Wednesday, October 09, 2013

the sickies and jitters

So I've caught the sickies. My stomach was churning the whole morning, I could barely function, and my FTA exam is rescheduled to early November.

Somehow, I've been debating a lot about the jaw surgery this past week. Perhaps it's because of a couple of posts that I've been reading about people having complications in their surgeries and how much it's costing them. A lot about surgery is about risk and how much you're willing to risk for a result.

The risks are pretty scary. I mean, yeah, there's the risk of death with anesthetics and stuff, but honestly, it's the in betweens - like loss of sensation in your face, numbness, lifelong pain, the need for more surgery (which would mean a lot more costs) - that are really frightening for me. I just can't imagine going through this 30K surgery, 6 months of healing up, to come down to having to possibly do more corrective surgeries, or not feel my face...forever.

Is the pain of arthritis in my jaw in my old age worth the risks now?

Sure, I've read through quite a few blogs that pretty much swear that they don't regret the surgery at all. Then again, most of them are those who didn't go through complications, and came out looking a lot better and happier and more confident than they were before the surgery. Otherwise, they were the ones who took any post-surgery challenges on as a learning experience. I respect a lot of them, and I suppose it's one way that people find their passions in life (like how when some people lose family to cancer they become great awareness campaigners), but I don't know what that would feel like if I were them.

I've also a few on my blogroll who, because of the post-surgery complications (and pain) they've gone through, have made it their life mission to make sure no one else goes through the same experience. And worse, I've also read of two or three jaw-surgery bloggers who displayed signs of desperation and depression in their post-surgery writing, who eventually closed their blog.

Maybe it's because my mother was asking me about it. She literally came to me and said, "Why do you want to do this? I think you're pretty enough." I also had another conversation when I was in Hawaii with a guy whom I shared about my jaw surgery and how I was doing it for medical reasons - to which he replied, "But it's also aesthetic. Which is okay." And how bothered I was at his assumption that regardless of what I said, I was in it for the aesthetics. It made me feel kinda sad.

Oh underbite, are you worth it?
Also nasty ulcer,
would you please go away soon? :(
I really thought I was completely sold that I'd go through this whole process - because it was logical, because it was practical, because it was completely medical, and because it just made sense to get it done now. And this is coming at a time just before I schedule my last appointment with Orthoman to get my surgical hooks in (Yes, he wrote back and said the casts were in order and we were good to go).

Perhaps this is something like pre-wedding jitters - where one goes through a time of absolute fear because you finally realize you're about to do something really big and possibly life-changing. :(


  1. Hi Ariela :) I went through pretty much the same thought process last year, when my family kept asking me why I wanted to undergo treatment. The cosmetic aspect of the surgery was something that really troubled me as well; I didn't want it to be seen as 'plastic surgery'. One question that I asked myself was whether I would undergo the same surgery if there was no aesthetic change at all. It was a definite yes, because my bite was/is actually causing me quite a few problems. Although these problems aren't as urgent as something such as TMJ disorder, spending the rest of my life afflicted with these issues was something that I didn't think was necessary to put myself through just because I was afraid of the stigma if others saw the surgery as cosmetic.

    I just think that the cosmetic aspect of the surgery shouldn't be overstated. Sure, it will enhance my appearance, but that isn't the only or even the most important reason why I elected to undergo the surgery. Coming to terms with that understanding made me a lot more sure about my choice. :) Perhaps you might consider the same things as I did and arrive at a different conclusion. Ultimately it is your choice and it's good that you are thinking about it while there is still time to change your mind.

    All the best!

    1. Hi Kim, thanks for the encouragement. Yeah, I think it's something that most of us going through the surgery think about. It's like a phase i think. Right now I think I'll base it on my insurance coverage. Though I'm still pretty certain I'll do it... cause my main reason was always a medical one. I guess I'm just a bit jittery cause of some of the posts I've read. Did you get coverage for your surgery?

    2. Yeah, reading blog entries and forum posts from people who end up regretting their surgery really scares me. But I know a few people in real life who have gone through the surgery, and they all thought it was worth it, so that kinda quells my worrying. :) I actually haven't settled the payment details with the clinic yet, so I'm not too sure! I'd better go check my insurance coverage soon.