Two and a half years ago I began my journey to corrective double jaw surgery, 18 months of braces pre op and 6 months of braces post op. A correct bite with my top teeth in front of my bottom teeth is what I should have now but I don't. I've written about this before, about how it has been a struggle to get my surgery, how my underbite has been affecting me, damaging my mental health, challenging me everyday but today, although having a breakthrough getting a meeting with a surgeon next week I still feel stuck.
You might be questioning why I feel stuck, its just an underbite but its more than that, its the control and power this underbite has over me. People have told me that I need to stop this controlling, I need to move on and get on with my life. So far this underbite has prevented me from perusing interviews to spend my summer working in America, redoing a college placement in order to continue as a community and youth work student, it has completely taken control of my life.
How do I take back control? How do I move forward? How to I lessen the impact of this underbite in my life? How do I just forget abut surgery and just get on with my life? This has been such a huge part of my life for so long and I have got so close to surgery yet now I'm facing another long wait for surgery with might not even happen this side of Christmas. I feel as I have reached my limit and I just don't know how to move on right now? How do I get on with my life?
How do you deal with always being let down? How do you deal with people getting your hopes up only to have them destroy them? Do you accept it and move on with your life? Do you fight back even harder than before or do you just give up, finally let them win, let them take every ounce of fight, of drive, of energy that you have and just give up?
I have an underbite, that’s nothing new I’ve had it for years I also have braces which were phase one on my journey to corrective double jaw surgery. Most people don’t think it’s a big deal having an underbite and sure why would you? So what if your bottom jaw is out further than your top jaw? Who cares right? Well it’s not about what other people think it’s about you! It’s about how you feel about it.
I have been waiting for this surgery for a while now and I have known about it for many years but as I was still growing my treatment couldn’t begin until I was 18 years old. I’m 20 now and have had my braces on for 2 and a half years, I was only meant to have them for 18 months pre op and 6 months post op, I am still awaiting my surgery, a surgery which will change my life. I’ve been told a couple of times my surgery will happen, last summer, before the end of last year and then again I was told I would have it in July, but this time, this time I was that much closer. I had had my first planning meeting with the promise of another planning meeting in June and then hopefully my operation in July. It didn’t happen. I know I have to be prepared for the chance of my surgery getting cancelled on the day due to emergency cases, which is something I have accepted but I am constantly being told it is going to happen and then it doesn’t. Before it was a case that my teeth were not ready, there wasn’t much I could do about it that time but this time it’s due to a lack of surgeons. A lack of surgeons! Really! I was ready this time, soups made and frozen for after surgery, money to buy medication and pay the hospital bills and my hospital bag was just about ready to be packed but then of course it happened, I got the all too familiar news that my surgery was being postponed once again and that my surgery might, just might possibly happen before the end of the year.
Now I’ve fought my corner, I’ve made endless phone calls and my orthodontist has made endless phone calls but were now at the stage that there is nothing more I can do! I was advised to continue calling the surgeons office and so today I began once again my endless calls only to be told that they were unsure as to where the surgeon was and that he could possibly be on annual leave. How do you not know where the person you work for is? Surly you would be aware if he/she was on annual leave? Nevertheless I was once again left no closer to surgery.
People don’t understand the effects of having an underbite and of course unless you have experienced it I cannot expect you to. But it’s hard, it’s hard to live with an underbite. Yeah I have trouble eating some foods but it goes beyond that, it goes deep into how it makes me feel. Every time I walk out the front door I feel as if people are staring at me, every time I look in the mirror I feel disgusted by how I look, every time I brush my teeth I am reminded of this underbite. I just so desperately want to have a normal looking face and by normal I mean the way my jaw is meant to be, I just don’t want my bottom jaw sticking out so much, is that too much to ask?
I have nights where I cry myself to sleep because I hate how I look, I have days where I don’t want to get out of the bed because people will see my underbite and I have days where I just wish, I just wish I could move past this, move on with my life but I can’t, I don’t have the strength to move past this, not right now.
Sometimes I wonder whether or not getting this surgery is causing more harm than good. I cannot wait until the day I am brought into hospital for the 5-6 hour surgery but right now, the waiting, the not knowing, the constant disappointment it’s not doing me any good, if anything its making me feel worse, its making it harder to cope and it’s making things harder to face. Should I continue to let this take hold of me so much so that I revert back to self-harming because in the past my underbite and the lack of a surgical date have let to self-destructive behaviour. But how do I prevent it, dealing with my underbite on a daily basis take every ounce of my energy, it take every ounce of my strength not to self-harm and I right now am at the stage where I don’t know what to do anymore. Sure I can keep ringing and ringing but if people are unaware of where the surgeon is right now it’s not going to do much more.
Fighting this battle is much more than getting my surgery, fighting this battle will be an achievement for me, a sign of strength and a sign of resilience but with disappointment at every turn it is difficult to continue, it is difficult to feel like I matter, and it difficult to feel like things can change and that good things do happen.
They say good things come to those who wait, but how long must I wait?
Today August 1st , marks a very important day for us women, today marks National Girlfriends Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness and showing the importance of looking after not only our own health but also encouraging our friends to look after their health.
Looking after our health goes beyond a trip to the doctor if we’re feeling a bit under the weather or taking some lempsip if we have the flu, looking after our health involves mental health, physical health, our unhealthy habits, what we eat, exercising, pregnancy and so much more. A lot of people don’t know what to do though to look after their health, yeah we all know we shouldn’t eat junk food and we all know we need to get some exercise but do we all know how often we should go to the doctor or do we know what vaccines we need to get every year? I know I sure didn’t, and what’s even worse on my part is that I don’t do as much as I should to ensure my physical health as so much of my life has been spent battling mental illness that now as I have finally got things under control I am working on maintain my mental health that my physical health often gets left unattended to. Finding the balance between looking after our mental health and out physical health is something we all need to do! Weather its realising we need to spend a bit more time exercising or if we need to spend a bit more time talking about the stress in our lives finding the balance is key to ensure our health.
National Girlfriends Day is a way of ensuring us women know what we need to do to keep ourselves in tip top shape but it also helps us recognise ways in which we can encourage and support our friends to pay more attention to their health. We all have worries and concerns throughout life regarding our health but sometimes it can be less stressful if you have a friend on your side to go through it with you. I know if I didn’t have my friends with my when I was suffering the most with my depression my suicide attempts would not have just been attempts and the first one would have been a success.
It’s the little things that make a difference like reminding someone they should get a breast check or offering to go to the doctor with them even just a simple text asking how they’re doing today can make some focus more on their health. So if there is one thing you do today let it be to send a simple text asking a friend how they are doing or even head out for a walk with a few of your friends, let today be the beginning of your improved awareness of your health and let today be the day you begin to help encourage your friends to be aware of their health! Be sure to check out the infographic by Oscar Health Insurance in the sidebar for more information on the check-ups you need throughout your life.