Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Christmas wishes......

Ho ho hum! 

I didn't expect to have my braces taken off prior to Christmas, but I was hoping that maybe I could have them taken off early in the New Year - perhaps at my next appt in February.  I was hoping that was going to be my news because two of my bloggy jaw surgery friends who had surgeries around the time I did, have either just had their braces off, or are about to.  Yes, I know everyone is different.  I just wanted to be as excited, and as close to the end as they were/are.      

And you know what - that isn't something I should be complaining about, I'm not meaning to complain at all.  I've had my braces on for almost 17 months, I've had my top jaw broken twice, and my bottom jaw broken once, I've had no nasty side affects or complications (just some impressive bruising thanks to my genes), AND I have an amazing team in charge of the changes to my teeth/mouth/jaws/face.  I really could not ask for a better experience.   

I'm happy with my results to date, I have no residual numbness to speak of, and the altered sensations I am feeling on one side of my chin are reducing and expected to return to normal fairly soon. I can comfortably open to two finger widths (at the second knuckle) and am aiming to improve that with some stretching exercises (and tongue depressors).

Maybe its just that the AFTER SURGERY waiting is perhaps more intense than the BEFORE SURGERY waiting.  Maybe because I know that I'm over the hardest, biggest bit of the hill & on my way down the other side that I just can't wait to reach the bottom.  It's just a bit longer ride than I hoped for.  In saying that though - I was originally told I would likely have my braces on for 24 months (with 12 months of that being post surgery) - so as long as I am out by the end of July - I won't have actually gone over time.  Ugh - that's another seven months!! 

When I saw my Orthodontist - Dr O this week, I told him that as long as I was brace free by August (I'm getting married in August) I'd be happy.  He laughed and told me that we should definately have them off well before then.  So.....not February, but not August either - somewhere in between - I can live with that.  And you know what - I am sure that the wait between when I am told I can have my braces off, and the actual day I get my braces off will probably be the longest time E.V.E.R!! 

There really isn't anything major still to be done - just a little tweaking and fine tuning in order to achieve the best result.  Something I say to my kids all the time is that "if you are going to do something, do it properly" - and I need to remind myself of that.  And I have full faith that Dr O will deliver the best possible result in the best possible time.   

So - news since my last post & appointment: 

My bands worked better and quicker than expected, so much so that I ended up with my top and bottom teeth sitting smack bang on top of each other & I could not put my bottom teeth behind my top teeth at all.  That was a little scary & of course it occurred on a weekend. 

Since I had asked so many questions every time I see Dr O (about what he is doing & why; and how everything works) I was able to figure out that with three weeks until I was to see him again, that I needed to stop any further movement in that direction.  So I took my bands off, and actually wore them backwards that night (ouchy-wa-wa).  I took some pictures, and emailed Dr O & was able to chat to him the next day.  He seemed pretty impressed with what I had done myself, and it was very re-assuring to talk to him (since I can't just pop in and see him whenever I like). 

So I wore my bands backwards only at night for probably a bit over a week and a half which brought my bite back to normal. 

When I saw Dr O again this week, he noted that my midlines are off slightly more than he would like, so we did some things to change that: 
  • Dr O 'polished' a little off the sides of a few of my top teeth on my front left side (about 1mm total)
  • I have to wear a band on my left side only 24/7 to pull the top teeth left and push the bottom teeth right
  • I have a power chain from my back left teeth around past my two front teeth to try and pull them all slightly to the left  
  • This may create a little gap where the power chain ends, and if that is the case I'm to take some pics, email them to Dr O & pop on a rubber band to help bring the back teeth forward a little on the right to close that gap. 
It's good to know what to expect - it helps to avoid worry.  We are also asking a couple of top teeth at the front right to move down just a little so that my front six teeth all line up nicely at the bottom.  Cross your fingers for me that we can achieve all of that by my next appointment in February.... :)

This week, I also had my last follow up appointment with my surgeon Dr D, which was a little sad (yes I gave him a hug, and yes I cried).  That man has changed my life, and I'll probably never see him again!  Now I know that he 'only' made physical changes to me, and that a big part of this journey for me has been a lot of mental changes as well - but it's all linked.   

I honestly couldn't have asked for a better surgeon & all round good bloke to look after me the way he did.  I guess that feeling comfortable with and having complete trust in the person who is going to cut open your face, peel it back and break and re-position your bones & put you back together is pretty important.  And I did.  Although I was nervous about how I was going to cope and feel and look - I wasn't worried that he would fail to hold up his end of the bargain.   

Now I know that you're probably reading this Dr D - so again I say thank-you from the bottom of my heart.  I have so much admiration, respect and awe for you and what you are able to do for people, and what you have done for me.  I'll never forget it.  And thanks for letting me post this picture - you really are a champion!!

So, for now - to my heros Dr D & Dr O; to my bloggy friends and their families - I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a wonderful New Year.  Stay safe, and until next time.....

Ellie xx 


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Healing and getting on with things......

Firstly, a big shout out - HOORAY - to Natasha, who is now officially on the other side after having her jaw surgery yesterday/today (never sure which it is with the time difference).  Well done lovely!

Apologies for my absence, and general slackness at posting updates since my last.....

I've just passed 5 weeks post op & time is flying! 

So, at 16 days post-op I visited my surgeon Dr D, who was still very happy with my progress, but not so happy with my bruising (making him feel like a bit of a Monster).  Don't get me wrong, it was definately much less than the last time I had seen him, but I was still bruised.  The funny thing was that although I was purple and every other colour of the rainbow on the outside, I did not bruise at all on the inside.  How weird it that?  My wounds were all healing nicely, my stitches were starting to fall out, and he was happy with how far I could open my mouth.  I was given the all clear to do some exercising to a) loosen up the scar tissue so my face is not too stiff; and b) start increasing the amount I can open my mouth.  Yay!

I noticed that I could feel a 'depression' on both sides of my jaw & when comparing this to the x-ray, what I am feeling is the gap where my jaw was moved.  Weird, but cool at the same time.

16 Days post-op (and the day after I turned 37) still a little bruising on and around my bottom lip, neck chin and chest

More than one finger, not quite two....

I also saw my fill-in orthodontist (Dr H) as my regular Dr (Dr O) was away lecturing at a Uni down south somewhere.  Dr H wasn't as gentle as Dr O normally is, and he leaned (or held onto) the left side of my chin/jaw quite a lot.  He also gave me bands to wear basically 24/7 in a slanted square formation on either side.  This created force in lots of different directions: pulling my lower back teeth upwards, my upper back teeth downwards (to help them meet quicker); pulling my lower teeth to the right, and my upper teeth to the left (to tweak my midlines).  Ouch ouch ouch.  It took me about four or five days to get used to them. 

I'm not sure if it was the bands, or Dr H's leaning, or just jaw surgery in general, but since then I have had pain on my left side between my chin and where my 'depression' is.  It's not pain all of the time, and it's not so painful that I need pain killers, but it is a new pain that wasn't there before that day.  And I am sure that a new bruise came out in that exact spot a couple of days later.   

It hurt when I stretched my jaws open, and as I wasn't sure if something was wrong, I tried not to do it too often. 

The following weekend I had my 20 year High School Reunion which involved an awful lot of talking, some of which was over very loud music which meant I felt like I had to really enunciate my words to make myself understood - and I think that it was the best thing for me!  My jaw did get tired at times, but nothing too serious, and nothing that involved pain killers - but I really noticed that the stiffness in my face reduced enourmously! 

Here are some pics of me ready to hit our local races as part of our School Reunion - being brave with some nice red lippy!

Monday this week (just shy of 5 weeks post-op) I went back to see my regular Orthodontist (Dr O).  He was lovely as usual, and I did mention to him my concern about Dr H's leaning heavily on that side, and the pain since.  He didn't seem concerned and said it was unlikely to have done any damage. 

Other than that, he is very happy with the position of my bite, saying that getting that right is the hardest part and kept singing Dr D's praises - what a great job he had done.  While some surgery cases are 'straightforward' with regard to movements - mine was very complex with movements across all different planes. 

I GOT MY SURGICAL HOOKS OFF!!! Yaaaaay - they were really starting to bug me.  I don't have to wear the square formation bands anymore, but I still have one on each side on a diagonal - going from bottom No. 5 to top No. 3. 

So Dr O says that we are mainly now just doing some tweaking.  One of my front teeth was hanging down noticeably longer that the other, so he put a little kink in my wire to ask it nicely to move back up (this never ceases to amaze me) and it had moved a little before I even left his office.  If it is still a little long, then a small amount may be filed off, but we'll look at that later on.  We also need to work on a couple of pesky little black triangles, but that is no biggy either.  He said he hopes to have me out of braces within six months - I hope so too!!

My next appointment is 8 weeks away & I'll see both Dr O and Dr D that day.

I went and saw Dr D after that, and he was still very happy with my progress.  I mentioned the pain to him also, and he wasn't really concerned either - saying that considering what they did to my face and bones I'm highly likely to get niggly little pains here and there for a while.  He took some 'after' photos and again mentioned that not quite all my bruising has gone.  It really is the most minor tinge of green from about the edges of my mouth down to my chin - I wasn't sure whether I was imagining  it, but obviously not if he can see it.

I have not been able to open any further since my last appointment, but I haven't been pushing it either.  Dr D says that I can do some exercises, and could use tongue depressors (like your GP uses when you say 'Agh') to gradually stretch by stacking them between my teeth on both sides for a minute or so morning and night, and adding an extra one (in the middle) each day.  So, I've ordered myself a pack of them :)  

I took these pics today, and it wasn't until I looked at them, that I noticed I still look a little puffy on my right (your left) side.  I'm sure it will sort itself out soon.   

My new pink bands and eleastics


And, the profile (and the green tinge!)
Until next time bloggy friends, much love, stay safe, keep well & I look forward to reading your updates soon.

Ellie xxx


Thursday, 19 September 2013

9 Days Post Surgery - :))))

Can't believe I'm at nine days post surgery already!! 

I noticed that I had a real change in the way I was feeling from day five.  This was two days after I returned home and resumed using my Isagenix products.  I really think that having this wonderful nutrition prior to, and following my surgery had a lot to do with my quick recovery.  

I was allowed to remove my chin strap this morning & that felt SO GOOD!  It was getting unbelievably annoying & itchy.  

I'm feeling pretty good overall; but my nice purple and green bruising makes it look a hell of a lot worse than what it actually is. 

It's funny - Corrine and I had very similar procedures done, yet she didn't bruise at all.  I on the other hand look like my surgeon used to be a butcher; and nothing could be further from the truth.  

I had my first post surgery check up with Dr D today, & he really is the best - my favourite Doctor in fact.  He apologized for all the bruising (although it has more to do with my genes than his technique), and I apologized for scaring all the patients in his waiting room - lol.  

He is super happy with my progress, my wounds are healing nicely, my bite is excellent (no bands for me - woohoo), and I can progress onto soft foods straight away.  I can open about a finger width which is also good.  

I have a small patch of numbness that extends from the left side of my bottom lip (to about halfway across) and right down that side of my chin.  Good news is though that for the last few days I've been getting some rather weird feelings in that area which are similar to tummy butterflies.  Dr D says that is my nerves waking up - yay. 

Im not able to feel most of my top teeth or the front part of my pallet, but I remember that from my S.A.M.E and full feeling eventually came back, so I'm not worried.

I had so much fun baking the other day that I made some yummy Queen Cakes and Afghan Biscuits (my favourite) for Dr D and his surgical team, and another lot for all the nurses who took care of me.  AND since I'm allowed to eat softish things, I'm going to try one myself when I get home this arv. 

I mentioned in my last post that Dr D had taken some before and after pictures of me on the operating table.  Today he gave me copies.  :D THEY ARE AMAZING!!! I haven't stopped looking at them ALL DAY.  


Such a huge, huge difference from those teeny tiny millimeters!  

He also showed me the X-rays of all my new hardware.  

I've now taken out the pillows from under my mattress, and I'll try sleeping flat from tonight.  

From Wednesday night (one week) I have not needed to take pain killers through the night; and since yesterday I only had light painkillers (Panadol) when I got up; and when I went to bed.  Today I've only had one dose.  

Especially for Natasha - the things I found most useful with regard to the liquid diet was having a good quality blending device (I had a Thermomix) ours was used constantly for a week; and using a squirty sauce bottle to feed myself (although you need to make sure your food is very well blended or you'll have to keep unblocking the spout).  Try and keep your food tasting interesting as the texture gets boring quickly - some of my faves were: few tbsp of plain yoghurt with a dash of strawberry jam; whole fruits blended with ice into a slushy; and various vegetable soups. 

I have another week off work (yay) and it just happens to be school holidays, so I plan to enjoy this time off with my Fiancé and kids.  

I've got another appointment with Dr D next week; and I'll also see one of my Orthodontists then too.  

Next week also happens to include my very first birthday with my new face - EXCITING!!

Until next time my blogging friends. 

Ellie xxx

Monday, 16 September 2013

Days 1 to 6

I was up pretty early on day 1, and as I hadn't yet eaten anything and my blood pressure was a bit low, the nurses helped me have a shower..  It was nice to rinse my mouth out with the portable shower head.
I was given some more morphine and anti-nausea drugs, and then it dawned on me that it was the morphine making me nauseous so I requessted no more of that.  Still didn't feel like eating much during the  day, I tried to have some yoghur at breaky, but it just sat on my bottom lip  as I couldn't open my mouth well with the bands in.
Bernie came and visited twice today. 
Dr D came and saw me and showed me profile pictures he had taken of me before he operated; and one directly after - there was a big difference, but it's hard to remember, and I don't have a copy.......yet. 
My bottom lip started to go a little numb (I think from beinng so fat).   I snoozed on and off most of the day, my eyes hurt  a bit, so I didn't feel like watching TV or amusing myself on my tablet.
Dr D came and saw me again, and wondered whether my swelling had peaked  (I hoped so) as I wasn't really any puffier than that morning.  He decided to remove my bands to try and make it easier for me to et and take my pain meds.  I wasn't sure if that was a good idea or not, but he did it anyway.  He also said that I probably wouldn't go home until Saturday (today was Thursday).
Had some soup for dinner, from a little sippy cup - it was SO GOOD.  Brushed my teeth & slept pretty well  that night. 

I was awake super early again (sun-up), and there was a lovely nurse who was at the end of my bed with fresh ice pack (everyone else had waited until I asked for ice).  My face was pretty puffy and achy. 
I took myself for a shower and tried to brush my teeth  - I managed to get all of the outside, but none of the inside.  I was really looking forward to breakfast and a cup of tea.  They serve so much sweet stuff (yoghurt; custard & jelly; pureed fruit;  ice-cream; sweetened fruit juice - yuk) all I wanted was savoury. 
I was feeling pretty good, and hoped that Dr D would change his mind and let me go home today - but no.  Bernie came to visit again & he noticed  that I looked better, and was a lot more mobile. 
Dr D finally came to visit & stayed for a while, he wondered how I was psychologically  (I thought pretty good - I had only questioned my sanity a couple of times since Wednesday!!)  He told me that I was looking better, as i had my colour back.  He also said he had to move the bottom plate on my RHS 3 times - first due to dodgy tap on tthe screw; then new position for a fresh hole; and finally because he couldn't move my chin forward with the plate where it was.  He was really pleased with the level of feeling on my right side for this reason, as the nerve had to be manouvred several times.  He sent me down for an x-ray to check everything out; and  before he left, he requested a copy of my picture of me with my smiley face.  

Hanging out for dinner again, and too much sweet stuff, and not enough soup!!
Bernie & I watched a few  episodes of Hamish and Andy - Gap Year Asia - they are a mad pair.  Didn't  sleep very well.

I woke up super early (like 4am) even puffier this morning, and my eyes felt kind of stuck together, but I couldn't go back to sleep.
Had a nice long shower and brushed my teeth gently  - inside my mouth is just as puffy as out.  Had my bag packed and ready to go by about 6am  - waiting; waiting; waiting! 
Emailed a friend, and watched some more Hamish and Andy to kill a bit of time til breakfast.  Had porridge this morning on a baby spoon- so yummy!!  Was hungry again not long after, but only sickly sweet custard - ugh.
Bernie came and visited  and we waited for the Doc.  His wife (also a Dr) came to discharge me which I didn't mind in the slightest. 
Was hungry again as we left hospital, so we grabbed some KFC for the trip home (I had potato & gravy) and commenced our 2.5 hr trip home.  I fell asleep eventually on the way home, but was pretty sore by the time we got here.
Mum came to visit, and brought our dog Harry home; Bernie cooked us up some soup in our Thermomix (love that machine); then we took the dogs for a short walk on the beach (which was nice) before  heading home for an early  dinner/shower/bed.  

This was probably my worst day so far - again I was up at the crack of dawn, and a bit sore, but today I  could hardly open my eyes!   I had tried to sleep in an elevated kind of position, but for someone who is a half side, half tummy sleeper I was SO completely sick of laying on my back, and my tailbone wasn't too happy about  it either - that I'd managed to lay pretty well flat through the night.  With my genio  work came a nice firm plaster over and under my chin and pulled tight right up to my cheek bones; and when you combine that with laying flat - you get swelling that defies gravity with bags under your eyes pushing them up, and tape almost next to your eyes pulling them down & he presto I almost could not see. 
My face felt so  puffy and fat and tight it felt like it might explode & I hoped that surely I could not get bigger than this!  I was constantly putting lip balm on to prevent my bottom lip from cracking - it literaly felt like someone had grabbed it and turned it inside out.  

I did manage to do a few things around home, a couple of loads of washing & put the dishes away - and they happened slowly, but it gave me something to do!
It was also pretty hard to talk, and after I ate my mush from a spoon at lunch, my jaw was pretty tired, sore and achy.  I took some pain killers and applied ice, but the ice seemed to make it worse  - almost as if it were freezing the metal plates inside my head to effectively give me ice-cream head ache around my jaw. 
I rested, but wasn't tired; and I  was  bored, but with a sore head there wasn't much to do;  I ended up having about four showers today - the hot water running over my face felt good. 
Later that arv, Bernie and I took Harry  for a walk on the  beach (and got further than the day before).  It was nice to be out in the fresh air. 
After the sleeping disaster from the night before, I decided to try and sleep on our fold-out couch  in a bid to stay more upright & it did work, but I had a crap night's sleep & woke about every three hours  for more pain killers. 

I woke up early again (not happy Jan - this is my chance for sleep-ins) & started my day with a nice hot shower.  I wasn't quite as puffy as the day before, but today my bruising really started to show.  My bottom lip went dark purple on either side, and out on to my cheeks, and I'm a greenish/yellow all the way down my neck past my collar bone.  

Bernie had some things to do in town, so I decided to go with him to get out of the house.  I stayed in the car at the hardware store, and stockfeed place, but I went into the supermarket with him.  I knew people would stare, and wonder what on earth had happened to me, so I wrapped a scarf around my head like a burka (not sure if I spelled that right)  & yes I got some stares, but just because they wondered why i had a scarf on my head.  The check  out chicks didn't even  seem to misunderstand what I was saying - winning!
Today was the day that my girls came home, and I was a little worried about how they would react to my swollen bruised face.  I had considered asking my Mum to collect them from school, but decided to bite the bullet and treat it as a normal day; and after my positive experience with my scarf, I adopted that approach with them too.
Of course they noticed and wondered why I had a scarf on, and then why I was talking funny, but it gave me a chance to explain it to them a little better without freaking them out too much, or at school.  When we got  home, I revealed, and my youngest was a bit ''creeped out" (her words) - but she soon realised that i was the same Mummy, and that i was ok & would be much better soon.  My eldest had lots and lots and lots of  question, and was more curious than anything.  By that evening though, my jaw was aching from so much talking!!  
Lunch in a sauce bottle - too bloody easy!

I took some stronger pain killers and ditched the couch in favour of our bed with some cushions under the mattress to elevate the head end.  SO MUCH BETTER!!!!  Had an awesome awesome sleep & i absolutely recommend this method of elevation over every other method I've tried. 

Awesome, awesome day!  I really am starting to feel like me again (just with a slightly bruised fat head).  Huge differences today.  I got the girls ready for school and dropped them off; went back to the supermarket and bakery (with my scarf) by myself; went to visit my Mum for a while; baked my family a Bacon & Egg Pie (yummo - but not blendable me thinks).  Bernie went and put the crab pots in (cross your fingers for fresh mud crab tomorrow). And I also attended my Daughter's netball presentation (with scarf) no problems! 
I can smile today!!!! I mean literally smile - I really can, not a big one, but definately a smile!

Cappuccino in a sauce bottle!!

My swelling has gone down a lot today (my plaster has started to crinkle); I can close my lips; and this afternoon I even managed some kisses which I couldn't do this morning!!  I can feel more with the inside of my lips, and my girls told me this afternoon that I am speaking so much better than this morning too. Happy Day :)
My bruising has gotten worse though, it kinda looks like I have had a big feed of vegemite toast & not washed my face - gotta see the funny side of that - if only I could have vegemite toast!!

My pain was almost non-existant today.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Surgery Day

OK, so I've been a little absent these last four days (it seems like MUCH longer), buy it's time i updated and documented this second surgery experience.  

The day of surgery I was awake at 4:30am, not because I needed to be, I just was-  ugh!  I had a protein shake and a couple of eggs for breaky and the set about getting my kids ready for school - all the while with this HUGE knot in my tummy. 

My fiance (still love typing that) drove me the 2.5hr trip to the hospital and cracked jokes all the way which helped lighten the mood a little.  We checked in at 12pm and that's when I started to get really nervous. 

I met my anaesthetist who managed to creep me out slightly and really question what the hell I was doing to myself.   I'm not sure he meant to, perhaps he was just ignorant.  Right after that a nurse had me change into my lovely surgical gear (& she managed to help me freak out just a little bit more) so much so, that it was then time to go and wait to be called and I was a blubbering mess.  But with my man holding my hand and cracking more jokes, I managed to not run away.  He took this photo (I had  just been sobbing) and then they called me in.......

Someone helped me up onto the bed and I was still blubbering (but trying really hard not to), most of the surgical team came out to say hi, and I made myself ask their names and what they'd be doing to try and distract myself.  My anaesthetist showed up then & jokingly asked who made me cry (duh - you did)!!  He gave me something to calm me a bit.  Dr D came out and had a chat with me which was comforting & then they wheeled me in & I had to wriggle onto another bed still chatting to my new surgical friends.

I remember one of the ladies putting these cool massaging things on my lower legs to keep the blood moving during my op; then seeing my anaesthetist put something into my tubes, and feeling like I was drifting & I waved bye-bye.   And then I woke up. 

And it felt SO GOOD!! Just the fact that that part was over, no more waiting, no more anticipation, no more knots in my tummy - I had done it and was now officially on the other side after being on the table for a bit over 4 hours. 

First thing I did was feel my chin & it was covered in plaster, so I knew I'd had a genio done. 

It felt like I was in recovery for ages, but it wasnt really, and they wheeled me back to my room where my handsome fiance was waiting for me with a new little friend to keep me company during my hospital stay. 

I could talk ok, and I was very excited with the amount of feeling in my face.  I could feel my cheeks, my nose, all around and on my top and bottom lips, and all bar a little tiny bit on the centre of my chin.

I did a quick update to my blog (ok so I cheated and drafted most of it before my surgery, so I ony had to write a little and post it); then we called my Mum (who was looking after my girls) and had a quick chat so she could let the girls know I was alright when they woke the next morning. 

Bernie told me that he could see bands on my teeth.  One of the nurses had to suction out my mouth a couple of times, but that was about it. 

I didn't get much sleep that night, my tummy wasn't very happy when they gave me morphine & then anti-nausea drugs; and with all the obs the nurses kept doing, but all in all it was a pretty successful (if not scary and emotionally draining) day. 

Monday, 9 September 2013

Miss Titanium

Hi Family, Friends &  Blog Buddies!! 

I made it!  The waiting is finally over & I'm officially on the other side :).  I cannot express how happy that makes me feel.  Such a relief. 

How am I feeling?

Happy, little sore (when my muscles tense) & little puffy. But HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!!!!!

I'd like it if you would listen to Titanium by David Guetta - with all the new titanium plates in my head, its my new theme song!!


Now for some pictures

Ellie xx


I went to see Dr D for my pre-surgery appointment yesterday.  Let me just say - I love that man!!  I am absolutely fascinated how he does what he does, and totally in awe of that.  He's also just a bloke, someone you can have a chat with, and is pretty funny.  I am totally comfortable leaving myself in his hands for this surgery. 

Over a weekend, he spent about 8 hours (EIGHT - ON THE WEEKEND) working on my moulds and basically performing the surgery on those.  He let me know the measurements that we are looking at for the surgery (which is a little more involved than I thought). 

Here's what will go down tomorrow (eek tomorrow):

Upper jaw will happen first, and as I have a cant (my teeth protrude longer on one side than the other) he needs to take out 2.5mm on one side; 4mm on the other side; and 3mm at the front.  He'll also do a little twist 3mm to the left to correct my midline.  The process of lifting up my top jaw is likely to affect my nose - it could get wider at the nostrils, and the tip could lift up slightly (that's my understanding of it anyway).  So he'll use an alar stitch to keep it from moving too much.

Lower jaw is next, and I can't remember why (maybe something to do with my cant or my off midline) but the right side needs to come forward 8mm; and the left 6mm. 

Genioplasty is a possibility, and a choice that will be made by the surgical team - they're the experts.  Dr D estimates that if that is required that my chin will come forward 4mm; and again with a little twist to make it in line with the rest of my face. 

So I'm not allowed to blow my nose for two weeks following the surgery; I'm to use ice packs as often as I can for a week following surgery (and heat packs if my muscles are tensing up).  I only need to sleep elevated for the first night, and then I can please myself - whatever is comfortable.

Dr D describes the recovery as 'Awkward'.  I understand that, as it pretty accurately describes the feeling after my expansion surgery.  I'm anticipating something similar, but 'bigger' since this surgery involves both jaws (& maybe chin). 

I'm going to end up with an imperfect bite following surgery, as most of my molars won't touch.  This is unavoidable, as orthodontics can only do so much prior to surgery; it will be corrected with more orthodontics (bands), but Dr D says those gaps should close pretty quickly (YAY). 

He also said that I'm going to look very different, it's a big change to my face.  While I'll still look like me, I'll look different enough that others may think there is something different, while not being able to pinpoint exactly what it is.  That could be fun, although I know it is likely to be weird and perhaps unnerving to an extent looking at myself in the mirror, and seeing someone different looking back.  I'm not sure how that will affect my kids, but we'll work through it. 

I can't believe how fast, but how agonisingly slow these last few weeks have gone.  I'm guessing that the next week will be the same (I hope anyway). 

Until next time my friends, wish me luck!! 

Ellie xx

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

More metal anyone?

Hi there,  yesterday I went to see Dr O & he fitted my surgical hooks.  

Good grief!! Not too bad an appointment in the scheme of things.  Not painful & thankfully he had to remove the wires to attach the surgical hooks - as a pair of the crimpers broke (handle snapped clean off!!) & my wire went flying across the room.  All good, we laughed about it.  

Hooks will stay on for about six weeks in my case.  Obviously they need to go on as close to surgery as possible, then will come off when they can easily access them & not cause too much pain.  Each tooth is wired individually also (rather than the pretty plastic colours I'm used to).

So it feels like the first day I had my braces on again, with all this extra metal that sticks out oddly.  And I feel like I may scare small children (or even big ones) if I smile at them :)

Today all my teeth are a little tender, but nothing out of the ordinary.  

13 days and counting until surgery.  I'm looking forward to the point where I wake up from surgery and know 'YES!  I did it - it's over' (at least the waiting for surgery part anyway).  I clearly remember THAT moment from my last surgery.  

The nerves and doubts are trying to creep into my thoughts, but I refuse to allow it.  I need to go into this with a clear head, thinking positively & full of healthy healing vibes.  I CAN do this!!

Monday, 19 August 2013

T minus 22 days and counting 😁

Well whirlwind doesn't quite seem to cut it, but we'll go with that anyway!  

Just back from 17 beautiful magic unforgettable days in stunning  New Zealand where we celebrated my Grandmother's 90th birthday; participated in a HUGE family reunion on many levels; paraglided off mountains; went snowboarding for the first time; explored in a Campervan; and I got engaged to my wonderful partner Bernie.  An unbeatable holiday really, and who has time to think about jaw surgery with all of THAT going on????

Ok back to jaw surgery......

Yesterday I had my work-up appointment with my surgeon, which went pretty well.  

He took moulds (that didn't hurt when he pulled them out - bless him) and measured my head with a weird contraption that sits in your ears and balances on your nose.  

I only had a few questions, and other than that just clarified my understanding of what's what.  

Dr D says that my midline is off by about 3mm (which he'll fix); and he's likely to take about 4mm from my top jaw.  Not sure on the likely movement forward for my bottom jaw yet, and movement of my chin (if required) will be decided by the whole surgical team on the day.  

If all goes to plan, I'll spend two nights in hospital and will not have a splint or bands.  While this did seen a little strange as it does not seem to be the norm in blogging world, I have read other blogs where this is the case, and I do trust Dr D completely.  I'm pretty stoked that I might be able to 'eat' squishy things that will fit on a spoon pretty much straight away.  We'll see.  

Made my first purchase for surgery yesterday (a sit up pillow thingy) to help me sleep upright-ish.  I think that it will probably be my only purchase out of the ordinary.   

I started a Nutritional Cleansing program back in April with a view to get my body healthy and prepare myself for surgery.  At this system's core is a nutrition packed shake, and I'll be able to continue feeding my body properly even though I may not be able to 'eat' which conveniently will be perfect for jaw surgery recovery.  

I firmly believe that the quality of the vitamins, minerals and core nutrients contained within this system will help me heal and recover faster.  For anyone who'd like more information feel free to email me (reeawa@yahoo.com.au)

We already have a stash of lip balm and itty-bitty toothbrushes here at home; and I plan to use little zip lock bags of frozen peas as ice-packs.  I can't think of anything else that I'll need (apart from some big hugs & the support of my family, friends & of course my blog buddies) to help me through.  

I have an appointment next week with Dr O to have my surgical hooks fitted, then a final pre-surgery appt on the 9th.  

Double jaw surgery here I come - I'm gunna kick your arse!!!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Happy Anniversary!!

Happy Anniversary to me and my braces - one year, wow that has really flown by! 

So much happening right now, I don't have time to dwell on my impending surgery (which I think is a good thing). 

My family and I head off to beautiful (& freezing bloody cold) New Zealand tomorrow - YAY - so excited. 

As soon as we are back, I go to see my Surgeon (Dr D) for my first pre-surgery discussion & work up; I see my Orthodontist (Dr O) a week after that to have my surgical hooks attached - I think then it may hit me that I am really doing this..... then a final week of freedom before the BIG DAY. 

EEEEEK - 42 days. 


Wednesday, 3 July 2013


Just got a call from the surgeon's office - I'm ready - apparently. 

Range of emotions right now is all over the place - happy, excited, nervous, frightened, disbelief, calm, - are you sure, good grief - what have you done?

Think I need a run or a rum - or both.  Fidgeting now, can't keep still.  Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

I've booked a date: 11 September 2013.  Just shy of 10 weeks away. 


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

An update - sans update?

Hello again fellow jaw blog buddies :)

I recently saw some pics of me clowning around down at the beach (to test out Mum's new camera) and rather than feeling revolted and depressed about what I saw (which I would normally be, and make her delete them immediately), I was actually quite, um, I don't know - maybe critical, but with a bit of peace of mind as I know its all about to change.  Does that make sense? 

I really noticed how I obviously 'hold' my jaw, and purse my lips to hold them closed - which I didn't realise I did before now.  I think that this 'look' is potentially much worse than the slack-jawed look I have if I relax, and stopped trying so hard to look 'normal'.  Note to self - stop being so bloody critical,  take a deep breath, relax & have FUN! 
Earlier this week (yes, this week - how efficient am I this time??) I had another adjustment appointment with the very knowledgable and informative Dr O.  I was pretty excited about this, hoping that I would get some more of an idea about a possible surgery date. And I did, but I didn't.....

So my expansion has partially re-lapsed (not sure that is technically correct but close enough for me) and this is a good thing, as I was over expanded and the re-lapse was expected and necessary; and my gaps are all closed nicely.  The rubber bands I have been wearing 24/7 for the last three months have done a great job, and for now - I only have to wear them at night (I just have to remember to put them in.....thank you iPhone reminders). 

I went up a wire size both top and bottom, although the top is a bigger size than the bottom - and these are likely to be the ones I will go to surgery with, whenever that may be. 

I had been wondering for a while, but had forgotten to ask the difference between an overbite and an overjet.  Dr O explained that I have both.  The overjet is the horizontal difference between the position of my top teeth and my bottom teeth - this will be fixed by bringing the lower jaw forward, and thus bringing my bottom teeth out to meet my top ones.   

Overjet (horizontal difference)
The overbite is the vertical difference between the position of my top teeth and my bottom teeth - this will be fixed by cutting a chunk (although I am sure it will be much more precise than that - lol) out of my top jaw. So while now when I bite down my front teeth obscure the view of my bottom teeth almost completely, once surgery is done and dusted, we should be able to see a good portion of my bottom teeth.
Overbite (vertical difference)

Keeping with my colourful theme, I asked my eldest daughter for her colour pick for my bands this time.  She chose sparkly purple, but as they don't come as a power-chain, we had to go with dark purple.  Good choice, I love it!!

We had to take wax bite moulds (no dramas) & impressions this appointment also, and while the impressions are never a pleasant experience, it wasn't too bad.  The lovely dental assistant (bugger - forgot her name - but she is SO lovely) apologised for hurting me all the way through, but since she did such a great job of it the first time, we didn't have any repeats - YAAAY.  How else to explain it other than it feels like they are trying to pull all your teeth out at the same time. 

So the plan from here, is that Dr O will talk to my surgeon Dr D in the next couple of weeks, and show him my impressions and wax bite moulds - and they will decide then if I am ready or not.......and I have to wait......... for a call........I hate waiting :)   But I keep thinking - I have now completed 11 months in braces, so I am much farther along than I was and am hopefully at the halfway point (or less). 

Oh, and when Dr O told me that Dr D is THE BEST surgeon he has worked with (and he has worked with several in Capital cities and larger centres) it puts me at ease.  I am in safe and expert hands - both with my Orthodontics and Surgery. 

Luckily I have lots to keep me busy while I wait - birthdays galore; a work conference and a snow holiday to pack for :))))))))  Nothing like time flying when you're having fun!!

My next appointment is scheduled for the end of August, and could very well be the one where my surgical hooks go on (good grief).