Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Countdown Begins...8 Days Pre-Op

I suppose now is as appropriate a time as ever for me to begin chronicling the looming journey of rewarding doom (how's that for a paradox?) I have been anticipating for several years now. The dreaded butchering of my facial structure in an attempt to remedy this loathsome, distressing, emotionally-exhausting, and not to mention less than slightly attractive physical ailment...the distinctive class 3 malocclusion that has dominated my appearance for as long as I can remember caring. Otherwise known as an underbite and a ghastly one at that, upon close inspection. I do, however, take comfort in the fact that many others across the world share this same affliction, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading some of their blogs and watching their YouTube videos throughout the months leading up to this turning point in my life.

For all reading who happen to have been richly blessed with a normal bite, take a moment and try in your blissful ignorance to imagine how certain activities throughout daily life must take place for those of us less fortunate in this department of anatomy. My front top and bottom teeth do not come in contact with each other, or even come close, until you reach my molars. The bottom row of teeth juts out in front about a centimeter at the point where the discrepancy reaches its largest length. Let's start with the task that would most obviously be a hassle with the aforementioned predicament: eating. The teeth physiologically designed for tearing meat and directly biting into sandwiches, burgers, pizza, apples, corn on the cob...heck ANY FOOD...are of absolutely no use to me. Not only does this make eating excruciatingly difficult and frustrating, but also unbearably embarrassing. Couple that with the fact that I have this perpetual underlying awareness of my messed up profile and am constantly plotting to angle my face so that no passerby has the misfortune of glimpsing the bizarre facial discordance. As I mentioned earlier, this sort of problem is much deeper than a physical imperfection. It affects my every thought in some way, regardless of my efforts to suppress my insecurities.

The second critical task being so rudely impeded upon by the underbite is the physical act of speaking--a task to which humans with normal bites devote little to no thought throughout daily life. Certain sounds are meant to be produced with teeth that actually come together in the front, and that obviously creates problems for the underbite-plagued individual. In short, I simply have an actual speech impediment, albeit a mild one that I'm usually able to handle well with a certain degree of practice and concentration. Another layer of embarrassment to pile on top of the already immeasurable humiliation. Score.

The third and final difficulty I will mention is smiling. In order to form a non ogre-ish grin for all those lovely events in life which require a facial projection of happiness, I've had to adapt a manner of smiling which partially alleviates a bit of the grotesqueness of it all and manages to appear somewhat presentable from the frontal view. The braces made this exceptionally challenging, hence why I avoid many pictures of myself from the first few months of this phase of braces.

With all of this being said, I must take a moment to admit that even with this massive source of difficulty and discomfort, I have been very blessed with a life full of happiness, adventure, love, and countless experiences I would not trade for the world--nor even for a proper bite! I didn't intend for this post to end up sounding like complaint after complaint; the purpose was to illuminate some of my motivations for wanting this procedure. I do not desire pity--in fact, I despise being pitied for any reason. I've managed to deal with this successfully for many years now, and I feel it has made me physically and emotionally stronger than I would have been otherwise. Finding myself unable to remedy the underbite through my own actions, I have instead focused my efforts on academics, fitness, and those aspects of life over which I do indeed have full control.

I can honestly say this is the sole portion of my physical appearance that invokes distress (aside from those pesky zits we all combat at one point or another,) and the glorious blessing of this fact is that it can and will be corrected. Permanently.

This is where I must conclude the first entry in what will hopefully turn out to be a long series of rants and raves leading up to the fulfillment and completion of the process I have so earnestly desired for too long now. Next up will be an actual description of what will take place during the surgery as well as a discussion of my fears and anticipations. I will also shed light on other things going on in my life within the next month- COLLEGE! NEW APARTMENT! EEK!

Your slightly anxious, concerned, and overall exuberantly hopeful blogger,