that I've been on Xarelto. My GP tells me that I can stop taking the blood thinner at that time. Then, some months after that, we can do another follow-up ultrasound. It takes time for the clot to clear completely, she said.

I still feel some very minor discomfort around my jugular vein when I yawn. It feels like a mild version of the discomfort I had felt after my port had first been inserted. My scar from the port removal continues to heal and my surgical skin remains in place. I still have a bit of venous swelling in my right arm.

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I had my follow-up ultrasound on March 18 for my port-related blood clot. The upshot: My subclavian vein is still partially blocked, but it is well on its way to being fully open again.

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Meditations and Explorations

Insurance rep: Why did you pay [the hospital]?
Me: Well, when you're flat on your back in an ER triage bed with a blood clot that could kill you, and someone from the hospital is standing over you asking for money, that could be a bit of a motivator.

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If a Port Falls in the Forest, Is That a Data Point?

I will soon switch from taking 15 mg. of Xarelto twice/day to taking 20 mg. once/day. As I've written before, I am on blood thinner to treat the clot (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) caused by my chemo port.

Picking up the new pills kept me up that night, but only because I couldn't get this visual pun out of my head:

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One of the advantages of posing the same question to different doctors on my medical team is that I get to peek through their respective lenses. (My lens is that of a layperson, so I present my doctors' info as I best understand it. Any errors in interpretation are my own.)

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Six of One, and On the Third Hand...

Due to my port-associated blood clot, my medical oncology appointment was moved up from February 9 to January 22. I brought with me the documents I had downloaded from my hospital's patient portal, the CD of my ultrasound images, and the hospital's report to my GP. They had sent me a hardcopy of the report, which I then scanned into my computer.

My oncologist's assistant had already snagged the patient portal documents, but the ultrasound CD came in handy. He transferred those files to his laptop.

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New Normal Redux

In the days following my hospital discharge for a port-associated blood clot, I've added to my To Do list and have been checking off the tasks.


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