September 2, 2013 § 19 Comments

Opening wide, I thought I saw a pearly white sliver, though not necessarily where you would expect to see a tooth emerge. My mouth was sore, but I knew I wasn’t teething. On the other hand, after years of mainlining toxins and exposure to high dose radiation, it could be a mutant tooth.

Conveniently, I had an appointment with my dentist for a routine cleaning. I mentioned the soreness, which she chalked up to a slew of possible causes – no mention of fangs. Since we couldn’t locate the emerging dentin I swore I had seen earlier, she sent me away and requested I return in two weeks. I did, and this time the white pearl loomed large.

“Osteonecrosis” she said blandly, “you need to call your Oncologist.”

My mouth open, my body in dentist chair recline. I thought my smile was my biggest concern, instead I am re-directed to my Oncologist.

Osteonecrosis of the jaw is an uncommon, but severe, adverse event associated with oral and intravenous bisphosphonate therapy

Yes, I have been receiving intravenous bisphosphonate therapy (aka bone strengthener) but I never imagined it would be a troublemaker when there were so many other therapies that seemed far more suspect.

I have long been aware of the possible adverse effects associated with my treatments. I figured the radiation to my chest, my head and my brain would get me first. Or, maybe the hundred plus chemotherapy treatments would push me over the edge? And all those essential bone scans, MRI’s and CT’s with their associated warnings.

I have had dozens if not hundreds of tests that exposed me to, or injected me with one toxin or another. Doing the only sensible thing possible, I make note of the warnings, and ignore them.

Seven years of debilitating treatments, anxious scan results, and the occasional self-diagnosis. It’s a lot to go through to drop a few pounds.

Seven very precious years spent with my magnificent husband, my daughter and stellar friends. Seven years going on eight years with nine years in reach and ten years hardly a stretch.

Knowing all that and still, I live like there is no tomorrow.

As for the Osteonecrosis I’m rinsing my mouth twice a day with an oral concoction that’s probably toxic. No sign of fangs, yet, will keep you posted.



§ 19 Responses to smile

  • Mize says:

    You’re amazing — and so is your always radiant smile, osteonecrosis be damned.

  • Tracy Fitzpatrick says:

    Admiring your beautiful spirit, Marilyn. Much love and appreciation to you!!

  • Salley Burkart says:

    Your story is so descriptive.. With all the interventions I think osteonecrosis should be put into the category “If it ain’t one thing it’s another.” Love you and thanks for your insight….To living!!

  • Ricki says:

    Love you honey, keep smiling. I alway do when I think about you!

  • Karen Silver says:

    Momo – Your strength, as always, is an inspiration to all of us. Thank you for sharing it. Love you forever!

  • Stan says:

    Good luck

  • Kate Casa says:

    Momo your smile and strength is a light to the heart

  • elmorgen says:

    I have never known another individual with as rich a capacity to bring joy to other people. Some of the best smiles of my life have been with you, for you and because of you… and I am far from alone in this feeling. xoxoLM

  • June says:

    Momo, I love your smile. Yours is the classical beauty that inspires us. Sending kindest wishes, Love, June

  • cascokid says:

    Your smile radiates and reflects all that’s good in this world. Smile on. Love, Gail

  • Barbara Terner says:

    Everything in life is temporary. Enjoy the good. What is remarkable is that you find humor even in the not so good! Love your updates. Every time I see Deanne, I always ask how you are doing.

  • agentrylo07 says:


    I love you and I love hearing about your living like there’s no tomorrow. My favorite quote from this blog is “It’s a lot to go through to drop a few pounds.”

    I admire your strength and your beauty. You are an amazing woman.

    xo, Melanie

  • rickbeyer says:

    No fangs noticeable in photo. Could be a good look!

  • Barbara Nathan says:

    Dear Marilyn,
    The most beautiful thing about you is–at least my notion of you–from the first time we met 23 years ago, is that you have always lived and loved those around you like there is no tomorrow. And that is extraordinary.
    Wishing you warmth and comfort,
    xo Barbara

  • You look terrific in that pic that so redolent of your most beautiful smile, the one that comes from within and lights up so much more than your face. So I hope you are waving hi, not good-bye. All my love to you, B

  • Marilyn,

    I didn’t know you had cancer. You were one sassy, energetic, creative, vivacious woman. We had so much in common – friends, growing up in Boston, going to ultra liberal colleges, working in television but we were never close. I don’t know why. I always respected and admired you. You accomplished so much. You lived your life with lots of humor and few compromises. You pursued projects you were passionate about, started Smash and then tooth+nail, and you were a mother and a wife. You tasted a lot life.

    I’m sorry I didn’t get to say good bye and that that you had to leave some things undone.

    I know there was a beautiful welcome when you walked into heaven. I can feel your soul smiling :}

    With love,


  • cascokid says:

    Happy Birthday Sweetie. I’m sad to say we celebrated without you this year. Miss you a lot. Love, Gail

  • Eileen McMahon says:

    Remembering your vivacious spirit on your birthday! with love,


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