Thursday, August 16, 2012

5.5 Years Later

As usual, I am stunned with the amount of views this blog is getting on a daily basis. I'm so glad people are still reading it and I hope it's helping calm some anxiety and fears.

So, 5.5 years later...I'm still wearing my retainers every night. My teeth have not moved at all. Still enjoying decreased migraines, zero jaw pain, and a nice, healthy bite. Still loving my surgically-enhanced chin. Still think this surgery was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Me today:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Update, 4+ years post-surgery

Some people have asked for updates on how I'm doing now, over 4 years after my surgery.

First, a comment I got yesterday from CeCe:

During my first stint of pre-op craziness, I researched hundreds (literally) of blogs...Your blog was BY FAR the most useful one out of all of them. Your attention to details was amazing. Just curious...Has your life really changed a lot since surgery, or have you just gotten so used to a "new normal" that you really don't notice any difference??

I'm so happy to read that! It means a lot. I worked so hard on this blog.

My life has changed somewhat since my surgery. I have way less pain. My jaw problems are now non-existent. No cracking at all. My TMJ is healed. I do still get migraines but they went from 1-2 a month pre-surgery to one every 3 months or so, almost always hormonal.

As for my looks, I'm more confident for sure. I still, 4 years later, love my chin and look at it/touch it often. I love my profile. My smile is still a little goofy, I think, but it's much improved. I think I was used my "new normal" very soon after surgery. These days, I don't even think about it, and I have to actually struggle to remember when my surgery was.

I got my braces off over 3 years ago and I still wear my retainers every single night. My teeth are in the exact same position they were when the braces came off. I take very good care of them. Brush 2-3 times a day, floss almost every day, use anti-bacterial mouthwash. I'm still using the same retainers and they've gotten pretty nasty-looking, but I keep them clean. They have little cracks near the molar parts and are all scratched up, but they do the job. I plan to get my dentist to make me new ones soon, which I will wear every night until I die.

It's amazing to me that people are still interested in this blog and how I'm doing. I think orthognathic surgery is becoming more common now. I remember back when I started researching it because, honestly, I was scared out of my wits about it and wanted to read some success stories. I'm grateful that I was able to write my own success story for others to read

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In a nutshell

It's been almost 6 months since I got my braces off and it's been quite the adjustment. I don't know how average this is, but my teeth and bite didn't feel like "my own" for about 4 months post-debracing. About a month or so ago was when I realized I was finally used to my new teeth, bite and smile, and it felt right. My teeth tried to move back to their original positions pretty vigorously during the first few months. But now, they seem happy in their new place. That bottom tooth that took ages to move is still missing its old home though. That's the only tooth that yells at me when I slip my retainers on at night.

As for my retainers, next month I am allowed to drop down to 6 nights a week as opposed to 7. But I won't. I plan to wear them every night, without fail, for as long as possible.

Even after my alveoplasty, despite my surgeon taking off tons of bone, my face is still crooked. But I do not care. For the first time in a very long time, I accept how I look. Sometimes I even like how I look. The low self-esteem and self-depreciation is still there, but it has improved a lot. I'm still completely infatuated with my chin. Yes, it's MY chin now. I barely remember being without it, and when I see old pics of myself, it startles me a little. I don't think about it much, but I still sneak peeks at my profile once in a while.

As for jaw pain, it's practically non-existent. I still get the pops and cracks sometimes when I open my mouth, but I can't even remember the last time I had a joint flare-up. Maybe they are healing themselves. My bite feels great and there's no more straining or posturing going on.

Now that's it's all behind me, I can still honestly say it was all incredibly worth it. Life has gone on. I'm used to the new me, so much that I no longer feel new. Just normal. Which is what I've always wanted.

Thanks to everyone, my friends, family, other bloggers, for reading and commenting and showing your support. For people who are researching orthognathic surgery and come across this blog, I hope it helps. Feel free to contact me anytime.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Alveoplasty vs. Orthognathic Surgery

Alveoplasty wins by a mile!

Is anyone still reading this blog? LOL

Today I got to the hospital at 9am for my alveoplasty. Talk about deja vu. Same dressing room, same johnny shirts, same paper slippers as last time. Same millions of questions, asked by three separate people, over and over again. Same hour of waiting, freezing to death in my hospital gown, before the anesthetist came in to talk to me, followed by Dr. C with his handy consent form, corny jokes, and ever-present smile. Last time he told me to pretend I was on Grey's Anatomy, this time he told me he was doing a "bumpectomy" on me. Such a comedian. But I do love that man, he's awesome.

I had a different anesthetist this time, a younger man who looked exhausted and promised me anti-nausea meds. Yay!

I did the "OR walk" with my glasses on this time and I got to see all the shiny objects, saws, blades, and all that fun stuff. Just like last time, I hopped up on the table, a nurse tied me down, I got my IV, monitor patches (those things itch me!), etc. There was this funny moment when the anesthetist asked for tape to secure my IV needle and a nurse joked around and said "Tape is overrated." and he said "We don't want it to fall out." and I'm like, "NO, please for God's sake don't let it fall out!" Heh.

Another funny moment was when one nurse told another nurse that I was having the bumps on my jaw smoothed down and I said, "Yeah, I'm having a bumpectomy." Everyone laughed and I said that's what Dr. C had called it and one nurse goes "Oh, so Dr. Phil called it that." I giggled at their nickname for him. Phillip is his first name, of course, but considering his last name is hard to pronounce, everyone apparently calls him Dr. Phil.

Then a nurse put an oxygen mask on me. I was pretty tense and shaky for some reason (What was up with that, I'm an old pro at this!) so she held my hand, which calmed me right down. I'm not sure if she had to hold my hand for some medical reason, or if she was just being nice, but it helped nonetheless. After that I remember getting woozy and the next thing I knew, I was awake and someone was saying, "Rebecca, the surgery is over and everything went great."

I had a hard time breathing when I woke this time, and I was shaking like a leaf. I told the nurse I was cold and she brought me a warm blanket. I had an ice pack on my face. I felt numb and groggy but not sick. As my blood pressure climbed, I began to be able to take in a deep breath. Within a few minutes I was completely alert, and STILL NOT SICK. Dr. C breezed by to see me and told me everything went well and that I had a line of stitches above my upper teeth.

I spent about 15 minutes wide awake in recovery and saw the most interesting things. I don't remember recovery at all last time. This time, they wheeled a young woman in who had just gotten her wisdom teeth taken out under anesthesia, and she was crying and screaming that she couldn't breathe, retching horribly and trying to get out of bed. Two nurses had to hold her down and try to calm her. Poor lady.

So I got my BP checked a few more times, got rid of my IV and oxygen finger-pincher thingie, and they wheeled me into the day surgery waiting room. My husband came to sit with me and I had some ginger ale. I felt fine and STILL NOT SICK. This had me pleasantly surprised. The nurse went over my post-op instructions with me. No hot foods, no rinsing, no spitting, just cold liquids and soft stuff like yogurt for today. 600mg of Advil every 6 hours for 3 days. Tomorrow I start rinsing with salt water and eating things like soup. Can't wait.

I am swollen now, and the feeling is returning. I wore my retainers for a couple of hours this afternoon, all the while fearing they may get permanently stained with blood, but they seem okay. I've taken in chocolate milk, a milkshake, yogurt, and apple sauce. I am starving, but I can hardly complain. Last year I did this for two weeks. I can easily handle two days.

So, compared to last year's surgery, this has been a breeze so far. I won't know if it made any difference until the swelling goes down, but I am hopeful. Even Dr. C said again today before the surgery that it probably won't make much of a difference, no will even notice it, but even if it's a small improvement, I will know. I will be pleased.

Off to eat something soft and cold.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Alveoplasty tomorrow

That word brings to mind Alvin and the Chipmunks for me. I guess I will look like a chipmunk when it's all over.

Tomorrow I go under again for my bone-shaping surgery. More anesthesia (puke), more swelling (yuck), more soft foods (sigh), more Tylenol 3 (puke again), and more stitches in my mouth (ouch). But alas, my crooked noseness may finally be fixed. I say "may" because Dr. C reminds me that he can only work with bone, and I may have excess tissue there as well that he can't fix. That's okay. As long as there's some kind of improvement, I'll be happy.

I shall update you all when I get home tomorrow (day surgery rocks) and after I stop hurling from the anesthesia. Ugh.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

1 year anniversary

It's been one year since I went under the knife and emerged with a new face and a new life. This past year has changed me as a person, inside and out. Can you believe I still feel my new chin, every single day, to make sure it's still there? Can you believe still I smile at myself in the mirror, every single day, to see my new smile? I look at old pictures of myself and feel a mixture of relief and astonishment. I don't remember looking like that and I'm glad I don't anymore.

I'd do it all over again with zero hesitation.

Above are pictures of my hubby and me, about six weeks ago. He has lost 50 or more pounds in the past few years, so we both look dramatically different from the day we were married 9 years ago. It's the new, improved us. :)

I would give you a picture today, but I have pink eye. Fun! These will have to do.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

More surgery

On March 28th, I'm getting the excess bone shaved down on my upper left jaw. Dr. C thinks this will help with the asymmetry, but not completely fix it. He says I might have thicker tissue there as well that he, of course, can't fix.

It's an outpatient surgery, done in the hospital (for insurance purposes, meaning it's covered and I don't have to pay a cent). I will be put under, he will make an incision, expose the bone, and chip it away. The surgery is at 10am and I should be out of there by noon. Recovery will take about 3 days. I'm getting it done on a Friday, which is good.

I'm not looking forward to the swelling and the predicted puking after the anesthesia, but I will be glad to get it done. My face has always been crooked, but my surgery exaggerated it and I can see it clearly in pictures. It's crooked to a noticeable degree. Dr. C left the decision for this up to me. He told me I don't need it, per se, but if I want it done he will do it. I want it done!

Otherwise, he's very happy with how everything turned out, as am I. I can't believe it'll be a year on March 2!