To say this last week has been in tough in Guatemala would be an understatement. Emotionally and physically, I’m beat up guys. Overwhelmed to the max. Feeling all the things. Joy, fear, more fear, pain, anxiety, all of it.
There’s been a lot of things going on. A lot. And I know I’m an open book, but some stuff I’m just not ready to talk about just yet. But soon.
Our first week in Guatemala was great. But at some point we knew we had to take ourselves away from vacation mode and into life moving mode. The to do lists had to start— finding a home, figuring out school for Marlowe, figuring out a phone system (haven’t even attempted this one yet), and more.
We hate eating out. No, that’s a lie, we don’t hate it– we actually really enjoy it, but only when its an occasional from time to time thing. A week and a half in and we were all tired of it. Tired of the excess oil, the excess salt, the fried stuff— I just want my food in my kitchen. As much as I love a good fried plantain— I want overload myself with greens in the morning and not oil. But these things were minor compared to everything else going on.
You guys know my intense and complete fear the dentist— it is real. Well, try going to three dentist in one week — in a foreign third world country— trying to navigate the language barrier/ medical terminology of another language. And do this after questioning everyday for weeks how your recovering health really is going to stand up in the real world.
I’m sure I’ve talked about it here– but I have no idea when or where so I can’t Lin it here– but I ended up removing one of two of my root canal-ed teeth. I saw significant improvements in my health and digestive system after this action. If you guys don’t already know this— your teeth are connected to everything. The idea that a tooth is just a tooth and can’t affect anything else is completely and totally an archaic way of thinking. Your teeth affect you– and leaving a dead tooth in your mouth (roots removed or not) will affect you.
I saw a significant decline in my health (pre c. diff) when I got both root canals done. The body parts that align with both root canals? My large intestine. No surprise my digestion and in turn overall health began to crumble.
I should have had my other root canal-ed tooth removed months ago. I should have had it done after I saw my progress by my first removal. The swollen gums, the inflammation in my mouth, the sharp pains and occasional inability to eat— it all should have been a sign– it all was a sign for removal. But I left it in because how do you eat with two missing molars on opposite sides of your mouth? (I guess “carefully” is the answer).
This first week in Antigua I bit into a rock or something similar while chewing. I felt a direct and painful sting deep into my mouth. I cleared the rock and kept eating. But as the days went on the pain continued to grow. I could see the dent in my crown and I could feel the pain with every single bite I took– no matter how gentle.
I found a dentist, did an x ray and he said there was inflammation (every dentist says I have inflammation in my mouth– this is nothing new). He shaved down my tooth and said I should be better in a few days. A few days came and went and the pain did decrease while I ate– but the pains in my gums increased. I’m no stranger to gum pain. Ever since I got deadly sick I’ve had command go gum pain. So badly so that it’s prevented me from eating for days at a time (no stranger to a smooth soup diet). After almost two years of dealing with this the only thing I can attribute this to is fluctuation in hormones. As my progesterone rises, my gums inflame. Every month around the same time, it would happen.
A few days after my visit to the dentist, on a Saturday evening (aren’t all health and dental emergency on the weekend when everything is closed) I looked into the mirror and realized my gum was more than inflamed– it was larger than I had ever seen before. And my fears came overseas I realized that I might, for the first time in my life, have a dental abscess. With the help of an amazing friend I was on my way into the city the next morning to visit a dentist opening his clinic especially for me. I cannot tell you guys enough how kind the people of Guatemala are.
The dentist confirmed my fears and cleaned outa bit of my tooth, but told me the infection is still present and I could and would wait two weeks to plan the next steps. I went home feeling slightly better that a lot of my infection had been cleaned out, but worried what would happen with what was left, that he was unable reach that day. He assured me that he was almost 100% positive that he could save my tooth, but I made up my mind that day that I wanted the tooth out.
I’ve hated that tooth for a long time. I’ve hated both my root canal-ed teeth since the moment I got them. I often wondered how sick they were really making me— how much they were hindering my recovery in health. I hated them. The next morning the dentist texted me to check in on me and I told him I wanted it out. Within a few minutes I had a response, a recommendation, and an appointment with a specialist a few blocks away to have my tooth removed. Again, kindest people ever.
About an hour later I was in a one room clinic going over my concerns with again, another completely new to me dentist in another country. About 25 minutes and a lot of tears later, my tooth was gone.
That was yesterday. Today I’m exhausted. I’m trying not to let fear takeover. I’m trying not to think and over think the risk of the infection spreading. I’m trying not to think about the fact that if my tempter rises the next recommended step will be antibiotics. I think I’d lose it. Dental problems and fear of reoccurring c. diff. my nightmare.
It’s halloween and I feel like a bad mother. I promised Marlowe I’d help her make a Paloma costume. I didn’t. I feel tired and slightly ill. We’ve been so wrapped up in finding a house, taking care of my teeth, and everything else going on that all the fun stuff has been completely put on hold.
Part of me wants to throw my arms up. I want to retreat. I’ve felt sad in a defeated way. The rational side of me knows that this will pass. This is life. These are the struggles that can happen anywhere and to anyone. That I have to give it time and all the bad, scary, and overwhelming stuff will pass. And only the good and positive things will be left in front of me. There’s a lot to look forward to, I just have to get this stuff out of the way first.