Before the Closure

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February 13, 2017

My thoughts on having a jacked up jaw joint. Totally not cool. Or fun. St. Pete bound with my mama for some answers. Dr. Piper, here we come.


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February 13, 2017

Y’all! I came to St. Pete to fix my jacked up jaw and now I have a jacked up smile. And I can’t blink my eye. Seriously?! Then again, this nerve block has me feeling better than I have in years. Man, my jaw really is jacked up. How is this better?!  It’s better because Marge, Barbara, and I couldn’t stop laughing.  This is really good stuff, y’all. And I’m not hurting!


 

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February 13, 2017

So tired after nearly 10 hours of diagnostics with Dr. Piper and his awesome staff. Ones that revealed I really do have a jacked up jaw. Turns out a childhood injury stunted the growth of both of my temporomandibular joints. The left one especially. And left room in the home of that joint. Just enough. So that after years and years of trying. The disc was finally able to slip right on in. Leaving the condyle to rub directly against the base of my skull (oh, that’s why I hurt so bad). Blocking off blood supply to the joint. Forever. Or at least until it’s reparation. One that I will schedule for later in the spring. With a fat graph. And months of a closed mouth. Kinda shitty news but I can smile again. Normally. And we finally have all the answers we need. Now, to see what Blue Cross Blue Shield thinks of this. Prayers, y’all!  Big prayers. Because Dr. Piper ain’t cheap. And that’s exactly what you should expect from the best TMJ surgeon in the world. Dr. Piper. The man with the mustache.


 

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February 15, 2017

I spent some time on my yoga mat today, breathed in for the first time in days, and forgot about my worries, my fears, my anxieties. For as long as I can remember, I’ve longed for someplace, someone, somewhere, sometime where it would all make sense. These longings have differed from season to season, phase to phase, and age to age. No matter .he time, I wished to be there. Today as I sat still. Talked to God.  And listened to my breath. I realized there is no other place. No other person. No other time. I am here. Exactly where I am supposed to be. It’s not perfect. But it is mine. And I am grateful.


 

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February 20, 2017

Two weeks ago every proverbial pot in my life was moved off to the side for cooling. What I expected pain management or massage therapy to be the answer to my TMJ pain turned into my worst nightmare. Literally. But guess what, God was not surprised! Over 500 miles, two MRIs, multiple talks off the ledge, a CT scan, a nerve block (the best part, lol), 2 specialists, buckets of tears, a surgeon, 75 panic attacks, and countless hours of Google searches, I faced the reality that I would need open joint arthroplasty on my left TMJ. If you’re curious what that means, I encourage you to Google it. There are very graphic images and countless blogs outlining every step of the procedure and the aftermath. Believe me, I have seen and read them all! I have also worried myself to death over little things like how am I going to breathe with my jaw wired shut (worst nightmare!) or how I’m going to talk when my jaw is closed for 90% of the day…..to larger things like when will I be able to bite into a juicy cheeseburger again, or have the pleasure of kissing a kind boy once more. I mean really. Those are two very important things in life (namely the kissing of the boy, or if in your case, the girl, which is wonderful and we should all be doing more of it)! Sadly, when you’re looking down a road of 9 months to possibly 2 years of recovery, those very basic human functions come into question. But guess what, God was not surprised! I’ve had to face some of my greatest fears in these last two weeks but I’m no longer living in a state of panic, sadness, and fear. I keep reminding myself that God is not surprised! This experience will be another amazing story in my journey with Jesus and though I have my own theories about His purpose here, I also know that any plans He has are greater than I can ever imagine. He is not surprised! Kind of funny isn’t it?! This super chatty chick is going to have to keep her mouth shut. Like, for real. Like, for a while. God is not surprised and He has such a great sense of humor, doesn’t He? I can’t wait to sit and listen. 


 

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February 23, 2017

This crooked girl woke up to this text from a dear friend. So thankful for great friends who encourage me and crack me up. And for Jesus who will me through all this jacked up jaw nonsense.


 

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February 28, 2017

Reality vs. social media reality! The actual life of a girl. With a jacked up jaw. Sigh…


 

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March 3, 2017

So I got a package from Dr. Piper’s office. It included this beauty. Me. Except without skin. Or muscles. Or tissue. Or whatever is in between our exterior and interior. Actually. This is me on February 13, 2017. Totally. Absolutely. Positively. Crooked as hell. This is the day when my #jackedupjaw journey began. In Dr. Piper’s office in St. Petersburg, Florida. When Dr. Piper, the man with the mustache, told me I would need surgery. Like a big surgery. Surgery that would require me to have my mouth shut for nine months. Yes. You heard me correctly. Nine months. Don’t believe me? You should read this: LaCroix and Mustaches


March 16, 2017

Today begins the appeals process with Blue Cross Blue Shield. They do not want to pay for my TMJ arthroplasty. Nor reimburse me for the thousands I have already spent to diagnose the dead joint. You know, the one that’s not medically necessary to replace. Huh. They must not know who they’re messing with. They must not know how persistent I am. They must not know my strength. They must not know that I do not give up. Ever.


 

April 14, 2017

You know that album. The one that makes total sense. From start to finish. All of it. I think I found one. The one that explains the last 25 years. The one that tells a bit of my story. And yes. I realize this is country music. And yes. I know I don’t listen to country music. But it’s 2017. I’m about to have my mouth shut. A big birthday is on the horizon. So maybe it’s time I start taking myself out of boxes. The ones that say things like – I don’t listen to country music. A revival of sorts. A reinvention. Yes. I think I’ll do that. And I think I’ll listen to this album again. For like the seventh time in two days. Because I can. And because it’s that good.


 

April 18, 2017

It just occurred to me that in 6 short weeks, singing is going to be an issue. I love singing. I don’t give a damn that I’m flat. Or off key. Or embarrass the kid. Or get the words wrong. Or whatever. I sing. Loudly. So starting right this minute, I will sing my heart out. While working. While driving. While making the bed. While prepping meals. I will sing all time. Because for now, I can. And because it feels oh so good. Thank you, Jesus, for my healthy vocal cords. And for Amazon music. These artists need to get their acts together.


 

April 19, 2017

Y’all. I’m writing tonight. And I’m kind of scaring myself. Because I normally only show half of me. The good parts. The ones that are presentable. The parts that people like. But things are changing. Now I’m listening. I’m writing. And the other parts are coming out. The ones that aren’t so good. Aren’t very pretty. Aren’t very well liked. But I can’t stop them. They are burning me up. Like it or not. The other half is coming.


 

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April 20, 2017

I have spoken to BCBS three times this week. Three. This is my most recent. A short one today. Because guess what? They don’t have my appeal on file. They have no idea where the fax number routes to. The one they gave me. To file my appeal. The one to which I sent my documents. Sadly, this appeal is for diagnostic services. Not the actual surgery. It is a drop in the bucket compared to what I will be requesting post-operation. But I will start again. I will keep trying. Keep calling. I will not give up. Dear Jesus, take the wheel!


 

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April 30, 2017

In exactly 30 days, my mouth will be closed. And it sounds wonderful. I’m ready. Things I am sure of. It will hurt. It will be challenging. I will be frustrated. I will be in an overwhelming amount of debt. Things uncertain. How bad it will really hurt. How challenging it will really be. How I’ll ever pay off the money I will owe. I saw a butterfly in the window today while I was in shoulder stand on my mat. And it wasn’t a coincidence. Nothing is. Did you know the metamorphosis of a butterfly can last anywhere between 30 days to a year? I didn’t. I hated science class. But today I’m embracing it. So begins that journey for me. My growth. My renewal. My metamorphosis. And whether it takes 30 days, 365 days, or something in between, I will be steadfast. I will listen. I will trust this process. And I will be grateful. Because in the end, there will be a beautiful butterfly. Spirited and free.


 

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May 10, 2017

Y’all! It’s really getting real. First pre-op appointment today. Orthodontist. My first trip back since I was 13. No one will notice the braces when they’re put on in a couple weeks, right? Didn’t think so.


 

May 15, 2017

I am eating whatever the hell I want. Starting now. Actually starting last week. Ok, last month. But for sure now. And then later today, too.


 

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May 16, 2017

The lady bug. She has visited my twice in three days. I hear her. I trust her. I believe her. Abundance is coming.


 

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May 23, 2017

Y’all. Take a good look. These pearly whites get metal’d up tomorrow. The next time see them like this, they’ll be sitting on a luxury-styled jaw and be a hell of a lot straighter. I’ll be broke. But at least I’ll have a banging grill. In like two years…


 

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May 24, 2017

I’m not gonna lie. I woke up almost two hours before my alarm this morning. I couldn’t go back to sleep. My stomach is in knots. I’m shaking. Though it could be the double shot of iced coffee I’ve been drinking since 5:30. I do not want braces. I’m already thinking about the fact that I have to pick up a script sometime this afternoon. After the braces. That I have to pick up my daughter from school. After the braces. That my mouth is going to be tender. After the braces. That I leave tomorrow for St. Pete. After the braces. I do not want braces. But I also don’t want to hurt anymore. I also want to eat Kind bars and peanuts and salad whenever I damn well please. And I want to kiss boys without wincing. Well, one boy. At a time, that is. So I must get braces. I must go to St. Pete. I must trust this process. It will not be easy. But I will believe in my strength. My ability. Myself. And I will pray like hell.


 

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May 24, 2017

Y’all! I got new lip gloss. Really brings out my eyes. Don’t you think?


 

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May 25, 2017

St. Pete bound to fix this jacked up jaw! Y’all pray for my mama. Taking care of me for 15 days? She’s gonna need a boat load of Jesus!


May 26, 2017 – First Piper Pre-Op

 


 

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May 26, 2017

FaceTiming. Chit chatting. Tongue rolling. While I still can.


 

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May 29, 2017

Y’all. I’ve had at least six burgers in the last couple of weeks. Maybe more. And they’ve all been delicious. Including today’s. It’s not talking I’ll miss most. Or yawning. Or opening my mouth more than an inch even. It’s chewing. Burgers mostly. And kissing. Boys mostly. Two very important things. Maybe the most important. Vital even. Soon enough, they say. My family. Soon enough.


 

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May 30, 2017

Two days to go. My future utensil.


 

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May 30, 2017

So y’all. Surgery is scheduled. Finally. This Thursday. June 1st. The start of a new month. The start of summer as I see it. I got some bands today. For practice. They’re weird. Look weird. Feel weird. Even weirder when I take them off. But they aren’t so bad. And my mama can understand me when I mutter. At least today. Ask me again in a couple days when I’m loaded on Demerol. Never mind. Don’t. I don’t trust my mouth. Or rather, my fingers. And you know, I’m not thinking about burgers anymore. Or boys. Now I’m thinking about the fact that I’m not going to be able to lick my lips for like three months. Maybe longer. This never occurred to me. But it must have to others. Those who shared care packages filled with lip gloss. I love lip gloss. And I love my friends who thought beyond burgers and boys. When I wasn’t able to. Because now I’ll have pretty lips. Even if my mouth looks like Hannibal Lecter.


 

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May 31, 2017

Marge: I gotta make sure you aren’t already raising my blood pressure. Y’all! Prayer warriors! Bring it. Because you know I am. I’m difficult even under normal circumstances.


 

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June 1, 2017

Suited up. Ready to go. See you after the closure.


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