Sunday, June 26, 2011

Finding the bright side

It occurred to me the other day to be more positive and less cynical about my surgical date set back.  After all, "happiness is a choice" is my motto.  Later that same day I realized one more plus to this delay.  I now have more time to find myself one last kiss.  I know, that probably makes no sense to most people.  Allow me to explain.  All of my research leads me to believe I will most likely have some permanent nerve damage to my mouth or chin.  Considering what will happen if I don't have the surgery, its a chance I'm willing to take.  The one thing that bothers me, is that I may never have another honest to goodness kiss without the distraction of numbness or tingling.  This may sound lame (or gross depending on who's reading) to you, but kissing has been a favorite past time of mine for years :)  So, I told myself a while back that I would accomplish a number of things before my date with a bone saw.  On my to-do list are: update Mara's baby book, organize the house, create a will, lose weight, and land myself  one last kiss.  So, here's to positivity and finding the bright side of life.  Wish me luck!  Smiles

Oh, and my apologies to anyone who found this topic TMI.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

And so it begins!

     The frustration and angst which go hand in hand with orthognathic surgery have finally set in for me.  I recieved a call from my surgeon's office on Thursday.  They informed me that my date has been postponed.
     SERIOUSLY?!  You're freagin kidding me right?  My ex planned his vacation around my surgery to take care of Mara, my mother already changed her vacation once to coincide with Sept 8th, my sister planned on comming the second week to help me out and my department at work was planning on me being out during that time.

     Now what?  Well, I'm told I won't have my new date until after another set of molds are done at the end of August.  She said the surgery would be sometime in the fall.  So much for the 3 month notice I was promised.   Do they expect all these people in my life who are planning on helping me to drop everything at a moments notice for my needs?  C'mon doc.  I was already inconveniencing everyone way more than I cared to, now this?  "huff" deep breaths, deep breaths...

     Okay, I suppose mindless ranting isn't going to improve my situation.  I'm just so dissapointed because I thought I had it all covered and now I don't.  More things to add to my "to do" list.  If my teeth aren't ready, I guess I just have to wait and try to find the bright side.  Thinking, Thinking.... nope, I've got nothing :(
Oooooh, I know, now I have even more time to loose the weight I promised myself I would loose before my surgery.  Bonus!  See, I don't have to be a debbie downer all the time  ;)

     Now, off to tell my family the wonderful news that I will inconvenience them on a whole new level.  Perhaps I should bake some cookies first to soften the blow.  Nah, then I would have to eat some.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nothing new

I really have nothing to report recently.  Just waiting for my next ortho appointment and started to get super nervous.  I'm extremely worried about work and finances.  I told my boss I would need two weeks off.  My gut tells me I'll need much more than that, but I hope I'm wrong.  I've only been at this job for 4 months so I'm not elegible for short term disability or FMLA.  With the separation being final, (Keir moved out on the 8th(woot woot)) money is a bit of an issue.  I have very little savings and very little PTO accrued.  So, I'm just praying it will all work out. 
UHG, it would have been soooo much less stressful if I did this as a teen.  No job to loose, no bills to worry about, no daughter to need help with.  And, I am a firm believer that ignorance is bliss because I know way more than I can calmly handle about this surgery and all its possible complications.  I'm starting to second guess if it's worth the risk.  There's a chance with any surgery that one could die, have a stroke, yadda yadda.  Mara needs a healthy, capable mother...what if I end up gorked out from a blood clot, or die?!  "SIGH"  okay,  I really think I'm ready for that Xanax now.
On a brighter note, I've lost 5 lbs on my Nutrisystem diet.  Only 60 more to go!!!!!  Think positive people

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


So, my orthodontist appointments are kicked up to every three weeks until D day.  This ensures, without a doubt, that my teeth will be in constant pain from the manipulation.  GOOD TIMES!  Today during my ortho visit, he told me my surgery plan has changed.  So, not only are we doing top and bottom jaw, now I'm told the top jaw will need to be cut into 3 separate pieces in order to bring the top 4 teeth down even further.  YIKES and YOWZAS and where the hell is my Xanax, I'm gonna need some.

That is all I can say about that!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Last July

So, my braces have been on for almost a year now and I've already grown tired of them.  My mouth feels dirty and sore all the time.  Flossing is a chore and eating is rarely an enjoyable thing now.  You'd think I would have lost a ton of weight by now, but living off of soft foods like mac-n-cheese because my jaws and teeth hurt all the time isn't a great weight loss plan I suppose.

This picture was taken on my way to get my braces on.

and here are the results of that visit

that is my bite, my teeth are clenched in the back.  I don't think people with a normal bite understand the difficulty of having such a mug.  Try speaking clearly with your mouth half open. It takes great concentration, and its very exhausting on the face and jaw muscles.  My eating habits are wearing off on my daughter.  The poor kid plucks at and dissects her food with her fingers like I do instead of just taking a bite out of it.  My mother pointed that out to me a while back.  I guess its not a huge deal for her, just sad to me. 

I'll post some current pictures soon but I'll probably wait until I get my ties changed.  Clear braces and ties are cool sometimes, but they stain a lot and I can't give up the coffee.  So, my teeth look terribly yellow, sometimes even brown when my ties are old.  I'm starting to think silver teeth wouldn't have been so bad after all.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The back story

     “We better save some money.  This girl is going to need  braces,” my mother said to my father when I was barely a year old.  The older I got, the more obvious it became that something was “off” with my face.  By the time I was six I had the jaw of a bulldog and a smile only a mother could love.  So, off to the orthodontist we went.
     “Years of reconstructive orthodontics followed by reconstructive jaw surgery,” Dr. Harkins told my parents.  That was the recommended course of treatment for a Class III Malocclusion, aka under bite.  I was only six , but I could sense the worry from my parents as we sat in a dark room on plush leather seats reviewing  x-rays of my face.  Worry for my health and worry over money I imagine.  They probably weren’t even sure how they could manage to pay for the consult we were sitting in, then alone thousands upon thousands for braces and surgery.  But, it was absolutely necessary the doctor said, and treatment had to be started soon. 
     I was a tall, chubby, awkward kid with very few friends and an embarrassing smile.  On top of that, I became the only first grader in my school to have braces.  I was certain my life was over, but I tried to play it cool because I secretly hoped the braces would fix my face so I could be pretty like all the other girls.  After braces came the palate expander, then the retainer, followed by the Hannibal Lecter-esque head gear I was forced to sleep in.  Years of painful manipulation widened my underdeveloped upper jaw and pulled it forward in my head, dramatically changing my appearance.  “Now we wait until she’s done growing,” the doctor said. “Then reconstructive surgery.”
     A few years later, I was actually starting to like the shape of my face.  People often told me I was pretty.   And even though I didn’t feel pretty, I was starting to feel less ugly.  For me, that was progress.  Then years 14, 15, and 16 passed and it started getting harder to eat.  I was developing an open bite now, and I was NOT happy about it.  It was time to reevaluate for surgery.   The details from here are not clear to me.  I’m not certain if it was based more on health benefits and finances or fear of having my head disassembled, but eventually, surgery was no longer an option.  At this point my bite was so bad that only my very back teeth made contact when I bit down.   A total of four teeth with only two tiny points of contact made eating, talking, and smiling more challenging day by day.   A local dentist decided to grind down all of my molars in attempt to relieve my jaw pain.  It worked a bit, for a while but things continued to shift. 
     At 19 or 20 I inquired again about the surgery.  I wanted to know what was involved.  The doctor told me in no uncertain terms, “ an incision would be made along the underside of the jaw from corner to corner, they would deglove (aka, peel off) the bottom of my face break my jaw in two places, remove a portion from each side then fuse it back together. “  I think I threw up in my mouth a bit while he described all this to me.  Capital “H_E_L_L     N_O,     uh uhah, no way” they were doing that to my face.  I’d lived this long with my problems, and considering I could DIE with such a surgery, I thought I’d skip all those shenannagans.  If I knew then what would happen in the following years, if only someone would have told me, perhaps  my refusal might have been slightly less vehement.  What they didn’t tell me then was that the surgery was inevitable and without it, I would lose function of my jaw joints.
     So, here I am, a 34 year old mother in constant pain, some days unbearably so.  It has only been this bad for the past few years and when it creeps up slowly, I guess you just get used to dealing with the pain.  Perhaps because of my chronic back pain I have a higher threshold, or perhaps I’m ridiculously stubborn for trying to tolerate my painful, dysfunctional  jaw for all these years.  But I’m here now, and even though this seems like the worst possible time in my life to go through such a drastic surgery, it’s something I’m told I HAVE to do.  If I don’t do this now, my jaw joints will continue to break down and will ultimately need replaced. I already have bone loss due to the discs being displaced, and it will only worsen without intervention.  They say the joint replacement never has optimal results, so I’m backed up against a wall with a bone saw in my face.  I’ve come to terms with the horrific nature of what this surgery will entail and I pray every day for the will to be strong.
     Braces have been on for almost a year now in preparation for surgery.  Advancement of the upper jaw and reduction with rotation of the lower jaw is on my agenda for September 8th.  It’s not going to be fun, and I’m probably going to do quite a bit of whining about it.  So, I’ll use this forum to vent, perhaps sparing those closest to me from my incessant whining.  I hope this answers all the questions everyone may have and I’ll keep posting updates for those who are interested.   Pictures and videos to follow.  For now, I’m focusing on weight loss and getting healthier before going under the knife.