Just because *I’ve* made it a rule never to click on click-baiting headlines like this doesn’t mean nobody else does. So yeah, it may not be Buzzfeed worthy, but check out what’s going on with my teeth. First, a comparison of where we’re at from the inside:
The change is pretty astounding. My teeth have undergone a pretty crazy transformation already, and I haven’t even gotten to the major stuff (except, perhaps, that I have 8 fewer teeth than when I started).
What they’re working on now is two things – the major one is that the top teeth need to be angled a little different, a little away from the bottom teeth (which is funny since up until now, everything they did were to rein those top teeth in). This is really the major thing that *could* push back the surgery date. The other thing they’re working on is rotating one of my lower back teeth. This isn’t necessary for the surgery, but will have to get done anyway, and they can do it concurrently with torquing the top teeth, so why not?
Today the surgeon Dr. M will be getting molds and will be performing “mold surgery” on them to see if all the jigsaw pieces will fit like he hopes. So, I had hoped to get confirmation today that Dec. 21 will be the surgery date, and I do not have that confirmation yet.
However, I have the ortho Dr. O extremely happy with my progress. He seems optimistic about the Dec 21 date, but really, he doesn’t have final say. The surgeon does. Here’s a picture of how far one set of my teeth has come in exactly 17 months, which also provides a glimpse into what it’s like to be missing a whole bunch of teeth:
Also pretty amazing. It’s contrasting pictures like this that make me happy I’m doing this procedure. If nothing else, I’ve actually started using my front teeth to chew a little bit, and this isn’t even where my teeth will end up.
But now I feel like we’re racing against the clock. Why am I so insistent on a December surgery? Two reasons, really:
1) Ash has her winter break for 3 weeks starting on that day. Since we won’t be able to have my family in town to help, it’s going to be a brutal recovery and Ash will be as worn down as me, probably more. If she weren’t on break, it really wouldn’t be feasible for a typical recovery as I will need someone by my side, at least for the first week. So without her break, she’d have to take a few weeks off of work, which we don’t really want for a myriad of reasons.
2) I found out last week that Dr. M the surgeon is retiring at the end of December. So if I go on as scheduled, I’ll be one of the last, if not the last, patient he performs this procedure on. The surgeon isn’t really old – I’d peg him as maybe 60, but he’s been doing this for 30-35 years or so. It’s good that he’s retiring, but NOT BEFORE HE WORKS ON ME! Part of why I agreed to this procedure is because I liked and trusted him so much. Yes, he has a partner that is probably also very good, but there’s no doubt I want M to do the procedure, and Dr. O today also confirmed that would definitely prefer that I have Dr. M do it as well.
So the nerves continue. And also, I see pictures like this:
Wow, my teeth are definitely looking pretty great right now. So why do I even bring up this comparison? Well, this is the first time I’ve really noticed just how much weight I’ve put on in the last 17 months. It’s been something I’m consciously doing in preparation for the surgery. Or at least, that’s what I’m telling myself. I totally abandoned my work-out regiment at the start of the year, have been eating pretty crappily ever since and not working it off. I’ve more or less stopped playing disc golf (my only real regular exercise) and have been going to PT for my back.
Suffice to say I’m not exactly happy with how I look in this picture. The double-chin I’m less concerned about, because actually I really don’t have a first chin (you can’t see it with this picture, but my profile pictures show that I really don’t have a chin). I’m *hoping* that the surgery will correct this a little. I don’t have unrealistic expectations – I’ve noticed in my research that underbites tend to see a pretty significant aesthetic difference after the surgery, whereas overbites are far more subtle. I’ll have a little more of a chin, but without him putting an implant there, it isn’t going to look a whole lot different.
So this parlays into how I feel about myself going into this. I’m not doing it for aesthetics, but I don’t like my look in profile. I DO like my smile more now than before, but I realized the crookedness of my teeth had less to do with my image issues than the shape of my jaw and chin in profile. I’m also not happy about letting myself get really out of shape.
Starting November 1, I’m going to cut out soda (again), cut out fast food (again), try to eat better (again), and try to work out more (again). I’m not setting rigid goals like in the beginning of the year, b/c once I broke the first one of those, I allowed myself to waterfall in breaking all the other ones. Just general health goals. I don’t like flabby me as much as less-flabby me.
I also had my very first dream, or even part of a dream, about my surgery. I was looking at a grainy album cover that had some poor sap with a huge round wedge in his mouth, unconscious. Then it sorta morphed into a video of the same, and someone squeezing a flat tube above the wedge. I was told it was how that person was able to breathe. I, in the dream, did a “gasp for air” that I do in real life when demonstrating why it is I’m having this procedure done. I wonder if I actually did gasp for air in real life. I’ll have to ask the missus. It wasn’t a particularly bad or scary dream, but I imagine they will be coming with more frequency.
I *should* find out anywhere from tomorrow to next week if I’m going to hit the Dec 21 window for surgery. Keep some body parts crossed, especially if they’re fun parts to cross. Let’s do this!