Sunday, June 3, 2012

Braces, jaw surgery, and how it effects us

Hey guys.

I've been posting more than usual lately, and not only about jaw surgery.
A part of me feels like this blog is my life escape right now.
I can't express how grateful I am that I have a place to go, talk about all the things I feel and all these issues, and not be judged, or criticized.

So many of us know that in our day to day lives people can't understand what it's like to go through this process. We haven't all had anyone to confide in about our fears, our disconnection with ourselves, and our adjustment to all the changes. A lot of us have dealt with family, friends, and loved ones who do not understand, and have if anything ended up feeling more alone because of that.

I want to say that to anyone who is frustrated with your appearance, with your jaw, with how if effects your speech, and the pain both physical and mental that goes along with it, you are not alone.
I have to say more so than the TMJ pain, and the braces, the headaches and the neck pain, sometimes the worst pain is the pain you feel inside. I felt like after years of learning to love myself the way I was, and learning to ignore my speech impediment, and my convex profile, my open bite, the lisp, I really felt like I learned to accept that all. After that struggle, being faced with jaw surgery is a whole struggle in itself, and to some of us it becomes an undoing of all the accepting we've had to do to be content in our own skin.

I started this process nervous but excited at the prospects of having a functional jaw, and an ideal profile. I was so excited to see all the before and after pictures, and to see how happy people become once it's all over. the excitement lasted a while, but then it started to change. It started to turn into fear and anxiety. Was I doing the right thing? My face started to change with the braces. It became hollow at the centre, and I felt like I didn't recognize myself anymore.

I went through a very dark time. Around this time last year I had been in the braces for a couple months, and I started to really lose any connection to myself. I started to feel insecure, and I obsessed with the braces, with every feature on my face, with the changing of my bite. I felt like no one could love me like this.

It sort of feels like being haunted by yourself. You feel isolated because the people around you don't understand what you are going through. At least the people around me didn't understand. You count the days, hours, minutes. You want the time to go by faster and faster because you are waiting for your life to come back, your life before jaw surgery, and checking the blogs and the forums and youtube, and facebook. The searching for information, and similar cases, and surgeons.

It becomes madness.

I'm sure not everyone has had it like this. I'm sure some people have had the supportive family, or friends, the supportive boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, or husband. Be grateful for those people.

I remember the days when I didn't know the extent of my jaw issues, before I knew I had TMJ issues, and that orthognathic surgery would correct my speech impediment, before I knew that there was so much more to it than just my teeth closing. When my profile would look better, and before I knew it would give me a chin. Those were the days. I remember looking into rhinoplasty to correct the convexity of my nose. I wish that was really the only issue because it would have been so easy to get a nose job and go on with my life.

14 months in braces, 8 teeth pulled, and still waiting for double jaw surgery, genioplasty, and gum grafting surgery. Thats not to mention braces back in high school to compensate for my bite. Could any process be longer? Really? Is it possible to have to wait any longer for a surgery?

Could this post get any worse? any more depressing.

Well no, it won't, and I'll tell you why.
Out of all this depression and confusion I learned a lot. I learned that I became really mean to myself. That I told myself I was ugly, and that my hollow face, my lisp, and all the pain I feel was all my fault.
I needed to give myself a time out!

Today I realize this. No matter how my face turns out, I am doing the most I can because I love myself. And remember, you are doing everything you can because you love yourself too!
when you wonder if you're making the right decision look at it this way, you deserve to be happy, you deserve every opportunity to increase your quality of life, you deserve this surgery.
I mean that in a good way.

I've met so many people in this jaw surgery community, and I have yet to meet even one person you wasn't an amazing, sweet, and wonderful person. You are all so amazing. Each and every person I have talked to, who has commented, or talked to me on facebook, or on youtube, or through email, you are all so wonderful and you deserve to have an amazing outcome from all of this.

Instead of detaching from myself, I'm detaching from the artificial hopes of becoming someone perfect after this surgery. I just want to be a better version of me. I want to be Terra without the braces, and without the lisp, I want to be Terra with the beautiful smile. That is it.

Thank you blogger, youtube, facebook, archwired,, and every other means that I have been in communication with this wonderful community. I can't wait for the day when the braces come off and I can go back to being me, but I really couldn't have even gotten this far without all the amazing support out there. We are so lucky to live in an age with all of this. Don't be scared to share your story, because someone out there with a story similar to yours is looking for someone to relate to.




  1. Thank you Terra :) About to head out the door for work and came across your post. This is just what I needed to hear right now. We both have almost identical surgery dates and have been waiting awhile for this,you longer than myself. I feel like the initial excitement I had researching blogs, pictures, videos, etc. wore off a good three months ago and I'm now just ready to get this over with. As you said, people don't understand and I'm so sick of having to explain the process to everyone who asks me why I'm 25 and have braces.

    Off to work I go - just wanted to take the time to thank you for your heartfelt post :)


  2. Beautifully worded Post Ms. Terra! I think you hit all the nails on the head and verbalized everything.
    You are so right, we fight with our faces for years, then we accept it, then we have to let go and go into the unknown with hopes that it will be for the best.

    I know we spoke about this before, but it is AMAZING how much information about jaw surgery has gotten out there in the last 3-4 years, with youtube, blogs, forums, etc, as I remember back in 08 I could barely find anything and made me decide against doing it then.
    We ALL get excited in seeing before and afters, it gives everyone hope, a bright light in the midnight hour, that the best is right around the corner... But you are right as time goes on the charm starts to wear off and you just want to have your surgery and be done with it so you can live your life.

    This post is really healthy Terra and I think everyone going through this process can relate to you, your struggles, your aspirations, your victories, and you deserve the best!! Thank you friend :)

  3. I've been through something similar. Took more than 4 years in this "time tunnel", and even a few months remaining. Suffering pains of all kinds, and the incomprehension on the part of my family.
    Anyway, you have to trust fate and the will.
    Keep it up.

  4. Terra,
    You are such a smart girl!! You have said many things that I have been unable to put into words! Even after my surgery I am still waiting and have been unfair to myself criticizing every little thing. I have said many times, I can't wait to move on with this part of my life. Thank you for reminding me to refocus on what is important!

  5. I've been at this now for a little over three years. I totally know how it feels to be inpatient and there have been times where I get really down on myself. Looking for surgeons/orthos who are competent enough to re-treat is very exhausting. It doesn't help when the people around me say things like you look fine and you don't need surgery. People just don't get it.

  6. terra, thank you for sharing this! this has made me think about why i'm going through this process and the benefits afterwards - at the moment ive been feeling impatient and frustrated as to why everything is taking so long, why is it me who needs surgery out of everyone i know who has had braces. definitely going to remind myself of the future next time i feel down!

  7. Terra,

    I thank you for this. I feel like you are speaking directly to me and it truly is a blessing that I came across your blog. I want to thank you for sharing your story. "Meeting" you has made me feel better about this whole process because I know that there is someone else out there that relates to me and who is going through similar things. May God continue to bless you!


  8. The way you described feeling content with yourself before the big change- exactly how I feel! I'm hoping I don't lose myself in this process. Thank you so much for sharing!

  9. Terra,

    It is a nice post and you made me hope again with similar story as yours.
    I had braces when I was 15y and it gave me a nightmare when the result change my face to the worse and give me breathing problem and TMI pain. Now I got asymmetry face, breathing problem, Bad TMJ, bad speech and bite, sleepingproblem Cos of breathing .

    I am so depress right now and I just hope that one day jaw surgery would change my life. I am 23y old now and currently I m in my third time of braces and everything seems goes not well . I am looking for jaw surgery but I don't have money and everyone in my family don't even understand me a but about situation, they said I just think too much. I wish they could feel and get the pain the same I do.

    Ok it seems too long here but I just so depress these days and I want to talk to someone with similar story because I feel so alone right now. There is seem no one could understand be a but even my orthodontic .

    If possible I wish I could contact you by email and I hope we can share and I wish to get some advices stuns this .

    Thank you,
    Best regards,


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