Sunday, September 18, 2011

9 Months Post Op

First of all, I would like to begin this post by announcing that I am not dead.

For those of you having surgery that follow this, friends, family, and Facebook stalkers, I'm sorry I haven't updated in a verrryyy long time.

Today is officially 9 months post op, so I figured it was a good time to update. I haven't written in such a long time because this summer I had a very negative attitude and disposition with this whole jaw joint issue I've been dealing with. Plus, on top of that, my orthodontist called me about a month ago to tell me I have "root resorption." Grrreat. So, at that point, I was just done with dealing with this and wanted to think about it and bitch about it as little as possible.

Well, luckily, my joint is slooooooooooowly improving. Basically I was literally so stressed out, I made all this happen by clenching my jaw 24/7 and not realizing it. I'm just hoping it continues to improve and will be completely back to normal once my braces come off and my OS gets me in a bite splint that I'll wear at night.

Now, about that root resorption... apparently this happens to only 1% of people. I should have just gone ahead and counted myself in, because I am usually part of any unlikely statistic. Apparently my orthodontist compared an x ray from before I got my braces on, to an x ray taken a couple of months back and discovered my roots are shorter and are literally just disappearing. Microscopic root resorption is normal and typically occurs with braces, in order to allow the teeth to move. But mine is beyond that. Apparently bicuspid extraction, having braces multiple times, wearing braces as an adult, and an open bite are all factors that make the likelihood of root shrinkage higher. Check, check, check and check for all four of those scenarios with me.
The good news is, my orthodontist said the likelihood of my teeth falling out is not any greater than it would be had I not experienced any resorption. He told me over and over again not to freak out yet (even though I did, and he said "I knew you would" haha). He explained it is his job to catch problems like this and take appropriate measures. So, he said my braces need to come off ASAP. He said usually when braces are removed, the roots stop disappearing. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE I pray the root resorption will stop and I can live to be a very very old wrinkly lady before they fall out/come out/disintegrate!!! braces come off October 7th. I should be excited, but I can't help but wonder if this resorption didn't happen, and I were able to wear them longer, would my bite get even better? Or is this pretty much as good as it gets and they probably would have been ready to come off at this time anyway?

I wanted to add a few pictures, but my internet is just ridiculous lately and won't do anything.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Officially 5 months today...And back on a soft food diet.

So Saturday evening I noticed my jaw felt really funny on the right side every time I chewed. It was like constantly popping and cracking and making these awful sounds and feelings. I just figured it was a side effect of my rubber bands. (I wear them religiously, and one day about a month ago, I woke up and my bite was all kinds of screwed up. So of course I panicked and called the orthodontist. They just said that means I obviously wear them a lot and need to take them out for a couple of hours because they were kind of "over correcting.") So I thought it was kinda something like that, and didn't worry. Then Sunday, every time I would chew, it would hurt and pop and crack like crazyy. That continued and I just tried to do my best to eat. As time went on, it got to where when I would just look down, I could feel the disc in my jaw slide forward and pop. I knew Tuesday I had a regular braces adjustment at the orthodontist, so I just thought I'd wait until then.
Well, I don't know if he had a bad day or what, but he was not very pleased with anything haha. The short version of the story is this: I told him all my symptoms, he said "that's not an orthodontic problem, you need to talk to your OS," then he had me bite on that paper I mentioned 2 posts back, and polished my molars down a little to make my bite absolutely perfect, then got all bent out of shape because I couldn't slide my lower jaw left and right. He kept saying "you're 5 months post op, you should have full range of motion, did he not give you any exercises to do? You should be doing this and this, blah blah blah" I didn't even bother explaining everything again because we were both pretty frustrated and I knew what I was capable of doing when my jaw wasn't acing up. Plus I planned on calling my OS right away when I left. So after all that crap, nothing was even done to adjust my braces. But he did go on and on about how awesome and perfect my bite is, so that's good news. He basically said I'm ready to get out of braces, but he said he won't take them off until he knows I have full range of motion. Then told me to make an appointment for 8 weeks from now? Cool.
So I went out to my car and called and made an appointment to see my OS today and then called him on his cell phone. He told me he can't really say much without seeing me and sounded a little perplexed when I told him what went on at the ortho appointment.
SO....I went to his office today, and at first he really got on my nerves too because we were both having trouble communicating what was going on. He obviously knows a hell of a lot more about this than I do, and all I know is what I feel. So after a while, he paused and then said " look annoyed..." Ummm..YES I AM. (I don't hide emotion well haha) I felt like I wasn't getting any answer from anyone and hated what I was feeling. So we started over and he got me calmed down and explained in a different way. Basically, my jaw disc is acting up because it has been overexerted. He said I seem really stressed (duh) and that will cause it, plus fatigue, overstretching, trying to eat too many hard and crunchy foods too often too early, strain, etc. All of the above applies in my case, so he said for two weeks I need to "rest my jaw." This means back to the "things you can cut with the side of a fork" diet, prescription ibuprofen every 8 hours, and warm moist heat. He also said to not wear my rubberbands at all for this time. Oh and he made me feel so much better about the ortho visit. He said "you're hurting, your disc is acting up, it's fine" because he knows what I'm capable of doing and he wasn't happy I was so upset.

If you're wondering, (most ortho blogging people already know this) young women in their 20's are much more likely to have issues like this over any other group of people. Including people that have not had jaw surgery. He said it can happen to anyone. He also said that probably 5 out of 10 non surgery people can't even move their lower jaw from side to side anyway and it doesn't matter.

Hopefully I'm not speaking too soon, but I seriously feel like my jaw already feels a little better. I really pushed it the past couple of days when it was hurting with a big meal on Sunday, hibachi and sushi Monday, and really crispy Italian pizza Tuesday. This afternoon I just ate some beans and rice since it's soft, and I haven't had rubberbands in for 24 hours and it seems to be helping! I'm not too discouraged about a soft diet either. I know some yummy foods I can eat and it's just 2 weeks. Also, I'm challenging myself to not eat any fast food for almost three weeks. I eat way too much junk and I've never felt so uncomfortable in a bathing suit, so I'm trying to take care of that since we are going to the beach soon! So a soft food diet only makes that easier for me haha. I want my jaw to be happy and ready to chow down on some fresh seafood and eat more than a killer whale does when I'm on vacation.
Another thing that makes today not so bad? I won tickets to the sold out Kenny Chesney show today when I was on my way to work! That's the second year in a row I've done that for his shows haha That's gotta be pretty rare!

I'm taking a Maymester class right now and it just might kill me, so I won't be on here much but I will update when I go to the OS in 2 weeks.

Sunday was my birthday, so I'll post a few random pictures from it on here!

Some of my girls and I at the Braves game:

Aid and I being silly...but I thought I'd post it because it's a good profile shot!

And I'm just adding this one because it cracks me up every time I look at it hahah

My boyfriend and I:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wow I am fired up!

This is mostly directed toward to other ortho bloggers reading this.
Okay, I haven't been on here much lately, because I have been SO BUSY! But I still read all of your updates and love reading about your progress, I just don't have much time for comments lately!

But I had to get on here and share this. A lot of you probably have yahoo accounts or look at the yahoo homepage, and may have seen this article:

I absolutely am not a Palin fan, and whether you are or not is cool with me. But I read this article tonight and then skimmed through some comments, and they're just ridiculous. Basically everyone is just going on and on about how she had plastic surgery and she's lying, "I've never heard of braces for medical reasons, they are only cosmetic!" etc.
People are so ignorant and unbelievably just....stupid. It amazes me more every single day.

I have never left a comment on an article on yahoo, but I just had to tonight.
I said "You're all so incredibly ignorant. It's called "orthognathic surgery." Google it, and educate yourself. It is a medical condition, and it causes a lot of troublesome things during the every day lives of people who have misaligned jaws. Be thankful you do not have to live with it, and thankful you do not have to endure the painful surgery. It's due to a skeletal deformity that happens during growth. The stupidity of the world never ceases to amaze me.
If you would like to enlighten yourself and get your head out of your asses, you can check out my blog on my orthognathic surgery procedure, and see for yourself what it's like.
I have several followers on there that are documenting their journey as well and you can read their experiences too."
That was the extremely nice way of putting what I am actually thinking right now.

It just goes back to what I have said several times on here, and I know a lot of you are dealing with...It doesn't matter what you say, some people are still going to be idiots and think this is a cosmetic procedure you elected.
My genioplasty when I had my orthognathic surgery was purely cosmetic and my choice, I have no problem saying that. Obviously the rest was not. However, you can't argue with stupidity.

I may end up with some crazy comments on here if people actually see my comment. Can't wait for that! :)

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe.” -Albert Einstein

Saturday, April 16, 2011

16 weeks

Today is 17 weeks since my surgery! Monday will be exactly 4 months!

I know this is ridiculously long, but I like details, and think this is important. Besides, it's been a few weeks. So you should read it all! :)

Last Monday I had an appointment with the oral surgeon, so he could make sure I had been doing my exercises. I passed! haha I had really been slacking, but I tried so hard to keep up with them. It would take exactly 50 minutes out of my day to do 10 sets of 10 reps, 3 times a day (Yes, I calculated). I don't have nearly an hour every day to devote to that! But I spend half my life driving, so I tried to do it then. Driving a stick shift, managing ATL traffic/bad drivers, doing jaw exercises and of course texting/updating facebook is hard to manage! Just kidding, I don't really do that. (Cause my mom is reading this (: ).
But he said I can open 36mm. He said he's sure I can very easily stretch it to 40 with my fingers, so he is pleased. I think I'm going to continue doing them though because 40mm is the minimum.
He said everything is wonderful/excellent/great and that I am a good healer. I think he's just an awesome surgeon! ...I was looking all over the inside of my mouth after brushing my teeth the other day, and I seriously have practically no scar tissue at all and you can't even tell where incisions were in there!
He asked about my numbness and said not to worry about it, because I am not even 4 months yet and nerve regeneration will take 6-9 months. Yesss! There's still hope! He also said that big nerve that runs basically ear to ear through the chin, wasn't severed during my surgery. He said he only stretched it out a lot. (I can't even imagine how that works/looks. Stretched? wtf?) So he has no doubt the feeling will come back. I don't knooooow.
But I guess my numbness that went away quite quickly wasn't related to that big "main" nerve. I don't know, I'm not a neurologist. But it's really interesting and cool. I still feel electric shocks and pinching all the time still, so it's trying to work!

So, that was my last visit to the surgeon, and I don't even have to go back until after I get my braces off! That is sooo crazy! How have I gotten this far already?? It doesn't even feel right because since December I have gone in there at a minimum of every few weeks. It's like a part of my life now haha. A year or so ago when this process really started moving along, there were several days where I got in my car from OS and OD appointments and just sat there and cried for 20 minutes because of the pain, confusion about what I should do, fear, etc. And now when I leave either office, I feel so happy about the direction I'm headed, and so thrilled with going through with this! Amazing.

Then last Friday I went to the orthodontist and he said over and over again how great everything looks! That makes me feel great because he is a total perfectionist and would not say that if he wasn't beyond pleased. He asked me to bite down on paper that made little black dots on my teeth so he could see my "wear patterns" he said a few dots weren't supposed to be there and said if he polished my back teeth just a little bit, my teeth would fit together even better. So he pulled out basically a sander haha and polished down a teeny bit of each molar. Then when I bit down again, my bite felt even better! Amazing what they can do! After that, he started putting something on two of my upper teeth and I heard him tell the assistant "Now, I may have made this an extreme step, so if it gives you a lot of resistance when you engage it, let me know!" When I heard that I thought "Shit...this is going to hurt really bad." Sure enough, it did. The assistant had her pliers or whatever haha and was bearing down like all her weight to get this thing to engage. The resistance alone was hurting and when it engaged...OWWWW! Then she did the other side and it was the same way. Apparently these two teeth were sitting at a little too much to one side or something so that will fix it. I hadn't had any extreme ortho stuff since like November so I guess I got spoiled with only little stuff that didn't hurt much. Other than that, he changed my rubber band configuration, which made my teeth look even more perfect like 2 days later! So crazy how quickly that works! My next appointment will be May 16th.

Life is so normal now. There are days I don't even think about jaw surgery! I eat whatever, do whatever, it's nothing. I'm so busy with school, work, and an honor society I'm participating in. Plus I've been going through a process since January to be accepted into a program that offers a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I was accepted! Only about 10 or 12 undergrads were chosen, so I'm really proud of myself. So I get to visit New York in the fall! :) I also started an internship with a cool company in the area yesterday, so I am really excited to gain some experience. Everything just seems to be falling into place. Like my jaw :). Okay, lame.

This is from last night:

I thought this would be a good comparison that shows the little changes:

Friday, March 18, 2011

3 Months After Surgery

Today, March 18, 2011, marks exactly three months since surgery!

First of all I'd like to say that if I can get through this, absolutely anyone can.

I read on several blogs that you shouldn't expect to feel normal until the 3 month mark, and I definitely agree.Of course I thought I would be different, and would just get through this and it would be no big deal. But my surgeon reminded me at my last appointment that this is still the early part of recovery, and it's hard to remember that. It's especially hard for people that aren't going through it, because 3 months is quite a while. But unless you have gone through this surgery, you don't realize what a toll this takes on your body.
But I feel normal 99% of the time. There are still some moments where I think about it, but most of the time I actually forget I had surgery. Every now and then, my jaw pops if I bite down (which is normal) or some mornings the muscles in my face feel really stiff, but none of that is even a big deal. I am a little bothered by the numbness I still have in my chin and lip and all of my upper jaw/gums/teeth. But since I don't have the feeling back at this point, it is likely permanent, and I'm just going to learn to live with it I guess :/ When I was reading about surgery, one of my biggest concerns was numbness, and I know someone is reading this right now thinking "okay there's ANOTHER person that is still numb after surgery, to hell with this." But the benefits that I have gotten from having surgery (a bite I am in love with, I can breathe, I feel rested and energized all the time, I don't look like a grandma from the side anymore, etc.) are well worth it. I don't know how I lived my life so freakin ridiculously tired and miserable ALL THE TIME before surgery. I am so thankful to feel normal.

My grandpa and I are totally obsessed with Steak and Shake, and I always make time for him and my dad during my insane week and we usually go there. For 21 years, I have pulled my food apart and broken it up and eaten it, rather than biting into it. WELL, on Tuesday, I BIT INTO MY CHEESEBURGER! And not only that...I also bit into the lettuce. THE LETTUCE! The. Lettuce. It was so awesome! All my "normal" readers are thinking"Wow, really? You're that excited about biting into a f-ing cheeseburger?" YES I AM. And I know all my pre-surgery readers are thinking "Wow, I cannot wait to do that!" I am so happy to bite into food!!! Now I just have to break that habit of pulling my food apart into bites, because I found myself still trying to do that just because I have done it for so many years.

Last night I had an awful dream that I woke up and, for whatever reason, my teeth were all screwed up and turned around the wrong way, some were completely backwards and behind other teeth, and some were loose, and some brackets and parts of wires had fallen off. It was a total mess and I was horrified. I was beyond relieved when I woke up and saw my teeth were exactly where they were when I went to bed haha

That's my big update for you guys for now. I have to go back to the surgeon at the end of this month, and to the orthodontist at the beginning of April. So there will definitely be updates then. I open a little wider, but I seriously need to start doing more exercises next week, or my doctor is going to kick my ass.

Pictures from this past week: