Monday, 24 September 2012

Orthognathic surgery woes

Well it turns out I'm not as big and strong about all this as I make out I am. I've been umming and aahing about posting this for a few days but this blog is meant to be about my experience through braces and double jaw surgery to correct my underbite, and all the highs and lows that come with it. So I should be honest and brave and discuss the difficult times, as well as the good.

This last week or so I have been struggling with this whole process, I've been feeling rather sad and miserable actually. It all came to a head after I saw myself on TV last Thursday.

I thought I had conquered my worries about being seen in braces with my big chin and how I would be perceived etc but it turns out that I hadn't. It's actually a lot harder than I thought, and although to a certain extent I have accepted the way I look and I do always try to remain positive and "let go" of any horrid comments that are thrown my way it is an entirely different story when you come to try and forget all of the negative things that you and others have associated with your face/jaw/teeth.

So I watched my (albeit brief) appearance on TV with my dad, and I was utterly horrified at what I saw. It was shot at the dreaded side angle and showed my large chin and horrible underbite in all it's glory. My Dad was very proud of my appearance on TV and gave me a great big hug and my Mum shouted down from upstairs how good it was etc but all I was thinking was

"I look absolutely awful, look at the size of my chin, I cant believe I walk around and communicate with people looking like that. Why hasn't somebody told me how much worse I look now, why hasn't Ben dumped me yet? I'm not surprised people call  me names and make comments, I look bloody horrible." 

All I wanted to do was go upstairs and get into bed and cry, but it was my Mum's birthday and we had dinner reservations to get to in 15 mins. I did go upstairs and cried for 5 mins while I tried to pick something to wear, pulled myself together and put my make up on and went out for dinner. All night I just couldn't shift my negative thoughts about myself and felt so self concious and horrible. I got in and cried myself to sleep. 

I went into work the next day and spent most of the day either crying in the toilet or fighting back tears at my desk. (Thankfully most of my co-workers leave at midday on a Friday so I was able to cry at my desk in private) I just felt so embarrassed, so embarrassed that I look like I do, and so angry that I was feeling that way about myself. I had made myself feel so bad, I had done it to myself. I emailed my brother in Paris this; 

Hey Biff 

Don't get excited, i haven't got any dates yet! buuuuuuuut have a look at this girls blog. She has had jaw surgery and has put up some before and after pictures.
They are amazing! I hope I look as good as her when i have my surgery. I hope I don't come out looking like a monster! 

I'm having a bit of a crap time at the min, feel really gross and ugly and that my giant chin is even gianter! I know it all has to get worse before it gets better but I'm fed up. I forget that the way i look isn't normal and that I'm a bit ugly really. I was on bbc look east last night, they interviewed me at work about some funding i won the company and to do with Northamptonshire being voted the most enterprising place in Britain. I was only on for a couple of seconds but they shot it at an angle that i don't often see myself, because it's a bit of side angle and its bloody awful lol my profile has got worse since I've had my braces on, my chin/lower jaw does jut out more and because they are pulling my top teeth back in it's making it look worse, like the difference in length of my top and lower jaw. 

I guess it was just a bit of a shock to see really. I forget what i look like. 

Sorry to un load all this on you biff, i don't feel like i can talk to mum or dad, and i don't really want to point out to Ben how ugly i am. Oh well, not much i can do really till i have my operation, just gotta carry on and look to the future and all that shit :-)

At least i get to come and see you soon anyway! Looking forward to it! Hope your ok, 

love you lots! xxxxxx

I got a lovely reply from him, I wont publish it all but I've read and re-read these sentences and I'm going to keep reading them till I stop crying and being so hard and horrible to myself and pull myself out of this negative frame of mind I'm in at the minute. 

I'm so sorry I've only just got this. Tash you break my heart, you are not at all ugly with or without braces and a moving chin. Just remember you are doing this to feel ultimately better with yourself at the end, so try practicing feeling better about yourself now so you're ready for it :) haha.

So thank you Biff if you're reading this, I'm still currently sat at work feeling horrible about myself and trying not to cry but you're very wise words will work soon enough. This process is full of ups and downs and I think I've hit my first of probably many downs. 

I know in my heart that I have made the right decision to go through with this process, it will benefit me considerably in so many ways, I just struggle from time to time to come to terms with it and the changes that are happening and will happen. I struggle with the demons that I thought I had overcome, as they seem to be rearing their ugly heads from time to time. I guess I didn't expect this. The NHS Orthognathic Surgery DVD didn't bloody tell me about all this! :-) 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Living with braces as an adult

This is something that I've touched on in earlier posts but due to today's events at work I thought about this a bit more, and felt like sharing it.

I work as a Marketing Executive for a company that manufactures and sells, liquid applied, peelable protective coatings. These coatings can be used in so many different ways from protecting windows and doors on a construction site to acting as a nuclear contaminant tie-down. I am just about to launch a new product for the chemical milling industry and as a part of this launch I managed to secure some funding from my local council and their enterprise partnership company.

As a result of this I've been promoting our company and the funding and have had to do several live radio interviews. As an adult with braces I can't let them get in the way of my work, I just have to be professional and get on with it. However as most people with braces will now that your teeth are always moving, and my speech can change on a daily basis, so it's not always so easy to speak without tripping up over certain words or sounding lispy. But I did it and the interviews have gone well, I have listened back and I didn't sound too lispy or stupid so I was fairly pleased and felt quite good.

Then this afternoon my brace insecurities and my insecurities about how I look came flooding out. I was called by our region's TV news programme and asked if they would be able to come to our offices and interview me about the new product and the funding. I said,

"Yes, of course, come over I would be delighted!" 

I hung up the phone and actually thought;

"Oh ****, what the hell am I going to do, everyone watching it will be looking at me and laughing. Laughing at the girl with the big chin and braces on TV."

I went through to my boss and we started planning the interview, what I would say, what i wouldn't say etc and while we were sat there I decided that I had to do the interview, it's my job, but also that I had to do the interview for me. I had to put myself out there on TV in all my big chin, lipstick wearing woman, adult in braces glory and accept that for the time being this is the new me. I'd learnt to accept myself and my large chin and my underbite a while ago, but I guess, if I'm honest, I hadn't quite yet accepted the new me with the large chin, underbite and braces. 

So I re-applied my lipstick and off I went to do my interview. It went well, it wasn't live thankfully, so hopefully they can edit it together nicely. I really hope I don't come across a complete idiot!

I shall mark this day in my Orthognathic Surgery diary as the day I accepted the new me with braces.

Accepting I'm an adult with braces.

Monday, 17 September 2012

3 months and 3 weeks in braces

I'm almost at the 4 month mark, yaaaay! Over the last couple of weeks my braces have been a right pain in the bum! My bottom teeth are moving and as a result my lower braces keep cutting up my bottom lip. I'm shovelling the wax on them to try and prevent any further cutting/rubbing and I'm convinced that my local Boots Pharmacy think I'm either addicted to Bonjela or have a trio of teething children at home.

However, no pain no gain! I do have my wimpy days and get fed up and moan and get all teary as my ever suffering boyfriend knows oh too well! (Sorry Ben!) But I am having more strong, brave, just bloody well get on with it Natasha days, so I am hopeful that by the time I do have my surgery I will not be such a wimp about the little things.

In preparation for that long awaited day, I am considering facing my completely irrational fear of getting my ears pierced. Yes, I'm 24 years old and I don't have my ears pierced because I'm scared it will hurt. I know what your thinking, you big, great, giant, wimp it doesn't even hurt! But I am a big, great, giant, wimp and it probably does hurt, but I'm giving it some good thought and I will keep you all posted.

I'm getting my braces tightened tomorrow, I'm rather excited actually and I'm looking forward to creeping a step closer to my surgery. Hopefully Mr O'Neil will be pleased with my progress and that my wisdom teeth holes are almost closed up. I'm hoping that I will get my bottom wire changed this time as last time he said that my bottom teeth were still moving, I could wiggle them around with my tongue! I cant do that any more, so bring on the new wire.

 Here are some updated pictures of my progress!

3 months in braces

That bottom lip is sticking out more and more!

My long lower jaw

Check out that underbite!

I'm amazed at how straight my teeth are after 3 months in braces

Still smiling 3 months and 3 weeks on

Monday, 10 September 2012

I strongly dislike my braces

I'm rather fed up of braces at the moment. They have been cutting up my lip for the last week and it hurts and I'm fed up. Usually the sore bit of lip or cheek toughens up after a couple of days and some wax on the offending braces.
Not this time! No, my braces are currently working their way through the mountain of wax I have applied and continuing through my lip.
They just won't stop!
Why can't braces have rounded corners, it would stop all this annoyance and pain.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

3 Months in Braces

I have been so busy this last couple of weeks that I completely missed my 3 month in braces anniversary! Oooops! At the start of all this everyone was telling me it will go so quick, you wont even notice it, time will fly by, before you know it you will be recovering from your operation... and such. Every time I would hear such a comment I would smile and say "yes, I'm sure it will fly by" but actually I was thinking "No it bloody wont! It will take a year or more and it will feel like a year or more!"

Truthfully, the first month, felt like a month in braces, it was a steep learning curve! Since then it has gotten easier as the weeks have gone by. I am used to them now and don't notice them so much as I did at the start, I'm used to cleaning them and choosing appropriate foods, eating with them etc so I don't consciously think about them. I wouldn't say time is flying by, but it is has passed quicker than I thought.

I'd say the biggest annoyance about wearing braces and this process is that my speech is constantly changing. Just as I begin to learn how to say certain words or sounds and how to move my mouth and tongue to not sound or look like an idiot, my teeth move, only ever so slightly but it changes everything. Then I start over, learning the words that make my lisp worse, remembering which sounds make me spit at people, (gross I know but it happens) and how to move my mouth around the braces. It is a complete pain in the bum but, it's necessary in order to get my bite fixed, it isn't forever, and I just have to persevere and be patient.

My wisdom teeth holes are slowly but surely closing up, I still get food stuck in them which is annoying but I can blast them clean using my waterpik with minimal bleeding now, so that helps no end! My bottom teeth seem to be moving into the free space, I'm not sure. I'll have a good picture session tonight and post them up tomorrow to compare the before wisdom tooth surgery to after.

My next brace tightening is fast approaching, 13 days to go! I'm rather excited about this one, last time Mr O'Neil didn't change the wire on my bottom teeth because they were still moving, he just did the top. So hopefully I will get a new wire and get these bottom teeth moving a bit more.

In other wimpish news, I burnt my finger yesterday on my GHD's because of my dog Bertie. (I forgot how much this hurts!) He got lonely downstairs and decided to pay me a visit whilst I was straightening my hair ready for work, he launched himself onto my bed and knocked my finger right into the straighteners. Needless to say he got a good telling off and I handled the burn like a complete wimp and moaned about it all day at work.

Guilty Bertie!