Three weeks post-op

Today marks three weeks since my corrective double jaw surgery and to be honest I’m starting to get very fed up being at home all the time! I do get out and about for walks and stuff but I miss my routine, I miss my Monday night scouts and my athletics and I even miss going to work on the weekends! I am at the stage where come next week I would like to be getting back into some sort of a routine, I know I’m due to be out of activities for six weeks but next week it will have been a month and I don’t think going to a lecture or two will kill me.  I want to begin to ease my way back into things, starting with college and the youth café I volunteer in followed by athletics, coaching not training because that is off the cards for another little while as is the gym! And finally get myself back into scouts and work, those both being things that will happen at week six as both involve children and children can be unpredicatable and I don’t fancy getting a whack to the face with a ball or a head even!

Things have been going good. Most of my stitches seem to have dissolved by now which is great. I finished my second course of antibiotics and after a few days of finishing them the pain in my right side settled quiet a bit, it has began to creep its way back in at night time but I was reassured by the orthodontist last week that it is normal. The physical changes, the bruising and the swelling, have slowed considerably. I’m still slightly bruised under my chin and my cheeks are still slightly swollen, I notice it more than anybody else but with time that will go. I would however like it to be sooner rather than later but I just have to be patient. No improvement with the numbness but again the orthodontist reassured me last week that it is normal, it will take six months for me to get the feeling back and it can take even longer, with that in mind I’m less anxious about it coming back.

First smile without elastics!!
Eating, oh how I miss solid food! Last week at the orthodontist I was shown how to out my elastics on and off, which is great because this means when it comes to eating and brushing my teeth I am allowed to do it without elastics! Now that I can take off my elastics to eat I can open my mouth a bit more, allowing me to eat a bit more. Soups are still my main food but now I can add bread, once its dipped into the soup and in small enough pieces I can get it into my mouth and swallow it without chewing! That new addition to my soup has been amazing, I’m now fuller for longer. Yogurts are now much easier to eat, I am using a baby spoon because that’s the best way to get it into my mouth but now that I can open my mouth the majority of the yogurt actually makes it into my mouth. When I meet with my surgeon on Monday, all still going well I will be able to begin my soft food diet, I cant wait to eat some pasta and scrambled eggs!

Mentally I am doing ok, I had a bad day yesterday I was in a lot of pain, very tired and my mood just wasn’t as good as it has been over the past few weeks. Today it’s a lot better, having little plans of things to do during the days seems to help keep me in good form even if those plans are to do college assignments. Overall things are good, I’m ready to begin to get back into some sort of a routine and I am even more ready to begin eating a soft diet. I’m still super happy with the results from the surgery and I have to keep looking at my teeth to make sure there still in the right position!

Three weeks post surgery 

Blog Awards Ireland

On Thursday I had my first social event since my corrective double jaw surgery and I have to say this event both met and went beyond my expectations! What was this event you might ask well it was the 2015 Blog Awards Ireland hosted by Ashville Media Group. I have been apart of the blog awards since 2011 when it was formally know as the Irish Blog Awards and since then my blog has been a finalist each year with me attend 4 of the last 5 awards. Now over the past five years there has been changes to the organisers and each year the awards have grown and improved and this year was no exception. I was a bit hesitant when I found out that the awards were being hosted by a company worried that the personal touch might be lost and indeed part of the personal aspect was lost in my opinion with the winners not being given as much time as before to accept the awards but besides that everything else met my expectations. When I heard the food was "street style" was was confused about how that would work during the event but it work extremely well, with a little market type thing with food vendors outside the main building although there was no soup on offer- I should have brought my own! This whole liquid diet thing is harder to deal with than expected! Also when I heard the theme was burlesque I wasn't too impressed as burlesque/cabaret  had been done previously but I was blown away but now only the performers but the lengths Ashville Media Group went to to ensure if truly felt like it was the 1920's, it was fantastic! But what I liked most was the division within the categories with an award going to personal bloggers as well as company bloggers as well as the age for the Best Youth Blog being up to the age of 24 keeping with the fact that in Ireland a young person is described as anybody up to the age of 24.

The night ran pretty smoothly, the entertainment was fantastic, the crow was amazing and the hosts did a good job at keeping us laughing! There were some pretty great blogs in the finals, some I knew from previously years while others were new to be this year, now I have a lot more blogs to get reading! I actually wasn't due to attend until very last minute when I received news from one of the hosts informing me that I had been out on the guest list. So now having found out I was on the guest list it was time to find something to wear, now I'm usually someone who enjoys my comfort, tracksuit bottoms all the way but for this I went jeans and a shirt and within five minutes of arriving at the awards I learned I was very, very underdressed! I went along with my brother and sister-in-law as Amy was also a finalist in the Best Lifestyle category, check out her blog Make-up and Beauty by Amy, sure even just seeing Shane and Amy I knew I was underdressed! (Thank you Amy for the photos)

Shane and Amy dressed to impress!
Amy and myself, very underdressed I am!

Soon the awards began with performances, introductions and a very interesting presentation from the hosts, Darragh and Claire and before I knew it, it was time for the Best Youth Blog to be presented. Now I have to say I wasn't expecting to come home with an award but a phone call a couple of days earlier from someone at the blog awards HQ telling me to have a representative there if I was not attending did make me somewhat suspicious. Anyway the two runner ups were announced, me not being one of them I wasn't too disappointed, at the beginning of these awards I felt my chances were slim as my blog over the past year or so has be lacking in content and I haven't been updating as often as I should. So as you can imagine when the name of my blog was called out I was shocked but also delighted, knowing that my blog is good enough to be recognised nationally, that is a feeling I cannot describe and never in my wildest reams did I ever imagine my blog being worthy of awards when I began it five years ago as a little transition year project. I really can't thank people enough for reading my blog and helping me get to the final of this blog awards once again! It means a lot to me that people read my blog but my blog also means a lot to me, its a space where I can be me, be honest and be real!

Day 14- Two weeks post-op

It's hard to believe it has only been two weeks since my corrective double jaw surgery, it feels like it happened months ago! I was hoping that my two week update would be as positive as my first week update but I’m afraid its not.

For about the past week I have been dealing with a lot of pain on my right side particularly at the site of surgery on my lower jaw. Having met with my surgeon last Friday he prescribed another course of antibiotics, as he was concerned there could be a slight infection due to the pain I have been experiencing, much to my dismay the pain in my right side is only worsening. It’s nothing I am very concerned about; I mean it’s only two weeks since the surgery so it is more than likely as a result of you now my jaw being broken! But nevertheless it is something, which I am monitoring and keeping a close eye on, should it continue to worsen over the next couple of days I phone call to the surgeon, might be in store.

Swelling has improved a lot since the day of surgery but the improvement has since become very slow, well I am struggling to notice it going down. The numbness is something which I had hoped would have improved a bit by now but it hasn’t, I think I had great expectations because I was doing so well during my first week of recovery. My bottom lip, part of my chin, under my left eye around my cheek and the left side of my nose is still numb. Despite it still being very numb at night time I tend to notice somewhat of a pinching sensation around my chin and lower lip, like little moments of sharp pain so that seems to be a good sign that it is improving but it will take time. My patience is beginning to ware thin a bit and if the feeling is going to come back I would like it sooner rather than later, that’s something I need to work on, just letting it happen and stop being so impatient.  The bruising, which was just under my chin, has got considerably better and is almost completely gone!

Brusing at day 7

Brusing at day 14

My stitches are not causing the pain they once were, they are still there and have not yet dissolved but they are causing next to no pain, which is good. When brushing my teeth and if I catch off it the wrong was then there’s pain and has been some bleeding but nothing major and according to both the surgeon and the orthodontist things seem to be healing well, I am however extremely tender on my right side but other than that there is no major issues at the incision sites.

Brushing my teeth is becoming easier. My lovely 0-2 years pink toothbrush is doing a good job at helping to keep my teeth clean, compared to the first week it is much easier and less painful to brush my back teeth. Brushing the back of my teeth is near impossible as I cannot get my mouth open enough to fit the tooth brush in, it’s a struggle but with the tepee brushes I can get some cleaning done. The mouthwash is great, I prefer that to rinsing my mouth with warm salt water but it has to be done.

The liquid diet is becoming more and more frustrating each day especially since I keep getting offered food or asked questions about how I eat! I’m sticking with soup to be honest, the thoughts alone of blending meat make me feel sick. The food cravings are the hardest part of it all; I don’t mind missing out of sweet stuff but would kill for a roast chicken dinner. I’m back with my surgeon in two weeks and then all going well I will be able to start on a soft food diet, the likes of pasta, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes etc. I am very excited about that and the next two weeks would want to fly by!

Mentally I’m doing pretty good, I’ve had a few bad days, just letting them happen rather than fighting them seems to be working in my favour. A combination of a lack of sleep last night and pain has led to today being a pretty bad day with me just feeling miserable overall, a bit fed up and ready to be back doing things. Although one thing I have noticed within myself is the desire to actually get out and socialise, I’m not a very social person and nightclubs really wouldn’t be my thing but since my surgery I have actually wanted to meet up and go out with my friends, go for a meal, maybe to the pub for a few drinks (non-alcoholic for me!) but within myself I feel more confident and I actually want to start showing that confidence.

I’m taking it a bit easier this week, I have been up and about a lot over the last two weeks and part of me feels I have been doing too much so for this week I’m going to rest a bit more, save up some energy and then maybe all going well at my orthodontist appointment next week I’m hoping to maybe pop my head into a lecture or two next week, begin the slowly easing my way back into my activities. Right now this week I’m focusing on taking things easy, getting good nights sleep and waking up feeling refreshed rather than tired.

Yesterday was my first trip to the orthodontist since my surgery and also my first ever trip to the orthodontist without an underbite, it was super exciting. Throughout my time with the orthodontist I have had two different orthodontists, now I’m on my third and with that comes different dental nurses both of which were delighted to see me yesterday looking so well. It was great to see them, to know that they are able to notice a difference in my face, to see what they think of the transformation and just to get their support once again. Within the past month I have seen new surgeons, new orthodontist, new nurses and there has been a lot of change so for the friendly faces from the orthodontist office to keep checking in with me is some much needed comfort through this rough time and for that I am grateful.

Overall things are good, they could be better but time is needed and I’m sure soon enough I will be back to myself, but for now I am delighted with how things are going and the results from the surgery continue to impress and surprise me.

Day 14 Post-Op

I actually love looking at my teeth :)

10 days post-op

I’m in a bit of shock to be honest that it is only 10 days since I have had my corrective double jaw surgery; it feels like I had it months ago! So far things have been going really well and I guess it would have been naive of me to think nothing would go wrong so I have been preparing myself for the possibility of a halt in my recovery. So far I have had one little bump in the road and it was as a result of medications as opposed to the surgery itself so I don’t think of it affecting my recovery as much but today we were face with a bit of a blow, nothing major mind you but my almost perfect recovery has slowed down a bit.  Today I met my surgeon again who loosened my elastics once again and allowed me to open my moth a little bit wider, still no solid foods though. We had a good chat from everything jaw related to mental health and even the rugby this Sunday. During out little chat I informed him of the increased pain on my right side of my face, this was cause for some concern and my surgeon informed me there is a slight chance that I have an infection. I was a bit upset, I’ve been trying really hard to keep my mouth clean, brushing your teeth, which your mouth held shut, is no easy task!  Nonetheless I was prescribed antibiotics to combat any infection before it has the chance to develop further. 

I don’t think it is going to delay my recovery and despite this I still feel very positive about everything, the surgeon even said it himself, he would rather be safe than sorry. I feel good within myself, tiredness set in this week with my not leaving the house on Wednesday allowing for a chance to catch up on much needed sleep. I am beginning to get better nights sleep also, sleeping almost through the night waking up mainly due to being uncomfortable. Pain is manageable without painkillers although today I was advised to take some to help get me through the difficult moments of pain on the right side of my face. Numbness is ok, it has improved around my nose and my chin and lower lip are beginning to get somewhat tingly at times, I’m not worry the feeling wont come back but if it doesn’t it doesn’t, its nothing major.

Food, food is the hardest part of this whole journey for me. I knew what I was getting myself into, liquid diet, and then soft diet, and then gradually back to a normal diet but I never expected it to be this hard! I can keep the hunger at bay, I have countless containers of homemade soups, which have been frozen along with pliantly of fruit for smoothies, but it is the cravings for some normal food like some cornflakes in the morning or a sandwich for lunch, that’s the hard part, the cravings!

So for now things are good, I was out of the house today and even met up with some college friends, before now all I have really been doing is going for little walks to the shops, nothing major so it was nice to see some of the gang from college. I am very tired though which could be to do with the infection or the antibiotics or you because I have major surgery 10 days ago but I’m handling it and resting well.

I feel really positive and I was warned before surgery that this might not actually be the case so the fact that my good mental health has been maintained throughout this process to date I am delighted and only encourages me to keep going! I have had a few rough days and again I’m sure I will have a few more but I really feel as if I am getting back on my feet! I have been given 6 weeks of work/college and other activities I am involved in but I’m hoping that with this soft diet beginning in two weeks I will have more energy and begin to slowly ease my way back into things, the gym however is something I am not allowed near for another while yet! All in all I’m good, especially since it is only day 10 post surgery and here’s hoping I get over this small infection and back on track!

10 days Post-Op

1 Week Post-Op Update

Huge day today!! It is one week since my corrective double jaw surgery and I am delighted to announce everything is going very well! my surgeon has loosened my elastics once again giving me a bit more movement, enough to get a tablet in my mouth. He has also described my bite as perfect! Pain is very much under control with no need for pain meds since yesterday morning, bruising is also under control and localised to my under chin and doesn't appear to be worsening. Numbness hasn't improved at all however I have been reassured that it takes time, however I am aware of the possibility that the feeling in some parts of my face may never return but in the grand scheme of things I feel that is a small price to pay! My mood has been great, a few very emotional days in the beginning and no doubt more emotional days to come but I'm letting them happen and not trying to fight it. Overall I have been having a brilliant recovery, there have been rough days and no doubt there will be more to come, I'm expecting a few bumps in the road and if they come then thats ok! Tiredness has begun to catch up with me, its hard to get a full night sleep as I am very uncomfortable but am beginning to go a bit easier on myself and rest a bit more. So far I have had one "was it worth it day" but that has passed and I feel it was worth it, very much so and I actually don't regret getting surgery! Getting used to this new smile is also something that is easier than expected but I am also aware that as of yet I haven't had the full view of my smile and a few weeks/months down the road it might be a bigger adjustment than expected but for now I am really happy. I think one of the hardest things about this whole journey is the liquid diet. I didn't imagine it being as hard as it is but let me tell you its tough! I would kill for some chicken nuggets and chips! There is only so much soups and smoothies a person can handle!! Although as of yesterday I stopped using a straw and am now drinking juices, soups and smoothies from a paper cup without the use of a straw so i feel thats a pretty big achievement also, only last week i was using a syringe, then straws and now I'm managing just fine without. I haven't mastered drinking from a class yet though but I think that could have something to do with the lack of feeling in my lower lip!

While today is a huge day in terms of my jaw surgery it is also a huge day in regards to my mental health, today marks 8 whole months without engaging in self-harming behaviour! 8 months is the longest period of time I have gone without self-harming since it began all those years ago! For the first time in a long time I am feeling very positive about my future, while I don't know where exactly I am heading I feel that there are great things waiting for me and with time who knows what might happen!

Am I dreaming?

Am I dreaming? Did I really just undergo corrective double jaw surgery? Did it really get moved forward? Did it really happen? Yes, Yes and Yes. Finally after what has felt like a lifetime of waiting I have final received my corrective double jaw surgery to create a normal bite. Around the age of 10 I found out that I would need surgery in the future to correct me underbite and when I turned 18 my treatment began! Finally after constant delays in my treatment, either because my teeth weren’t ready or because of a lack of surgeons/resources I finally got my surgery after some honest letters being sent to a number of different people.

Things happened pretty fast to be honest, one week I had a phone call from the National oral health office saying that there was s new surgeon taking on my case, the next week I met that surgeon and received a surgical date and then a week later my surgery was moved forward by two weeks! Needless to say I was pretty excited but when Tuesday morning came the nerves were in full swing! An hour in the car thinking about what was due to happen was enough to have me on edge, getting admitted and changed into a gown only increased my nerves and finally when it was time to go down to theatre I was crying! Crying not just because of fear but also because of happiness, shock that this was about to happen and relief that it was finally going to be all done and dusted in just 3 hours.

I went asleep after informing everybody to make sure I was in fact asleep before the surgeon did anything to me and then woke up attached to machines and drips and feeling pretty good. It was a few hours later that I was walking around and I even began drinking through a syringe that night and what topped it all off was that I was able to talk! Things went great and I was so happy to finally have it done! Tuesday was a good day and Wednesday was a better day, up and about, taking more liquids orally and even beginning my liquid diet I was feeling great! While my days were good my first and second nights were a bit more challenging, with pain being somewhat of an issue and just in general being very uncomfortable but nevertheless I made it through with the help of the nurses and some morphine of course!

It was expected I would be in hospital until Friday but that was not the case, with my great progress the nurses were happy to tell my surgeon I was good to go home and to be honest I was in complete agreement, Wednesday night had been emotionally challenging, getting used to the change and finally realising that it was done. With the aim to get home a day earlier in mind I worked hard to talk to the nurses and surgeon about how I was feeling, stayed out of bed and moving around and ensuring I didn’t need the use of the IV. It was a rough two days but on Thursday my surgeon, Mr Frank Brady, brought me back down to theatre to remove my elastics and put looser ones on, it was the first chance I had to see my new bite and it was pretty amazing, I still get teary eyed thinking about that moment.

With elastics changed and pain meds on board I was ready to go home! Thursday night went great however Friday night was a bit more of a struggle seeing me spend the night in A&E hooked up to IV fluids and medication! It was a long night but worth it to end up feeling some more like myself come this morning when I was free to go home! Today has been tough, tiredness is creeping in and getting the better of me, the numbness is beginning to become annoying and the pain around my gums rather than my jaws is something which is quiet irritating. I even had a moment where I questioned was having surgery worth it only to be reminded that I have normal bite with a glance in the mirror.

It’s been hard, it’s been uncomfortable, it’s been painful and it’s been challenging but I am doing ok! I have another 5 weeks left of my recovery but I feel that I am beginning to get over the hardest part, the first week! My doing so well at the moment cannot be all put down to my physical health although it has certainly played a huge roll but also to the staff at Saint Francis Private Hospital, Mullingar who were exceptional, they really did go above and beyond what I ever could have expected. Between holding my hand, listening to me, doing everything possible to keep the pain at bay, sitting with me after surgery, reassuring me and comforting me  the nurses where truly one of a kind and I will always be grateful for their care and support! The surgical team did a fantastic job and they too must be thanked because without them I would still be living with an underbite, something that I am not so sure I would have been able to live with for much longer. And finally my family and friends have been fantastic and their support has been exceptional and I cannot thank them enough.

For now though I will leave you with some pre and post-surgery pictures.

 Pre Surgery

Post Surgery

Few Hours After Surgery
Day 1 Post Surgery
Day 2 Post Surgery

Day 3 Post Surgery
Day 4 Post Surgery 

An unexpected result

About a month ago I was let down once again by our Health Service when I was informed my corrective jaw surgery would not take place for another 6-8 months. After receiving that news I was devastated, distraught and was faced with a feeling of hopelessness, one which I have not faced in some time. After my meeting with the surgeon I walked with a tear soaked face over to give the orthodontist the all too familiar news that surgery would not be happening any time soon despite my teeth being in the correct positions and ready to go. Not surprised with my news all that was left to say is that you have to begin to make some noise, its nothing new that patients are having their surgery’s postpone but in order to achieve any results it was my job to begin to make some noise and with that sound advice I did just that!!

10 letters and two weeks later I had received about 5 responses from those who got my letter. some were the usual ‘we are looking into the matter ’responses, some were supportive and seeking more information in order to try and resolve the situation, these were mainly from 2 of my 4 TD’s who were extremely helpful and some were ‘we acknowledge your letter’ responses. Nothing out of the ordinary and to be honest in the beginning I never expected to get any responses, especially not from my TD’s but for the most part I was happy that people were responding to my letter and actually acknowledging it. It wasn’t until one day when I was sitting at home watching some T.V that I got a phone call, a rather unexpected phone call especially seeing as how I never put my telephone contact details in any of my letters, nevertheless I got a phone call from the National Oral Health Office regarding my letter.

In a matter of minutes I went from being a young person on a waiting list with no hope of surgery before the end of the year to a young person with an appointment to meet a new surgeon who would be taking over my case and making arrangements for me to have my surgery within the next number of weeks!! I was a bag of emptions on the phone, I was happy, excited, nervous and so many more, I couldn’t believe what had happened, never in my wildest dreams did I think my letter would spark something that could get me my surgery sooner, if anything it made me feel better about the situation knowing that I was trying to do something.

Within a week after the phone call I had an appointment with my regular orthodontist to get new impressions made, met my new surgeon, had more impressions made, measurements for my surgical splint organised and my surgical hooks put on to my braces! And the best part of it all, I had been given a surgical date!! I could not believe what had happened, I was finally given a date, yeah it was with a new surgeon and yeah I will have to travel to Mullingar for my surgery but I got a date!
It was crazy how fast things happened and if getting a surgical date for the 19th of October wasn’t good enough I got even better news, my surgery was moved forwards, to the 13th of October. I was shocked, happy and excited, having my surgery moved forward was not something that even mattered now because I had a date I knew it would happen. And just when I thought things couldn’t get any better they did, on Wednesday I got a phone call from my new surgeon asking me if I would be happy to have my surgery moved forward once again to the 6th of October!! Happy?? I was beyond happy, I didn’t even know what to say to him on the phone, I was in shock!! And of course I did manage to tell him I would love to get my surgery sooner rather than later!!

I am still in shock over everything especially how quick things have happened and after having my final meeting with my surgeon before the big day on Tuesday the nerves are beginning to set in. This is a huge deal for me! I will finally be rid of the underbite, I will finally be able to bite food correctly, take a photo from the side of my face and not be self-conscious, I will finally be able to love my body, gain more confidence and begin to live my life! While I know this is not going to be a walk in the park I am ready to take on the challenge of getting through surgery and getting through recovery! I know there might be days ahead where I question if surgery is the right choice but I know, I know deep down that this can only make my life better and I’m ready! I am ready for this to finally happen! In three days I will finally be rid of this underbite!!

As of now I am a mix of nerves and excitement and I’m sure I will be something similar on Monday night/Tuesday morning so I hope to have a pre surgery post up sometime on Tuesday morning and after that I will update whenever possible!! Hopefully I will have some before and after pictures to help you guys see the transformation!! I know it will be worth it and I know this is what I want and I have never been more ready for something in my life!
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