Sunday, August 4, 2013

Three Years Later

Its my 3 year anniversary of jaw surgery!  and I'm still alive!  Life is good; I even recently got a pet hedgehog named Toula.

I'm still super happy I got my jaw surgery and I never regret it for even one second - one of the best decisions I've ever made.    For those of you who ask - and i do still answer all of your emails and comments! - I never have any pain or weird clicking in my jaw.  The numbness is all gone except for one spot in my chin thats a little ticklish, but thats it.  My bite has shifted slightly since I got the surgery, but its still fine and I don't have any problems with it.  I definitely still wear my retainer from the orthodontist every single night, and that helps keeps my teeth nice and straight. :)    And for those of you who wonder,  I got my jaw surgery done at the Mayo Clinic by the amazing Dr. Rieck.  I definitely recommend the hospital and him!

As always,  feel free to email and comment! I love talking to other people who need/have/had jaw surgery. :)  Thanks for reading!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

the hundred thousand dollar smile

I lied. The last post wasn't my last post.    I have a very important announcement to make that requires a new post.  So.  Here we are.



We realized today that a smile this amazing is quite expensive.  Almost 100k to be vaguely exact.  We're talking 10+ years of orthodontic treatment, wisdom teeth removal, jaw surgery plus a few tubes of toothpaste along the way gets us to just about $100,000.  Thank goodness for insurance.  But from what came out of pocket (talking about my parents' pockets here)  I think it was worth every penny.  Right, Dad? :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 365 - I Survived Jaw Surgery

ONE YEAR!  That's how long its been since I had my double jaw surgery.  Its kind of hard to believe so much time has already gone by.... but thats how time always is.  Right now, as I'm writing, I'm enjoying a Biggby Orange Creme Freeze....I thought it was appropriate that i get a smoothie to honor the 6+ weeks that I was on a liquid/soft food only diet.  Anyway.  This will probably be the last post on this blog... which is actually really sad. There's really nothing new to say anymore - but i love all of the emails and messages i get from other jaw surgery victims so please keep them coming!!!  I think it is SO COOL that i have readers from all over the world! From the US to the UK to Australia...Singapore, Aruba, Sweden, Turkey, Venezuela, France, Argentina, Cyprus, Indonesia, Dennmark, Mexico, India, South Korea, Vietnam, and JUST TODAY i've had hits from Canada, Israel, Pakistan and Poland.  Thats pretty awesome.

Some frequently asked questions.....

Was your mouth wired shut?   - nope. I just wore really tight rubberbands that held my jaw shut, but as i recovered i could take them off to brush my teeth or open my mouth a little bit.

How long before you can go back to work/school? - Depends.  I took 3 weeks off of work & spent those 3 weeks mainly in bed.  When i did go back to work, the first week I only went for 2 hour shifts at a time and after that I would practically collapse from exhaustion. I think it was about 5 weeks before I could completely handle a full day of work. Also, this will depend on how much talking your job requires.  I essentially had a phone/customer service job  - so its a LOT of talking and it wore my poor jaw out. :(

How long before you get feeling back in your chin/lips?  This is really tough to answer and i think it definitely depends on how good your surgeon is and how extensive your surgery is.  I had absolutely no feeling in pretty much my entire face after surgery....then it gradually started coming back after a week or 2.  For over a month my entire chin and lips were numb and the tingling was horrible!!!  After a couple of months, I got feeling back in the right side of my chin/lips but the left side was still numb.... and honestly its its still mostly numb.  I usually know when something is touching my chin...but it doesn't feel the way it normally feels when something touches your skin. If i brush my finger against the left side of my lower lip/chin - it feels all tingly and weird. If i'm brushing my teeth and some water or toothpaste drips onto my chin, i can't feel it at all.  I'm not really a fan. They say whatever it feels like at the 1 year point will probably how it'll feel for the rest of your life.... so I just deal with it.

Does the surgery drastically alter your appearance?  Depends on the surgery... I definitely look different, but i wouldn't say drastically. My smile is definitely different - but I'd say for the better. [no one coulda believed it was possible!!! :P]

I would recommend you go back through my blog archive (on the right)  if you have any other questions or just wondering what jaw surgery recovery is like....i have documented the entire experience!!!

Based my google blog stats the most popular posts are:

Day 185 - 6 monthss! Before and After  Pictures!!

Day 52  - Atkins? South Beach? Jaw Surgery?  - how much weight do you lose after jaw surgery?

Day 29 - The Cost of Jaw Surgery

Day 20 - Life is What You Make It

Day 9 - a photo of my puffy face!

Day 1 - Where It All Begins!

Also don't forget to check out  my "About" page!!! :)

So. I guess this is goodbye. I'm supposed to get my braces off in October or November. Thats pretty exciting. So exciting, in fact, that I might come back to tell you about it. :) We'll see.   But i suppose i should leave everyone with some final words:

To those thinking about having jaw surgery: If you need it, do it. You won't regret it. Just make sure you have a good surgeon. I can't say enough good about my surgeon, Dr. Rieck, at the Mayo Clinic. Tell him i sent you.

To those who just had jaw surgery and are recovering:  I'm sorry. I really am. You're going through the worst experience of your entire life and none of your friends understand.  Read my blog and know that someone else has suffered too.  Keep a funny looking smile on your face (it does look weird, doesn't it?) and  feel free to email me if you have any questions or want to complain. :)

To those who have finished recovering: CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!! Life is good.

One year.  My mouth and I have come so far.  I survived jaw surgery.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 185 - SIX MONTHS - Before and Afters

6 months later. amazing.   I don't really have much to say other than the left side of my chin still isn't back to normal and I've come to the conclusion that its going to be this way for the rest of my life.   I'll keep you posted though because I'm sure tons of you are checking back regularly wondering "I wonder what Rebecca's chin is feeling like today!!!!"  Yeah. Anyway.  My orthodontist still has me wearing annoying rubberbands - currently on my very back molars to pull the top and bottom ones closer together.  Its amazing how many things my orthodontist finds that are wrong with my mouth.  Its incredible really.  I figure, hey, I can chew food, I can talk okay, and my smile is pretty normal - what more could a girl ask for, so please take these braces off!   SOOOO on to much more exciting things....likeeeeee BEFORE AND AFTER XRAYS! woohooo  Its actually kind of embarrassing that I'm posting these now because they were taken back in September and i had prints made of the them even - but i don't have a decent scanner and its taken me this long to call my surgeon's office and have them emailed to me.  Who knows how long it will be before I get around to getting the actually photos of my face.  While you're checking back on the status of my chin, you can see whether i've gotten them yet.

incredible, right??????  

You can see the shape of my face changed kind of dramatically 

(click photos to enlarge)

As you can see, my mouth is quite bionic at this point.  Pretty sure there's about a million screws in there.  I'm just a little nervous for the next time I have to go through an airport thanks to all these new regulations....  Anyway... I'm planning on a new post or new in the semi-near future, so don't give up on my blog yet! :)


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day 151 - Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  I can't believe its 2011!  Time sure goes by fast.  Anyway.... I don't have to say at this point about my mouth since there haven't been any changes in chin numbness since last time i updated.... However,  I haven't posted any pictures in a while so I figured now was as good a time as any to upload some.  It really took a long time for the swelling to go down 100% and for my face and expressions to feel comfortable and natural.  But at this point I can say that i really love my new smile!  I don't want to say that i was self-conscious or unhappy with how I looked before because I really have always been pretty confident about myself.. But pre-jaw surgery I definitely was kind of careful of what angle my face was at in pictures to minimize my underbite showing. However, now I'm totally free of that and am free to smile as big as i want whenever i want and at whatever angle to the camera i want.  Smiling is pretty fun. :)

happy happy happy!

And to all my readers from around the world - thanks so much for your emails and comments! I really appreciate hearing from people who've gone through the same thing as me - jaw surgery really is a very unique experience that's hard for other people to understand so its good to connect with you guys.  So feel free to keep emailing with comments and questions!  Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 127 - Its still there

Oh..... and there's still smoothie on my ceiling.  My ceiling has never been painted so if you take a wet rag to wipe off the smoothie, the drywall stuff comes off with it.  No one has had the time to repaint the ceiling since I get to regularly enjoy a nice little reminder of those dark fun days.  :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 121??? - an explanation

I had another ortho appointment yesterday and they gave me an explanation for the rubberband issue that i discussed in my last post. Apparently after surgery your jaw muscles really really want to go back to their old position so they pull on your bones to go back the way things were before. So it wasn't the rubberbands fault that my teeth were clashing... it just that they weren't strong enough to hold everything in place as my jaw muscles were fighting to return to their old position (they got pretty used to the way things were before after 18 years). I'm glad to say that those painful rubberbands i got last month did pull everything back into the correct position now and my jaw muscles are learning to face the fact that this is the way things are gonna be from now on. I think its pretty cool though how your muscles want to go back to the way they were... What if i didn't have jaw surgery, but rather was punched in the face by some unsavory individual and my face was messed up?  My awesome jaw muscles would be working hard to put everything back together! Anyway. I'm really hoping everything will stabilize soon because i want these braces OFF!  So far no idea when the estimated removal day is going to be.....  And for those just dying to know the condition of the nerves in the left side of my chin and lower lip - no improvements recently.  I have slight feeling but its incredibly annoying.If i touch my chin, I know I'm touching it - but i get a very tingly sensation.  If water is dripping down my chin i definitely don't feel it at all.  If my sheets rub against my face while i'm in bed i feel like sand paper is scraping across my face.  Its quite horrible.  Occasionally, I get random tingles in my chin, and sometimes some pain shoots through - luckily this is rare though.  I sometimes get pain along my jaw line... but according to my orthodontist all of this is to be expected up to a year after surgery as the nerves are healing and reconnecting.  Fun stuff.