Almost two weeks ago, I had oral surgery done. From what I counted, it included at least 13 root canals. Yeah. 13. Root canals. When I went to see the dentist for one possible root canal, he told me if I didn’t do something quick, I would lose my top 8 teeth.

They did a technique called “oral conscious sedation” where they gave me a pill the night before surgery and one right before surgery. This combination was to give me a restful night’s sleep and make me drowsy enought to fall asleep during surgery. Surgery ended up lasting longer than expected, so I was awake in the end for some of the painful gum treatment. I’ll spare you the details.

Suffice it to say, after surgery, I was hella numb and swollen and it was hilarious trying to eating mashed potatoes.

Fast-forward 10 days later and I realized how much I love my face.

Surgery was okay. Aside from my general anxiety, it was a breeze. Taking pain meds and penicillin on time? No problem. Eating a soft food diet?* Sure. Why not.

But, I wasn’t prepared for the mental and emotional struggle that came with a changed face.

I look at my face every day. I generally notice even slight changes. So, to come “face to face” with a new face was a lot for me to take in. I knew my teeth changes would take some getting used to. I hadn’t at all prepared for changes to my face.

I was very swollen for a few days. I absolutely love my cheekbones, so it was hard for me to not see this feature on my face. Not only did I feel swollen and sore, I looked different. It made me more than sad. It made me depressed.

It had become a constant struggle to accept my growing teeth problems and still face the world with confidence. Now, here I was with a “new face” and a “new smile” and an even more limited diet than my oral allergy syndrome causes.

(Even as I typed this, I’m at one of my brother’s favorite restaurants because I know for sure that I could swallow a serving of their mac and cheese with no problems.** So, I’ll get to watch him enjoy yummy chicken. Boooooo.)

Back to Friday… I was in a pretty crummy mood and feeling down. So, I painted my face and wore some of my favorite things and went to one of my favorite places for one of my favorite meals. When I got home, I looked in the mirror—I mean, I had been looking at my face all day—and I just wanted to capture the moment because I finally felt like I looked like myself again… minus the big glossy teeth. So, I snapped these 4 images and put them together on Instagram so I can go back in the future and remember how brave I was to face such a big thing.

image
Starting to look like myself again

It might seem small, but it’s such a big thing. To have anxiety, and deal with low self-esteem and low self-worth at times, and to make a conscious choice to improve my health… Such a big thing.

I still have work to do. This week, I go for teeth whitening and a few weeks after that I get my permanent crowns. At that point, I will probably have to do this thing all over again with the swelling and the soreness and the missing my face.

But, it’s okay. I know that things will get back to normal and my cheekbones will return and I’ll look like my beautiful self again with a brighter, healthier smile.

________
|*Actually, the soft food diet kinda sucks. I was on a good meal plan before surgery and now I’m not getting the calories I need which makes me tired and cranky. So, booooo the soft food diet. I want a cheese burger…
|**The noodles were too firm for me to just swallow and I ended up onl eating about half which left me hungry and cranky. Again, boooo.

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