I'm going to keep this short because in a few hours, I will be heading to the hospital to get surgery. Both my upper and lower jaws will be cut. I am a little fearful, a bit anxious, but more than anything, I'm excited. I'm an artist so I love to talk about dramatic moments like these, so will share a bit about how I got here.
I've been trying to fix my teeth since I was 15 years old, and even at that age, my orthodontist said I would need surgery to correct my bite. But my family didn't have a lot of stability back then when it came to health insurance, and we all know how expensive dental and orthodontic work can be.
When I entered my late 20's, I decided I wanted to fix my teeth. So I started on a healthcare plan and began the inquiry process of how I could get braces. Initially, my wisdom teeth were in the way, so those came out. When I was finally ready to get braces back in 2003, my doctors at the time advised me to locate a health care provider that would enable me to have surgery. I failed on that front because I was rejected by Blue Cross. So I shopped around.
I didn't end up getting my braces till 2009, six years later. It was a climatic moment for me. Here I was, 31 years old, finally getting my teeth fixed. I knew when I was 15 that I needed them, so I was proud that in my adult life I could make it happen for myself. Getting my teeth aligned took another two years. And now, they are ready for the surgery.
So here is what I'm getting: Upper and Lower Jaw surgery, meaning my jaws will be cut, readjusted, and I will be wired shut for a few weeks, on a liquid diet. I know I will have some pain, that's inevitable. But I'm kinda curious about what it will be like to enjoy my food in liquid form. To be able to taste every little ingredient, and flavor. After I'm wired, the liquid will have to travel down the insides of my mouth into my throat. This means, I have to eat slowly.
In reality I have no idea what to expect, but more than anything, I am excited for my new smile. I'm excited to be able to chew correctly, to have a balanced bite.
Today I had my last solid meal for a while. I pigged out on my favorite - on hamachi sushi, on soba noodles, on grilled butterfish. Everything tasted so good.
In an odd way, my teeth are teaching me a story about my life. I'm learning about how good things happen slowly, I'm learning to be patient, to be consistent. I live such a fast paced life, that I'm hardly able to slow down, even though I want to. Now, I really have to slow down, and move slowly. The journey to get this far is a journey that's required me to be creative, flexible and curious. It's amazing to me, for example, to learn about how bones can regrow and reattach to themselves after they break. The transformation that our bodies undergo are great lessons for real life.
Today I smiled a lot. Because my smile is about to change. Change is good.