I Love the Smell of Kale in the Morning!
So, in mid-December, Lucy, our xolo-mix, jumped on my face while I was drinking a glass of water. The glass (plastic thank goodness) hit my face and broke one of my lower front teeth. I saw the dentist the next day, and he said I needed veneers (as opposed to just bonding). That meant two painful sessions where my mouth was wide open while the dentist and his techs took what sounded like a goddamn chainsaw to my lower four front teeth.
Painful as it was, my teeth looked great. Problem was my top four teeth really needed the same treatment, so…. two more sessions of jackhamming with my mouth wide open. Now I have a very pretty smile. And level 4-8 TMJ pain. And yes I’m aware that TMJ is short for the actual temporomandibular joint and ailment is TMJD, or temporomandibular joint disorder; but everyone just refers to it as TMJ, so TMJ it is.
See, since my tongue cancer two years ago; or more specifically, radiation on my jaw two years ago, I can’t open my mouth as wide as I used to, so all those sessions with my mouth wide open has seriously messed up my jaw.
I’ve seen my chiropractor, my oral surgeon, an acupuncturist, I’m having both physical therapy and massage therapy, and I just started seeing a craniosacral therapist, which seems to be the most hopeful route so far. My dentist and oral surgeon told me to eat a “soft diet.” Okay, so just what does a “soft diet” actually mean? To me, that would mean stuff like oatmeal, beans, and poached eggs (I don’t eat poached eggs of course—but you get the texture I’m talking about—very soft foods). But NO, that is not a “soft diet.” A “soft diet” means complete jaw rest—no chewing whatsoever. No beans. No oatmeal. No chunky vegetable soup. No vegan chili. Nope. Nada. Nothing that I have to chew. “OH,” I said when I saw my regular doctor yesterday. As in 🤯🤯🤯-OH. And I need to consume this modified liquid diet anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. OH. Yeah.
Now I’ll be honest dear readers, that’s okay, I mean if it helps. I have some anti-inflammatories and painkillers I’m taking and I’m hoping all the various therapies will help as well. When I was going through radiation two years ago, I couldn’t eat solid food for nearly eight weeks (not by choice, but due to large and very painful mouth sores caused by the radiation), so I can go back to that place in my head and eat a diet of smoothies, vegan yogurt and creamy vegan soups and the like. That’s fine. I’m a cook, I know how to make seemingly uninteresting food delicious. And I normally drink a big-ass green smoothie most mornings anyway. No biggie.
What’s going to be really fun is seeing my parents this weekend. My dad (who I love dearly, but who I am also pretty sure was born around the time of the gold rush) won’t understand what TMJ is when I explain it to him and will make some kind of strange/snarky comment, like “when I was a kid, we called that lockjaw,” or maybe gangrene or TB or something . My mom (who is a goddamn saint) will understand, though she’ll forget the letters and later tell my sister (another true saint) that I have TMZ or DMX or J-Z or something. But shel’ll get it; my sister is super-cool.
Usually when I am visiting my parents, we go out to eat, but I’ll just volunteer to cook some delicious cream of broccoli or mushroom soup or something. My mom loves my cooking. And while my dad doesn’t understand people who don’t eat meat, he usually enjoys my cooking, too.
But the rub comes in the fact that I was hoping to take my mother to Native Foods and do a write up of the place. And that is a place where chewing is a necessity. So will I get a lemonade and soup, or instead eat a big ole’ yummy yum yumz sandwich and tough it out? That, my friends, is the real question. Update to follow!
Also, while it’s technically still winter, spring is beginning to show off her beautiful blooms here in Berkeley. Springtime is one of the most beautiful times here in the East Bay; plum blossoms cover the trees all through February, and then the cherry blossoms come out in April. Here is a very small taste of what I see on my daily walks.