Friday, September 09, 2011

Thursday I finally did it.

I set my appointment with the surgeon in Dallas who will perform my orthognathic surgery, hopefully sometime in the next 2 months. I go to see him for a consultation first thing Monday morning, and immediately thereafter I'll make the appointment with my orthodontist for having my braces back on, etc.

The entire prospect of this procedure is grisly and ghastly, but the thought of losing my teeth or having them break due to uneven pressure is worse than the thought of going through this. I've searched online and there are loads of videos and blogs of people in the pre- and post-op state having this procedure, but they all seem to skew at about 25 years of age and under. Here I'm 46 in a month, and I'm wondering why there is a deafening silence amongst my age group online-- maybe people my age don't feel like bothering with it? Or maybe they've not had a great experience with this stuff?

I hate to entertain any doubts, but I also want to feel I'm going into this with my eyes wide open. This is my choice. I know there are risks, but I also feel confident of the surgeon.

I also know that after a childhood of my Mom riding me like a duck on a June bug about taking care of my teeth, I've gone through 46 years of no cavities and good general dental health. Nonetheless, my back molars are starting to crack from the pressure of taking the full force of a bite which should be evenly distributed amongst my teeth.

I pretty much hate pizza. Most pizza bread makes my jaws exhausted. The work and discomfort outweighs the pleasure. I detest having lettuce on a burger because with my teeth not touching and doing the scissor-like effect on the front, I can't bite anything off-- the entire sheet of lettuce has flopped out on my chin when eating a burger more than once. No lettuce, TYVM. Hard candies are unpleasant. Anything with an excess of chewing is unpleasant. I need food soft enough to be torn, because I can't bite anything in two.

The first time I saw this surgeon, he said "you poor thing. I don't know how you eat." [I manage well enough] I went through all the pre-operative procedures. There were MRIs, loads of xrays, a sleep study, all kinds of crap, all to get the predetermination that would help my insurance company decide in favor of me having this procedure. My then-husband was against it. The pred was sent in to the insurance company, and their response was that although I am clearly "deformed" they would not cover the surgery. Even though I will eventually lose the back set of teeth on each side because they bear undue pressure, they would not cover the surgery. It looks like the company I work for now provides a policy which will cover this surgery, but fingers still crossed on that score.

The sad thing about all this is I wish to goodness I didn't need this surgery. This should not really impact how my face looks. My face is fleshy enough that you can't really tell by looking that I have an open bite, so there is definitely no question of a cosmetic motivation for the surgery. I wish I could take the oodles of cash I'll outlay for this and take a fabulous vacation or put a new roof on my house, or somesuch, but I have to believe that, ultimately, going through with this is the right thing to do.

Just when I start feeling terrified, though, I remember the steely determination of Mom when she called me about 9 months ago to tell me she had the go-ahead from her surgeon and was going to get both knees replaced at the same time. I was terrified of something going wrong, of her heart not being up to the surgery, of any of myriad things that could have gone wrong. I was hasty to think that, though. Her surgery on each knee went very well, and she's getting around better than she has this century. Her heart was apparently the last thing I should have doubted. She bucked up and went through it, and was such a tough little hen that anyone would have been proud to call such a woman their Mother. Yeah, I have reservations and I admit I'm scared, but I'm remembering the example she set. I'm going to trade a little discomfort in the present to try to have a better quality of life when I'm (hopefully!) a little old lady.

Hooah!

10 comments:

Christina LMT said...

Good luck, my friend! I know you'll do splendidly and we will both be little old ladies munching pizza together! w00t!

Farmmom said...

Everything will go fine and you will be glad you did it. If I could get away I would come nurse you through it.

Vinogirl said...

You have never had a filling? Wow! Give your mother a well deserved pat on the back from me.

Sarah The Cranky said...

Being able to eat pizza on a regular basis is worth a lot. I mean, a whole lot. Even having all my teeth pulled. Which I totally did a few years ago. :)

Rabbit said...

Good luck!

I'm planning on having a lot of re-do this year from where I smacked into something with my face nearly 30 years ago, so we'll swap stories next time.

I'm looking forward to that, but not all the cut-and-paste-and-bolt-together part.

Anonymous said...

Keeping fingers crossed for you that the insurance company will not have any objections. And when the time comes: You'll be fine! A friend of mine had the double whammy surgery (upper and lower jaw) at age 43. She was also in good health at the time (dental and otherwise) -- so you'll come through with flying colors too. Good luck!!

P.S.: The hardest part for her was having her jaw wired shut for several months. When the wires finally came out she wanted to have chocolate mousse cake to celebrate, but she could hardly get her mouth open wide enough to get a forkful in... :P

Anonymous said...

I'm kinda in a somewhat similar situation.

I need to have one painful surgery to prevent other painful complications that could actually be worse in the long run if I don't suck it up and face the piper now....

I have multiple large kidney stone that have put me in the ER twice in the last 6 months. I have internal laser lithotripsy scheduled in 2 wks for both kidneys ( for other medical reason can't do ESWL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extracorporeal_shock_wave_lithotripsy ) the recovery is likely to suck but not having it done could lead to more painful visits to ER and or kidney damage....

B-

Robert said...

Open bite: bad. Pizza: good. Win-win. Go for it!

Old NFO said...

You're doing the right thing Phlegmmy... Pain now for relief later IS worth it...

Jennifer said...

totally worth it. Good luck! And you're going to do just fine.