Thursday, January 11, 2007

Joints and Jaws

Dear friends,
I want to let you know how we're doing. We are expecting to hear soon from the Initiative360 board. We continue to desire your prayers for the Lord to make our next steps clear to us. We very much appreciate the love and affirmation of our friends, family and co-workers. Again, you all are being a wonderful support to us in this confusing time (see preceding entries in this blog).
On the health front, Tuesday I saw the dentist who did my jaw surgeries last year. He spent 2 hours with me and feels certain that there is a large area of osteomyelitis in both my top and bottom right jaw. Even I can see it on the x-ray. My face is sore and that part of my jaw is tender to the touch. He had determined this last year, but I ran out of money and time to deal with it before I had to stop and deal with my metastasized breast cancer. I would love to go back to this dentist to do this as he is the best around and many travel from all over the country to have him do this very thing. I asked my oncologist for a referral to him since my oncologist encouraged me to have this dealt with, and apparently Kaiser has dental surgeons who do this type of work. I didn't know that last year when I paid several thousand out of pocket to get this done. I will see the Kaiser dental surgeons next Wednesday morning and hopefully get this done quickly before it gets worse. I had tentatively scheduled with my dentist from last year for the 25th, but probably can't afford to do it with him. I hope these other guys are good and I have a peace about them doing this.
Osteomyelitis is a toxic bone infection that can occur in any bone in the body. The jaw is a dangerous place as there are blood vessels in the jaw that can carry the infection to other parts of the body. A chart my dentist showed me, links the first place I had a large pocket of this infection 8 years ago in my upper left jaw (and just cleaned out last winter), to the left breast where my cancer first occurred. The same scenario was true for many in my breast cancer support group, by the way. So please pray that I would have confidence in the Kaiser dental surgeons to do as good a job as Dr. T, who is a fantastic doctor.
As friends are asking me how I am feeling, I am telling them that I feel like I am having similar muscle and joint aches as I had 3 days after chemos. I am pretty sure it is still a result of all the chemo and radiation after effects. (With maybe a little stress thrown in!) My body is dehydrated from the radiation and I am not able to absorb fluids into my connecting tissues and joints. It takes time (up to 4-6 months I have been told) for that absorbsion to get back to normal. So my neck, back, hips and right shoulder (maybe also a side effect due to what is going on in my right jaw) are particularly sore these days. I think I walk like one of the ape characters in Planet of the Apes when I first start moving! I go back to see the radiation oncologist for follow up on Tuesday. My skin is healing from the radiation burns well. There is still just some redness where the "boost" was aimed the last 5 times I went, and my skin in the radiation field feels a little leathery. I am starting to notice the scar tissue forming from the radiation making it hurt to lift my arm, so I am stretching that area more.
I am wondering about reinstating the dinner patrol as I am so wiped from so little activity. Laura is trying to job hunt, so she doesn’t have much time to make dinners. I am out of gas by late afternoon. There will be info about that soon if we decide it’s a need. Again, thank you for your love and prayers and encouragements in these trying days.
God bless you- Nancy Fritz


Orrange said...

REINSTATE!!!! we love to cook for you guys! (you know it helps us feel like we're "doing something" while we patiently plead with God to miracuously heal you) :)

MK said...


Please let me know if you need any meals or ANYTHING! I would be happy to make meals for you and the fam.

MK said...

btw, the former comment was from mandykeen(mk) :-)

Janet Willcox said...

I'm in for supplying as many meals as needed. Praying for you, Nancy.