free to live again . . .

ok, so i've been a bit cryptic lately - my facebook friends can attest to that - but it's been for what i believe is good reason.  isn't it strange how we share everything these days ---

anyway.  i want to share this.  there is something liberating about talking about it.  it had been my well kept secret for years, if not a decade.

all my life i have had bad "teeth and gums".  i had horrible dental visits, always resulting in pain and lots of bleeding - and the dentists we went to certainly didn't care.  so -- that gave me an excuse to avoid the dentist. 

i say that it was my secret, but i'm sure any of you who know me have noticed how awful my front teeth especially have been.  years of gum disease did my teeth in - broken, crooked, loose - it was awful.

it was paralyzing.  everything i did i stopped to think about my teeth - what i ate, how i ate, where i ate.  i haven't been able to use lipstick or lip gloss in years because i couldn't rub my lips together.  i hated how i looked - avoided the camera, or public speaking as much as i could (not easy being a teacher for about 7 years).  i got stares from store clerks and other strangers - paralyzing!  and i never spoke about it -- with anyone!

we were at my sister's house to celebrate her birthday.  we were enjoying a wonderful birthday cake paul made when i bit a chocolate chip wrong -breaking another tooth.  that was it.  i had had enough.  how long could this keep going.  it wasn't going to get any better -- all because of fear.

so -- i jumped online, did some research, and made an appointment.  i refused to let myself re-schedule it!  and i went.  they started with x-rays, which were uncomfortable enough for me.  i sat in "the chair" waiting for the dentist to come in -- hoping they wouldn't want to poke and prod my mouth - and hoping i didn't get "the speech" about not taking care of myself.  she didn't on both accounts.

the dentist walked in -- a woman about my age, she said "hello, you do know you're looking at getting dentures, right?  by the way my name is dr. k."  i was relieved!  i knew they were bad - i had even told people they will probably want to rip them out (once i started talking about it this week) - and they assured me it couldn't be that bad.  i was hoping for this news -- instead of countless root cannels, extractions and implants, etc.

she warned me that some of them were so loose they may come out when she took the impressions.  sigh -- fear coursed through my veins as she started the procedure.  all still intact - she called me very lucky.  i had an advanced stage of gum disease, i may even need to have some posts put in my bottom jaw because my jaw bone has deteriorated - told you it was awful!

so -- yesterday was the big day.  what a way to spend a saturday!  she spent lots of time numbing me up with novocaine - and got ready to yank -- almost literally 25 teeth from my head.  wow.  glad i don't have to do that again!  holy cow!  some teeth were so loose i bearly felt a tug - others, mostly molars were in  alittle tighter and i ienvisioned her bracing her feet against the chair for a better grip.  and the sound in my head -- spin tingling!

so -- now the healing process begins - i already have temporary plates put in - and go back tomorrow for a post-op visit.  but, all in all things are going well.  i don't have much pain -- keep in mind i've had some sort of discomfort or pain in my mouth for years.  the swelling is going down and i'm on the road to looking normal.  what what a remarkable difference.  i have some before pictures i'll post -- and once the swelling is gone i'll post an after shot.

there were posters all around the office saying -- "let us help you get your smile back."  they did more then that -- i've gotten my life back.


facing fear - - head on

Fear.  we all have something that scares us.  i have 3 big ones.

tomorrow, i'm going to face one of them head on.  i've been "psyching" myself up for it all day.

but, what i've learned is -- it's time.  time to leave the history in the past and dig myself out of the fear and get ready to live again.

this particular fear has been haunting me for years, maybe even decades.  as time goes on the problems it creates has gotten to be extensive - and i now realize that the fear has been paralyzing.  as much as i don't want to go tomorrow and face it head on, i know it's what needs to be done.  tomorrow will be just the tip of the iceberg, i realize that, but i also know that getting it all taken care of will be a tremendous weight lifted from me. 

i'll be able to live again - this has affected me mind, body, and spirit - physically, mentally and emotionally.  as fearful as i am about facing it tomorrow, i'm excited for the end result - in whatever shape, form, or time period it takes.

proverbs 3:5 sticks in my head - alot.  "trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not on your own understanding"  that will get me through tomorrow, and in the days ahead.  it will get me through the new life waiting for me - with only 2 big fears instead of 3.  :)


pieces left behind. . .

i was out running some errands today, and my last stop was walmart.  i was looking for the perfect bunch of bananas when a woman approched me.

"hi, how are you?  we were just talking about you and your mom the other day."

i must have had a strange look on my face because the woman went on to tell me she was one of my mom's nurses - and then i recognized her - took a minute, she wasn't in scrubs.

"we were just talking about how we hadn't seen shirley in some time, and we were hoping things were going well."  my mom had been in and out of the hospital from floor to floor - room to room - and unit to unit.  she was everyone's favorite.  she only rang if she truley needed something, she always had a knd word for them and would laugh and joke with them.  they liked to come into mom's room to "hang out" for a few minutes.

i remember - which time i'm not sure - i remember one time we checked her back in through the er.  as they wheeled her upstaris to her room - me following behind, the nurses waved and called her by name as we went past thier stations.  a clear indication that we had been there too much --or was it.

the woman was embarrassed when i told her of my mother's death in october -- she apologized over and over.  i told her not to be silly -- how was she to know.  i thanked her for everything she did for my mom - i remember she was my mom's nurse when she was signed out of the hospital on her birthday.  my mom's doctor - whom she was close with, sent her a small birthday cake.  we sat around eating cake with the nurses as we gathered her things to go home.  the nurse -- i remembered her name is nicole - - said she had never seen that happen before - a doctor sending a cake to a patient.  my mom and her docotor had that kind of relationship.  my mom had that kind of relationship with alot of people.

on the way home in the car i thought about the interaction.  it made me smile.  i realized that there were still pieces of mom left behind.  like the balloons in the picture - little things she left floating behind.  she touched many lives with her kindness - hope that is something i can do, something i've learned from her.

love you mom!   xoxo