Saturday, March 30, 2013

Rhonda......Where Are You????

I don't know that anyone has missed me, but in the off chance that someone has, I thought I would check in. There is no Sleeves On Saturdays post today, just a story. In order to tell you where I have been the last few days, I need to explain the history behind it all.
When I was 24 I had a good friend who was in dental school. One day she told me that since she was now a senior, she needed patients and asked if I would be willing. Ironically, dental insurance had just been added to my insurance plan, so why not? I actually remember telling her that this would be fun. I would go in, let her clean my teeth, and that would be the end of it. But, being a good dental student, she talked in me to x-rays. The night before my follow up appointment, she called and said that she did not want me to be alarmed, but the head of the school would be doing an examination the next day. I immediately thought that this was not normal procedure as she tried to convince me it was, but okay, no need to worry, just wait for tomorrow. As it turned out, it was not normal procedure, I had a tumor. Luckily, the biopsy showed that there was no cancer in that region, but I was told that with this type of tumor there could be cancer in another region. So, the race was on to prepare me for surgery. Needless to say, I left that day with my head spinning. My husband and I had only been dating for a couple of months. I was so happy that I did not have to go home and be alone as he had taken the day off in order for us to go canoeing. To be honest, I can't even remember whether we canoed that day or not.
The following couple of weeks consisted of many tests and root canals to save the teeth that were over the area where the tumor was. The day arrived for me to check in to the hospital. At the time, I smoked. Yes, me, Miss Health Nut...I smoked. On my way into the hospital that day, I threw my cigarettes in the trash. I had already been told that I would have an 80% chance of the tumor recurring so I thought that if it turned out to be cancer, there was nothing I could do about it now, but if I continued to smoke and it returned and it was cancer, I had been warned. If I stopped smoking and it returned and it was cancer, well, at least I tried.
As it turned out, the tumor had taken over more of my jaw than they had thought, but there was no cancer. What I had been told would be a month of recovery turned into three months. My husband, whom I was dating was so good to me through all of this. Regardless of his efforts to feed me, I lost so much weight. I came to realize that so much of the joy that we receive from eating has to do with chewing. I was left with only a small sliver of my jaw, so this had to heal before they would allow me to chew again. I longed for crunchy vegetables!!
Throughout the process of all of this, I was told how rare this was, in fact, in the history of this school, they had never seen my particular case. So, they decided to make my case the final test for all graduating oral surgeons. They had said, "you'll be famous!." Believe me, I could have lived without that type of fame:) I also did not realize at the time that this would benefit me one day.
Finally everything healed and I thought that would be the end of that. Not so. Some years later, I began to have horrible headaches and pain that was directly related to the surgery and there was also some thought that the tumor may have returned. My dentist sent me to see a  wonderful woman who was now head of the same school that had dealt with the tumor. When she walked in the room, she sat down, smiled and said, "So, it was you!." She had my case as a graduating oral surgeon. Incredible!
What needed to be done was reconstructive surgery. I went through a three year process to rebuild my face from the damage that had incurred from the removal of the tumor. Bone graphs, metal plates and screws...I look like the ride of Frankenstein in x-rays!! The good news was that the tumor had not come back. Once again, I thought, "that's the end of that."
Once everything had healed, I needed to have my gums repaired and once again I thought, "that's the end of that." I need to stop saying that!!!
Last December I went in for my normal dental checkup only to be told that once again, there was a problem. My dentist and the surgeons all said, "this is very rare." I will say one thing about this, it may be rare, but when it happens to you, it is no longer rare. Initially, it all looked very bleak. I cried to my dentist, "but, I take such good care of my teeth," as if pleading my case would somehow change things. It had nothing to do with how I take care of myself. It just happened.
The surgery was on Thursday and I am very happy to say that it turned out to not be as bleak as they initially thought. It was not fun to have my mouth cut open once again, but, I'm really doing quite well.
In my own mental preparation for this surgery, I looked back at all I have been through and I thought of how the right people have always been put in my path precisely at the right time. So I took comfort in the fact that the hand that has carried me through is still there guiding my way. Of course I am no different than anyone else who faces something that they have so control over. I too have asked why. This life holds so many unanswered questions and to situations far more tragic than mine. I could say that it reminds us to realize the gift of our life, but that seems rather trite when I think of the incredible suffering that some endure. There is a verse that says, "All things work together for good..." What I do believe is there will be a day when I will understand why. Not during this lifetime, but the answer will come.
I will leave you now with the Prayer of St. Francis, as it has given me great comfort.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

42 comments:

  1. My best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a story! From all I know, I have to say that I find pretty much everything about you inspirational. I hope I get the chance to meet you and say as much in person one of these days. Bless you sweetie :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I woke up thinking about you today since I knew about the surgery. I will keep thinking about you, sending good thoughts your way for your recovery. Peace be with you, Rhonda.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow. I'm so happy that you have been at the right place (with the right people) at the right time. So glad that you have come thru this with such strength. I don't know who to attribute this to--someone told me it was Mother Theresa, but I don't really know--"I know God wont' give me more that I can handle, but I wish He didn't trust me so much." When I get overwhelmed with things--especially any health issues, I keep remembering, "I can handle this." Good wishes for a speedy recovery!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You are an amazing woman! I have enjoyed your posts - and have made many of your delicious soups. I look forward to reading more inspiring posts from you. Thank you for your generous contributions.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a story! That's a lot to have to go through, and I say that as someone who's had her own adventures in dentistry. Aren't we fortunate that at least we have quality care nowadays?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Rhonda, I am thinking of you. You are one strong, amazing women...J

    ReplyDelete
  8. Rhonda, truly your life was meant for a special purpose, one you are definitely fulfilling. Your faith, kindness, and generosity are too needed in this tough world we live in. I thank you for this beautiful post and pray that you will have continued positive resolution to these issues.

    From someone else who has had a lifetime of horrible jaw pain and headaches, I can sympathize with what you have gone through and am amazed at your positive attitude. God bless you Rhonda, and may you be fully and permanently recovered.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for sharing another wonderfully inspiring story about yourself. All the very very best for recovery this time 'round and may you continue to have the blessing of God's love in your life.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I absolutely was concerned and did miss your posts. I am happy that you are on your way to recovery, but so sorry you have had to go through all this so many times. Things do happen for a reason, whether we understand why or not. And man's extremity is God's opportunity. So just always know that He is with you and watching over you and All is well at all times.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Saying a prayer for you and hoping that this is indeed "the end of that". Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    ReplyDelete
  12. We are all with you on this Rhonda. I'd advise you to stay positive, but you already always are. Take very good care of yourself. God bless

    ReplyDelete
  13. Rhonda, you'll be in my prayers for a full and quick recovery. I love the prayer of St. Francis, and Romans 8:28 has always been a favorite verse of mine. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
    Your positive nature is amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  14. God has such a wonderful way of taking care of things for us. Thank God for your dental friend.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Rhonda, thank ou so much for sharing. Godspeed to your and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wishing you all the health and speedy recovery that I can muster for you Rhona.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Rhonda - I am thinking of you and yours while you recover.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Rhonda, we all knew you are a most creative and generous woman. Now we know it is not only in the needle arts, but in your approach to life. Bless you for your attitude, and may your healing journey be blessed, too.

    ReplyDelete
  19. You are so inspiring to us all. You are in my prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thinking of you Rhonda, and sending hope for a speedy recovery...

    ReplyDelete
  21. Rhonda, what an inspirational story. Some people would write "woe is me, pity party time" and instead, you approach it as a lesson in God's gifts. I sincerely hope that your journey to good health is on it's final approach and you are free from any further problems.

    ReplyDelete
  22. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    {{{ HUGS }}}

    ReplyDelete
  23. You truly are an amazing person. I'il pray for you and your complete recovery.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Rhonda,
    You have already inspired me with the obvious joy you take in life. Thank you for sharing your story...I am even more inspired. I wish you a speedy and trouble-free recovery.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!
    from Bebe in Montreal,Canada.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hola Rhonda, yo no soy practicante ni creyente de ninguna religión, pero si que creo que a las personas con un corazón bueno como el tuyo la vida tiene que ser buena con ella.
    No pasa ni un solo día que al ver salir el sol le dé gracias por estar ahí cada día e iluminar nuestros días y desde ahora tu también estarás en mis pensamientos cuando medite.
    Así que ánimos y un abrazo muy grande
    María José

    ReplyDelete
  27. You are one tough lady and I am so glad for that. I hope you are fully healed soon!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh dear Lady, you are always missed. You are now on my prayer list as well. Speedy Recovery!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Rhonda, I was wondering where you'd gotten to... and I am sorry to hear you've been unwell. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Rhonda, receive my wishes for a speedy recovery.

    ReplyDelete
  31. While I don't know you, I appreciate how much you have shared your sewing and life with the rest of us on your blog. You are an inspiration to us all and my thoughts and prayers are with you as you go through recovery.

    ReplyDelete
  32. i carry your heart with me
    (i carry it in my heart)
    -ee cummings

    ReplyDelete
  33. I hope all is well and you have a very speedy recovery :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. As you always say to me: You are the best..!!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Oh my goodness--best wishes and hope you're feeling better fast.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I'm so sorry you've gone through this ordeal, Rhonda, but very glad to hear that the most recent surgery went well. Your strength and calm show though in your writing - truly inspiring. I hope you're back up on your feet in no time :-)

    ReplyDelete
  37. I just go to your blog hoping to find inspiration and sewing and you left me .. speechless .....
      As we found wonderful people along the way and we know so little about them?
       Rhonda. You are in my heart and in my thoughts ... all my positive energy to you, dear friend ...

    ReplyDelete
  38. That is ironical Rhonda. I have got a niece that has been through exactly the same operation in New Zealand. She had most of her jaw removed and bone was taken from her lower leg to replace jaw bone. She also had to have two teeth removed but this very day she is having implants done.
    I wish you all the very best for a speedy recovery.
    Cathy White ( New Zealand)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so very sorry to hear that she has been through this. It seems for me that the more they dig in my mouth, the more sensitive I become. None of this has been easy. If she would like to email me at any point, she is more than welcome to. I hope that she is doing well and will have no future problemso

      Delete
  39. Hi Rhonda, Wow, so sorry to hear about your recent surgery. I hope that you will continue healing and feeling better. We'll have to get together sometime. You have a beautiful blog! I'm going to enjoy following it. I had tried earlier to follow and wasn't doing something correct. But it seemed to work this time. Take Care.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I am just catching up on my blog reading and I was shocked to hear about your recent surgery. I'm glad everything turned out OK. Have a speedy recovery! I had a similar situation where I had some surgeries and was feeling a bit sorry about myself but upon reflection, there was some good that came out of it and I live a much more healthier life now.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Oh Rhonda ,what a surprise to read you today.I hope you'll be quickly right.
    I think like you,that in the worst moments,we cross somebody who save us.

    In february we where in India:it was marvellous,and comming back home,just arrived:the clash on the motorway in the morning.It seemes very long between this time before to be in the surgery.
    BOnes broken,one eye ?,and my face...i was so afraid and always conscious.
    When two angels leaned over me...(the surgeons)i was Frankenstein at this moment.Now i am waiting for the next step to build around the eye better than it is actually.
    By the way,i read your blog ,i hope to see you again with your beautifull smile enjoying life.
    Really you have a lot of friends through the blogs.I hope to be one of them.

    ReplyDelete