Even after nearly 7 years quit, the thought of going to the dentist for a non-scheduled visit leads my hypochondriac brain to places I don’t want it to go. I simply cannot tell you how many times I’ve thought about cancer in the last 7 years. Hell, I’ve been thinking about it for far longer than that. The thought of cancer and even the potential of it helped me to ultimately make my decision to quit dipping. So this morning as I wait for a 9:40 AM appointment that I made last night I can’t help but think of that dreaded little bitch known as cancer.
Based on the research that I’ve done (which is extensive) I know that the torus mandibularis that I have in the base of my mouth is most likely not cancer. I’ve had it for years and 99% of the time I don’t even realize it’s there. For those of you that don’t know, torus mandibularis is essentially additional bone that grows in the mouth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torus_mandibularis. No one really knows what causes them and nearly all of the time they don’t require treatment or removal. In fact the only time I even realize mine’s there is when I chew something hard that bangs it… and then it hurts like a son of a bitch.
Recently… it’s been hurting like a son of a bitch. I don’t recall a specific incident where I hit it, but in all likelihood the case. In fact, I think at this point I’ve got a canker sore on it as well which is double the fun. I’ve also done extensive research on canker sores so I know that those in all likelihood aren’t cause for concern either. Yet I still can’t get that little c-word out of my mind.
Silly? Sure. But I’ve come too far and been too diligent in my quit to not take the necessary steps to check up on my health (not to mention it hurts like a son of a bitch). Hoping this unscheduled trip will give me a little peace of mind and some comfort. What I can tell you for sure is that it’s yet another reminder of why I’m never going back to that can of death. I’m quit… and I’m not going back now. Oh yeah… fuck cancer.
UPDATED: POST DENTIST VISIT
As I’d hoped, my dentist gave me a very thorough checkup and didn’t see anything that concerned him. He took all kinds of pictures of my mouth, my torus and my gums. Lo and behold I have not 1, not 2… but 3 canker sores around my torus. Hence all the pain I’m in as it rubs against not only the underside of my tongue when I talk and eat, but also against the inside of my gum line. In his words, “The fact that it hurts is actually a good thing. The bad stuff… doesn’t hurt.” I’ve never had cancer (thank goodness) so I can’t speak to the validity of this statement, but it’s not the first time I’ve heard that oral cancer doesn’t hurt (at least in its initial stages).
My dentist knows my history with dip. He knows my involvement with KillTheCan.org. In fact, he’s referred quite a few people to the site. I’d love to know who they are! (Northeast Ohio folks out there… let me know) One thing that he said when I walked out that struck a chord with me. He said, “You were right to come in. If it was me, I’d have come in and had it checked.” That made me feel good as you can imagine. Your oral health is vitally important. If you’re like me and you’ve quit dipping you already know this, but I’d urge you, if you haven’t already, to have an open and frank discussion with your dentist about your history with tobacco. It may just save your life.
Keep on keeping on quitters… It’s a great day to be free from the clutches of nicotine.
Coming up on just shy of 2 weeks since I wrote this post and these damn canker sores STILL haven’t gone away. I went back to the dentist on Friday just to have him take a look and he said, “Yep… they take a LONG time to heal.” He also said that he noticed some healing which is a good thing. If things aren’t healed by a week from Monday he said to give him a call and we’d have an oral surgeon take a look, but that he’s not seeing anything he’s worried about. Fuck dip.
Went back again about a week ago. Infection had set in to 2 of the sores which started producing quite a bit of pus and soreness. He gave me some additional anti-antibiotics and some mouthwash which he prescribed. My dentist told me to follow up with oral surgeon if this didn’t take care of it. I’m happy to say that now nearly a month after this original post I’m nearly back to normal. The pain, swelling and pus is all gone and I’m able to eat, talk and move my mouth with little to no discomfort. At this point I don’t think I’m going to follow up with the oral surgeon as this is on the inside of my mouth where I never kept my dip and it seems to be going away. That said, I’m going to keep a nice close eye on it to make sure it’s not an ongoing issue.