Wednesday, September 30, 2009

first real adjustment [day 92]

Yesterday's orthodontist appointment was... eventful. Which I am grateful for, because maybe this means I'll have less time in braces, but it meant taking another sick day today to sleep off the pain - it's really, really difficult to talk and eat. But like I said, no pain, no gain!

The downer? 8-9 months in braces left. It's quite odd, as I distinctly remember him giving me 2 and a half years in braces including surgery - but somewhere along the line I got in my head I would be in braces 6 months after surgery. Silly Stephanie, you've got a long time yet. On one hand, of course I'm disappointed. But on the other hand? I'd much rather them stay on longer and have better results than take them off too soon.

The work? Get this. I went in for a simple wire change - one of those 10 minute appointments where it takes longer for the tech to get the doctor over than for anything actually happening. He started poking around my mouth and calling out numbers to the tech, saying they had "changed their mind" and "oh, did I have time?" Of COURSE I have time! :) They removed and re-positioned 10-ish brackets, put bite turbos on the rear front two teeth, took off all that extra metal and extra hooks (YAHOO!!), took a set of x-rays, gave me new wires, and a new rubberband configuration.

Progress pictures are just the front of my teeth today as I can't open enough to get arch pictures. But most of the metal is off - wahoo! Other pictures? The picture of the day [day 92ish] of my face smiling, and then one not smiling - some of you commented that you couldn't see anything 'wrong' with my upper lip and nose, and I think it's much more visible when I'm not smiling. My lips don't touch, and my upper jaw/ upper lip sticks out weirdly.

And finally... my orthodontist took a front x-ray and it's pretty cool. I haven't had much luck wth getting these to post in the past, but here it is!

Monday, September 28, 2009

bummed [day 90]

I'm not sure what's gotten into me lately, but I've had a big case of the blues for the past 3 or 4 days. Everything is frustrating and I'm just not feeling well. When I went into surgery three months ago, I had no idea all of this would be lasting so long. What's wrong with me? Why am I healing so slowly?

I still have my sinus infection. I was off antibiotics for 2 days and it was back in full force. Dr. Lee says if it continues to see my primary care doctor and to have the doctor page her personally (I now have her office, cell phone, and pager numbers... what a cool surgeon).

I'm still frustrated with my looks. I don't like my upper lip and I really don't like what my nose looks like. I thought it would go down, but it's still upwards - now I can see into my nose in most pictures.

I'm getting lots of pain and popping and clicking in my jaw, and my jaw exercises are not doing anything anymore. I know I'm not quite doing them as much as I'm supposed to be (I should be doing 4 times a day, I do 2)... But they give me really bad headaches and I hate going to school with headaches. I do them when I get home from work and before bed.

I still feel like I don't have as much energy as I did pre-op. I went to an amazing indoor water park on Friday night and after a few hours of climbing up the stairs for the water slides my hip gave up on me... No more slides for Stephanie! And then at the fair the next day I was tired after just a few hours (I usually spend a whole day there), and then barely made it through the Oktoberfest party I went to that night - ended up stealing a chair from someone and just sitting for most of the night (looking at people's backs, as everyone was standing and facing away from me). After that weekend 'o' fun I could barely keep my eyes open during my planning period today.

I have an orthodontist appointment tomorrow. After my emergency appointment a few weeks back they stuck me in a new rubberband configuration to stop the over-correcting of my bite, but now the overbite is re-showing and my teeth barely hit my bumpers anymore. My back teeth don't even come close to touching.

Will these braces ever come off? :( Sorry to be such a downer, but MAN I've been taking this really rough lately. I just want to be back to normal.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

questions [day 85]

Okay, fellow bloggers. I'm wondering if a few things are normal. Help me out.
  1. Sensitivity to spices (especially cayenne), mint, and cinnamon. I can't even use listerene anymore because it causes the roof of my mouth to burn so badly!
  2. Continued fairly major swelling - especially in my upper lip. I'm noticing that my upper lip seems so much smaller now since surgery - and it comes and goes, but today it's really gone.
  3. Gum and teeth sensitivity in general - where I'm numb it doesn't bother me [of course] but pretty much everywhere in my mouth that's awake is pissed off. My gums ache after flossing, my teeth ache where the rubber bands are, my tongue burns, and my teeth are sensitive to hot and cold and sweet where they never have been before.
  4. Molars not meeting. They're better on one side than the other, but in general my front teeth touch but my back ones don't.

I have really grubby teeth. I want to get my teeth cleaned REALLY terribly - what do you guys think? I'm still sitting at 15 popsicle sticks, so I can't get open very much. But I'd been almost a year without a cleaning prior to surgery because the dentist caused my migraines to go through the roof, and then the whole banded shut thing and, well, you know. I have fuzz. I brush 3 times a day but it comes back so quickly... It's gross.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

bit of a scare... [day 78]

This post is dis-jointed and rambling. However, in my defense I'm still sick and exhausted from school starting. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Yesterday I had a bit of a scare, to put it lightly. The night before last I realized my upper and lower teeth in front were directly hitting - not hitting the pads or the brackets, but coming down right on top of each other. Since I'm not wearing my bands at night, I wondered if that could be contributing to my bad bite (and a side note before y'all get preachy on me: I called my orthodontist. Since my mouth is banded shut at night and my nose is completely clogged, I was suffocating - it felt like the week following surgery and it was terrible... so I called my orthodontist and they said to leave them off until I can breathe again). Anyway, instead of telling me it was okay or whatever they wanted me to come in to an emergency appointment to check it out. AHHH!!! I drove straight from work to my orthodontist office, about a 45 minute drive.

The bite is hopefully being corrected from the technical underbite (hah!) with some intense rubber bands in box configurations on both sides. My teeth, jaw, and head ACHE from them - for the first time in weeks I'm back on a regular regimen of tylenol AND ibuprofen, and I ended up just leaving them off for the hour after lunch so I could teach with a clear head. They are intense. Hopefully they'll work - I am dying to get rid of rubber bands in general. My teeth are really sore wherever the band connect to - in fact, in my newly-waking up left side on top I feel like I have a cavity. I think it's just intense pain from the rubber bands and the 'new' sensations up there.

Other things of note:

ROM: My opening hasn't improved any... still at 15 sticks. I'm pretty frustrated because now my rubber bands are even tighter, and it feels like progress is going slower. Argh.

Numbness: my chin is really coming back - still patches of numbness but those are tingling now. Upper gums still completely numb. Roof of the mouth tickles constantly, and I can feel it when things burn it now (yay?). Lower lip still a bit dull but I can feel all of it. Top lip and cheeks are completely back. It's been really fantastic. Minus my top gums, I wouldn't be too upset if NOTHING improved from here on out - and I know it will. I'm in good shape.

Swelling: While the sinus infection is getting better, my face is still swollen. Really swollen. It is worse in the early mornings and in the evenings. I have good days and bad days, and the good days are GOOD. I'm starting to like my face finally.

Pain: I don't have much pain anymore. Prior to the latest rubber band change and sinus infection, I can't remember the last time I took something. Amazing - as I could go through bottles and bottles of ibuprofen and tylenol prior to surgery.

Migraines: STILL NONE! Wahoo!! Life is so good. Kate, you asked a few posts ago if I was waiting in anticipation or feeling liberated? I feel so free and wonderful! For the first month or two I was just waiting - every morning I would wake up with the mandatory "okay, how bad is it today?" thoughts, and every morning I was headache free... Everything feels easier and happier and lighter and brighter... I can't even describe how amazing this change has been.

Clicking: I don't know if this is normal, but my jaw clicks. A lot. It clicked before surgery, but nothing like this. I'm hoping it will improve as my ROM improves.

Speech: I haven't really talked about this much lately, but my speech is still muddled, especially when I've talked a lot. If you listen closely I lisp on every 's' sound, and I struggle with 't' sounds and 'th' sounds. They come out slurred. 'F' sounds come out funny, but I think that's still my rubber bands. My 'r' sounds come out as 'w' when I'm tired. This is really frustrating to me, but hopefully it will improve. Guess it's time to pull out the tongue twisters?

Energy: Getting better all the time, but I'm not back to pre-surgery levels yet. I need much more sleep at night, and wear out easier during the day.

Hip: I almost don't notice my hip anymore. It still stretches when walking downhill which is uncomfortable, and I don't like to sleep on it. I hip-bumped my car door shut the other day and almost collapsed in surprise/pain, though, so it's still not completely healed. It's a wickedly cool scar.

I think that's it. I warned you guys it was a long post... :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sinus infection 1, day 72

I'm neck deep in my first sinus infection post surgery... my surgeon warned me they would probably be reoccuring this winter because of the movement of my upper jaw up into my sinus cavity or whatever... Ouch! It's still not very comfortable to sneeze or blow my nose (the pressure is freaky and I can feel the pressure expand in the front bones of my upper jaw behind my front teeth) and it's yucky. It's a really nasty one, too - I called my surgeon today but didn't get ahold of the office in time to get the prescription today. Hopefully tomorrow. I have no voice at all (great for being a teacher).

I don't know if I mentioned this, but it's weird - I have a "warning" button inside my body. For some reason, when I begin to overdo it, the bones behind my front teeth in my upper jaw start to throb. Once the throbbing starts, I have maybe a half hour to stop doing whatever I'm doing before the exhaustion becomes unbearable - however, this throbbing often starts during 5th period when I've got planning and time to breathe (and still have another period left, plus after school work). This week I ended up taking a nap at school because I was too tired to drive home. Whoa.

I'm freakishly puffy from the infection, exhausted beyond belief from school starting, and had my hair up in clips during school today so it looks funny now... but new pictures 'cause it's been a while. Freakisly puffy again, though. ARGH. And things were getting so cute. I look like a puffer fish.

Oh yeah!! 15 popsicle sticks now. Working on it, working on it, working on it, working on it. :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

oh. good. LORD (day 65)

Okay, thought I might be ready for teaching. Thought wrong. It's weird - when I get overtired my upper jaw from my sinuses into my teeth starts to ACHE. Unfortunately it starts to ache sometime in 4th period and I still have 2 classes to teach and my planning to get through.

Good grief, this is rough. Why is it taking me so long to freaking heal? Shouldn't this be stinking over by now?!? I'm frustrated, if you didn't get that.

And I'm over the attention, now. I'm over the comments and the discussions about my face. I know people mean well but most people don't know what to say so they say something half-awkward and half-insulting and I never know how to respond. Argh. And poor middle-schoolers have no tact. I sure love them, though. My kids are awesome.