Yesterday I chipped my front tooth. I believe it happened when I was squeezing my puppy too hard. Every part of my body was clenched because I love her so much, and my top teeth skid across my bottom ones. Friction.
No big deal, right? I have cancer, so there are far more urgent subjects on my mind.
This damn tooth is bugging me so hard, I’ve begun to wonder if I need to tip my priorities back to where they were in the earliest days of my diagnosis. I’m so disturbed by the chipping, as well as my reaction to it, I had to temporarily halt studying in order to write this very important update.
That’s the scary thing. Right now, treatment is going really, really well. It couldn’t possibly be going better. My last scan – 5 weeks ago – showed near complete resolution of my tumour and clear lymph nodes. Physically, I feel great. I have the occasional nausea and some psychedelic – are you on LSD – flashing lights. Otherwise, my body feels better than it has for years (that’s a post for another time). I’ve almost completed my first semester of grad school without missing a single day.
I’m so grateful.
So why the fu*K do I care about a chipped tooth!? Is my appearance really that important to me (or anyone else)?
NOPE. It’s not about the tooth at all. My mind is honing in on this irrelevant ‘issue’ to distract from the fears brewing in my psyche: fear of failure (school) and fear of progression (cancer).
The former can be remedied by studying and really throwing myself into the work; but there is absolutely nothing I can do to defeat the latter. One day – hopefully a long time from now – the effects of my treatment will wane, and I will again be faced with near death. This can change on a whim. I’m watching it happen at this very moment to several of my fellow ROS1ers. It concurrently breaks my heart and freaks the hell out of me.
I guess all I can do for now is chip away at this tooth…er, I mean work. But even school has been weighing on me lately. Every day I wake up and ask myself if it’s worth it, when I could very well just move to Hawaii and spend the rest of my days beachside.
Is it making me happy?
Not particularly, but apparently that is not the point.
My sister tells me that, while conventional wisdom suggests doing what makes us content, the real purpose of life is to undertake activities that give meaning.
Well, I have always valued education, so I must be on the ‘right’ path…
Here’s a photo of Floxie because you aren’t getting one of my tooth.