I used to love my dainty little teeth, my teeth were probably my favourite thing about me, my favourite physical characteristic. I’d loved my braces, I loved my teeth. I’d always had it drilled in to me (excuse the pun) how teeth are one of the most important things to how you look.
And now I have the kind of teeth I was always glad I didn’t have.
I get that when most people go to get implants, it’s to improve on what they’ve got. They might have old, worn, uneven, decaying teeth that they want fixed into shiny new big things. But surely when it’s cancer, it should be a different approach. I can’t stress how much when someone has their face ripped away by cancer, the most important thing to them is clutching desperately onto their identity. Onto anything from it that they can. And having it taken away time and time again is heartbreaking. I didn’t ask for this, I don’t want someone else’s perceptions of improvements to my teeth. I don’t want them bigger, longer and with receding gums if it can be at all helped (but I know there must be some compromises to make up for the fact I’ve lost a lot of my face, but some don’t make sense to me, as I’ve already said, I’m not going into it again).
I got to go back to talk to the lab people about the changes I would like made. The lab people are great, they really listen and understand. But it was also a bit stressful, because there are things I don’t like that they may have done for certain other reasons and they said they’d change it if I want and it’s up to me to decide… but I don’t know if changing the things I want will make something else worse… So I was a little scared that I’d get the things I want and be less happy with how they it turns out overall. I can only use common sense and the knowledge of how I want them to look, I obviously don’t know the intricacies of creating teeth.
Well the idea was that the bridge (new teeth) would be taken away and the changes would be made while I was in surgery today. Which scared me because I hadn’t had a chat with my implants team about any of the things I’d asked for yet and I didn’t want to be having the final say. But it was also exciting because I was hopeful it would help.
But all the best laid plans… Surgery was cancelled for good, we’re now just going to wait and see if I do keep having ongoing infections before we go back in. To be honest, I’m happy enough with that. Though I wished I hadn’t had to take a day off work, pack my bags and go to all the way to hospital to find out it wasn’t happening… Surely a phone call would have sufficed. But I guess good to have a chat and discuss what we thought. Not super keen with the potential of ongoing infections, but also keen to avoid more surgery if possible. No need to poke around if not necessary. As a result, we’re leaving the teeth for a few weeks to see if I ‘get used to them’. I don’t think they’re too keen to do anything else to them now, which is what I thought would be the case. They’re good enough for them to be happy, I guess it’s hard for them to justify fiddling anymore to make me happy. I’ll probably just end up having to live with what they give me.
I still can’t really eat because my remaining teeth are painful from the new ones being pushed up against them so tightly, not to mention the pain that causes in my corresponding cheekbones that they’re attached to, but I guess it’s only a few weeks….. Lots of paracetamol and a liquid/soft diet. Constant pain is always fun. Just a bit upsetting that my teeth have to be pushed out of place to make way for these new ones as opposed to making them sit more comfortably. More compromises for me to make.
I’ll take a moment to apologise if I’ve got anyone off-side here, especially if you feel you don’t have perfect teeth and here I am being unhappy about my brand new ceramics that I’ve been lucky enough to get. I really don’t mean to be insensitive, I am really grateful for them, they are a vast improvement on where I was before I got the implants. It’s amazing to have access to this. I just wish they were better, not just ‘good enough’. I know I’ll never be able to go back to where I was before all of this. I’m just waiting for the day when seeing them in the mirror doesn’t make me cry. Or thinking about seeing them in the mirror. Or thinking about them at all.
But I think it’s natural to grieve the person you’ve now permanently lost. I would just prefer to only be grieving for my old face rather than being unhappy with my new teeth too.
When I went in to see Mr K today (to have surgery and then find out we weren’t going to do surgery anymore) he pointed out what the Liverpool FC manager chose to do with his teeth, and they’ve gone from looking quite natural back in his Dortmund days (maybe in need of some braces and a little whitening), to becoming very fake now he’s on his Liverpool FC salary (total speculation that this is the reason he’s got himself new teeth). That made me feel a bit better at least mine aren’t as bad as his. Sorry for teeth shaming you mate, I really don’t intend to be mean – they’re just very big and white in comparison to what he originally had.
Mr K also pointed out that looking at me now, you wouldn’t guess at all what I’d been through and it’s true. I want to make that clear. Some amazing work has been done by all involved to get me to this point.
I know you all know me well as the person who finds good and happiness in all situations, I’m just really struggling at the moment – it’s new territory for me too, we can navigate it together. Obviously I’ve struggled with other things over the course of the last two years, but this is getting me down. Many tears in many weird and wonderful public places. But that’s what I’m here for – no, not to cry in public places – to talk candidly about this all, so I’m not going to stop now.
Thank you everyone for your love and support as always.