Tag Archives: Smile

Being (a) Patient: Patience Rewarded

Today- two years, one month and eight days after I fell, I reached a milestone in my dental reconstruction.  My dental implants have been implanted and my periodontist said they look beautiful!  I saw the x-ray and I have to agree (even though the local is wearing off and my mouth is throbbing with pain.  Don’t worry; I can handle it!)

Have I mentioned my periodontist before?  I had consults with six different periodontists.  SIX!  Only two felt confident that they could do what I wanted.  I wanted all separate teeth, to keep my own teeth and to avoid pink porcelain.  It seems reasonable enough, right?  It would have been if I hadn’t lost bone in my upper jaw when my right front tooth was knocked out.

The first periodontist I went to, tried to tell me my only option was an eight tooth bridge.  After I finished crying, I set out to find someone who could give me what I needed and I did find him.  Although, there are never any guarantees when bone grafts are involved, my periodontist believed it would be possible to restore the missing bone enough to place two side-by-side implants, giving me the separate teeth I wanted.  He delivered on that today.

It’s been a loooooong process.  I had to have a tooth super-erupted through orthodontics.  That took around six months.  Then I received a socket graft. That needed to heal for three months.  I had to have a frenectomy.  That needed to heal for about six weeks. Then I had the BIG bone graft!  That healed for six months.  Today, I took a giant leap forward toward having a beautiful smile again!

Whether I am able to dodge the  pink porcelain remains to be seen.  So far though, so good!  I’m so grateful!

Many blessings to all,

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

A Year after Super Storm Sandy: Challenges, Tumbles and Surviving It All with Gratitude!

A year ago when all the hubbub started about Hurricane Sandy, like so many people in the area where I lived on the water in Amity Harbor, I didn’t take it very seriously.  Although, I lived on a canal, the warnings that were being issued seemed extreme. I had stayed home through Hurricane Irene the year before without the water even coming up my back steps.  So, in my mind, Sandy would probably only be slightly worse.

Chauncy and I hunkered down on October 29, 2012 with every intention of waiting it out.  And for most of the day, it appeared I had taken the right course.  Then around 7pm, things changed radically.  I waded through knee high water to move my car to higher ground.  Forty minutes later when I finally left with my dog and one bag that same water was up to my thighs and had begun pouring into my home from every conceivable point of entry including the sinks and toilet.

I was oddly pretty calm for someone driving around in the midst of a hurricane.  I picked up a stranded driver who was soaked to bone.  He warned me not to go west on Merrick Road because that was where his truck got stranded.  I deposited him at the pizza place where the emergency workers were staying.  I couldn’t stay there with Chauncy.  So, I had to move on.  (There are very few safe public places during catastrophes on Long Island for people with dogs.)

Chauncy was freaking out as we weaved around fallen trees on Sunrise Highway.  He kept trying to crawl inside me practically.  So, I eventually threw an entire bag of treats on the passenger seat to distract him.  First, we tried going west to my folks, and made it about 10 miles before the road was blocked off.  So, I turned around drove further East than where I started and ended up at a friend’s house in Bayshore.  Thankfully, her family was willing to take us both in.

The next day I went to my folks’ house and have been here since.  I thought by now I would be in my new apartment with Hurricane Sandy fading into an increasingly distant memory but a short five months later, I experienced an event that made Super Storm Sandy feel like a mere inconvenience.  On March 2nd, the day after I launched this blog, I fell down the stairs at the Madison Square Garden Entrance to Penn Station. I broke my upper jaw, lost a front tooth, damaged seven more top front teeth, ripped my upper lip completely through, sprained my wrist and broke my nose.

Given the opportunity to take that moment back and hold the handrail, I most certainly would take the mulligan.  I won’t have anything close to my smile back before 2015 (…and we are talking closer to 2016.)  However, several people have told me I would find the blessings in these events and they were right.  When something like this happens, at first you just want to crawl into a hole and disappear.  You wonder what you might have done to deserve such a shitty, fucking thing to happen to you … and in my case two shitty things in row.  You wonder, “is this going to be what breaks me?”  Then a little voice deep inside answers very confidently, “no, it’s going to make you stronger than you have ever been.”  Then you pick your head up and start noticing all the things you have to be grateful for like your family, your friends, your dog, the perfect strangers (who turned out to be paramedics) who stopped to help when you fell, all the flowers, cards, prayers, well wishes and good, competent doctors to help put you back together.  There is so much I have to be grateful for, I couldn’t possibly fit it all into this one blog post.  That is how fortunate I am!

There is one other thing I want to share with you and then I’ll wrap it up!  That is the lesson.  The most profound shift I have experienced since all of this happened is what I thought mattered before… most of it… doesn’t matter at all.  I used to sweat everything: my boss yelling at me, getting a ticket, a friend being distant, paying bills… any little negative thing could tip my mood.  The worse thing on my mind before I fell was that my car had a leaky head gasket.  It seems so silly now ruminating about how I was going to find a new apartment, furnish it and get a new car at the same time.  I thought THAT was something to feel sorry for myself about.  Now, I am looking at a $30K-$40K dental reconstruction.  It’s okay though because getting my smile back to me is priceless!

Love and blessings to all.

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

Scars: What can ya do about ‘em naturally?

It’s been five and a half weeks since the accident.  While Doc fixes the inside of my mouth, I’ve decided to focus on the outside, namely my upper lip.  You can see in the photo below, I still have quite a fat lip and that jaggedy scar is what remains of the deepest cut you can get.  Basically, I ripped my lip all the way through in two places.  So, the scar continues on the inside of my mouth and loops around in a U shape back out again…Ugh!

Unretouched photo of my lip 5 weeks and 3 days after the Fall

Unretouched photo of my lip 5 weeks and 3 days after the Fall

 

So, how do I fix it naturally?  Well, since I got home from the hospital I have been rubbing aloe and organic lavender oil on it at least twice a day.  Most people know about using aloe vera to soothe burns but may not realize that aloe has swelling reduction and skin rebuilding properties.   Lavender oil, according to herbalist Brigitte Mars, “is an essential oil that is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. It can be applied topically to wounds, burns, bruises, insect bites and blisters. Lavender reduces the risk of infection, reduces pain and stimulates skin regeneration. When inhaled it has a calming effect on the nervous system and gives comfort during times of trauma.”

My mom has offered several times to buy Mederma for me.  An offer I appreciated but being a nature gal, I wanted to find out what was in Mederma before I tried it.  It turns out that the active ingredient is an onion extract.  There is much debate about whether Mederma is effective or not.  However, I did learn that rubbing onion on a scar may well work on its’ own. Onion is believed to inhibit the over-production of collagen thus suppressing the formation of scar tissue and is an also an anti-inflammatory.   So, I have added rubbing raw onion on my scar to my routine.  (Smelly?  Perhaps… but after being on a liquid diet for 5 and a half weeks, I kind of like it.)

Doc suggested I massage my fat lip to keep scar tissue from forming and because he thought felt a salivary gland dropping down.  (Weird, right?  I had no idea we have secondary salivary glands in our lips either! )  Anyway, I had already been using coconut oil to keep my lips soft and chap-free.  So, now it is massage oil as well.  Coconut oil is also good to use on scars because it may prevent and reverse free radical damage.

I ordered Vitamin E oil and Shea Butter too. Vitamin E is good for skin because it increases circulation and is also a very effective anti-oxidant against free radicals.  Shea Butter is a good source of Vitamin E and Vitamin A.  Shea Butter is also an incredible emollient that will moisturize your skin and make it silky soft.  Keeping the skin soft is important because the last thing you want is for damaged skin; is for it to get dry, leaving it even more vulnerable to further damage.  To that end, I have also been wearing a hat outside to protect my face from the sun, to avoid it getting dried out or burned.

So, what are your tips for treating scars and damaged skin?  I would love to read them.  Please share!

Love and Many Blessings,

Cynthia

Please LIKE my Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/naturallyhealthyhappy and follow me on Twitter.  My handle is @cynthialenz.

Take a Little Time to be Grateful for Your Smile

I had originally planned a completely different blog post for this week but circumstances have taken me in a very different direction…

I was out Saturday to dinner with some new and wonderful friends.  We bid each other good night and I turned and bounded down the stairs at Penn Station.  I still don’t know exactly what happened.  I do know I should have been holding the handrail but instead I went down the middle of the staircase at too fast a pace.  Maybe the stairs were wet from the bit of snow that fell but somehow I lost my balance and couldn’t regain it.  I hurtled down to the bottom and fell face first on the cement floor.

Fortunately for me, I managed to do this in front of a few paramedics, who out for the evening as well and on their way to catch their own train.  I tried to pull myself up as the worst pain I have ever felt in my life shot through my face.  Immediately, strong hands held me down and a voice said, “Don’t move.  Stay down hun.”  A white t-shirt was put in front of my face to staunch the blood that seemed to be everywhere.

They asked me a series of questions: What is your name?  How old are you?  … I was conscious the whole time and answered their questions.  I saw one tooth shoot out of my mouth on impact.  I ran my tongue over the others.  My nice straight teeth were suddenly like a jack o’ lantern’s.  I started to cry.  A hand stroked my hair and a woman said “it will be okay”.  Someone else bagged up my tooth and shoved it in my coat pocket.  An ambulance came a while later and I was rushed to a teaching hospital where for 2 days I was probed, pricked, tested, mri-ed and scanned in front of large groups of gaping interns.  Thankfully, I got out of there late Monday.

The current consensus is that my upper jaw is fractured but intact.  So, it may heal on its’ own.  My nose is also fractured but that may heal on its’ own as well.  My teeth met the floor through my lips.  They are currently stitched up inside and out.  I managed to joke this morning that it looked like I had a scorpion in my mouth with the end of its tail sticking out.

Oh but my teeth…  The Resident at the hospital refused to try to put my tooth back in after he heard it was on the floor at Penn Station.  I have several that are chipped, in the wrong position and there a few more that may not be saved.

I know it sounds a little vain to be focused on my teeth at a time like this.  After all, I was lucky indeed that I did not have any spinal damage or crack my head open.  Thankfully, my internal organs are fine.  I am also really fortunate to have support from wonderful family and friends.  To be honest though, I have cried every day over my teeth.

Me Chauncy and Coco

My smile wasn’t perfect.  I had an overbite (now an under bite); it was a little gummy on the left side.  The thing is though, it was mine.  Now, it will never be the same.  Months from now, I will have a new one and that is a really weird concept to have to wrap your head around.

This is what I have learned so far from this experience:  1. Smile at yourself and everyone else every chance you get and be grateful that you can.  2. hold on to the fucking handrail when you are using the stairs!  I wish I had.  A moment of carelessness has changed me forever.

Love and Blessings to all,

Cynthia

Follow me on twitter! My handle is @cynthialenz and LIKE my FB Page www.facebook.com\naturallyhealthyhappy