Monday, 9 September 2013

Six Months Post Surgery..

This is my last monthly blog update as I have recovered, my braces have been removed and I don't want to stray away from the focus of this blog. This blog marks six months, a whole half year post surgery. Ironically enough exactly three years ago today my journey began with my first surgery to have my wisdom teeth and two lower fours removed. That's where it all began and this is where it pretty much ends. I'm hoping that in this blog I can highlight the most important aspects, in my opinion for a journey like this.

The first major aspect is the decisions involved in surgery. This surgery is optional in most cases.When I told my family, friends and some professionals about the decision I had to make, each and every one of them, with the exception of my Mother dismissed the idea and said instantly 'don't do it'. I found this difficult as it was a decision I was taking very seriously. I'm pleased now, at the other end of my journey that I didn't take everybody's opinion on board. Instead I researched online, through my orthodontist and reading blogs just like this one. I looked at the procedure itself, the risks and possible side effects of surgery and weighted up the pros and cons. This allowed me to make a fully informed and independent decision that I have not in any way regretted even at my lowest points. My point being that although it's good to talk about your decision with others, it is important to remember that you are the only one who can make your final decision (unless you're under 18!) and it should be based on what you think is best for yourself.

I've just spent the last hour and a half reading over my entire blog from collecting the items I needed to my seven day dinner countdown to my daily recovery records and it showed me how much of my life surgery took up and I realize now that it was not at all necessary however I do believe all the practical preparation also prepared me psychologically for the procedure and more importantly the recovery. The pain is easily worked on with drugs and ice and various other methods but the effect it can have on you mentally is far more concerning. I was very lucky to have a wonderful and supportive network of family and friends who kept my spirits and optimism high and picked me up when I was feeling down. I am aware however, through my research that depression is very common in those recovering from this surgery both due to the physical and dietary restrictions and coping with the physical changes. In turn this depression can have effect on your recovery and that's very unfortunate. To those of you about to begin your journey, while you prepare the practical things I urge you to consider your mental health, ensure you have people around you who care about you, who will support you physically and mentally after surgery, who can be your light when you're feeling darkness.

There are many milestones when having orthodontic treatment and surgery. These will vary from patient to patient however include things like your teeth moving, getting a surgery date, getting through the first two weeks of recovery etc. It is so important to give these milestones the reception and appreciation they deserve, they are what will give you the drive to continue. During the times treatment and recovery feel long and tedious, remind yourself of how far you have come, the reasons for getting there and that one day it will all be over.

Having a good relationship with your team of professionals also makes a significant difference to your journey. My orthodontist is a wonderful lady, she has been as excited if not more excited to see my progression from day one. I've looked forward to every appointment I've had with her, she greeted with a smile every time and I always left her office exploding with positivity. My surgeon although less excitable than my orthodontist was always very calming and reassuring, he never rushed an appointment and always offered me the opportunity to ask questions and answered in great detail, the fact he kept telling me I'm beautiful was only an added extra! He seemed very confident in his task ahead which gave me confidence in him and I trusted him 100%. I recall telling him that as I was drifting off into my drug induced slumber. My own dentist also played a part in my journey. He was given the task of removing my two upper fives and there is nobody else I would have trusted more to do the job. He just made the whole procedure so easy and comfortable. He's an amazing dentist, also very calming. I'll never go to the dentist again when he retires, it will be a very sad day. He has however had the stress of dealing with my tea addiction, I'm pretty sure it's very frustrating for him. I was due to go back to get my teeth bleached this month but my tea intake is still alarmingly high. I'd like to cut it in half before wasting a bleaching. I am beyond grateful for each of these people along with those who work with them including the nurses that gave me five star treatment in the hospital before, during and after surgery. I was truly blessed to have such wonderful people work with me in this journey and without who I would never have reached this point.

The main issue for me after surgery was the tiredness that at points reached exhaustion. I was aware that it would happen but was somewhat unprepared for the extent of it. It is important that you arrange significant time off work or college to recover from this. It is equally important that you have someone to literally wait on you hand and foot for the first two weeks or so, it's amazing how little you can do for yourself in that time.

Finally, blogging became a big part of my journey. It gave me daily goals, it kept me focused and now it's given me a detailed and fun record of this significant experience in my life that I know one day will be so valuable to me. I also find it exceptionally funny that I was willing to put photographs of me looking myself worst online for the world to see, if that's not confidence I don't know what is! I'm not saying you have to do that if you're not comfortable with it but I do suggest keeping some kind of record and regular photos as they will allow you to see your progress and keep you motivated. These were the most important and helpful aspects of my journey, I know this will vary for everybody.

Right now I am feeling completely back to normal, I'm living a life I didn't live prior to surgery however there are many factors contributing to that. People who claimed there would be no significant difference from surgery are now walking past me on the street because they don't recognize me which I find to be a major complement to my surgery. I'm happy, I'm comfortable in my own skin and life couldn't be better.

My next update will be January when I return to the orthodontist to replace my current plastic retainer with some kind of metal one which I will only be wearing at night also. Until then here is a snippet of my post surgery life.













I'm lucky enough to live in this wonderful, beautiful place!

Laughs with Friends <3


























Thank you to my loyal readers for your following and feedback, it's made keeping my blog far more worthwhile. To those of you using my blog as research I wish so much luck in your journey, whatever you decide, decide with confidence, be excited and stay strong x

Friday, 9 August 2013

Five Months Post Surgery and One Month Brace Free..

This post represents my five month post surgery post, almost half a year on. It's a bittersweet feeling as although I'm very happy to be recovered and moving on there is also a sadness when ending any journey that takes up significant space in your life.

Jaw wise there has been no change as there is nothing more to change. I'm still pain free and no longer protect my jaw from any possible contact. I can remember not too many months ago when I would flinch at the thought of even a feather grazing any point on my face but now I can pinpoint the moment I realized jaw contact is no longer an issue to me. I recently went interrailing in Europe where I participated in various physical activities including white water rafting. During the rafting we did an activity where everybody sat in the boat and took it in turns to walk around the edge of the boat and try not fall. I did manage to fall but into the boat rather than out hitting my face off a paddle, my first reaction was not 'oh no my jaw' it was 'oh no, my nose'!! My jaw didn't enter my head until the friend I was traveling with said 'watch your jaw' and I actually had to think why!


Here's some photos from that amazing experience: I'm the one in the white sun glasses but these are a little small. I'm also on the back of the boat on the camera side :)




















It's also been one month since having my braces removed. I got used to not having braces very quickly, in fact I can barely remember what it's like to have braces. My bite felt a little strange for a few days but it's fine now and the orthodontist was right in her predictions that the little gap on the right side would continue to close with use of the retainer. Considering the work I've been through for my teeth I am very committed to wearing my retainer every night as directed. I did forget them two nights so far but made up for those by wearing them for several hours during the day which is not pleasant as I find it a little difficult to talk with them in and you have to take them out to eat or drink. However, it has shown me the importance of wearing them as it was difficult to get them in after not wearing them for just one night. I can't imagine how distressing it would be for the orthodontist who has worked so hard to have a client who doesn't comply with the retainer directions. 

I still find it very exciting to see myself in photographs brace free. It's the first thing I look at and pretty much the only thing I look at. It was just before my 21st birthday that I was assessed and given a run down of the proposed treatment plan. I recently celebrated my 24th birthday and now the days of 'should I agree to surgery' are a distant memory. I have a photograph from both birthdays to compare:


This is not the best for showing my teeth but it's the way my face looked three years ago, pre-surgery and pre-braces!



This is how my jaw line and teeth look now :)

After surgery people struggled to see any difference in how I looked but since getting my braces removed people are complementing the difference on a daily basis. Although I was satisfied with seeing the difference myself regardless of others it is nice to hear that others see it now.

I mentioned in my previous blog that my confidence had increased dramatically since surgery and it's continuing to grow. I am continuing to take full advantage of any opportunity that comes my way and this confidence is helping me to meet new people all the time. It's very exciting to be out living life again and now worrying about my jaw getting hurt or having food stuck in my braces. My next and final step is bleaching which I am hoping to have done by the end of the month and before next months blog update.

For now here are some of my holiday photographs, as you will see I was not afraid to show off my new smile :)























Until next time have an Awesome August, I know I will :) 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Sixteen Weeks Post Surgery & Brace Removal

Hello bloggers, it's been around a month since I last blogged and it feels like much longer. I never imagined what it would be like to get to this particular blog and I have to say it's a pretty awesome feeling. First of all I've reached the sixteen week mark post surgery and my jaw (with the exception of today) has been the furthest things from my mind, I often forget it even happened. I've also finally adjusted to the look of my jaw. Although many people told me they could see no difference, I certainly could and it's taken a long time to accept it as my jaw!

Pain wise there has been none. However, when I take the first bite of most foods I get this electric shock like feeling from my jaw right up to my head. At first it was a horrific feeling but now I'm just used to it I guess and take little notice of it.

Last night I didn't sleep a wink, most people aren't sleeping due to the heatwave over Ireland that's sent the country into a frenzy so as not to miss any ray of sunshine but not me, I was overwhelmed to the point of sickness with the excitement of getting my braces off. I jumped out of bed at 6:30am and off I went. By 9:00am I no longer had braces. There is no feeling quiet like the feeling of walking out of the Orthodontists brace free.

Getting the braces off wasn't the most pleasant of experiences but also not terrible. They literally have to just pull them right off and I think I was more concerned with the crunching noise than any pain. Following this I returned to my own town for a scaling and polish. This was the toughest part, my jaw began to ache from trying to keep it open and the staining on my teeth from the post surgery Corsodol and obsessive tea drinking certainly didn't help. My dentist has limited me to three cups of tea a day so I'm going to work super hard to stick to that.

I then returned to the Orthodontist to collect my retainer which I didn't expect to receive today. It's a clear plastic retainer on top and bottom and I only have to wear them at night time. I will have these for six months before having a metal retainer put in. They don't seem to hurt or cause any discomfort.

My gums are pretty sore this evening as the Orthodontist had forewarned me. This is due to them working near the gums and is pretty normal. Considering everything else I got through I'm pretty sure this is no biggie.

Anyway onto the photos. Before surgery I didn't mind smiling 'open mouthed' but since surgery I became paranoid about my mouth looking far to full of metal. I began smiling with a closed mouth in photos. Now that my braces are off, I'm only delighted to be smiling widely and showing off the end result.

I have found a photo from September 2007, when I was only 18, before braces or surgery was even on the cards. It's from a Safari I was on in South Africa and I hate the photo but it gives you a good idea of the overall change.


I also have a photo before going to the hospital today and on return but they were taken before the cleaning. I'm far too hot right no to consider taking photographs, us Irish are not built for 30 degree weather! I haven't taken any side photos either as nothing has changed since the last ones.



I can really see an overall difference in how I look, in fact I barely recognize myself in the after photograph. Although this new look of not having braces will take some getting used to I am beyond thrilled with the results. I know I'm not perfect, nobody is but I can now look down the lens of a camera without being horrified about my braces, I can look in a mirror and be satisfied by what I see and most of all, the biggest bonus from all of this is that I have grown in confidence. I had lost a significant amount of confidence due to allowing another person let me feel ugly and unworthy but now I feel far from that and this confidence has spread throughout all aspects of my life opening up opportunities that I would never have had before. Since my surgery my quality of life has changed beyond explanation, I feel a happiness that I never knew existed. So to all of you considering surgery or on your journey, go for it, be prepared, be excited and be strong :)

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Fourteen Weeks Post Surgery

It's fourteen weeks post surgery and just four weeks until I get my braces removed. I almost don't believe it as write it. My excitement in on a level that can't even be measured. It's crazy to think back to the day I got them on and they felt so big I could barely close my lips together, at that point removal was so far away it wasn't even worth thinking about.

Finally all the blisters and infection in my mouth have cleared up. It's such a relief. I used having the infection as a pretty good excuse not to wear my elastics at night time as I am supposed to and currently I am still not wearing them. I know I really should but I've been rationalizing it in my head. I figure I can live happily with the tiny tiny gap that is still there plus the retainer I will be wearing will help to continue the closure.

I have been having lots of random pains in my jaw this week but by now I'm so used to them I don't even consider them painful anymore, they're just little reminders of the journey I have been on and how far I have come.

As nothing much has been changing from week to week I have decided it's time to adjust to monthly updates or updates should anything significant in the jaw world happen. This means that the next time I blog I will officially be BRACE FREE.

So readers have an awesome June, Keep Smiling and always remember life is better at the beach.

Liz :)




Sunday, 2 June 2013

THREE Months Post Surgery..

I'm here... I've made the three month mark. I know six moths is where you reach full recovery but I don't even feel like I had surgery, if it were not for the lack of overbite there would be no evidence that a surgeon cut me open and split the bone on both sides of my jaw before pulling it forward and screwing it into place. Only now can I say all that without feeling weak. Before surgery I spent hours and hours searching through
the internet and soaking up every last bit of information I could and was unfortunate enough to come across a video of an actual surgery where you see exactly what they do. At the time I was unable to watch it however now I can watch it without feeling pain in my jaw or throwing up at the though. I think that's when you know you've truly reached the point of recovery. Although I wouldn't link that video to my blog as it would not be fair on those of you heading for surgery here is a great, simple and informative video explaining all types of jaw surgery. For those of you heading for surgery my advice is to not watch any videos with too much detail and visuals, don't do it to yourself!


I've had anther bad week with my mouth however it wasn't jaw related. I had a wire from my brace cutting me for a few days which as fellow brace wearers will understand can be a nightmare at times, it caused a cut on the inside of my lip which managed to get infected. This then spread and now I have lots of those little white blister things all over my gums, splendid. I've been washing my mouth out with salt and water for days now and getting pretty sick of it. Jaw surgery wasn't as painful and tiring as this infection. It has caused me to talk with a little bit of lisp which is pretty funny.

I went to my dentist (not orthodontist) on Tuesday to get the wire cute and one of the surgical hooks off as I thought that was the cause of my pain. It was a funny experience all the same. The dentists light was broken and he had to improvise until it gets fixed so as he was holding a big square red torch over my mouth as I laid there holding the suction tube in my mouth as he says hold extremely still and cuts the wire with a small electric saw type thing. I felt completely at ease as you can imagine. As it happened this didn't do the trick and I ended up with an unexpected visit to the orthodontist on Thursday where it turned out the elastic on one of the brackets has come off and that is what caused the damage.

Before surgery, during surgery and for about six weeks after my braces never caused me much pain or discomfort, I was patient, I thought ahead to when I'd have a correct bite and great set of teeth, I didn't mind having braces or getting asked questions about them but now that's all gone. I'm impatiently counting down the days until removal. I've had enough of cut lips and cheeks, I've had enough of being careful when eating and I've had enough elastics causing me sleepless nights. If I had my time over would I change my mind and not get braces or have surgery?!?! Not A Chance, No regrets!!

On that note, here are some photographs three months post surgery from my Goddaughters 9th Birthday, Happy Birthday baby girl xox




Sunday, 26 May 2013

Recovery Week Eleven..

Although this week has not been a bad jaw week like last week, today is definitely a bad jaw day. Last night took me back to week one, when walking A LOT after turning onto my right side. I'm pleased that I didn't need to resort to pain relief as I have firmly put those days behind me.  However today has continued to be a painful one. I can't open my mouth too far without pain and my right ear has sharp regular pain. Still the pain has not gone beyond the point of being worth it.

Two people have asked me this week if my energy levels are at a reasonable rate and although I hadn't thought about it in a while I now realize I have as much, if not more energy than I did before surgery. Those of you on your journey prepare to be very very tired and be sure to allow yourself the rest needed to recover from the tiredness. Embrace the rest! I have managed a 9km walk this week in the beautiful weather we have been having here for a change and this weekend I managed two full days, without any cat naps of being out about, walking on the side of a mountain, exploring at the beach and shouting on my cousins football team. About 4/5 weeks ago I would never imagined I'd ever reach this point again. So since surgery I've learned to appreciate the people around me, food and the ability to get up in the morning and live life.

On a final note, and an exciting one for me. I was told for the first time this week by somebody that they can see a difference in my jaw. They were referring to this photo, therefore now it has become my favorite photo!

Here are some photographs week eleven, I'm aware nothing has really changed physically and I'm pretty sure nothing more will change, I've no swelling left whatsoever. I am also aware I look a bit out of it but that is due to a sleepless, painful night. I'm so glad and grateful that those nights no longer mean spending the day stuck in bed, drugged up.




Sunday, 19 May 2013

Recovery Week Ten...

I am just two weeks away from another significant milestone of three months post surgery, that will then leave me just half way from the point of full recovery, six months. This week has not been a good jaw week, however I am reminding myself that it's a bad jaw week not a bad jaw life. Even when I do have a bad jaw day or jaw week I never ever regret having surgery. 

This week I noticed that tiniest of chips on my upper, left three (or as I like to call it the vampire tooth), I thought it was from a mishap whilst brushing my teeth last Monday morning however I found out that it's actually after getting worn from rubbing off my lower brace and isn't a major issue although I fretted for five days solid. I'm pretty sure nobody else would notice it but I notice every little change, problem and mark on my teeth. I had some swelling on and off on the left side of my face in the mornings but it seems to go down as the day goes on. 

I also had a jaw issue on Friday night whilst carrying boxes. Forgetting as you do sometimes that you have a broken jaw I carried one box full of books on top of another and the top one slid backwards and hit my jaw, I'm pretty sure my life flashed before me. There was a moment where I stood still, everything went into slow motion and I waited for the pain to hit and it did. It made me realize that I've become somewhat complacent about my jaw and although it's good to not fret so much I do still need to take care with it. The pain is still there and I'm back to not being able to sleep on my right side again but I'm pretty sure nothing has moved out of place. The pain reminds my of a few sleepless nights I had post surgery and I had to take off the right elastic during the night as it became to much. So needless to say I'll be back to protecting my jaw from even the slightest of winds for the next three months. 

There were many times after surgery I said I would never take food for granted again and I really really don't. I've noticed that I've appreciated every bite of food I've had since being able to eat again. I take a few moments before I begin to eat to remind myself what life without food was like and it makes every little mouthful all the more sweeter. 

Here is me appreciating some of that food: 


Also here are some pictures week 10:




Sunday, 12 May 2013

Recovery Week Nine..

Here I am, nine weeks post surgery, sitting in my room, all studied out, ready to attack exams like surgery never happened. Well, I do get certain reminders of surgery every now and then such as when I yawn, first comes the yawn, then the pain swiftly followed by a facial expression that looks like I've just drank the juice of a lemon. I can't help but feel that this will always be the case but it's something I can live with I guess.

I also realized this week that I can now open my mouth fully. A whole two fingers wide. Those of you who have not had this surgery will not be able to appreciate the significance of this. It's a major milestone. It does hurt a little bit but none the less I am almost at a point where I can use a dessert/soup spoon as opposed to eating EVERYTHING off a tea spoon. Sometimes I find myself opening my mouth, simply because I can! 

I've haven't been very good with my night time elastics, in fact I've slept without them for two nights now. I've no idea if my lax attitude will cause me any setbacks at this point. It will be pretty silly of me if it does after being so rigid with every other part of treatment. I'm not sure if any other surgery goers have felt this way but this last stretch is most definitely the longest. A week feels like a month. However, when I feel this way I force a walk to my calender, and look at this until any negative feelings pass: 


I've also spent a lot of time this week thinking back to a post pre surgery when I was beyond worried about getting back to normal and on top of many things including college work. Now that I'm four exams away from completing the semester,100% caught up and 100% confident on passing I wonder how much of our lives are wasted with unnecessary worry. After much evaluation and analysis I believe that I worried at least 50% more than necessary with regard to surgery and more specifically the ability to recover. So if you're on your journey, take my advise, worry at least 1% less every day. 

On that note, here are some pictures week nine: 







Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Recovery Week Eight..

I decided to do this weeks post a little late as I had an orthodontist appointment today. I have been talking nicely to my teeth for the past few weeks in the hope of encouraging them to hurry on and move. The back of the left side moved together however there is still a little bit of a gap in the front of the left. I was ecstatic however when the orthodontist told me that this was not an issue and will continue to move after brace removal. I was also relieved to hear that I only have to wear elastics at night now. Speaking of brace removal... This brace face will be brace free on the 10th of July. RESULT!

I've had a lot of pain in my jaw this week. It began when laughing at the latest Argos alien advert  on television. I thought adverts didn't get any better than the m&m ones but Argos proved me wrong. I started to laugh hysterically and then proceeded to cry as pain began to surface in a major way. Then on Sunday I was watching Peter Kay stand up and had to stop watching as the pain from laughter became too much. I've also tried smiling less to ease the pain but when you get news such as brace removal you can't help but smile. I am planning a holiday this summer, possibly to Croatia and the thought of having my braces off a week before is just so exciting. However, for now it's been back to pain relief for me this week.

I've been reading a fellow blogger, Emmas posts and was inspired by her 'thank you' blog post. It got me thinking about those who were there for me during surgery and recovery. As I've never particularly needed to depend on others before I never truly understood what people meant when they said you know who your real friends are when you need them the most. Now, having experienced surgery, reaching all time lows I understand. I now realize what an incredible family and wonderful friends I have. I also realize what it's like to feel left down by the one person you thought you could rely on. To that person, you've made me stronger.

To my friends for all your texts, calls and messages thank you. I received messages from people near, people far and even people I don't particularly know these reminded me that there was light at the end of the tunnel. To those who helped me get my hands on items I needed you made my recovery that bit easier and I am so grateful.

To my family you showed me what it means to have a support network who have your back no matter what.To my three rocks, my Mum, my Aunt and my Nan who wiped away many tears, plenty of blood & vomit, picked me up when I was feeling down, drove from chemist to chemist collecting drugs, sat in the hospital with me even when I was sleeping, kept taking my food back until it was liquid enough for me to eat without getting annoyed, made me be strong when I needed to be and getting me to the point I am at today. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Finally to my fellow bloggers, without you guys sharing your experiences of surgery I would never have been able to make a confident decision. To those who experienced surgery around the same time as me, it was comforting to know we were all sharing experiences, pain and milestones. Stay Strong.


Sunday, 28 April 2013

Seven Weeks Post Surgery..

Surgery feels like a distant memory at this stage. I'm pleased to say that I am finally starting to worry less about anything hitting off my jaw. I only noticed this while blow drying my hair this week. I hit my jaw twice with the hair dryer and thought if this had happened three or four weeks ago I would have passed out with fright. I was also having a feel of my new jaw and I've located the two splits in the jaw, I'm pretty sure I can also feel a little screw on the left side. I've had lots of fun getting people to feel it and then watch them freak out.

I've noticed that when someone says smile for a photo I still automatically try to push my jaw forward like I used to post surgery and it sends this almost electric pain through both sides of my jaw. I think it just shows how ingrained my overbite was before surgery that I'm still unconsciously moving it. I am starting to remember now that I'm okay with people seeing my profile. It's an incredible feeling not to be considering it. 

At the moment the only problem I'm having is with my elastics, the problem being that I'm sick to death of them. They're hard to get on, then they get stuck on the wrong tooth and it's a nightmare to get them off to put them on the right tooth. I've also developed little cuts in the corners of my mouth from getting them on. Then in the middle of chewing food there are regular snap sounds and sometimes it really hurts. They have caused a friction burn on the inside of my cheeks from talking and chewing. Oh and it's added at least 3 minutes extra onto brushing my teeth. Having said all this, considering the two surgeries, 8 teeth extractions, separators, metal bands and endless pulling and pushing the fact that elastic bands are all I have to complain about is an absolute blessing. 

I have an orthodontist appointment on Tuesday week and fingers crossed I'll be getting a date for brace removal however, there is still a relevantly substantial gap on my right side so possibly not. 

Finally I remember a post I published before surgery when I was concerned about a lot of things after surgery, mainly being able to catch up with college work. I am pleased to say I only have one week of lectures left before summer, I have caught up with all my continuous assessment work and I only have four exams which I feel relatively prepared for. Not if I could just go back and tell pre-surgery Liz it will all be okay! 

Here are some photographs of week 7:




Saturday, 20 April 2013

SIX WEEKS POST SURGERY...

I'm here, I've made it to six weeks post surgery. It is so exciting. I feel officially recovered. I have ZERO swelling, ZERO pain and I eat WHATEVER I want. What more can I say..!?

My first week back at college was fantastic. My friend had made some kind of welcome back cake I've never heard of and that was my lunch Monday. I was worried about being too tired during the week however I didn't feel any tiredness until Thursday which I ignored successfully as my friend (same one who made the cake) was hosting an Ann Summers part that night. Friday I was extra extra tired but this was aided by the late night and 2 hour drive home. None the less I ignored it and went for a walk up a cliff at my local beach. It felt amazing as it was my first proper walk since surgery. The sun was shining and there was a nice crisp breeze in the air. I was exhausted from it but it felt great. Here is how it looked:



Sun in Ireland who would have guessed?!

Everybody had been telling me I look great and that I seem far more confident although people can't really tell why. I have to say I LOVE being back at college and seeing friends and feeling far more normal. Next step is to get brace free.

Here are some photos Week Six, I've given up on the front side view but I do still need to get more friendly with technology so I can do before and after pictures, next to each other.



Sunday, 14 April 2013

Five Weeks Post Surgery..

I know I say this every week but I never imagined I'd be writing five weeks post surgery. I will be doing my updates on a Sunday from now on as I will be heading back to College Sunday evenings and the internet connection isn't all that. I'm excited to be going back to college and see everybody. I wonder if they'll even notice the difference.

I've been looking over my posts to see if I'm putting in sufficient information on the important bits so I've been keeping a little check list when things pop into my head. So it started with the fact that for about two weeks now my lips are not as dry as they used to be. There was a point I needed vaseline about 25/30 times a day, now I use it 3/4 times a day. It feels good not to have such dry lips and appear very vain by constantly putting vaseline on my lips.

In terms of numbness, I don't have any and I do have feeling in the part I wasn't sure about. I tested it with a pin. Although I don't have numbness I do have a strange feeling on my lower right lip. I'm not sure how to describe it exactly but it's not numb. I do occasionally get pins and needles in the area but it doesn't last too long. This brings me onto the inside of my mouth. My cheeks, around where the stitches were feels very tight. I would imagine this will go away eventually but sometimes I worry it will tear if I stretch it to much though this is probably not possible.

Although I've been given the go ahead to chew I find it very strange and avoid anything remotely hard. It hurts but only because my back teeth are moving which is good progress. I will look forward to a day when I can just eat without thinking about it however I'd say it will be a long way away but I'm okay with that. The elastics are very irritating. Putting them on is hard and time consuming and the rub off the inside of my cheek and when they break it can hurt depending where it hits. However this is something I am more than willing to live with as the end is in sight.

My energy levels are so close to being back to normal. I get tired still if I've had a full day of activities but I'm able to force myself not to nap and this leads to good nights of sleep. I'm waking up feeling very refreshed. I haven't had any pain in a few days. I can now lay on either side at night time and not feel any pain at all. This is very exciting.

Overall I feel about 95% recovered at just five weeks post surgery. I am 100% happy with the results. I know I'm not perfect, nobody is but I am beyond happy with how my profile looks. Before surgery when someone pointed a camera at me my first reaction was to avoid a profile view and had perfected a way to tilt my head. Now when someone points a camera at me I don't care what angle they are coming from. This in itself is life changing. My confidence has grown so much and so many people have commented on this. I believe this process of surgery is far more than a physical one, it's psychological. It changes your mind set, your mood and self-image. I don't know if it's coincidence or not but currently I am the happiest in life than I have been for as long as I can remember and every day as I get closer to having the braces off I get a little bit happier.

To all you people currently awaiting surgery.. All I can say is.. GET EXCITED!

Here are my photos at five weeks. I hope to do some before and after photos next week for week six:




Thursday, 11 April 2013

Mini Update..

Today has been such a good day I really had to publish a little update to explain how my orthodontic appointment went. I arrived in, smiling as usual cause my orthodontist and the nurses are amazing and always put me in great form.

So they had a look at my bite at the back and the left side has as she said it 'settled in well' and is in the correct position. The right side not so much so I have to wear elastics for another while. She said to put a second elastic on the right side at night time for some extra pull. She did say that if the right side has moved with the left she would be giving me an appointment to REMOVE MY BRACES!! However, she said they will be out during the summer. I will have another appointment in about 3/4 weeks and if the right side has moved into place (and it WILL move into place) she will be giving me a removal appointment. I actually nearly fell of the chair when getting up I was so excited. I did not expect to get this news. I've had a ridiculous smile on my face all day. I said to her I've had a lot of pain over the last few days, she thinks I smile to much and this is causing pain and when I think about it I do smile a lot now. So much has changed in my life over the past month including my surgery happening but it has all been really positive so I can't help being happy!

On another good note she also said I can chew what I want from now but obviously avoid foods such as apples, steaks, crusty bread etc.. I don't think I'll ever again feel comfortable eating these items anyway. I came home from the hospital and had a Chicken Tikka Wrap for lunch with a bottle of coke to celebrate (I normally don't drink fizzy drinks!).

All in all it's a GREAT DAY :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Four Weeks Post Surgery..

I honestly just don't know where the time has gone, I am not complaining though. There was a point before surgery when recovery seemed like a distant dream. I am so pleased to be here now. I've had a strange week jaw wise. I thought I had regained all feeling in my lower lip since the day of surgery but the other day I went to speak and realized that my lip was jammed between my teeth and I hadn't even noticed until I tried to speak. When I touch that part of my lip I believe I have feeling in it but for some reason I didn't feel it being bitten to an inch of its life. This is something I will bring up at my ortho appointment on Thursday.

I have had a few painful nights in the last week. The right side still hurts a lot when I lay on it. The left side has started to do the same now when I lay on my left side but the pain seems to be on the upper jaw rather than in my ear. Pain is to be expected though and I've been very lucky so this I can live with. I also find that sometimes I get this weird sensation in my ears, it feels like I am under water. I'm not sure if this is normal post surgery but I am assuming it is.

The tiredness is still there, improving slightly but still there. I am having my last drink today and returning to the doctor this evening so we will be looking at this again. I was due to return to college today but haven't been well enough. I have been feeling sick in general, maybe a bug or something.

Over all I am very very happy to be at this point and would without doubt do it all over again if I had to.

Here are photos four weeks post op:




Monday, 1 April 2013

Three Weeks Post Surgery..

I can't believe it's been three weeks already. I remember nervously saying three weeks until surgery. So in my last post I said I was off to the doctor because I was so tired. He prescribed me drinks called ensure which are amazing really. The 'ensure' you get all your relevant nutrients and he gave me one drink a day for two weeks so I have one week left. I am still very tired but it's improving slowly. The drinks have increased my appetite and helped my digestion which makes me feel healthier in itself.

All the swelling is gone by now and I never bruised at all which makes me feel very lucky. Now that the swelling is gone I've really been able to look at my profile and I have to say I love it and I've earned it! I still get pain at night time if I turn onto my right side and it really hurts when I do. It wakes me regularly and I can't do anything but sit still and wait for it to pass, sometimes it takes a minute and other times it could be twenty minutes. It's a bit inconvenient but it's a small price to pay considering how lucky I have been with recovery.

I've been thinking about my lack of swelling in comparison to others and have comprised a list of things that have contributed to this. Hopefully this can help those of you who are heading for surgery.

  • I was given drains which are visible in my 'so surgery happened' post. These took a lot of blood from my cheeks which otherwise would have been sitting in there. These were easy to handle and you barely notice them. 
  • I was given three bags of steroids through an IV which were to help with swelling. 
  • I took to difene tablets twice a day for about 10 days which are also for tackling swelling and inflammation. 
  • I used ice packs for about 15 minutes at a time three times a day for about 4 days. 
  • Finally I slept elevated for about two weeks. This can be annoying but it's worth fighting through it. 
I've been more adventurous with food. I've eaten chicken nuggets from Mc Donalds, pasta and my long awaited ham sandwich. It seems to be going okay until there is a snap sound and I wait, frozen to figure out if it's my jaw braking or just the elastic snapping AGAIN! Luckily so far it's been the elastics. 

Here are my photographs three weeks post surgery: