I've cracked it, and it's really simple... although potentially expensive - but that's OK because you won't be spending much money on food.
Do you want to know why my secret is?
Are you sure you're ready for this?
Are you sure you're ready to embrace a new, slimmer, more beautiful you?
Really, really sure?
OK, I'll tell you....
MAJOR DENTAL SURGERY
Seriously, all you have to do is find yourself a good dental surgeon, and go along for a consultation. S/he'll send you for x-rays and CT scans, and if you're lucky, you'll discover that your jawbone has been steadily disintegrating over the past 35 years. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with your actual teeth, you'll discover that you have lost more than 50% of your jaw, and thus, there is increasingly little to anchor your teeth.
Armed with this knowledge, you can then embark on several rounds of surgery whereby your expert dental surgeon will remove your upper teeth, slice open your gums, drill holes in your jaw, screw in implants, insert bone grafts, and then stitch you up.
If you're really lucky, s/he will determine that things aren't quite so bad on the bottom jaw, and so you get to keep most of the teeth but you will need crowns and bridges.
To really help with the DSD (Dental Surgery Diet), your surgeon needs to grind down some of your remaining teeth in order for them to receive the crowns... it's better if you already have extremely sensitive teeth to begin with, or you may not reap the full benefit of the DSD.
Tip: to ensure maximum discomfort, opt to have some of your blood taken to make some PRFs (platelet rich fibrin), which will help to speed up your recovery. Only, make sure that your veins will not give up any blood. In fact, this works best if your veins are finer than the finest syringes that the dental surgery has.
To be absolutely sure that none of your blood will be forthcoming, and to prolong the apprehension you already feel about the imminent surgery, I recommend that the dental nurse try to take blood from at least four different places on your body. If she looks like she may give up, you might like to suggest that once inserted in the general vicinity of the vein, she wiggle the needle around a bit, in an attempt to access said vein.
After half an hour or so, though, the conclusion will be arrived at that none of your blood is going to be drawn. Well done, you've just saved yourself from a potentially shorter recovery time. Go you!
TIPS FOR THE SUCCESSFUL DS DIETER
For this to work at its best however, you need to be incredibly resistant to anaesthetic: ideally, what you should be aiming for is to receive between 15 and 26 shots, depending both on the length of the surgery, and how many sessions you've already had.
Take note that some of the anaesthetic should be quadruple-strength, delivered straight into your mandible. Be assured however, that despite your surgeon using a very large needle, it's not actually uncomfortable. Agony is what we're going for here, and the quad-shots deliver. Every. Single. Time.
If your body temperature drops during the surgery, and you begin to shake uncontrollably, this is even better. Especially when it means that your surgeon has to stop the treatment while the assistant surgeon helps to calm your body down. Done correctly, this can add up to another 90 minutes to the overall surgery time. Bazinga!
Another advantage is that if once it becomes effective, the anaesthetic wears off incredibly quickly, it will really help you to get past 25 shots.
Don't, whatever you do, be tempted to opt for a general anaesthetic - if you do, you'll miss out on the complete and utter headf**k that is having holes drilled into your skull.
And in case you're now thinking,
"Oh, but Nicole, surely it's simply a case of the drill going in very fast, and then the implant being inserted? Is it really worth staying awake for?"
Let me assure you that it really is worth being conscious.
Yes, my would-be slender chums, by staying awake through the whole procedure, you'll really feel you've had your money's worth. If you go to sleep, you'll miss out on the pilot hole being drilled, then a slightly larger drill going in, and then a larger one, and then a larger one.
You'll miss out on the implant being drilled in, and then manually fine-tuned with a torque wrench (albeit a rather a delicate instrument).
And you'll most definitely miss out on the anaesthetic wearing off so that it feels as though one implant is piercing your sinus as it's being tightened up. Y'know, that sinus which is 17mm lower than the other.
You'll also be awake to discover that both of the frontal implants stop a whole 1mm from your nasal cavity. Pay attention now, because you'll need to keep this in mind over the next couple of weeks when your hay fever kicks in, and you have been told not to blow your nose. Not that you'll be able to move your nose for a week anyway.
Of course, this does leave you with a dilemma; which will be more beneficial to the DDS - bursting your stitches by blowing your nose, or getting sinusitis? Being a bit of a wimp, I opted for the latter. In fact, at the beginning of this week, I managed to combine sinusitis with a migraine, and I can tell you that it worked spectacularly effectively. Pain AND nausea - a total win for the DSD!
After each round of surgery, I recommend having several impressions taken, preferably as the last shots are wearing off. If you don't, you will miss out on the most incredible experience of feeling as though the inside of your skull is being yanked out through your mouth when your surgeon removes the moulds.
And for the full effect, do check that the moulds are overfilled, so that you get bits of alginate dropping into the back of your throat, and triggering your gag reflex. This will afford you a prime opportunity to pretend that you're a grown-up who can control it. And not actually vomit all over yourself.
Not only will you not want to eat anything for a while, you won't actually be able to. This is not such a bad thing because the mere act of attempting to have a sip of water is hilarity itself. I recommend you try it, especially when with someone, in front of whom, you'd be utterly embarrassed to disgrace yourself. By, oh, I don't know, drooling all over your front.
If all goes according to plan, in addition to feeling physically wrecked, you'll be feeling completely and utterly emotionally fragile, and will at this point, burst into tears. Be sure to have a couple of hankies at the ready.
In fact, you may as well stock up on several boxes of tissues.
INTERACTING WITH OTHERS
I recommend trying to have a conversation; it doesn't have to be as intelligent as particle physics, just start simply with something like which flavour yoghurt you're likely to want a bit later on. For this to be truly effective, it's best if your beloved asks you questions, and you just answer them. Let's not try to be smart, and run before we can walk, right?
I have found that the most effective answer to any question starts (and ends) with,
...as you drift away into a world of your own. A world of totally f***ing weird.
DOING THE ACTUAL THING WITH THE EATING
The good news is that you get to eat ice cream. A lot of it. To reduce the swelling.
The even better news is that if you're really lucky, like me, you already lack the means necessary to properly control your body temperature (I refer you back to the earlier bit with the shaking), so you get to stylishly cocoon yourself in duvets in order to consume said frosty treat. Isn't that great?
Once you have dosed up with painkillers (remembering to take more than the prescribed amount because of that whole being resistant to drugs thing), you can try to get some sleep. This will actually be easier if your dental surgeon has prescribed you some low-dosage Valium.
Don't worry if you awake in the morning, feeling not too shabby - this will soon wear off, and you'll be back to the not being able to eat sitch.
MAINTAINING THE DSD
Over the next three weeks (some of which will be taken up by more treatment), you will realise that there are only so many calories to be had from yoghurt and soup. Even soup you've been making yourself.
You can try congee, which is actually quite easy to eat but if your teeth are even more sensitive after having your temporary crowns fitted - which is what you should be aiming for - you, will, if you are fortunate, find that even sipping lukewarm water causes immense bolts-of-electricity-like pain shooting through your teeth.
Best to stick with soup and yoghurt. You won't be able to chew anyway because despite being given a temporary upper prosthetic, you can't wear it for long because to begin with, it will be too painful because of the swelling, and then once the swelling has reduced, it will need to be lined in order to fit.
If however, you're feeling that perhaps your recovery is going well, and you might be able to try solid food, I recommend buying a tube of denture adhesive, applying it to your prosthesis, and then inserting your choppers. You should find that immediately, it causes pressure on your stitches, and that you'll want to remove it straight away.
Tip: this works even better if part of your bone graft has actually formed a hard but sensitive lump on your gum, against which the prosthesis pushes.
Now you are ready to take that tentative bite of the delicious-looking banana you've just peeled. It will in fact, cause you untold agony. It may even make you inadvertently howl in pain - something like that roar that Klingons do when a fellow warrior dies.
At least, this is what your intended outcome should be.
Once the initial pain has subsided, you will want to carefully remove the prosthesis. The intention here is not rip out your stitches but rather, for the denture adhesive to gently tug on them, enough to make them 'feel' as though they are being ripped out. If you've done this correctly, you will now have a massive throb-fest party going on in your mouth.
To ensure you're not tempted to again try to eat solid food, as your jaw recovers and regains mobility, and you start to speak talk more, your mouth will develop its own fail-safe methods to keep you on track:
~~ Your heavy-duty stitches will catch, pull, and may even loosen to the point where they actually get in the way of everything, especially when cleaning your gums and teeth, leaving you so orally-throbtastic that you won't want to eat. Ever. Again.
~~ Use mouthwash several times a day - just to remind yourself of that agonising electro-pain from your crowned teeth, so that you're not tempted to try chewing solid food again. Even if it is only a banana.
~~ Not wearing your prosthetic ensures that you will not be tempted to go out for meals, nor even socialise with anyone. Ever.
Make sure that your job involves working with food all day; make sure that you are developing recipes, testing them, and photographing them, once perfected.
This will ensure that in addition to being perpetually famished from the lack of food you're able to consume, the smell of the food will add to your hunger. And as we all know, if you're hungry, you're losing weight, right?
It helps to have someone who will eat the food for you too. Why? Because psychologically, you will feel utterly deprived, and because you are physically unable to binge, you will just resign yourself to the fact that you're always going to be like this.
And then go and sit in the corner, and cry.
This blog is written for humorous purposes only; while what I've written about going through is absolutely true, I am not actually suggesting that anyone starve themselves. I would hope that this is very obviously intended a piece of sarcastic humour.
On most days, I do in fact, manage to ingest between 500-1000 calories - I am just sick to the teeth (oh, hardy har har) of soup and yoghurt. I'm sick of being in a lot of discomfort most of the time, and in a lot of pain sometimes.
And in actual fact, in the three weeks since I had my first lot of surgery, I've only lost 4.4lbs - which is only very slightly more than the pound a week average which I've been losing anyway!
I do know that this will not last forever, and I am more than aware that my mouth is actually healing very well, and ahead of schedule (my body is very efficient at healing itself) but when you get to the point of dreaming about tucking into, and enjoying, a fat, juicy steak - and you're actually a vegan in real life - you know that the time has come to exorcise some sh*t.
(I haven't eaten meat for 13 years, and even when I did, steak was not something I ever actually liked!)
I would also like to point out that every single person at my dental clinic - from the receptionists to my consultant, to my surgeon - has been absolutely wonderful. Professional, caring people who have done everything in their power to make all this as painless as possible for me. I really cannot fault either the staff, nor the treatment I've received in any way.
If anyone is thinking of going to Croatia for dental treatment, ping me, and I'll give you their contact details.
I'd also like to say that I have never not looked after my teeth; all of this is due to my family dentist not messing up my mouth when I was a teenager - presumably because back then (the '70s), he simply didn't know any better. Dentistry has moved on quite a bit since then.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and make a meal I won't possibly be able to eat.