I am rarely speechless. I am the type of person that will chat nervously when I am uncomfortable - something I have done a lot of over the past 22 months. However, today at the dentist's office with Phoebe, I found myself at a complete loss for words.
It would seem that the many, many months of toxic and high dose chemotherapy, the steroids, all of the other medications that Phoebe has taken over the course of treatment, the constant vomiting while on chemo, the way she held food in her mouth when she was (re)learning how to eat - all of this has taken a toll on her teeth. It appears that she has little to no enamel on many of her teeth - I noticed that they looked "different" when I was brushing last week and scheduled a visit with the dentist. I just wasn't expecting it to be so bad ...
I learned that in the opinion of the dentist that Phoebe saw today, a pediatric dentist working out of CHEO, she will need a crown on every single tooth on the top of her mouth and four on the bottom. One of her bottom teeth may need to be pulled if it cannot be repaired. This was the moment in which I became speechless. What is there to say to that ... I think I mumbled something about brushing teeth and how we do it at least twice a day. Which we do.
I feel terrible. On one hand I think that if this is what we are dealing with after all that Phoebe has been through, that is okay. The list of possible long term complications for a child who has gone through treatment for cancer is very long and very frightening. But we can fix teeth, these are her baby teeth, and I know that it could be very much worse. On the other hand, I think - hasn't Phoebe been through enough? Seriously. All of this dental work will need to be done under general anesthetic and there is no guarantee that Phoebe's adult teeth will not come in with similar issues.
Last night Jon and I were watching Mae and Phoebe in the bath and discussing Phoebe's teeth. This was before we saw the dentist and I asked him - do you think she will need a crown? (a single crown, what was I thinking?) Mae then piped up - a crown? on her teeth? I want a crown for my teeth too. Can I get a crown like Phoebe?
She will be Princess Phoebe with her many crowns.
And because I like to end my blog posts on a good note, I will say that in regards to the long list of possible long term and life altering
complications, Phoebe also had her hearing tested today. I am happy to
report that she hears perfectly well and the audiologist even commented that she was impressed by Phoebe's speech.