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Dealing with so much I feel I can't deal anyone- dental issues

Barb16
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2012

I am a women in my early 40's. I was diagnosed two years ago with a very deadly cancer. I have had chemo/ radiation/ surgeries, consults in different top notch hospitals. I also developed type 1 diabetes during this time and I am still dealing with tho. Having diabetes is so difficult. I have so many doctor appt.'s between the two illnesses. I have managed to continue to keep working during this whole time except for the surgeries. It has been so hard, some days I was so sick I could barely get through the day. I am now cancer free and live CT scan to Ct scan. I was starting to regain some strength and hope and trying to move on a little and start enjoying life. During my illness i neglected the dentist and now need so much dental work. I feel so overwhelmed. I will now need to go to the dentist often, just when I was getting some down time without doctor visits. I will wither need to spend 20,000 on implants or get a lower partial denture. My teeth look great, but they are not. I feel like having caner, then diabetes has made me feel like a different person. It has robbed me of my identity, now possibly wearing a partial denture really makes me feel robbed of who I am. I have completely fallen apart from this news, I have been crying for days and don't know what to do. I feel so alone and desperate, I haven't even been able to speak to my husband. I feel guilty telling him I have more issues to deal with. We have already spent so much money with my cancer. I lost my closest friends during cancer treatment and have no one to talk to. I wonder f others dealing with cancer neglected their teeth. I thought I was dying and dental care was the last thing on my mind when I could barely get out of bed. Any support, ideas, knowledge of a partial denture, anything would be of help. I so depressed and so alone.

catwink22's picture
catwink22
Posts: 239
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Barb,

I’m sorry you’re having such a difficult time right now. Just when you think you can take a breath and relax there’s something else coming around the corner. I haven’t been to the dentist in 3 years since I was diagnosed and went through treatment, like you I figured I had enough on my plate. My appointment is in 3 months and I am not looking forward to it!

If it would help financially and you’re not in pain, could you put the dental work off for awhile? You could start a savings payment plan that in the US is not taxed or here are a few websites I found where you can search your state and see what programs are available.

This is a Federal link:

http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/Search_HCC.aspx?byCounty=1

This is a National Center in Maryland:

http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/PopularPublications/FindingLowCostDentalCare/

I have Non Hodgkin Lymphoma and we have a saying on our board about living CT scan to CT scan. We call it Scanxiety. I guess it’s a part of being a survivor, but you’re here and you made it! Once you get past the initial catch up on appointments and get procedures done this too will get less and less. It’s hard, but it’s do-able.

Hang in there Barb! You can get through this too!
Hugs
Cat

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 777
Joined: May 2012

I am only recently diagnosed with cancer but messed up teeth I am familiar with! I have a candy addiction. My front two teeth, not real. They look 1,000 times better than my real teeth. I'm only 42. I'm missing one that I had to have pulled, it's in the back so no one notices. I have 10 caps and you'd never know it. The only thing that is a problem at some point is discoloration but that takes years to get to. Like everything else, just deal with the now. Temps in your mouth are the hardest part (I didn't smile for the month I had them in), it's a stage everyone goes through while they are sizing your teeth. Once you have either some implants or dentures (you can always mix and match), you're going to get so used to it, you won't even pay attention to it anymore, life will move on. I can't bite with my front teeth anymore but I've adjusted to just using the sides. And you don't have to ever tell anyone. No one needs to know but you. My mom had partial dentures at our age and I had no idea. I went through the emotional roller coaster last year when I had to replace my front teeth, you are going to feel so much better when it's all done! I would say call your local dentist, tell him the situation, see if he knows anyone who will work with you (he may even work with you). My dentist does volunteer work at a local public hospital for sliding scale patients, public hospitals in your area may have sliding scale work. Call your local cancer center counseling line (even if you didn't go there for treatment), they will be able to direct you on where to go. Call your local church (catholic charities have all kinds of programs) and even if you don't go to church, they may be able to tell you groups that offer medical funding or do a fundraiser for you. People will help you, you are not alone! And you will smile again.

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

I am a survivor of over decades, having been diagnosed with non hodgkins lymphoma. Back then I had a bone marrow transplant and total body rads which was harsh and have developed a slew of after effects and one of them is dental issues, some from the cancer treatments. I know how you feel about all the appointments and one issue coming up after another - just seems to never end but hopefully it will slow down in time.

I just wanted you to know that you are not alone in all of this, you have the people on this board now but personally I also hope that you do share your issues with your husband as well even if you have to do so in the company of a good support counsellor who deals in cancer patients and their situations. I say this because sometimes it looks like complaining over and over again about cancer issues to those who do not know what we can deal with and so the presence of a good counsellor will support you in front of your husband and that will make things clearer to him too and remove some of the guilt maybe, make your position clearer to your hubby at the same time.

As far as the dental issues are concerned I don't know how bad your teeth were before the treatments you had or what the treatments were in the first place but some cancer treatments can affect the teeth too and if you are thinking of implants I would think that one over very carefully. I would try to find a good dentist who deals with cancer patients, they all should be aware of this fact that treatments can cause dental issues, and I say this because sometimes the treatments can weaken/damage the very foundations of the teeth and so implants might not even hold for long. I have seen this on the boards several times. If you are putting out all that money in dental 'fixes' then you don't want to put out a ton on implants only to have them fail. Your oncologist should have good info about this too but if not then like I said seek out a good dentist. Also you should do research yourself online about this issue, this site is a great place to start. Only look to reputable sites though for any medical information. Sites like this one are great plus the Sloan Kettering site, Lance Armstrong/Perini Family Clinics at Dana Farber as well as the Mayo Clinic and the ACOR site (American Cancer Online Resources).

I wish you all the best in your journey with cancer and remember that YOU AREN'T ALONE you have us here now. The second most important general thing to remember, as far as I am concerned too is to, TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME, ONE ISSUE AT A TIME if you possibly can. People can get very overwhelmed by cancer as you have doubtlessly already seen so as simple as one step at a time sounds it really does work. Have you ever thought of trying meditation? Look into meditation as a way to clear your head and de-stress, I practice Transcendental Meditation and find it very helpful.

All the best, keep us posted on how you are doing, and I will be popping in and out of the site to catch your updates when I can.

Blessings,

Bluerose

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