It’s Christmas Day.
I will be honest with you, for a long time I was not in the mood for Christmas. The idea of Christmas in 2016 never really dawned on me until yesterday, Christmas Eve. That can be blamed on one thing and one thing only; my jaw operation. You see, I got an operation on my jaw to correct my bite about three weeks ago. This specific operation is quite an ordeal and results in a swollen face that can last a few weeks to a couple of months. In some cases the swelling only completely comes down after a year. The operation also leaves the whole lower part of your face including your lower lip, jaw and chin totally numb. This numbness can last for up to a year in many cases and in some cases it’s permanent. In addition to all the inflammation and numbing, you cannot use much of your jaw as the operation entails literally breaking your jaw bone, re-positioning it and putting it back together with screws and plates. This leaves you with very little jaw mobility and a good amount of pain. It takes about 6 weeks for your jaw to completely heal and in that time you should technically be on a strict soft foods and liquids diet. And that’s where I had problems because I didn’t mind a little pain, swelling, and discomfort or even the risk of permanent numbness. I had a problem with food, because as you know by now, I have a deep fondness for food and I like to enjoy the things that nourish my body, mind, and soul and the thought of not being able to do that… well, to be honest, it made my slightly depressed. That, and the embarrassment of having a fat, swollen face for weeks. Despite all this I had the surgery because, well, I never thought about my life short-term, post surgery and all the discomfort I may face as I chose to focus on my life in the future, post surgery with a perfectly aligned jaw and a healthy bite. That thought is the only thing that makes having braces and an immovable jaw worth it.
I stuck to the liquids only diet for the first 3 days after the surgery drinking vegetable and fruit juices, smoothies, and soups. At that time that was truly all I could manage to consume as most of my face was numb and so swollen I no longer looked like Zoa. It looked like I was wearing a fat suit, but only on my face. My face was the face I would have if I was playing an overweight character in Eddie Murphy’s “The Nutty Professor”. It was rough. By day 5 I was fed up with liquids and moved on to soft foods like oatmeal and mashed potatoes. By day 7 I was completely fed up with all foods soft, mushy and liquid and I ate 2 minute noodles. In all my discomfort and very little pain thanks to the painkillers I never forgot to swallow, I could not imagine myself having a great Christmas this year. Food plays one of the most pivotal roles in Christmas and to not have good food for Christmas is to not have Christmas at all in my opinion. Or that’s what I thought, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Anyway, while I was trying to recover as quickly as possible the last thing on my mind was Christmas. I was not looking forward to the 25th of December 2016 at all because I thought that I would not feel satisfied with my food.
During my time of recovery all I could think of was how to celebrate Christmas food not only as a vegan, which is hard enough as it is, but as a vegan on a soft foods and liquids only diet. The thought depressed me to be honest and I did not want to think about it, so I didn’t. I did not think about Christmas at all. The only thing on my mind was recovery and the best and quickest way I could recover. That was three weeks ago. And in a way I am happy that was how I was thinking in those past weeks because now that it is Christmas Day and I have been vegan for exactly 11 months today, I have 60% mobility of my jaw, 9o% of the swelling is gone, and my chin is the only part of my face I still cannot feel. I can eat most things except hard fruit like apples and any raw veggies or leaves despite the fact that I should technically still be eating soft foods and liquids. I am having a wonderful Christmas Day and had a beautiful Christmas Eve. Our family tradition of eating a monstrous breakfast on Christmas morning was a success and my fear of not feeling satisfied has been completely wiped out of my brain as I sit here, writing, with a full and happy belly. It still feels like Christmas even though I cannot eat all the chicken, lamb, cake, and ice cream around me because Christmas is more than just food. It’s the celebration of the birth of Christ and a time of family, fellowship, and the giving of gifts. And despite all the complications in my life regarding food, I can still eat, have a food baby and fall into a deep food coma and for that I am eternally grateful. I feel overwhelmingly blessed because I can do so surrounded by my ever expanding family in our home and to be honest, that’s all I need in life. But maybe I’m just saying all these nice things because I’m full and satisfied. Either way, today I feel blessed.
With that, I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and I hope you are all spending this day surrounded by the people you love and who love you and eating good food. I would also like to thank you all so very much for supporting me with the blog and my vegan journey. The amount of support and messages I have received regarding this experiment is more than I could have ever imagined. Thank you! And thank you for supporting this blog and for the countless compliments and shares on social media this year. I appreciate every single one of who read my work and like my posts on all social media platforms. Thank you! Your support gives me the motivation to continue working on the blog and working on my dreams. I love you all! Thank you once again. Thank you so very much. Be blessed, merry Christmas, and have a fabulous new year.