Out of the Mouth of…

7 Sep

The following are excerpts from a letter written by David to a friend of ours who is waging a valiant and victorious fight with cancer since one year ago.

Dear Don,
I want to begin by saying thank you for sharing your life with all of us that are aware of what is going on with you and for being so vulnerable in telling us how you feel in this battle….

I thought right now that one way to describe what we do full time could be summed up as “we are trying to learn how to take the opportunities that God brings into our lives to introduce our Friend, Jesus, to our friends that don’t know Him.” Part of our activities is to be in direct contact with the crises of our friends and acquaintances, all the time, including our own as is the case at this time…It occurred to me that perhaps if I shared with you how I feel in my own crisis right now, that it would give you a good laugh. So I decided to give it a try. So here goes…

Some people like me have been labeled as having “rabbit teeth” from a very young age. I remember when I was a child in school that some mean kids teased me by chanting, “you have rabbit teeth, nana nana na na.” But I survived and I overcame this “trauma.” Then as an adult all this changed when I got braces and I started feeling really good about my teeth. In fact, I thought they looked really good!!

Well, this feeling of pride, comfort and confidence with my teeth began to crumble one Monday a few weeks ago. While I was asleep, one of my precious “rabbit teeth” fell out of my mouth! It was after midnight and I woke up with a strange sensation in my mouth. I felt a hole where the tooth should have been. It was so strange that I felt that I was dreaming…and then that I was having a nightmare! But as the seconds passed, I became aware of the cruel reality and I questioned what was happening. Where is my tooth? It wasn’t in my mouth. Did I swallow it? No, it had literally fallen out of my mouth. In the midst of darkness I began to feel around the bed and I found it in between the sheets. At that point I went to the bathroom and put it back in the space and secured it with a retainer that I had been using.

In the morning I called a friend of ours who is a dentist and I told her what had happened. She instructed me to call the periodontal specialist immediately who had treated my gums years ago. That doctor fit me into his schedule and saw me three hours later. As he examined me his comments were that the situation didn’t look very good, but that he was going to do some tests and that two days later he would give me the results. In the meantime, he sent me to another dentist who would work with reattaching the tooth that had fallen out.

I left the doctor’s office feeling very bad and also beginning to consider and worry about how we were going to cover all the extra expenses this would incur, even without having a clear picture yet. I called the second dentist around 6 p.m. that evening and explained the situation. He also made space for me to see him that same day and told me to go to his office at 7:40.

This doctor examined me as well and likewise told me that the situation didn’t look very good. The good news was that he could use the tooth that had fallen out to cover the space temporarily by using what they call a splint, therefore giving the other doctor a chance to analize the situation, work on my gums and come up with a permanent solution.

Two days later I went back to the periodontal specialist and he explained his diagnosis to me. He told me that unfortunately my front four teeth cannot be saved. They no longer have roots and the bone in my jaw in that area has deteriorated 100%. There are also problems in other parts of my upper jaw where there is 50% and 30% bone loss respectively. Gratefully, my lower jaw is unaffected. He prescribed antibiotics and other medication for inflammation and said that to begin I would need eight sessions to restore my gums and see if any of the bone can be regenerated. The other part of Phase I will be extracting the dead nerves from those four teeth and grafting in new ones leaving my gums ready for Phase II. The second phase will entail doing “titanium”(?) implants along with bone grafts to prepare for putting in permanent replacements for my teeth.

I am explaining all this to you from what I remember and in the most simple form. To be honest, as I listened to this fascinating explanation of the options and alternatives including the implants, in my mind I was trying to add up how much all this was going to cost. Besides it was just overwhelming! But I dared to ask the doctor how much this would all cost, more or less. The doctor told me that Phase I would cost $1,200.00 dollars…The second phase would start at a cost of $4,000.00 – $5,000.00 dollars…On top of that would be the cost of the four teeth that need to be replaced permanently….

So, I left the doctor’s office worried about how we are going to pay for all of this and feeling guilty that I hadn’t prevented it…I also felt bad that financially we were already tight, and now all these additional expenses are being added without having the money to pay for it….

I’m feeling much better now, although nothing has really changed. I am now seeing God’s influence and presence in my life (in our lives.) He is reminding us that this is a perfect situation to trust in Him and to put into practice what we preach. Through our current circumstances I am experiencing something powerful and supernatural, something that only He can do through His Spirit. Only in Him can I feel love, joy, peace, patience and trust, perhaps not all the time…but most of the time….

God bless you and your family!!

David

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