Monday, 17 October 2016

3 Years Post Double Jaw Surgery.........Let's talk!


Three years has gone pretty bloody quick hey! 

This time three years ago I was looking all like this..... Rather drugged up!

Now I'm looking all like this!

So it's been a while since I last posted, all the way back in March 2014, and that was the day that I had my braces removed in the morning and then that afternoon I was off to Germany for work. I had said that i would post and do an update after I got back, (reading that post again now I must say sorry to anyone who thought I didn't get back...I did!) I just didn't post again.

Now this leads me onto the topic/subject of why I'm about to resurrect this blog.

I didn't post because life got in the way, I was super busy and just had loads of fun things going on and I just didn't have the time to write anything.......That is the massive lie i've been telling myself for the last 2 and a half years!!! The real reason ladies and gentlemen is that I'm not happy.

This is a fairly new revaluation to me, well actually it's not, i've known for ages, years, but I've only really let myself admit this and own it i'd say for the last 6 months or so. During these last 6 months i've spent a lot of time trying to figure out why, whats wrong, why am I feeling like this etc and I'm starting to make some progress, its all quite sketchy at the moment so please bear with me as I try and explain this "I'm not happy" a bit more below.  

Things I am Happy About

  1. I am happy with the results of my operation
  2. I am happy with my teeth
  3. I am happy with how my face looks
  4. I am happy that I can eat well
  5. I am happy that I can speak properly
  6. I am happy that I don't have constant headaches and jaw ache
  7. I am happy that I don't get called names or shouted at in the street

Things I am not Happy About

  1. Accepting my new face
  2. Calling my new face my new face
  3. Letting go of my old face
  4. Calling my old face my old face
  5. Holding on to my old face and the old me
  6. Understanding the "new me"
  7. Struggling to understand and accept my actions, relationships and thought processes through life pre op
  8. Second guessing new friendships/relationships
  9. Having had the assumption/expectation that after my operation and after I have my braces off that everything will be fixed and I will be happy

There's more, loads more that I'm "not happy with" but these are the ones that I thought best to get out first. It's really confusing and I'm not sure it makes sense as a whole yet, in fact I know that, but I will get there. Basically I feel like i'm going through a form of identity crisis (this is my working term, I'm not sure if it accurately describes what I'm going through but it's the best I have right now!), I don't know who I am. Everything that I thought physically would be fixed from having this operation has been, and it's amazing and I would have this operation and process again in a heartbeat, I truly would and its the best decision i made.

However the things that I thought would be resolved psychologically and emotionally by having this operation were not resolved, they were not fixed. If anything I think I have allowed them to become worse and now I'm in a right old jumble with all these questions and thoughts and feelings. And in hindsight how could I think that they would be fixed by this operation? 

I figured what i'm going through right now and what I'm trying to understand and come to peace with, there must be others in the same position as me. Other post surgery people who may be currently having these feelings or have had them, and for all the people who are doing some research before starting this process, or those who are in it battling with braces or just recovering from surgery, I want to share this all with you. 

In part as a way for me to help process this and work through it and to also maybe help someone else not feel so alone. I also think this is a huge area that just isn't discussed before surgery, before braces, while you start thinking about this process or exploring with your orthodontist etc it's just ignored. It shouldn't be, it's something that should be considered and appreciated and that you should be aware of. For some people it may not be an issue, for some it will and for me, I didn't really appreciate how much this all would affect me later on...where I am now. 

So three years on from my surgery, I will be using this blog from now on to explore the psychological, emotional and  mental health/well-being aspects of going through double jaw surgery that I'm dealing with. It's going to certainly be an interesting journey for me and I think it will be confusing and might not make sense all the time, and maybe i wont find answers straight away but I'm going to keep exploring and sharing. As always, if anyone else wants to share go ahead, sharing is caring and sometimes just getting it out, saying out loud can help. 

I want to reiterate again that I DO NOT regret having double jaw surgery to fix my underbite. It was the best decision i made and I wholeheartedly recommend and support others having the operation. I just should of had some form of counselling during the process and after to help me get through it. 

Much Love

Monday, 24 March 2014

Brace free teeth!

This will only be a little post because I'm shooting off to Germany for work this afternoon but I had to share my no brace face with you all!
I had them off this morning, and am just about to go in for my retainer fitting now.
It feels so weird having bare teeth. And the one thing that I do have to say, is that the braces come off so quickly! It's almost like oh is that it?!  Years of struggle, but also fabulous choices, happy memories and triumphs, all snipped away in seconds.
Now just a very good future ahead of me with working teeth! Bring on the skittles!!!!
I Will update properly once I'm back from Germany. But much love to all and keep on smiling Cassie you are doing so well beautiful! Xxxx
No Braces!!!!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Almost time to say bye to my braces

It's less than a week till my braces come off!

This has flown by! Mainly because I have been running round like a mad woman, but It really has come round quick! I feel a bit sad they are going really, end of an era. a good end though, but they have just become a part of me.

However, as there final parting gift, my braces have bestowed to me the mother of all ulcers/cuts on the inside of my lip. Thanks braces, I love you too.

I will do a proper update at the weekend with pics etc , but here is one of me and my man on a recent weekend break in London.

Much bracey love xxxx

Monday, 17 February 2014

4 Months Post Double Jaw Surgery

So I missed my 3 month mark due to extreme business and a brain like a sieve! But I have remembered my 4 month mark!

Haven't had the time to take some 4 month pictures, but i will do this week, in the meantime here are some of me at my sisters new years eve party!
Me and Lee

Me and My Sister

Me with the girls

Not drunk at all!!!

So my last appointment was on the 21st of January, not long after my 3 month mark, I had another wire change on the bottom to pull a tooth round and my power chains changed. My word did this hurt again! The tooth had moved virtually instantly.

My ortho said he was happy to get me booked in for my de-brace! So I was very pleased with that, but in a weird way not as pleased as I was when he told me I was ready for surgery. I suppose I'm just so used to my braces they don't bother me, I don't even really notice them or think anything of them, I smile away with them on and haven't been too conscious of them. Of course I'm happy to get them off but what I'm trying to say (not very well) is that my operation was a big deal for me, having my braces off isn't that big a deal for me.

So that is booked in for the end of March, a full day appointment, with de-bonding in the morning then my retainers fitted in the afternoon, so I will be taking a full day off work. Then I must book myself in for a scale and polish at my dentist.

I have been taking my bands off to eat and leaving them off for a while really. My teeth do sort of sit back to where they are meant to be, they do move and sometimes feel more uncomfortable/fighting back than other days but I guess that's just down to my teeth moving and my muscles getting stronger in their new position. I have noticed over the last few weeks that that feeling of resistance has eased and my bite feels more natural, like my teeth and jaws and muscles are all working together now and have accepted there new resting place. But we will see, teeth move and drift so I'm sure even after my braces are off I will still feel some form of movement.

Eating wise I am eating normally, anything I want I have. I am getting so much better at biting through things, last night I ate pizza like this for the first time and it was incredible! Such a good moment to pick up a bit of pizza and bite through it, not cut through with a knife, not rip with your hands, not mangle with back to front teeth, but bite through with my fully functioning teeth. It's been a long time coming but little victories like that make it all worth while.

I am also becoming a "Dinner Winner" more often within my household and any family meals.

A dinner winner is someone who finishes their dinner first, you have to put your hands up in the air and shout "Dinner Winner" It's not a race per say, just whoever finishes their first is dinner winner. I'm not sure when we started doing this in my family, or why, but I never won. That has all changed! I was a dinner winner with pizza last night, actually eating pizza like a normal person and being a dinner winner was brilliant!

I dont really get jaw ache anymore, occasionally when I'm banded and if I'm a bit stressed I get a slight ache, i think i must just carry tension in my jaw. But nowhere near enough as i used to, and I'm off my strong pain killers, haven't taken them since the day before my operation.

I do get popping/clicking when i open my mouth for the first time when taking my bands off, but that's normal and just a release of fluid stuff in the muscle from it being held in one position. once its clicked/popped the tension is gone and i can open my mouth normally.

I'm not happy with the lump i still have under my chin on my left hand side. I spoke to my ortho about this months ago and he said it was a bit on bone from my chin where they moved it down and that it would re absorb into itself over time. Well I'm not so sure, I don't have it on the other side so I'll mention it again when I go back for my de-bracing, and see what they say. I'd rather have another operation if necessary to remove that bit of bone than leave it there and be unhappy with it.

My numbness is still the same, I cant feel the left side of my bottom lip or chin, I'm getting used to it but it does really piss me off from time to time. Its just a weird sensation and it ruins kissing for me, well my brain does, because sometimes that's all i can focus on, need to train my brain to ignore the weird numb, tingly, heavy feeling. Hopefully it will come back but in the grand scheme of things I cant complain about a small patch of numb.

In other news I have a new job! yaaaay, still working in marketing, just moved to a bigger company with better prospects and opportunities. I start on the 3rd of March so fingers crossed it will go well. I also adopted 2 kittens in the new year from a cat shelter, they are so cute, they are called Moo and Meow, they are brothers and have so much energy and love to chase each other round my house. I love them so much, its really nice to have cats again.


Moo & Meow

I will update once the braces have come off and I have clean teeth, I imagine I will have a lot of staining from my coffee addiction, plus i hate flossing so I will probably have to undergo lots of horrible scraping and telling off at the dentist for not flossing!

Much love to all! xxxxx

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

8 Weeks Post Double Jaw Surgery

Wow, 8 weeks post surgery! I remember when surgery was a little flicker in my mind, the first proper consideration, the panic, the initial research and then off I went on this long old journey!

These last 8 weeks have flown by really, I've been incredibly busy with work and my MBA but I think like throughout all of this you need something else to focus on or you just get consumed by all things teeth and jaw related.

My eating has come on leaps and bounds since my orthodontist gave me the go ahead to start eating. At 2 weeks post op I was  given the green light to eat mush, so things like scrambled egg, mash potato and rice pudding. Things that I could move around my mouth but not chew.

By 4 weeks I could start to try and chew these things and by 4 I was ok to move on to things like soft pasta, ravioli, minced meat etc. From 5 weeks I've just been gradually building up my eating, cutting things up really small and just trying to chew. If its too difficult i just swallow it, but why not have a go is what i thought.

Right now I'm pretty much eating normal food, again any meat I'm cutting up small and trying to chew it, not forcing anything, but eventually my muscles will figure it out and I will get there. I have noticed all ready the vast improvement just on how i chew with my teeth at the back, they actually work properly, I chew efficiently now, which is so nice!

Biting into things is a whole other story, it is so weird! I'm still getting to grips with that. This will sound weird to people that haven't experienced mis aligned jaws and teeth, but I don't know how to bite through something with my teeth. I don't know what the movement is, or how much force to use or if you pull the food away as you bite or do you just bite down and it cuts through? I don't know, I guess it's just practice and really I have to stop a habit of a lifetime and stop cutting things up, I need to start biting into things to get my muscles going and learning how to do it. I've cut things up instead of biting through for so long it's second nature, but that could be my news years resolution, no cutting food! Just biting food!

Swelling & Numbness
My swelling is so very minimal right now, I still think i'm slightly puffier on my right side than my left, but that will go down with time, I notice it but i guess others probably don't. I'm still numb on my left hand side of my chin and bottom lip. I am getting tingle and pain and a very annoying sensation every time i eat something liquid like yoghurt or ice cream or even have a drink, where it feels like running water or that i've just dribbled it all out my mouth and down that left hand side of my chin.

My ortho tells me its a good sign, so i'm sure I can put up with it for as long as it takes so long as i get my feeling in my lip back. Not too fussed about my chin, just want my lip back. its not nice kissing and not feeling it! Plus putting lipstick or lipbalm on feels strange!

Orthodontist & Teeth
Every time i go back to see my orthodontist he was very pleased with the way my teeth are lining up and how I'm doing. At 4 weeks I had my power chain adjusted on my bottom teeth to help close some gaps up. At 6 weeks I had my lower wire changed, an extra long 8 chain power chain fitted on the bottom and a chain on the top to close a gap that had formed over the last 2 weeks. This was painful and I can honestly say, hand on my heart that the pain from the orthodontics both before and after surgery was far worse than any "pain" i felt after my surgery and during recovery. Surprisingly enough moving teeth hurt me more than moving bone did.

On my last appointment at 6 weeks out, my orthodontist said that I can expect to have my braces removed in 6-8 weeks! wahooooooo! There was no way i saw that coming! my next appointment is in 7 weeks, so I guess we will have a look and see where i am. I'm so surprised by how quickly after surgery my braces will be coming off, I think it just highlights the importance of having a good orthodontic treatment before your surgery, and that it pays to be patient and get your teeth right (the wrong way round) before surgery, because it just makes it all a whole lot smoother after.

How I feel about my face

To be honest I've been a bit naughty and i haven't really looked at my face a lot, like really scrutinised it. Obviously when i did the before and after pictures in my last post I saw what a big change there was, but i think i'm scared to look closely at myself in case i don't like it. But I do like it, maybe I'm scared that I will change back to how i used to look? I'm not sure on this one. I am really happy and pleased with how I look and I think the team have done such a good job and I don't think i will hear any nasty comments again.

Maybe my problem is that I'm not ready to embrace my new appearance and let go of the past and how I felt about my face before. Yes i came to love my face the way it was but I was never 100% happy with my appearance because of the problems I had with eating and with being called names. I still wait/brace myself for someone to say something about my face when I'm out and about. Nobody has made a comment since my operation, so I'm hoping that this is something that will fade over time, and I wont think about it any more.

Any Advice for before and after?

  1. Be patient - it takes ages, all of it, the braces, the wisdom teeth removal, the surgery, the recovery, but at each stage there are lots of little moments of joy that make it all worth while, like when my underbite was fully developed or when I first noticed how straight my teeth were getting.
  2. Get a waterpik/oral irrigator - I hate flossing, i did before my braces and I did with them and I probably will still hate doing it after my braces are off. My waterpik has been amazing in helping me keep my teeth clean and my gums healthy. It's not a substitute for flossing but it sure as hell makes my life so much easier! 
  3. Take pictures! - Take so many pictures of your teeth and your face, especially before you even get your braces on. I wish I had taken more before pictures because it is so bloody wonderful to be able to go back and see how much improvement has been made. It keeps you happy when it gets tough, to see how far you have come.
  4. Keep family and friends close - It is tough, it is hard, expect to be sad, frustrated, worried, scared but expect to be happy and excited too. It's so helpful to have family and friends with you to support you through all of this. They may not get you 100% but they will be there and so will this wonderful community of bloggers!
  5. Smile!!!! - Keep on smiling, you are doing the right thing and you will get through it. You smile and the world smiles with you! Show off your bracey teeth, be proud and be bracey! 

Monday, 2 December 2013

Double Jaw Surgery Results - Underbite is gone!

Hey all!

So I've been really busy with work and uni work and all the other stuff I do, so apologies for not blogging much. But here is a good old picture upload! Because pictures is what we all love best!

I will find some time this weekend to write up my journey  so far, but in the mean time here are some pictures. Now I do have to say they are pretty amazing. as i was putting them together i was just laughing because i still cant believe that that change has happened and i look how i look now, and that I used to function pretty well how i used to look and how my teeth were. It really is just incredible what my orthodontist and my surgeon has done. so big massive thank you them both.

I am a very happy lady! Much bracey love to all xxxxx

P.S the after pics below were taken at me 6 weeks out. I just did my hair different one day. xxxx

Before & After Double Jaw Surgery
Before & After Double Jaw Surgery
Before & After Double Jaw Surgery

Before Surgery - Underbite
After Surgery to correct underbite
Before Surgery - Class 3 malocclusion

After Orthognathic Surgery

Recovery day 1 - 14
Recovery day 1 - 14

Before & After Teeth

I have proper teeth!!!!!!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

2 & 3 Weeks Post Double Jaw Surgery

Just a quick update on my recovery so far...

At 2 weeks i was granted the most wonderful freedom of being able to remove my bands and eat mushy food such as scrambled egg, mash potato, yoghurt etc. No chewing, just pressing food against  the roof of my mouth, which is still kind of numb as are bits of my tongue.

This was wonderful and such a relief as I was well and truly sick of the liquid diet. It did feel strange at first and took me a while to figure out how to use my tongue and to move my lips round a form or spoon, but practice makes perfect.

My numbness hadn't really changed much at 2 weeks. I was sleeping on my front/side and propping my head up a bit. Taking my bands off also gave me the opportunity to have a really good clean of my mouth. It wasn't pretty at all! But over the course of the rest of the week i was able to remove all sort of disgusting debris!

My biggest concern was my speech, i was really struggling to pronounce words and sounds with my new mouth shape. I kept getting stuck on the sound and a few others. I also started working from home at 2 weeks, hence my lack of blog updates!

At 3 weeks I am able to start to chew soft foods, like really over cooked pasta, ravioli, minced meat etc. This has been lovely and I have found that most soft food is manageable as is anything cut up small enough. The actually process of chewing was again really hard to start with, i didn't know what to do, or how to move my mouth or tongue but it has gotten easier the more i try.

I dont chew everything i eat, again its all rather soft or small so i can jut swallow it if i like. My nerves are coming back to life in my mouth and teeth and they have been a bit sore. I can feel my braces pulling on my teeth again, that pressure you feel after an adjustment.

My dead lip/chin has been tingling so that is a good sign, although i do have quite a large lump developing under that side of my chin, so when i go to my ortho appointment next week I will mention it. Probably nothing, but best get it checked.

I have started back at work, it has been good to get back into the office but I really must be more organised and prepared with my meals, I think I'm loosing weight again. I lost 6 pounds in the first 7 days after surgery, nothing more over the following 7 but I think i have lost weight since. I don't own a set of scales so im not 100% sure but i can see it in my clothes, my mum bought hers round so I will have to go over an weigh myself this week.

I think the best thing to do is to

a) Get up earlier and eat breakfast
b) Be more prepared and take meals to eat at work
c) Have fortisip/complan in between a meal to boost my calorie intake.
d) Eat a birthday cake every evening for dinner!

Here are some updated pictures!

My man's way of keeping my weight up! yum yum!