Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Jaw Surgery Roundup (Before and After)

Dear Readers,

First off I want to say thank you to everyone who reads my blog, who messages me, who added me on facebook (send me a fb message if you're adding me to let me know you're a jaw buddy) and to everyone who has been blogging. Without you guys I don't know how I would have gotten through this.

I am happy to say I am almost 8 weeks post op. I had an appointment with my surgeon today and first I will update on that...

He took a look at everything and he said that I still have a lot of tightness in my lower gumline which is impairing some of my movement and probably some of my feeling. He told me to eat spicy food, chew cinnamon gum, and keep making kissy faces, he said all those things help stimulate the sensory nerves and bring feeling back. He also wants me pushing my tongue down behind my lower lip to stretch it. I'm also allowed to massage my chin to help get feeling back. Otherwise he said everything is looking good. I still have more swelling on the left side than on the right. I picked up my xrays today to send to the insurance company. It's amazing to see how different my face is and all the screws. I have 26 screws and 5 plates. I can feel one of the screws just under my eye.

Clearly the after picture is a little closer but you can also see how narrow my nose used to be. Now my nose looks huge in comparison. 

My nose is straighter now though. I don't have as much of a dorsal which is nice. It also doesn't droop as much. 

Here you can see that my chin is shorter and its more square than pointy.  

Overall I feel like I look really different when I look in the mirror.
Personally I think I could live with what the surgery has done to my nose but I'll probably change it.
I've never had to think about making my nose narrower before because it was so narrow but I'll probably take it in a little and have the bone shaved off and broken to give a softer side profile and to get rid of the dorsal. I'm still adjusting to the new chin. I do miss my pointy chin but I appreciate the more feminine chin. I think I look less manly now lol

I know it makes no sense that I have these issues with my nose, but we've just never been good friends.
I can't wait to get these braces off as I can't wait to whiten my teeth. My pre braces pictures show me with a glowing white smile, and after 2 years in braces and jaw surgery that smile is not so white anymore.

My surgeon says my bite looks really great and that he usually allows braces to be removed from 4 months and on after surgery. Well I'm going to see him in February and that is 4 months post op so I might get the okay to have my orthodontist remove the braces!!

I mean I do love my braces, we've been through a lot together and they have really changed my smile, but I can't wait to look like an adult again.

Well we're leaving for Australia on Sunday so I'm hoping to do an update video before that. I'll try to update while I am away. I'll be gone for almost a month so hopefully by the time I return the remaining swelling will be gone.

I'm starting to be able to make faces again. Although it hurt a lot to make this one.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My very last 6 week video

49 Days post op

I should probably be posting tomorrow (Saturday) because that will be 50 days post op. I'll make a video, I promise.

Okay I know since the beginning everyone has said i don't have much swelling, well they're wrong. My face keeps changing on me. I looks different than last week and different from my last video.
I'm about 7 weeks post op but I do still have swelling. It's in specific areas but it is there and it's going down little by little. the swelling around my jawline and under my chin went down some more this week and my face is looking less and less chubby.

Here are the major things going on:

  • Still have no feeling in my lower lip or my chin
  • In elastics 18 hours a day
  • Able to open my mouth the width of one finger :D
  • Able to chew really soft things like pasta or rice
  • Still have that fleshing skin flap on the incision where i had the infection
  • Sinuses are stuffy and I still taste the fluids (I know, gross)
  • I can brush the inside of my teeth finally!!!
  • I can floss my front teeth finally
  • My energy is coming back
I feel like this has been my turnaround week. Up until this week I was really tired all the time but now I finally feel like I'm getting back to me. I have energy to do a lot more, and I feel generally better than I have up to this point. 

Looking back I can't believe I got through this, I can't believe I have 26 screws and 5 plates in my face. I am so damn proud of myself. This surgery has been a dream come true. 

The best news yet...
I can't believe it. I can sleep at night and wake up and feel great. I was so used to waking up feeling like crap because my jaw would be aching and my head would be pounding. I don't have to take painkillers anymore!!! I'm sure everything is still healing but so far this is all I could ask for. I feel blessed that along with fixing my medical issues I now have this face that I love. There isn't a thing about it I don't like. I feel like I'm finally the person I was born to be.


Monday, November 19, 2012


Post ortho appointment

2 weeks left until my vacation. 
My phone is on the fritz and I'll only have it for another 2 weeks. I keep losing my signal, it breaks up and then i don't get notification when someone calls or texts me. Ugh. 
It'll be weird not to have a phone for a month but it'll be nice too. 

I went to see my ortho today. It was a long appointment with lots of struggling.
My mouth only opens a little so it was hard to get the wires off from around my archwires, and then the archwires had to be cut to remove them since I had all the hooks. Now I am happy to say I have no more surgical wires, no more hooks (except some little ones) and no more wires around the brackets. 
My teeth feel free. 

Good news... 
My ortho says there is very little work left to do and he's leaving it up to the surgeon to decide when I can have the braces off. I could be brace free very soon. Well not sooner than January which is my next appointment. I'm still thinking spring 2013 but he made it sound a lot sooner. 

I did xmas shopping after my appointment and drove home exhausted. I have such low energy. I can spend a couple hours a day doing things and then I just want to sleep. 

Just want to follow up on my last post. Thank you so much to everyone who commented and shared their stories. I needed to hear that and it really helped me be strong when I was down. I was checking the comments on my phone but my phone being as wonderful as it is won't let me reply, it just freezes. 
I talked things through with him and I realized that I need to stand up for myself. That is something I will make sure to do from now on. I used to get really sad and down when things would happen but now I just say fine, go have your freak out and take off and I'll go do my own thing. I think it's scary for someone who is used to having that person be waiting there crying to see them stronger and just not phased by it. Who knows what the future holds but i hope we can work through all of our differences and find a middle ground, a respectful one. 

On another note I am packing for Australia and going through all my clothes to figure out what to take. I'll post some pictures with this post so you can see what I look like as of now. 




Friday, November 16, 2012

6 Weeks Post Op

Hey guys!

I'm very happy to announce that I am now 6 weeks post op from my double jaw surgery and genioplasty. I'm going to try to cover everything in this post and not ramble on for hours.

I'm becoming more and more happy with the outcome. At first I wasn't really happy with the way I looked. I got all caught up in the swelling and couldn't appreciate the way I actually look now.

My swelling has gone down since last week although I notice it is up a bit on the side where I had the infection. My nose is still looking way better than it did pre op and my jaw line is getting more and more beautiful every day. I have to admit I am really happy with my new jaw and I can wear my hair up now and like it since I now have a jawline!!!!

The numbness has been the same for weeks. I am completely numb in my lower lip and my chin. Theres a pretty large region where I have no feeling and it hasn't change at all. I'm not sure how much feeling will come back but right now I'm not too concerned about it.

I'm still working on chewing soft foods. By soft foods I mean overcooked pasta, soft potatoes and sweet potatoes, soft bread, and things that are cut small enough I can just swallow them. I do wish I could bite into a big sandwich but that time will come. I'm working on my diet and trying to bring more nutrition into it. I'm taking in a lot more calcium since my body is demanding it. I'm also trying to get more protein from beans and supplements and different things.

As I mentioned above I notice swelling where the infection was. I still have a flap of flesh that is coming from the incision lines and I still have no idea what it is. I have noticed though that my sinus on that side is giving me a lot of trouble. My nose is constantly stuffed on that side and I once again taste that fluid I was struggling with on week two. I'm not sure if it's coming from my mouth or my nose but it tastes gross. I'm really hoping it's not an infection. I was going to call my surgeon to go in early but I thought I would wait and see if it gets any worse.

Energy Level:
My energy level is still pretty low for what I'm used to. I get really tired easily but since I'm having a hard time sleeping I'm struggling even more with this. I've started going to bed earlier because I got caught up in going to bed really late and sleeping in. Night is the only time I can just relax and be alone so I enjoyed staying up until 3am and watching sitcoms on my laptop, but I figured I better stop that and get back to sleeping like a normal person. I've been up early the last two days and I'm hoping my brain goes to sleep tonight.

I'm going for an adjustment on monday. I'll get these wires removed and get some thinner ones which will be nice. No more big giant surgical wires!!! I'm also getting some hooks removed. I don't even think I need the additional hooks but we'll see how many go. I have no idea what I'm doing with my elastics. I'm still lost between what my orthodontist says and what my surgeon says (which are two different things in itself). I'm developing a fairly large overjet but the good thing about this is it will prevent me from relapsing into an underbite. I'm also going to be starting speech therapy next year to correct the tongue thrust. That reminds me, I better call her before I go away and get this thing booked.

I'm hoping to get my shopping done and do all my holiday baking before I go to australia. I'm now the proud new owner of a Kitchen Aid mixer. It's so beautiful! I can't wait to start baking. I've tried doing some shopping but I get tired after one store and I just want to go home and lay down. I'm going away in two weeks!!! We'll be gone for December so it's a nice long vacation and I hope that when I get back I'm not so swollen and that I can talk normally. I still have a hard time controlling my face and I still look like Joan Rivers when I talk! Ah well.

Anyway that should be it for today. I'll update if anything new comes up. I'm going to make a video but I'll probably do that tomorrow.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

39 Days Post op

First off I want to say Congrats to Katie for getting through the surgery!!
I'm wishing you a safe and comfortable recovery, I'm so happy for you!!!!!

This week is like day and night compared to the past weeks following surgery.
All my doubts are subsiding and I am so happy with the new Terra.

These are the major changes I have noticed since surgery:

  • My chin is much more girly and straight
  • I can breathe through my nose
  • I have a perfect bite 
  • My lisp isn't nearly as bad
  • I no longer have a concave midface
  • I have cheeks
  • My nose looks better
Overall I feel like a new person. I'm so happy with my new face. The changes big and small are all for the better. Every day I notice the swelling going down more and more and I love the results. 
My double chin is going away and I have a beautiful jawline now. 

I've lost weight with the surgery, probably more weight than I thought. I fit into clothes that I bought years ago but never fit into. I've lost a lot of my muscle tone too though. I'm a runner and I have been sitting around a whole lot since the surgery. Hopefully I'll be okay to run in Australia since it's too cold here to get back into outdoor running after surgery. I'm not sure if the weight will stay off but I feel less lethargic and I'm going to try to stay on a healthy diet. I'm really excited to go running with my new airways. I couldn't breathe through my nose prior to the surgery which killed my stamina. I was running about 10km per run and now I can only imagine what my body is capable of. 

Anyway, back to surgery. Here are the things I'm still dealing with:
  • Mid face swelling and jawline swelling
  • Can only open my mouth a few mm
  • Still in elastics
  • No feeling on my lower jaw, chin, lower lip, and gums
  • I still have other numb spots on my face but the lower face is the worst, it hasn't changed at all since surgery. 
  • Still having a lot of difficulty chewing soft foods. 
  • Hearing is still coming and going. 
Honestly, at this point the pros are outweighing the cons. I'm trying to get my x-mas shopping done now since I won't be here for x-mas. I'll be celebrating a Canadian christmas at new years and christmas will be in Australia. 

I mentioned also the issue with my incisions and the infection. I sort of don't want to take a picture because it's so gross. Theres a flap of flesh hanging along the incision line. It's significantly large too but it isn't causing me any pain. 

I'm almost there!!!!
I'll post new pictures soon!

Friday, November 9, 2012

5 weeks post op

Happy 5 weeks to me!

Life is getting easier. I'm still fairly tired but I managed to do laundry and clean the house today.
I'm going to Australia in 3 weeks and I'm happy to say that I think I'll be feeling a lot better by then.
I'm trying to take Sean's advice and eat regularly so I have more energy. Eating is very difficult as I can only open my mouth a little bit and although I'm allowed to chew soft things I have no idea how to chew anymore. I think I'm chewing but my food is still in one piece. Anyhow I'm trying to switch to healthier food. I'm vegetarian but I've been having eggs and milk because I don't have the energy or the ability right now to consume enough nutrients with a vegan diet. I've been vegetarian for probably around 9-10 years so I'm pretty worried about my B12 levels and my iron.

I'll probably switch to a more vegan diet once I can chew, right now I've been craving yogurt and dairy.

Emotionally this has been a difficult journey, but it does get easier. I feel blessed that I have people in my life who remind me all the time that I did the right thing and that I look better like this. Sean has been so supportive and he keeps reminding me that the new me is so much better than the old me. It's really helping me in accepting the changes to my face. I was uploading pictures today and I came across some old photos I want to share because they really show how awful my malocclusion had made my face.
Pre surgery side profile

Now I want to show you some of my post surgery side profiles so you can see the difference...
Sorry I had no makeup on.

I'll try to take some decent photos soon, I just haven't been too preoccupied with my jaws anymore. More so with learning to eat again and getting life sorted out. 

Thanks for reading, 


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Surgeon Appointment (33 days)


I got the okay to chew!

I saw my surgeon today and the appointment went really well. He changed up my elastics.
I totally don't understand his diagrams so I'm just going to keep putting my elastics on the way he did.
I only have to wear them for 18 hours a day which is awesome.
My bite is in a great position. My surgeon did say though that he wanted to change the elastics so I have some wiggle room. My ortho made my bite close really tight which is a little scary in the case I relapse. He wants a little more of an overjet.

Why can't I stop rambling? Here I'll use point form:

  • I'm allowed to chew soft foods
  • back in the box form elastics
  • going to continue doing lip exercises and face exercises to get motion back in my face
  • 15 minutes of jaw exercises a day (open and close without elastics)
  • 18 hours of elastic wear a day
  • Sleeping well

I can't wait to eat pizza. I'll have to give it a try on the weekend. 

On another note I've continued to lose weight. I'm under 100lbs now but I'm sure I'll gain it back as I continue to heal. 
My surgeon said that the areas where he cut the bone will have the most swelling remain. I notice that too where they did the cuts on both jaws theres a lot of swelling. 

I'll be seeing my orthodontist in about 2 weeks and I think my surgeon that same week before we head to Australia for the rest of the year. 

I'll be in Sydney Australia for the month of December and then back in Toronto in January and back at Uni. I'm really excited for life to go back to normal. 

Hope all my jaw surgery buddies are doing good. 
I'm so excited for you Katie, your surgery is so soon!!!
Hope everyone in recovery is doing well (Amanda, Nancy, Sarah, Tiffany, Zachary, Ellie, Danielle)
Sorry if I left anyone out, still a little out of it. It;s been amazing having so many people to relate to. 

Honestly for all you coming up to your surgery date, the surgery is tough. The recovery is a lot of work. There's infection and vomiting and all kinds of stuff to worry about but you get through the worst of it and it just gets so much better. 
Take your meds!! The first week at least take all the meds on a regular schedule. Take nausea medication because trust me, you do not want to be throwing up with your jaw stuck shut, and old blood doesn't taste good. Grind up gravol and take it with water in a syringe. Stop the nausea before it starts. Enjoy the pain meds and take something to help you sleep if you need to. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

4 Weeks Post Op

Yes I made it!

This is what I wanted to share, some before and afters from a few days ago.

I am really happy that I did the double jaw surgery. I love how the middle of my face is fuller.
I'm sorry the before pictures are so scary. It was the night before surgery with no makeup. My face in all it's malocclusion glory.

Do you guys think this will affect my passport? I had my passport renewed a little while before surgery and now I'm a little worried that my picture won't match my new face. I'm leaving for Australia in 4 weeks. I really hope this isn't an issue. Maybe if I bring documentation from my surgery.

Anyway I survived the first 4 weeks. It is getting better thankfully.
I'm starting to feel more like myself.

Today I was hungrier but that could be because I didn't really have a meal, I just had snacky stuff.
I can't justify cooking a meal just for myself so on days like today it doesn't happen. I'll cook tomorrow though and I'll be making polenta lasagna on Sunday (if I can find the damn polenta rolls!)

To those of you newly embarking on surgery these are my MUST HAVES for surgery:


  • Whiteboard
  • Notebook and pen
  • baby toothbrushes
  • alcohol free mouthwash
  • q-tips
  • wet wipes
  • travel neck pillow
  • lots of pillows
  • humidifier
  • mirrors
  • baby spoons
  • syringes of different shapes and sizes
  • pill crusher
  • wrap around hot and cold packs
  • lots of liquids (juices, ensure, water)
  • chapstick
  • a lot of tissues
  • HAND BLENDER (I wouldn't have survived without this)
  • towels
  • power flosser
I haven't used my regular blender at all or my juicer. My $20 hand blender has been amazing at making anything and everything into a puree form and it's not like a stand up blender where it all gets caught in the blade. 
I haven't used my waterpik yet but my power flosser by waterpik is amazing. I can use it to floss while I can't floss. 
Q-tips are so vital as well. I use them dipped in mouthwash to clean the inside of my teeth. Honestly the feeling of my teeth on the inside was keeping me up at night it was just so gross. I started this weeks ago and it's amazing. They're also great dipped in saline solution to clean your nostrils post surgery, mine were constantly filled with guck after the tubes came out. 

Happy 4 weeks to me!! It'll be a month on Sunday!!! yay

Thursday, November 1, 2012

27 days

Hi guys,

It's hard to believe it's almost 4 weeks post op. Here are the major updates:

  • Finished my antibiotics
  • Still can't hear out of my left ear, right ear's hearing is coming and going too. 
  • Lower teeth are really sensitive and sore (might be from gum loss)
  • Salty food = Swollen morning face (Bad idea)
  • More motion coming back to my face
  • Getting sick of food (yes this is bad as I've lost weight but it's so much work to eat and my options are limited with puree everything)
  • Low energy. I have to get ready in intervals to go anywhere. 
  • Lower face is still 100% numb
Well that's all that's new. 
Except last night my jaw seized up, I could hardly open my mouth which made me very sad because I couldn't squeeze m&m's in anymore. There's something very depressing about halloween when you can't eat any of the chocolate. 

These jeans never fit me. The only other time they fit was when I was so sad I didn't eat for a month.