Monday, 13 February 2012

Bye bye braces!

So today is the Big Day. Maybe not as exciting as a big fancy wedding, but this actually comes pretty close. Sorta. Today is the day my metal mouth is no longer a metal mouth; excluding the metal bars in my jaw though– I’m talking about braces. After nearly two and a half years, I can say a more-than happy farewell to food-stuck-in-my-mouth, weird smiles because it’s hard to close my mouth, having the mouth of a 12 year old, and general brace mayhem in general. Fellow bracees, you know what I mean.

The actual process was relatively quick – a few clicks here and there, several seconds of severe but shortlived pain, extreme mouth-stretching, and voila. It took all of 5 minutes to remove the braces. I’d heard countless stories of that “slimy teeth sensation” but it’s actually not too bad. I look forward to chewing gum – can’t believe I’ve managed to abstain from gum for so many months! I’ve also bought a whole bunch of Pearl Drops toothpaste in an attempt to whiten my teeth a little bit. More importantly, this means the whole changing of my jaws/face/other has finally come to an end. And what a journey it’s been. I should probably add, it’s not totally over just yet; I still have that tricky dilemma of getting implants or bridges for the gaps in my teeth. As a short-term solution, I have teeth-lookalikes in my retainers to fill the gaps for now (colour-matched and everything), but I’ll be looking into a more permanent solution a bit later on.

Anyway, I don’t have to do anything for now, and I think I’d rather not for now. I’m off to bask in the glow of my naked teeth. I’m off to smile and grin at strangers simply because I can. And I’m off to chew gum.

See you next time! :D xo

Just a note to Mr Future Husband: Of course our wedding day will be much more special than brace-removal-day. Promise!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

A clicky jaw and some VERY GOOD NEWS!

Let's start with this clicky jaw. Or actually, let's start with a very late apology - I am sorry for the complete lack of blog posts! Things have been pretty normal and often I forget that I've even had surgery (I know, I say this a lot but only to remind myself that I have!). Food-wise, I can eat pretty much everything I could before the surgery, but with improved bite and a much improved face! I'm completely not-numb, which apparently is quite fortunate as my brother who had the surgery about a month and a bit after me still has a certain amount of numbness. Before the surgery, one of the most common risks I was told about was that my lip could go numb, but that if it happened I wouldn't notice it anyway.

And now onto the clicky jaw... a couple of weeks ago I had this major problem that every time I yawned, my jaw would click out of place. It not only hurt massively, but the back of my mouth would be connected to my brain, resulting in an unbearable headache (slash brainache) for an unbearable split second. And the fact that I yawn many, many, many times each day didn't make things much better! One time it was out of place for about 5 whole seconds (a long time if you're in pain) in a very public place, so that I had to pull a very weird face whilst desperately attempting to readjust my jaw. Fortunately it's very hard for people of the public to laugh at Weird Girl Doing Weird Things With Her Face when her eyes are welling up!

Anyway, I had a bit of a freak-out, thinking "Oh my God, something obviously went wrong with my surgery and the metal plates in my jaw aren't working and I'm going to have to have another operation to correct it! How am I ever gonna relive that part again!?". *Cue internal panic*. So when I had a hospital appointment a few days later and shared my life-shattering news of devestation, my orthodontist simply nodded and went, "Hmm, yeah."

"Hmm, yeah!?" annoyed Weird Girl With Clicky Jaw thought. But then my orthodontist explained that clicky jaws can happen to anyone, regardless of jaw problems or surgery. I can't explain it in technical, scientific terms, but basically I was under stress (apparently?) and unknowingly the tensing of my jaw caused by biting down all the time was the cause. That was a few weeks ago, and I've been purposely relaxing my jaw everytime I feel myself tensing up, and the clicky jaw has gone hooray! And that's the good news, now for the VERY GOOD NEWS...

Saying goodbye to braces!!! :D After over two very long years of wearing braces, the appointment for them to be removed has finally been booked! I am pretty "old" to be wearing braces, since a majority of my friends had them and got rid of them many many years ago. Now I owe a lot to my braces, but I am very much looking forward to being able to chew gum, smile without feeling self-conscious, and meet people without them immediately prejudging me to be younger due to my metal mouth. Of course, because it is me we're talking about, it's not that straight forward. I have two rather large gaps in my mouth where the adult teeth just never existed. This means I have to get bridges or implants done (another operation!) at some point in my life, and another consultant has to have a look at the gaps just to say whether I can go ahead with the removal of braces. It's on Monday so I'll let you know how it goes...

See you soon! (I will, promise.)

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Oh My Gosh is that my face!?

Woaaah. One month on from the last time I checked in with you all, and things are pretty much the same. Eating arrangements are back to how they were before the surgery - except this time the bite is heaps better. Up until a few weeks ago, part of my chin was still quite numb so every time I drunk liquids I would get a cold tingling feeling, but it's been less noticable lately which can only be a good thing. As for the sticky-outy wire poking the hell out of my gums at the back of my mouth, it never was truly fixed by the orthodontists but I have finally gotten used to the pain. And can finally stop pestering my mum with gum-related complaints.

Sometimes I can't believe that it's been a quarter of a year since the operation. Sometimes I can't even remember what I used to look like and am actually quite shocked seeing photos from several months ago. Looking through photos to find one for a new ID card, I found the one I used for last year's card. OMG it is different!! (And I don't even like using "OMG"). It's only now that I'm fully used to seeing this jaw-amended face that the old jaw looks horrifically different. So much so. How I viewed those photos before is drastically different from how I see them now. It's quite hard putting it into words actually; how on earth can my face look so changed in a matter of months without me even noticing it? (With the exception of the Swollen Days which I now prefer to forget..) From the side, my face is still quite swollen though that's something I'll only see and notice if I've taken a photo from the side and am studying it. Anyway, I finally got round to sharing some before and after shots with friends, and it seems that I'm not the only one who is completely taken aback by the change. In a good way, I'm hoping.

For other jaw-breakers-to-be, I bring good news. Three months on, your jaw will not be affected by rollercoasters! :) I know it's not really breaking news but to be honest I was slightly worried that my love for dangerously-fast-speed-adrenaline-pumping machines would be hindered by having a newly fixed jaw. But I didn't feel a thing! On the topic of updates, just thought that might be not completely useless news. And I love rollercoasters so much I did have to double-check with my surgeon beforehand...

On a slightly less optimistic level, I've been having so many health problems since the op. Not particularly major ones, but it's clear that my immune system isn't as happy as it used to be. All those anaesthetics and being "under the knife" (shudder) for 5 hours is clearly going to take it's toll for quite some time. Also, for almost 3 years I've been having weird problems with my neck where it feels like an electric shock every month or so. Since surgery, they have been becoming more frequent so I finally got it checked out by a GP. Turns out it's not a big deal and the jaw position is/was inflamed with something to do with a trapped nerve. Solution? Tablets and lots of them, but I should probably be used to it now! From here onwards, things will be getting much, much better :)

Here's hoping...

Monday, 12 September 2011

Time flies!

Wow, it really has been a long time since I wrote to you all. The two month mark passed last week (yipee) and I can actually eat a sandwich and pasta without whipping out the food liquidiser. Aand, I no longer have to hide behind ridiculously sized sunglasses. If that's not progress, then what is? :P

It's weird to think that a mere two months ago I was surviving off syringe-fed liquids, and feeling pretty dead every day. It's even weirder to think that my face has actually changed; I know I know I'm stating the obvious, but it's quite a huge concept to get your head around! I'd like to think I look normal but I know the swelling is still there and can take months to completely go down. But one of things I've learnt from this whole patience.

Seeing people after the long summer break is a little strange, especially watching people stare at you trying to figure out what's different. (Strange and a little creepy perhaps.) And I forget that it's my face/jaw they're staring at, and not something/someone behind me. Crazy, crazy times. Getting used to it though.

My speech is, at times, a lot unclearer than it used to be and according to my mum, "it looks as though you have something in your mouth when you talk." I have my fingers crossed this will improve with time, but speech therapy is something I may have to look into if the problem persists! In other jaw-related news, my orthodontist said last week that my teeth are pretty much in position (double hooray!) and it won't be long before my braces are taken off. Now that calls for a triple hooray!!

Just a couple more things before I sign off... I went abroad during the summer and had to go past all the security lines etc. And the metal in my face does not (I repeat does not) trigger off the metal alarm thing! Oh, and my passport with the old face was approved. Huge sigh of relief.

Going back to the title, time really really really does fly. With massive wings and all. And a propeller. On a helicopter. With light speed stuff. I could go on. The "worst weeks of my life" are definitely a thing of the past and starting to get a little blurry. So, upwards and onwards towards the non-blurry!

Ps. This is a diary of a smile, and the smile is almost, almost back to normal. Once the hamster cheeks have gone, all will be good!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Still alive :)


So it's been quite a long time since I last blogged, and to be honest not too much has changed since. Day by day, the swelling's gone down a little but the changes are so minute they are quite hard to pinpoint! Thankfully I'm looking more "normal" but we still have a long way to go until the swelling has completely gone :)

As for the eating, it's still soft food like fish and pasta (though liquidised first!). There's only one problem - a horrible wire sticking out at the back of my gum. At my last appointment, my mouth was too stiff to be able to cut the wire so there was literally nothing to do but hang in there and wait. And have a sharp piece of metal in my mouth. And...uh, it hurts. Luckily as I'm writing this, it's not actually too painful but I have noticed the back gums form an almost wall (yes it is as weird as it sounds!). Whether or not it gets worse or has done permanent damage, I'll let you know.

I have one last jaw-surgery related thing to mention. Funnily enough, my brother's just had a similar operation (though no way near as serious as mine) so I'll be swapping roles - no more lying in bed as a sick person for me! It's weird seeing someone else in the same position as I was in, and having to feed someone else smoothie with a syrringe! And thinking about it, my own operation seems a lifetime away. Thank goodness I have the old blog posts to refresh my memory!

Anyway.... until next time :) (let's hope my memory hasn't deteriorated even further. Um)

Saturday, 6 August 2011

One month today!!

There really is nothing witty/clever/vaguely interesting about the title. But there probably is nothing better I could write for it. As Jedi Jim Apprentice would say, it's all in the title (or ahem, "tin"). If you haven't gathered it yet, or are new to the blog (welcome!), it's exactly one month today since my operation.

I think it would be safe to say that this past month has been the toughest month I've ever had to live through. The not being able to eat properly, the weird stares I get at my face, the having to adjust to a completely different look, the not being able to talk, the not being able to talk properly, the new way of talking with a huge lisp, the having to stay at home, the not being able to smile without looking like a major loser... Thankfully towards the end of the month, a lot of these gradually got better - a lot but not all.

Like I mentioned in the last post, I've been out and about a lot more recently. Nope, not non-stop partying and shopping if that's what you're thinking. I've been taking a couple of courses (fashion and now radio journalism) which means the people I have met have been for the first time. Which means the newly-jaw-operated face is the only face of mine they see (wow that feels weird to say). It occasionally sinks in that I have to adjust and adapt to this which is...odd. And the lisp is just plain annoying!

I'm still surviving off a very boring diet of soup, scrambled eggs and smoothies but I am able to eat small portions of softer foods which don't require chewing... like cake :) As for the swollen-ness, it is still swollen but like I've said before, I could pass as a chubby girl with braces. My orthadontist says it could take up to 3-6 months for the swelling to go away. Cue sad face :( In other sad news, I've noticed that my mouth is now a little little little bit lopsided; I'm not sure whether to be worried yet, but I still have 5 months for my face to keep changing.

And there's not a lot more to say. Life gets more and more normal by the day, and though the start of the recovery month was extremely painful, I'm getting by with a (slightly unusual) smile on my face. This is a diary of a smile, after all...


Sunday, 24 July 2011

Online shopper, nose chopper

Today has been a tough day for me. Since the day of the op (18 days ago now!), every day has left me feeling progressively better... until now. After my parents' suggestion (slash insistence) of getting some "fresh air" on such a lovely summer's day, we went for a walk in the park. We obviously had not thought about the fact that I haven't walked more than up and down and around the house, and the other killer: Hayfever.

"I hate hayfever" is a bit of an understatement. I hate hayfever on a normal day, but I hate it even more when I'm in a post-op-recovery state. The biggest problem is my nose; fellow jawbreakers will understand the feeling where your face doesn't feel like your face, so your nose doesn't feel like your nose. This numbness from the damage to the nerves during surgery, combined with the weird pinning of my nose (don't ask - all I know is I can see some strange mini-plates in the x-ray), makes it very, very painful. Think hayfever on a bad polleny day times ten. Triple whammy: eyes, throat and yes, nose. It's just a little ironic that the fresh air that was supposed to do me good has made matters so much worse, and I think, I think I may have a cold now. Trust me, it is pretty hard to sneeze. And don't worry, I'm about to stop complaining!

Besides wanting to do a Van Gogh and chop off my ear cough nose, I've been getting by through the art of online shopping! Not too much to say here, but as you can imagine, if you put a girl in a house for 18 days, she's bound to whip out the debit card at some point! (FYI, I am not a shopaholic.)

So the two things I have learnt since I last wrote to you are:
1) Can hayfever get worse than it already is? One word - YES!
2) I am not as patient as I thought I was. Every day I look into the mirror and wish for the swelling to go down.

And let's add a few more...
3) I miss proper food so much I am consistently beginning to dream about it.
4) Milkshake is a sugary calorific lifesaver
5) I kind of want to eat baby food..
6) Surgery does horrible things to your skin
7) I have fantastic friends and the support I've gotten is amazing
8) People actually bother reading this blog without me having to (shamelessly) plug it
9) I really like making lists
10) It is time for souper dinner

So things have hit a temporary brick wall, and I have made plans to go out properly for the first time this week (fear not, I will brave the weird looks) so I really hope I feel better in time! Will they?
Who nose! (Ha, I've been waiting for ages to say that.)