Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Wedding!

 August 10, 2013 was the best day ever. I got married to the most amazing man. I had the most beautiful wedding. And the rest is history. For the past year, I worried that the surgery wouldn't happen in time, that I'd be swollen for the big day or still in braces. But all the anxiety was for naught, because all went perfectly and I felt as pretty as can be. I literally didn't think of jaw stuff once that day. In fact, I haven't thought about it practically at all the past couple months. Instead I've been thinking about how amazing my husband is, how much I love my new job, and how life doesn't get much better than it is right now.

To say our photographer did a fantastic job would be a devastating understatement. She's a magician with a camera and captured the day perfectly. To see more from our big day, you can go to her blog:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Brace Free is the Way to Be

That's right: they're gonnneee!!

Yep, today was the big day and the braces came off. Holding my mouth as wide open as it could go for extended periods of time while they snapped off the brackets and ground away the glue left me in a bit (okay, a lot) of pain. My jaw is still a little achy. But, like they say—no pain no gain...and in this case, I gained my brace-free smile once again. Yay!

They glued a few of my teeth together until I get my retainers on Thursday, which is a little weird, but a lot awesome since I won't be worrying about things wiggling out of place between now and then. I see the dentist tomorrow to get the pearly whites even pearlier, and I see the surgeon on Monday for a post de-bracing check-up.

While it seems like the jaw surgery saga is nearly over and the final appointments have been made, that's not entirely the case. I will have to have the hole in my pallet closed in a few months, which will require a small surgery. But that should be the fat lady's final note in this operation opera.

After I get married AND move AND start my new job, I promise to post one last video so you can be blinded via webcam by my shnazzy new smile :) Until then, keep emailing me your questions or asking them in the comments. The whole reason behind this blog was to help people through their own orthognathic journeys, and just because mine's coming to an end doesn't mean I'm done helping!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Final Countdown

I have a lot of countdowns going on in my life right now, a lot of things to look forward to. I start my job in 40 days! I get married in 30 days! AND....I get the braces off in 20 days! That's right, I've booked my final appointments with my orthodontist, and they are as follows:

Final adjustment, July 24th
Debracing, July 30th
Retainer pick-up, August 1st

As you can see, I've still got the rubber bands going, and they've been cranking my teeth every two weeks trying to get the bite as best it can be before the wedding. It's looking good so far; I might not have to get them back on post marriage & moving. I see the surgeon tomorrow, and we'll see how he weighs in on the matter. So keep your fingers crossed for me and my final days in braces!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I scratched my chin today...

...and felt it! For the first time since the surgery, I'm starting to get sensation back in the left side of my chin. This is the last area of my face to regain feeling, and while it's not 100% back to normal, it's encouraging. Other areas (mostly my lips) still tingle to the touch. As for the inside of my mouth, the roof is slowly getting better and my bottom gums have spots of sensation—some areas I can feel, others I can't—but my top gums are still completely numb. I'll let you know if those nerves ever decide to wake up.

At the very beginning of my recovery, I would constantly panic about whether I would regain feeling in the areas that had gone numb, which at the time was most of my face. I did some research and read somewhere that 70% of those who undergo orthognathic surgery get full feeling back, while 30% are left with complete or partial numbness. I used to feel dejectedly as if I'd fall into the 30%, but as time goes on I have hope that I'll join the 70%. So if you're in the early phases of recuperation and find yourself feeling discouraged too, remember that the odds are "ever in your favor" and the majority of us will have full feeling once again. Someday you too might scratch your chin and feel it.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

100 Days!

It's hard to believe that this is what I looked like 100 days ago... Pretty horrifying, if you ask me. But then again...pretty amazing. I'm so thankful for how quickly we can recover from things like this. How wonderful our Creator is to have designed such incredible bodies capable of healing themselves. And while my body is still working at healing itself, and although it's slow-going, I'm grateful for small signs of progress. For example, I'm beginning to get feeling in the roof of my mouth again! And the incision lines/scar tissue hurt less than the last time I posted! I saw my surgeon today, and all is well!

But actually, all is more than well. All is fantastic. Great things have been happening and exciting adventures are ahead. We've started celebrating wedding season, with two showers down, one to go, and a bachelorette party in the works—woo hoo! Nathan graduated from college and is off in Oregon for the month of June, earning some honeymoon money. I was recently offered a job in Colorado—an absolute dream job, in fact. First item in the job description: spending a week in Hong Kong (I'll be going at the end of this month)! And before I know it I'll be getting hitched to the man of my dreams, honeymooning in the tropical paradise known as Hawaii, and moving to a new state to start my new life with said dream man. I. Am. Blessed. (Oh, and somewhere in there I'll be getting the braces off, maybe forever, but maybe not).

It just goes to show how much can happen in 100 days. A ton of healing and all sorts of amazing stuff. I'm so happy to have the jaw surgery behind me and to have so much now ahead of me. Life post-op is good. Maybe not 10 days out, or even 20. But eventually. And I hope that that can be an encouragement to any of you who are about to have or have just had this surgery, or one like it. 100 days might sound like a lifetime in the moment, but before you know it, it will be a thing of the past, and you'll be able to look toward your future without the all of the obstacles that open/under/over/cross bites bring. And that's a pretty wonderful future to have.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ten Weeks, Tomorrow

Yep, tomorrow will mark ten weeks post-op and the surgery is already starting to feel like a memory. It's no longer something I have ahead of me or something I'm going through. It's done. At least...almost. Of course, there are still some post-op "side affects," if you will...three, to be exact. I saw my surgeon for the first time in a month today and we discussed the issues.

1. I have some spots of hard scar tissue along my incision lines where the stitches were that still hurt when I smile. The surgeon told me that I could massage those areas to break up the hard tissue quicker than my body will do on it's own. But otherwise, he said that should be gone in a year's time.

2. Another issue that is still lingering after the surgery are small holes covered by flaps of skin where my hard palate meets my soft palate (see the circled area in the diagram to the right). According to the surgeon, this can occur in cases like mine where the maxilla has been trisected. There are/were two, one on each side; while the hole/flap on my right side closed up in the first week or two after surgery, the left side isn't being as cooperative and the flap/hole is still there. "But where does the hole lead to?" you might ask. The answer is pretty gross—it leads to my sinuses. This means that nasal mucous (yes, I mean snot) will leak into my mouth. It also means that I can't hold suction, and therefore can't swish mouthwash around or drink thick liquids through a straw very well, among other small inconveniences. I talked to the surgeon about it today and he said that we will continue to try and let it heal on its own—being extra cautious not to disturb it or put suction/pressure on it. If it hasn't closed up by the fall, he'll have to do a small operation to fix it.

3. Lastly, my nerves are not all the way back to where they were before surgery. It's coming along, but my wires seem to be a bit crossed at the moment. When I touch my bottom lip, I feel it in my chin. And when I drink cold liquids, my chin feels cold and wet; basically, it feels like I'm drooling all the time. But when I actually touch my chin—'s still numb. Something similar happened early on in the recovery: when I touched the upper eyelashes on my right eye, I felt a tickling sensation in my completely numb cheek below. That has since gone away as I regained feeling in my cheek, and the surgeon and I have hope that my lip/chin nerves will work themselves out eventually as well.

Other than those three things, though, I'm feeling back to my regular-old-self! And for just two and a half months out, I'd say that's a pretty great place to be :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Before & After (two months post-op)

Today marks 2 months post-op! Not much has changed since my last post, so there's not a lot to update you on. But in honor of making it to the other side of of the jaw surgery saga, my fiance took some pictures of me and my new (un-swollen) face today. I threw them together with some pictures taken almost exactly a year ago, thus giving you a good visual of the before and after.

My smile before was pretty gummy. I used to open my mouth a little while smiling to pull my top lip down and hide some of those gums; doing this before made my smile a lot bigger, but doing it now hides my top teeth. So I'm left with a smaller smile, but also a not-gummy smile. I'll take it :)

My profile has much improved as a result of the surgery. I now have a chin and even a bit of a jaw line, both of which I never had before. Towards the beginning of my recovery, my nose was a smidgen upturned, but I think it's returned to normal now. One of the nicest results of the surgery is being able to close my mouth at rest—something which was practically impossible pre-op; you can sorta see the difference in these shots.

All in all, I was plenty happy with the before. And while it took a while to get used to (heck, I'm still getting used to it), I'm certainly pleased with the after as well.