Everyone seems to have a little issue that comes back to haunt every now and then. They are those ridiculous little conditions that hit us at the least opportune moments, that don’t necessarily prevent us from going about our days, but they certainly make them more uncomfortable and more challenging.
They are the issues that sometimes turn our duffle bags or purses into mini-pharmacies with a collection of every product on the market to take the edge off.
I am amazed that over 173 blog posts I have not mentioned a single word about one the biggest irritants for me… cankers. I will admit, it might not make the most compelling of blog topics but I have to appreciate the humour it can bring, as well as the gratitude when that little sucker finally heals.
For me, cankers are nothing new. I have had them on and off, as long as I can remember. I recall being 4 years old, crying my eyes out at the dinner table, because of a spaghetti dinner that was too painful to eat, because of the tomato sauce’s burning sensation on my canker.
I can’t remember if it was my Mom or Dad who first said “Put salt on it”, but when I did and it started to sizzle, I screamed and wondered what I did wrong to earn such a cruel punishment.
I was ready to pack my teddy bear and run away as my thanks for that wonderful parenting advice.
But I survived. And so ensued the life-long hobby of searching for its cause(s) and its best remedy.
I am lucky that as I get older, I seem to get them less often. Having lived through so many, I seem to be able to tolerate certain ones better, especially the ones inside the cheek or on my gums.
I barely feel those anymore thanks to the fantastic products available on the market today. The four-year-old me is very envious!
Thankfully, I don’t get them often, but the ones I get on the tongue seem the absolute worst and ironically, I seem to be getting less tolerant of those. Not only can a really stubborn canker on the tongue be painful in itself, but because it is the epicentre of the mouth, everything I do hurts too: eating, drinking, swallowing, laughing, coughing, sneezing, and of course, talking. I can only guess there are a lot of very tender nerve endings that congregate there, creating a storm of pain that just won’t quit.
This past week, as Murphy’s Law would have it, I was working on my team’s help line with a really tough canker that required me to carry most of the Rexall dental care section in my messenger bag to seek relief.
Yet despite my repeated attempts at freezing, soothing and numbing the pain, my tongue still hurt and I found myself responding to clients while sounding like Sylvester the Cat (“Sufferin’ succotash!”). Damn canker!
Mental note: I must remember to clean my phone and headset on Monday.
There are times when a canker on the tongue gets so bad that the first alternative of just eating on the opposite side of the mouth doesn’t work anymore. My menu options start changing accordingly and gravitating to foods that require as little interaction with my mouth and its contents.
I first start opting for foods that “slither down” like mac & cheese, sardines, sushi, avoiding foods that stick, foods that break down into crumbs and food that can get caught along the way leaving a stinging sensation.
When it gets worse, the blender becomes my best friend as I start choosing pureed foods like smoothies to make protein meals I can consume with a straw. I had a few of those in recent days!
If there is a bright side to a tough canker is that when it is over and I feel normal again, I appreciate that much more the sensation of feeling well and energetic.
In the grand scheme of things a canker really is a small problem, but after a short period of feeling so lousy and so tired, my perspective on good uses of energy is renewed and I tend not to take positive energy spurts for granted.
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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,