Sunday, 27 June 2010

Day 57 - 2 month check-up

Still here, despite my efforts at self-sabotage!

2 months have now passed, and i've spent the last week in a flurry of job interviews! It speaks volumes about my confidence levels that i'm now tying my hair right back and flashing big smiles when meeting potential employers. Before surgery I always wore my hair forward to conceal my jawline and could barely look them in the eye as I wondered if they were noticing my underbite and lisp. How nice it is to finally be free of those demons!

So how am I doing two months in? Externally things are almost back to normal; energy levels have been good for some time now, i've started back at the gym and am running again (albeit at a slower speed as my stamina still has some way to go to get back to pre-surgery levels). There is still some puffiness there. It's more prominant in the morning and when i'm very hot, but doesn't appear noticable to other people thankfully. I suspect this is the deep down swelling my surgeon warned me about, he said to expect it to be around for a while.

Internally I have some way to go. The incision wounds are entirely healed over but I have no feeling at all in my upper gums and palate. I'm opening to over 2 finger widths and only get occasional slight twinges of discomfort. Eating is going ok, I can bite into anything soft and chew harder items that are chopped up into small pieces. It's not perfect though, I tried biting through a large chunk of apple a few days ago and couldn't do it - I got a strange sensation of pressure around my entire upper jaw and promptly stopped. No need to rush these things. I've also recently started to floss again, and am finding that some sections of my gums are VERY painful, i'm going to ask my surgeon about this when I see him next week as I suspect it might be due to nerve regeneration. The strangest part of flossing is trying to reach my lower back teeth. You'd think that a few mm of movement wouldn't make much difference but my furthest molars now seem MILES away, my fingers just arn't long enough to reach all the way back there! I've also had occasions when my jaw clicks a little on one side, usually after eating or flossing. The clicking always stops again pretty quickly but is another thing i'd better run by the surgeon next week.

So all is pretty much well! I have one final piece of advice to would-be jaw surgery candidates, which is not to have the monumentally stupid idea of going clay pigeon shooting so soon after jaw surgery (yes, I really did!). I can only attribute it to a moment of madness, as even as I pressed the shotgun tight to my face, thoughts of how much pressure this might put on my recently broken jaws only vaguely crossed my mind. As I fired the shot the gun recoil, of course, sent a HUGE shockwave through my face and I reeled back in horror thinking i'd caused some terrible damage. Thankfully there was no harm done, but Dr H's assistant just shook her head at me and asked what on earth I was thinking when I admitted it during my appointment a few days later. Obviously a bit of work needs doing on the old common sense!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Day 47 - Can you see that?

There, emerging on the horizon! It's a light at the end of the tunnel!

Today was my latest ortho appointment, and I was determined to find out how long I have left in braces. This has been my aim for the last 3 visits but Dr H has always thwarted me - he'd breeze in once I was already prepared in the chair, have a shufi inside my mouth, issue orders to the assistant then vanish before i'd had a chance to quiz him. This time I was ready to vault out of the chair and rugby-tackle him to the ground if he tried any disappearing acts! So after his initial lookie I tentatively asked if he could tell how much longer I had left. His response was 'Yes I think so....but whether I tell you is another matter'. Ooo you meanie! However he then instructed his assistant to fit finishing wires to me on my next visit and said that he planned to have me finish 'in the Autumn'. Woooo! Now we all know that autumn in ortho-speak probably means the very last day possible in the season, but at least I can be fairly certain that i'm 5 months max away from the big unveiling!

Once he'd gone I asked the assistant what finishing wires were, she said they were known as detailing wires and used to tidy up any last bits. I told her I though my teeth looked just fine as they are now, to which her response was 'just wait and see once we're finished'. How exciting, can't wait!

(P.S. I havn't done a full rundown of swelling/feeling/chewing etc (ie all the really useful stuff to know) for a while so i'll be dishing this up in some detail to celebrate reaching 7 week mark, just 2 days away!)

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Day 40 - World Cup whinging!

Even HM is getting carried away!

It's taken almost 6 weeks, but I'm now feeling confident enough to start applying for new jobs - yipee! I've really hated being sat at home and am looking forward to getting back to some serious moving and shaking! One reason I was hoping to be in work by now was to escape the world cup frenzy that's about to engulf London - as as welsh girl i've been brought up watching rugby and only ever had a passing interest in football, but living here is really the ground zero of footy obsession with every car, van and pub decked out in flags, newspapers filled with confident predictions of an england victory and every single TV show and advert going on and on about it non-stop, and it's only going to get worse - ENOUGH! Once they get knocked out (sorry guys but be realistic, Rooney will get himself sent off and it'll all be over) there'll be national wailing, blaming and self-flagellation before we all finally our rational heads back on. Should really booked a few weeks in the bahamas while I had the chance!

Rant over, now back to more important issues. My last otho adjustment was an in-and-out job. DrH. moved the position of the elastic hooks a little and sent me on my way, and all the while keeping schtum about debanding dates. I suppose since my jaw is still settling i'm being a bit hasty, but it would be nice to have a bit more response other than 'ah, hmm, well it depends' etc etc. My original contract letter states a postoperative treatment time of 6 months, which should mean november, but knowing how orthos love to string stuff out i'll be highly suprised to be unwired this side of christmas!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Day 36 - the long and short of it

5 weeks in, and my swelling is looking good! It's still there in the centre of my face, though I doubt it's noticable to most people by now. Speaking is getting clearer, and my lisp is definitely a thing of the past, think I can finally start applying for jobs in confidence :) Eating is still weird, not sure if i'm getting better at it or just growing accustomed to the weirdness (probably the latter).

To mark this momentous milestone I felt something special was called for. As i've mentioned elsewhere in the blog i've been self concious of my underbite and smile since about 14 years old, and have had very very long hair since then - it was really only something to hide behind, and i'd always thought that if I ever went though with jaw surgery i'd chop it all off in celebration. So, the other day I decided that the time had come, and asked my hairdresser to lop 9 inches off the bottom! It was a shock, but since surgery my confidence has increased so much that I left with a big smile on my face. It felt soooo good, almost like a release. I was marking the start of a new beginning and leaving all those anxieties behind - before I would have chopped off a leg rather than get rid of my hair. Just shows what a bit of confidence can do :)

So, Tuesday is my next ortho appointment. I was supposed to be wearing these pesky elastics constantly other than for eating and cleaning but have been a bit slack, hope he doesn't get suspicious as i'll be denying all knowledge of any wrongdoing. I'll also be asking how long I can expect before debracing, it's about time they told me how long I have left!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Day 33 - elastic fantastic!

I'm now officially back in the clutches of my orthodontist, and he'd obviously got wind of my relatively pain-free recovery and decided some extra helpings of punishment were in order!

My first appointment with him was last Wednesday, and after oohing and aahing over my new profile he got to work, having a good old root around to see what was what. His first decision was to remove the elastics completely for a week to see how the jaw would settle - HEAVEN! But the second was that a wire change was in order to get rid of my surgical hooks (apparently not something he'd usually do at such an early stage but they've caused several gigantic and painful mouth ulcers which arn't healing). I was initially delighted at the thought of the relief it would bring me, but as he got to work I suddenly remembered how much pushing and pulling was involved in a wire change. My jaws were still only at the 3 and a half week stage so I was petrified it would cause some damage! Don't think i've ever squirmed, shaken, or sweated so much in that chair as he started tugging at the wires and brackets - every time I felt him yanking particularly hard I was convinced that the jaw would re-break and writhed in terror! Once he was done I staggered out of the office on a quivering wreck on jelly legs, (though I must confess that through the entire wire change I didn't once feel any pain whatsover. Stupid girl).

So after an enjoyable week of relearning how to talk and eat, which by the way is still a very strange experience with these numb teeth, I was back yesterday to hear the latest. After another long examination of every tooth Dr H set about attaching the elastics you see below. When he held up the mirror I burst out laughing, thinking that that chances of me finding a new job in the next few weeks with these on were nil- though by the look Dr H's face he probably thought i'd finally cracked and lost my mind. Mercifully, his assistant explained that these were only to be worn for a week - apparently for the first 6 weeks after surgery the jaws are still capable of movement before they settle and solidify so Dr H was taking advantage of my final week to make some tiny changes. Thank goodness, a few weeks in these really would have pushed me over the edge!

We finished the appointment discussing my mouth ulcers, as they were still there going strong causing me no end of discomfort. Up until now i've always used a product called Adcortyl to zap them when they appear, but apparently it's been discontinued so is no longer available. This adcortyl is the only product on the market with a mild steroid which is why it's so effective, since disappearing off the shelves i've tried every other product (anbesol, bonjela, iglu, you name it) but they've been about as effective as smearing peanut butter on my ulcers. Dr H's assistant made a few phone calls and tracked down a chemist who had one final tube of anbesol to hand over, I used a tiny dollop on last night and already the ulcers are beating a hasty retreat, thank goodness. I'll be preserving this tube like gold dust!

NB new face pics coming soon, i'm off to the hairdressers tomorrow to get a good few inches hacked off my waist length hair - i've no need of it now there's no underbite to conceal :)