1st Trip to Dentist in 5 years– I FIT!

August 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

Yesterday, I went to the dentist for the first time in over 5 years

Because I had gotten too big for the chair

And it was just one more place I couldn’t fit

Two years ago,  I started having a problem with a tooth on the far back left side

I had to stop chewing food on that side of my mouth because it was so sensitive

Because of the excruciating pain it would produce

I knew there was a problem

But I couldn’t fit in the chairs

Not the ones in the waiting room

And not the dentist chair in the office

So I just avoided the problem and hoped for the best

Dreading those times where something would set it off

And I’d spend hours in excruciating pain

It hadn’t happened in months

Until the other night

I woke up with that same pain shooting through me

It was excruciating

I was up all night praying my way through the pain

Like I have so many times in the past 2 years over that tooth

I used the numbing medication

I took Extra Stength Tylenol

And I tried to distract myself

Because I knew that was all that could be done

Just wait it out and hope it went away

Because I couldn’t fit into the dentist chair

Until suddenly I realized……WAIT!

Hold on a minute!!

I bet I can fit in the dentist chair now!!!

I found a dentist who was able to see me right away

But I was so nervous

I had tried going before

Two times previously I had made appointments but cancelled them

Once I made it all the way to the parking lot of the office

Before anxiety took over and sent me back home

I was just too scared to get in there and not fit again

Or FIT but then have to face the horrible news of what 5 years without care had done to my teeth

The same feeling that I got when the doctor told me what years of obesity had done to me

And knowing that I was responsible for the damage

But the pain I was feeling was so excruciating

That it outweighed the fear

So I got out of the car and walked in

Here is the chair in the dentist office

 

And here is me fitting in it!!!

Even though I was SO excited that I fit in the chair

I was also anxious about having to explain myself to the dentist

About why I had not taken care of this problem before now

They took X-Rays

Surveyed the damage

And then we had to talk

Because there were several things that needed attention

I’m embarrassed to even tell you the numerous issues I have going on

Because that’s what happens when you neglect your health

I’ll be making more than 3 trips back to the dentist to get things back on track with my teeth

And the tooth that I’ve been struggling with for almost 2 years

May be beyond saving

It’s the very last tooth in the back of my mouth

And it’s so bad that while he will try to save it with a root canal

I may lose it

I may lose my tooth!!!!

Because 2 years ago when it started bothering me

I was too big to fit in the dentist chair and get help

And even now–when I COULD fit

I avoided going because I did not want to face the damage

Sometimes in life we think if we avoid our problems, they will just go away

But they don’t—they just snowball

When he saw that tooth

The one that had been causing me so much pain

He showed me the X-Ray

There was a lot of damage and an infection

He prescribed me an antibiotic and some Vicodin for the pain

And asked me how I had been tolerating it for such a long time

He was shocked that I had been living in that kind of pain without pain meds!

When you’re super obese—you’re ALWAYS in pain

Your back, your feet, your knees….

You  name a body part—IT HURTS

I guess that was just one more thing

I had learned to live with

I told him the reason

That only recently was I able to fit in the chair

And then I asked him with much trepidation

“Am I fixable?”

He laughed and replied

“Look—things have been going on with your teeth for awhile.  And because you didn’t address it, those things got worse.  At least one tooth we are going to have to fight to save.  But you’re lucky.  The damage could be worse.  And yes–it’s fixable.  We can’t do it all at once.  But little by little, we’ll get you back on track”

It reminded me of my life

About everything I’ve been through the past year

Things I’ve been neglecting that got worse

And now I’m trying to repair the damage

But weight doesn’t drop off at once

It comes off little by little as you address the issues and stay consistent

And so it will be with my teeth

I think about the other times I’ve tried to go to the dentist in the past few months

And never made it out of the car

I was too scared

Scared I wouldn’t fit in the chair

Scared of what they would tell me

Scared of their judgement about my teeth

Scared of their stabby instruments!!

But when the pain was so great

So intense

So excruciating

That it outweighed my fear

That’s when I finally got out of the car

And walked inside

The same exact thing happened with my weight

For a long time, I was in pain

But I was still afraid to change

Until one day it got to the point where the pain was greater than my fears

The pain in every part of my body was so intense

That I was no longer afraid to have weight loss surgery

In fact, my physical and emotional pain was so intense

That I couldn’t wait to get to the surgery table

The benefits of getting the surgery had finally outweighed the risk

My fear of the dentist and their chair and their judgement of me

No longer mattered in light of the intense pain shooting through my mouth

And I couldn’t get there fast enough

That’s what happens when you finally get to the point

Where your pain is great enough that you are ready to risk it all

For change

So whether it’s your teeth or your weight

Or whatever fight you are fighting

Depression, anxiety, fear

Whatever it is

Maybe it’s been going on a long time and you’ve failed to address it

But when the pain of it becomes great enough that you’re willing to take the risk

The risk to change your life

That is when you’ll take a leap of faith

And you’ll find

That it’s worth it

And the dentist was right

You don’t have to fix everything in one day

I’m not going to fix 5 years worth of damage in one dentist visit

But little by little, I will get there

We all will 🙂

 

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheila August 7, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Sooooooooooo happy that you went to the dentist! You are right, that you would have fit quite a while ago, but it took the intense pain to get you in that chair. And I love your dentist’s comment, that one sounds like a keeper! I’m a nut job who actually likes going to the dentist but I also rarely have a problem so it’s not very nerve-wracking because I get the whole “You are doing great, keep up the good work” etc. but I do like to pretend I’m at the beach when I’m in that chair and that blinding light is coming my way, I close my eyes and dream of being in the hot sun and sand. You are regaining every aspect of your life one little step at time.
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Mimi@Irresistible Icing August 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm

That has to be such an exciting feeling! I’m so happy for you Holly!

And I love the comparison to losing weight. I have to keep reminding myself that it takes time for all these changes. I was just talking to my therapist about that. I just turned 31 and I’m pretty much changing 30 years of behavior. That’s not easy! But, I get hard on myself about it. So glad to be able to read your blog!
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Staci August 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm

My husband was never taken to the dentist growing up. After years of no dental care, he still struggles with his teeth problems. He recently lost the tooth in the very back of his mouth. We don’t have dental insurance, so we opted to skip the root canal and crown (sooo expensive) and just have the tooth extracted. So by all means try to save it, but know that if you lose it he says he has no issues eating with that tooth missing. I am so glad you got all that addressed. I never would’ve thought of not going to the dentist because of the chairs, but you’re right! It was a reality in your life, and probably in lots and lots of other people’s lives!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down August 7, 2012 at 4:47 pm

You aren’t lying Staci!! The cost b/t extraction and root canal is major difference! Dentist said he will have to make “heroic” efforts to save my tooth LOL so odds are not in my favor. I guess I will either wake up one tooth down and a much lower bill OR with a tooth still in tact and a nice big bill!! Not really sure which one too root for to be honest!! LOL…at least it’s way in the back and I already don’t use it b/c it hurts too much. BTW, been missing ya’. Need to get over to your blog and see what you’ve been up to!!

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Liz August 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm

That’s so great you finally made it! I completely relate to this post. There are things in my life that I just try to ignore, hope it just goes away. But I need to be brave and just face it. You’re absolutely right, you can’t spend your life running.
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jennxaz August 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm

so glad you got in, I hate going to the dentist!

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Joy August 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm

What a a great post!! Good for you for having the courage to go to the dentist.
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Carrie August 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm

How exciting!! Isn’t it the little things that really matter in life?!? The things that most anyone else wouldn’t even let cross their mind.

I love this.

And you look friggin AWESOME! What a beauty!

=)
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down August 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Thanks carrie!

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Sarah August 7, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Who would have believed in the wisdom of dentists. Now if they could just be a little less scary …

Good for you for braving it out.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down August 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I know , right? I think I hit the jackpot on finding a dentist. He is so non-judgemental and compassionate. Two words I never thought I’d say about a dentist!! I’m sure there are lots of wonderful ones out there but I had just never thought I’d find one. God answered my prayer!

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Trish @I_am_Succeeding August 7, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Oh how I do not like the dentist!!

Way to go to get there…fit…and get stuff fixed.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down August 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Thanks Trish!

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Lisa August 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Thank you for putting yourself out there to help the rest of us through life. You’re an awesome person, friend, sister in Christ, and I just adore you!!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down August 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Thank you so much Lisa!! That means so much to me!

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Robyn August 7, 2012 at 9:15 pm

I am proud of you for fighting your fear and getting to the dentist. He will get you fixed up. Keep fighting the good fight. Because honestly, you inspire so many people that you don’t even realize.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down August 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Oh thank you Robyn!!

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suzanne August 7, 2012 at 11:32 pm

I’m so glad that you were finally able to make it to the dentist! After some really nasty dentistry in England when I was a kid (they actually pulled a lot of back teeth) I’ve been going regularly and haven’t had a cavity in 5 years!!!
I used to have anxiety attacks when I went but now I don’t mind at all.
All these new things you’re able to do are some major Non Scale Victories!!!!!!!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down August 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Suzanne,
That is awesome that you haven’t had a single cavity in 5 years! Sounds like there is hope for me after all!!

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suzanne August 8, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I used to have 5 or more cavities every time I went. I also had to have a couple of root canals 🙁 Things can get better!
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Kaitlyn August 8, 2012 at 8:32 am

Step by step. 🙂
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down August 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm

So true!!

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joy August 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Great post!! So happy you are getting your teeth done!! And for fitting in that chair!! That is awesome!!

Stay focused!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down August 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Thanks Joy!

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Linda August 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Even if he knocked all your teeth out and gave you a brand new set of chompers, it wouldn’t happen overnight! Our society is not very patient, and we HAVE to be when it comes to losing weight.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down August 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm

hahahhaa….that cracked me up!!

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Nikki Nicholas Mohamed August 10, 2012 at 2:50 am

You did it again. You managed to talk directly to me about another issue entirely, but still ….. sucking it up and taking the pain rather than facing the challenges (as seemingly hopeless as they are) in order to solve them. (Criticisms from the judgmental tools around me notwithstanding.)

You are so right in that we usually get to our most problematic places little by little and it is only natural that we must take those same baby steps back to get to the right path. Nothing is easy. I just have to face my fears and deal with it. Thank you.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down August 10, 2012 at 5:24 am

Love you Nikki!! And the ‘judgemental tools’ comment totally cracked me up!!

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Karen Sanders August 11, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Hooray for you! You continue to be an inspiration in more than weight loss every time I read a post.

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Kelly @CurvyFitGirl August 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm

It’s such a simple statement, and yet it is just so true! Little by little, all of us can – and will – get back on track.
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Pam August 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Wonderful blog and analogy. I lost weight, but quit going to the dentist after a trip where a new dentist (my old dentist retired) put one of those big rubber dams in my mouth to do his work. I HATE those things. I had them years ago when I went to Dental College to save money and had not had them at any dentist since. I had a panic attack as he started to work and I sat up and said I couldn’t do this. I felt like I couldn’t breath. So he took out the rubber dam, and fixed the tooth without it. But then when I was supposed to go back for more work, I couldn’t do it. And now that I’ve lost the weight I still can’t make myself call and make that appointment, and it’s been a few years now, so I know there are big issues in my mouth. Good for you for facing those fears. You are right, when we are morbidly obese we get used to tolerating so many inconveniences and so much pain. I was out walking last night and remembered the time when I first started to walk and every joint in my body would hurt: my knees, my back, my hips. But I just kept pushing. The pounds came off. Now, even though my knees are arthritic, they don’t hurt too bad, since I’m only putting 150 lbs. of weight on them, instead of 328 lbs. My back and hips don’t hurt at all. But like you said, it didn’t happen overnight.
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Gen November 4, 2012 at 9:59 pm

That reminds me something my sister said years ago that I still remember.
“Change will only occur when…the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of change.”
While I was stubborn, I tended (still do) to be the one to try new things to venture out. While my sister enjoyed her “normalcy” (still kinda does). Why I remember it so well, I’m not sure…. It may be an inner reminder to not get to that point. Well, to be honest, I do have the “I’m good” mentality in some areas. You know, the “I don’t need to {insert event}….I’m good.” lol Fear is a powerful thing.
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