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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday Check in : Shallow waters and Vain Reality

Tuesday. The day when I allow shallow vanity take hold within my blog. I tell you about my weight struggles, where I am at on the scale, my obsession with an ounce or two. It is also the time I have shared my woes over gray hair and how I felt about it, and where I shared re-coloring it. I have begun a journey on actually caring for my skin, fighting the wrinkles I have aided in creating from years of sun abuse and doing little to aid moisture of fight oil. And I shall still continue to do that, maybe throw in a few fashion things here and there , taking a break from day adventures and French Girl Fluff. A day to share all things shallow and vain. Which if you knew me, really knew me, you would see really is not part of my regular persona. Oh sure I make sure to wear at least lip stick when I go out, and cover up my lumps and bumps and sun beam shaped stretch marks and show just enough cleavage to draw your eye away from the flaws...but yesterday all that did not seem to matter when I broke down and did something I had not done in 17 years. I WENT TO THE DENTIST.

Shocked??? YES, it has been 17 years Why so long?! Well let us step back in time. I grew up going every 6 months like clock work. Did not mind the dentist all that much. I had my fair share of cavities, I went through four years of braces, head gear ( bright purple!) I had oral surgeries and still went as one is supposed to. I had issues all through my life with iron deficient anemia , and I can not tolerate iron supplements, my body rejects the pills and makes me very sick. One side effect from being anemic, is poor gum matter what you do, your gums suffer. I have had the gums of a 40 year old since I was a teen...sadly our bookend daughters ( #1&3 ) suffer the same. But apparently all my poor health through the years also effected my bones. When I was 25, I went to the dentist and received horrible news. I had the beginnings of moderate to severe periodontal disease.  I sat in shock and upset. I was so young. I made the appointment to see a periodontist. I was told if I did not go through root planing and such every three months, and gum surgery, I would loose my teeth in 5-10 years. THEN they said I would need to sign a waver that all they wanted to do to me could actually speed things up. OH! And then the kicker , insurance would not cover it. I was 25. We had three kids, and not a lot of spare money. I walked away, said I would take my chances...just get normal cleanings etc. Well, soon after my husband left his job cause of lack of hours, we lost our insurance, and we both stopped going to the dentist. We got insurance for our kids through the state, and we kept taking them.

We had insurance on and off through the years, but never the money, and our kids needed fillings, cleanings, braces, all the normal stuff, so all spare money went to the care of our kids. As parents we put them first. Five years ago, 12 years into not having gone, we finally had the money to attend to our teeth. But fear had grown as to what we would both face, real or imagined we were not ready to face it. We plopped our money into landscape and our new home. Then just about the time I was going to bite the bullet, our oldest daughter had a major dental issue, and we had no insurance yet from the move. OF COURSE, we took care of her needs. THEN the youngest daughter needed braces, oral surgery, not just once , but several times, the middle daughter needed a few things, we had insurance, but the co pays were killing us. We went through a lot of our savings trying to cover it all.

Then to top it off, my fibromyalgia had a major flair. Now just a note about that, when that happens, you can barely move, you feel like you have the flu all the time, the constant pain is debilitating at times, and you just want to curl up on the couch and not move. I had to seek help for that, alternative care helps more than drugs in my opinion, and well insurance does not cover it. So, my dental health and that of my husbands got put off again.

When we moved back to CA, I saw it as time, once again to get ready to take care of my teeth. Then we found out with the move we had to pay all over again for the braces on our youngest daughters teeth, and she needed more oral surgery. It required more money from would not cover braces , and only a small portion of the surgeries. A year after moving here, my husband lost his high paying job, great insurance, and a year after that, 11 months ago, we lost our dream home, and all our savings. We were flat broke. Our youngest continued to need dental care, and we paid what we could and she is not covering it all on her own, and making monthly payments to her dentist, as they were willing to work with her.

Fast forward to this past Thursday. I caught a cold, and suddenly when brushing my teeth, my left bottom molar( ...I think they called it #19,???) had a shooting pain happen when I brushed it. One like I had never felt before, and it scared me....BUT I thought it might be cold related. The more I read, the less I was convinced. Sensitivity issues had never been this bad, even though it had all the signs. So yesterday , I broke down and went to a dentist that runs a 39.95, quick , basic check up with limited Xrays. They fit me right in. The cost cleared out our bank account. YES, we are still that broke, even with my husbands new job, and we do not have insurance till November. They took the X-rays, and the dentist came in to see me. REALLY BAD NEWS....The bones in mouth, that hold my teeth in place had degenerated so badly, he did not know what was holding my teeth in my mouth. He gave them the wiggle test and all but my front bottom two, the worst of the worst with the gum issues ( have been long in the tooth for years) were secure...he was so baffled he tried to wiggle them all again. He said NONE of my teeth were candidates for crowns or any other dental work. They had cracks in some, so I risk breaking them ( guess that is my fault, I am addicted to ice chewing, it is called PICA and related to the anemia), and I needed lots of gum grafts/periodontal surgery to try to prolong how long it would take before needing full all that surgery, all that money would only prolong, but not prevent or save my teeth. Even with insurance and payment options, we are talking thousands. I walked home in a fog.

I knew we would never have that kind of money to make the co-pays. There was not a chance in hell, and then , even then I will still need dentures...and more than likely in the near future I will one day, bite down on something , could even be bread, and my front bottom teeth would fall out. vanity panic button took hold. I am going to be toothless and not able to afford teeth in the VERY near future, and I have no options, no where to turn for help. Unless we win publishers, all this shallow vanity I have will mean nothing! What is the point of creams, trying to loose weight, dressing nice, coloring my hair/trying to find the right cut and doing my nails again....if you do not have teeth....well that is the ultimate vanity point for anyone. That will be all anyone sees. I had to pull myself together as our middle daughter is going through some major life changing things, and she wanted us to take her to IKEA to look at furniture for the new home her and her boyfriend just bought.....THAT alone was really tough...not being able to afford nice new things for the apartment, not having a home, and now realizing in a way, that too is a pipe dream, we will never have a space all our own .... BUT add in the dentist visit, and not being able to ignore what is happening to my body...the break down of it between fibro, anemia and well goodness knows what else was all a very tough day to digest...Oh and once again it is hormone time, so of course I am a wreck.

My Mom is being kind and sending me the money we paid out so I can at least afford my coffee after my daily walks , and a bit extra for new walking shoes too , as mine are worn out. But those are band aides. My friends sent me links for pro bono dental links , there are none in my area...all other pro bono dental care places are too far to get to. I shall look up dental schools, but that , although cheaper, is still going to cost money. Then I looked up Clear is a dental implant specialist, if we were going to pay....well insurance only covers 1500.00 annually. We all know , one visit can eat that up! THEN, I saw the price...20-30k ! The price of a new car. We can not afford car payments, there is no way we can afford tooth implant payments ! AGAIN , all doors are closed, no options.

My Mom was trying to be supportive and talk me off the ledge, but her mentioning that she has no bottom teeth on one side, and missing a few elsewhere, and my Dad the same , all due to cost, and age and issues, well it did not add comfort, just more fear. I have little left in my life past my wonderful hubby and three beautiful daughters....I know, I know , they are all I a perfect world they are enough. But I am human, and I need more than just the love of my family. I can not shop,garden, work on a home. Can not do more than these little day trips done on the cheap , so dreams of travel gone. We pray daily our cars will last. Going out to eat is a pipe dream. But I have one shallow pleasure I love food. But now knowing I have to really watch what I eat to make sure I do not make my teeth fall out any sooner...and when they do, then becoming toothless for lack of funds to do anything about it ...I am frightened ! I think I always knew this would be what would happen, but most days could ignore it and say the problem was not as bad as I imagined. It is actually worse.

So my shallow endeavors that come out on Tuesdays , are over shadowed by vain realities.  My friends tell me not to give up hope. Keep looking at all avenues. But having been told the same thing when we were about to loose our home, and we still lost it, well it is very hard, maybe harder. With loosing a home, we could always find a place to lay our head, find warmth. Friends, family....but no one can provide me or my husband ( who um more than likely is in bad shape too) have new teeth.

I plan to write Oprah again.Rachel Ray, and Ellen too. I have tried many times, but one never knows. I will keep entering Publishers. I will keep praying. I will do the best I can do on my own to keep these teeth in place...but today, right now, I am at the bottom of the bottom , and not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel , except the oncoming train. Today my weight, and what wrinkles I have do not matter. BUT, for others sake, my kids and my husband, I shall still continue to take care of the outer shell as well.

So, brief update on weight ....T.O.M has hit yet again, and this time I am 126.2 at the beginning of it. I actually saw 125.8 for two days! The lowest I have been in three years! So I am pretty proud of me and my efforts. If I tightened the food purse a bit more, and added in a bit of variety in my exercise, neither of which I have done as of late, I might see even more strives towards my goal.

Skin report..Week one. I was going to post photos. I am seeing a difference. There are pros and cons to a few of the products. But I think I shall save the report and the photos for week NEXT check in day. As I said , for today, it simply does not seem to be of importance.

I also know I still need to pass the blogger award on, AND I was given another Versatile Blogger award recently, and that has it's needs to be addressed. I will save those for Saturday. Tomorrow, Wine and Gravestones. Thursday, Another historic town pictorial. Friday, Chapter 8 of of our French Girl chapter...all about the home!


  1. that pain you describe - I had that on friday- it is difficult here to get a dentist and for many months I have got by with a cracked tooth- my guess is friday the nerve was finally exposed- and it was has you say a uniquely awful feeling- through the tooth and into the mouth- this happened while at work and it wasnt a constant thing but if my tongue moved in the direction of the tooth- it would start again. thats where psychology kicks in- I knew if i touched it then it would hurt but would touch it nevertheless to see if it still hurts- it did

    Friday I tend to have beer so I wasnt going to visit dentist on friday- the strangest thing then saturday the pain seems to have gone- and this has been building up for weeks (drinking cold things and eating icecream has been difficult- I stopped the icecream and would try to pour drinks straight into my mouth and past the teeth, lol)

    all is fine now- and I really dont understand why- there is no pain, nothing, and last night at work I found I could drink cold water again without pulling a face! Not complacent- whatever it was that caused the pain on friday that surely cannot have disappeared, its a puzzle.

    anyhow, so, as the saying goes, I feel your pain!

    have emergency telephone number handy here so if it comes back I can ring that, but life on minimum wage means I really have to wait until it does come back before getting it sorted..

  2. I will keep you in my thoughts, Ruby! Good luck and I hope the best for you and yours~

    On a lighter note: some people are finding graceful ways out of the award as it is a lot of work--see materfamilias post.

    AND I made a mention about your blog in my blog today~just fyi

  3. *hugs* If I had the answers I would share them...but for now...I only share *hugs*

  4. Steph,
    I can't even begin to tell you how I feel after reading this. I know it doesn't matter to say "don't worry" or "things will be alright" because I know you're not feeling that way right now.

    I will tell you this...I will pray so very hard for a miracle for you and those I do believe in! Love ya bunches,

  5. Prayers going up for you lady! As someone who has spent a ton of money on teeth issues, I can commiserate!


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