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

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