Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 366

It's very hard to believe that it's been more than a year now since surgery. It may not be over, but still, I'm so glad to have gotten this far. I feel great and I'm so happy with the physical results.
I was in my friend's wedding this weekend and, for the first time, I felt really happy with the way it had changed my appearance. I've been having trouble with that, but after taking a good look, I realized what a difference it really made. It's hard to get used to a big change in something as important as your face, but it really is a GOOD difference.
Eating is still a little challenging. I can only eat small amounts of chewy things, like bagels, at a time. 1/4 bagel is about my max. But, in most ways, eating is so much easier. I can eat a sandwich without the lettuce and tomato falling out because I can't bite through them. I can eat a slice of pizza without cutting or tearing it up. There's so many things that I'm just not used to being able to do that I can now.
I still have my braces on, right now they're working on tweaking my bite to get the best result. I'm excited to get them off, but I don't mind waiting.
I don't have full feeling back, but enough that it's not particularly uncomfortable.
So, one year later, would I recommend the surgery? YES. It's a tough few weeks (about the only good thing about the six weeks I spent recuperating was watching Saved by the Bell every morning!) and a challenging few weeks after that, but once that's over it's absolutely, 100% worth it.

Here I am, all dressed up for the wedding!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lots of rubber bands and some disheartening news

We're still plugging away over here... At my last visit, a few weeks ago, it was discussed that there isn't much more they can do orthodontically, I will probably need another surgery to have a proper bite. That was disapointing, to say the least. It sounds like it would be a few years off, at least, but I will probably start having problems again as my jaws regress, then the only option will be to do this all over again (to a lesser extent, though, of course). At this point, it sounds like a lot of 'ifs'- 'if' the rubber bands I'm wearing now don't finish the job, 'if' my jaw regresses, 'if' I start having TMJ symptoms again- so I'm holding out hope that it won't be necessary.
So the set-up they have now is a last ditch attempt, but let me tell you, they're throwing everything they've got at me! I've got multiple power chains and a ton of rubber bands to wear. It hurt so much at first that I know it's doing something, which is good news.
Since this is the last attempt to make my teeth work, I guess the braces will be coming off soon, which is great. To be honest, I'm still not a huge fan of my post-surgery smile, but I'm hoping that losing the braces will help.
Pictures coming soon! My computer is struggling with them again!
Hope you all are having a very happy beginning to fall!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Never Ending Story?

I was hoping to be showing some nice, brace-free pictures by now, but it wasn't in the cards this visit! The tentative braces removal date was set for this past Thursday, but when I came in, they said that my bite was so far off that if the braces came off now, it would not be a question of if, but when they needed to go back on. We're no longer even talking about taking the braces off, which makes me think this could be a long haul. It's disapointing, but having invested this much time and money in my teeth, I'd rather take the extra time to get it right. If we could make this process take less time than my entire college education, that would be stellar, though... I feel like I haven't had corn on the cob in years!

Monday, May 24, 2010

You can't argue with this price...

By the way, my wonderful friend Brooke runs a fantastic blog that has opened my eyes to a number of things, such as Greek yogurt (which I have yet to try, but am hoping to like!) green cleaning supplies, and most of all nail polish (which I do not do often, as I am far too lazy to repaint when it starts to chip, but I very much admire her dedication!) She has a fantastic giveaway right now- over $250 worth of straightening materials, free! I desperately want to win, and you probably should too.
Check it out!


I really can hardly believe how much time it's been. The days seemed so long during recovery, it seems like 24 hours was a completely different length between then and now (when I could really use about 36 in a day!)
Lots of positive things happening:
* I had my 6 month check up 2 weeks ago, complete with an X-ray that showed that the front section of my top jaw is solidly anchored to the back, so I am allowed to use those teeth again. I'm finding so many foods that were a hassle to eat (though I never realized it) that are now so fun! For example, I LOVE strawberries, but I used to make a total mess of them. They're so soft that my front teeth just couldn't cut through them. I would have to put the whole strawberry way into my mouth so my molars could crush it up to eat it. Now I can eat it neatly, prettily, bite by bite. I realized this at a picnic with a big basket in front of me- I must have eaten 30 strawberries, I enjoyed it so much!
* The gaps from the extractions are closing up, so I look less like a pirate or a prizefighter, take your pick.
*SUCH a significant drop in headaches! I used to take Excedrin migraine like candy, 2-3 times a week. Since surgery, I've had to take it once.
* I'm getting more and more comfortable with the way I look daily.
* BRACES ARE COMING OFF SOON!! My planned final visit is July 1, then we'll talk about getting them off!

Just a few negative:
* I've been finding it really hard to get used to my new face, particularly my new smile. I catch sight of myself in the mirror and do a double take! But I just looked through some pictures of myself from this weekend, and was pleased to find that I was a little more used to it.
* When I really push myself working out, I still get pain along the break lines. It sounds like that's to be expected, though.
*Still avoiding crusty bread, bagels (oh how I miss them!) and pita chips, but hoping they'll be back soon!

I'll leave you with some pictures.

This profile made possible by orthognathic surgery. ;)

By the way, I am not getting married... I just have friends who make a mean toilet paper dress!

Best wishes to all!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wow... 19 weeks down!

The sun is out, the birds are chirping, and I can eat pizza again. All is well with the world.
Everything is going well! I have very few official restrictions on food now. For the past few weeks I was having regular jaw pain, which freaked me out, until I realized how many chewy things I was eating- crusty bread, veggie sandwiches, raw carrots, etc. So now I always have soup for lunch and try to have a soft food dinner more often than not, and the pain is gone. I have also discovered that baby carrots cooked in the microwave in water for two minutes are just as easy to toss in a bag for a snack as raw ones. Even though I'm so excited to be able to eat real food again, it's worth it to take it easy.
The rubber bands have multiplied. I now have the box in the front at night, with a triangle on either side. I was told that if I was willing to put up with hurting in the morning, I could put two rubber bands on the triangle and it would speed the process a little. After having my jaw split in 5 places... I can handle two rubber bands :) I can't wait until they all come off!
I really will put up pictures sometime soon! Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the springtime!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

13ish weeks... I think...

Wow, gone are the days when I knew exactly how long it had been since surgery... "Only 28 days until I can eat! only 27 days..." Yikes, that was a disheartening time. But the good news is, once things start getting back to normal, time startes flying again.
There's not too much to report today. Everything seems to be healing well, and I'm allowed to, very carefully, use my front teeth. But I'm finding that I just don't know how- I've never been able to use them before! It shouldn't be that hard to figure out, right? But somehow it is... it's like totally unlearning the habits that I've always had that allowed me to eat. It's a weird experience!
I'm allowed to do more, too, I'm even cleared to run again (once the 4 feet of snow melts off!) Yes, here in Maryland, the world is very white. We've had more snow in a week than we usually get in a winter. I'm not sure I should be sledding yet, but I don't think that God would drop 4 feet of the white stuff during my birthday week and expect me to stay out of it! We've been having a blast. Perfect weather for long afternoons hiking up hills. I haven't once felt like I was in any danger of re-breaking anything, which is a relief. I'm not very good at being careful :)
It's been really good to see a lot of people losing the braces and looking great! A good reminder that this journey will be over eventually.