Brandy's Braces, SARPE, Jaw Surgery Journal

This is my daily journal to my eventual perfect smile and Apnea free life. It logs my surgeries, and daily progress.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sent a Thank You Note to my Surgeon

Today I spent an hour driving around just to find my oral surgeon. Seems he has relocated and joined forces with a different group of doctors now so I went to three different places just to deliver a manilla envelope.

I wrote a two page letter to him, thanking him, telling him how my progess has been, and just letting him know how grateful I am to him for the fabulous job he did on my jaw. I also included a copy of all my pics in sheet protectors for him to put in his office brag book. I know when I was looking at his office book, I was a little disappointed that all he had in it was young kids. I really wanted to see someone my age. I figured since things turned out so well and I took a copius amount of pics that even if he decided not to use them it would be cool for him to be able to see the progress that has taken place over this last year.

I know doctors are in the profession of taking care of people, and that often times surgery is probably just another day at the office. However, I don't think they realize sometimes just how much they can change someones life, so I wanted to let him know how much his expertise has made a difference and just let him know that his kindness, dedication, and overall skill at his craft did not go unnoticed. He really is/was the nicest doctor I have been to in a very long time. He has a very warm bedside manner, and genuinely seems to care about his patients. I remember him telling me that he treats all of his patients as if they were his own, and that is exactly how I felt when he was working on me. I trusted him implicitly and that is pretty rare to find in a doctor these days.

So...Dr. Edwards! Thanks! YOU Rock!

Friday, May 23, 2008


I posted a slide show above. The first is my senior pic taken when I was 18, the second one I was 34 before anything was done. The last one was after all my surgeries and braces at age 44. Big change huh?, and then a compare/contrast of then and now.

Wow! Hard to believe that as of today it has been one year since I had my skull cut in half! That sounds so much more dramatic then just saying I had jaw surgery doesn't it

Well lets see where to begin here. So much has happened, and changed, and transformed, its hard know how to put it all into words. I mean seriously, this time last year was not exactly what I would call enjoyable. My face was swollen up like a giant Ooooompa Looooompa, and I just had to believe that it was all going to be worth it, when in fact I really wasn't entirely sure of that.

Suffice it to say, looking back in retrospect that it has far and away exceeded my expectations, and was most definitely, the best course of action. Oh don't get me wrong, the whole process was a very long journey. One that played out gradually over about a 18 month span. However, for everything that was accomplished, gained, and improved, I have to say that it was worth every little thing. Even the bleeding tongue, and overall misery that I had while wearing my palate expander torture device

As I sit here typing I'm flooded with memories, of the good and the not so great. I could wax poetic here and probably drone on for hours about it all. But I will spare you all that, I mean really if you want to know how it was you can simply read the rest of my blog, for at the time I did my best to try and cover all the highs and lows I was going through.

It's so amazing sometimes how you really don't realize how much your life has changed or improved, until you've had the time to step back from it and really look at the big picture. The one that doesn't surface sometimes for many many months. I can totally say though (having been through it and all) that "Attitude is Everything" How one does with this whole journey is largely dependent on how you view it, how you talk to yourself through out it, and your overall attitude on life as your going through it. What you focus on you get more of. So I'm hear to tell you, as a surgery survivor, that you have the ability to make this surgery good or bad based on your focus throughout.

So, at one year how am I doing. Well in a word GREAT! but (there is always a but isn't there?) I'm still not 100% yet. Healing is coming along quite well I have most of the feeling back in my chin, and the whole upper palate, as well as my upper teeth. My bottom lip is mostly healed, but still has a few spots that are very very tingly and feel like they are coming off of novocaine. I know from this whole journey that that means the nerves are regenerating and that feeling will be returning eventually. The inside of my left cheek is still a bit tingly on the inside near the bottom of my lower gums. As is a tiny part of my tongue. My upper teeth in the front are still pretty sensitive, and biting things off like sandwiches etc. is still quite challenging to do without discomfort. Sometimes chewing a big mouthful of food can get a bit difficult. With my lower lip still a bit compromised sometimes I have a hard time keeping them together and closed. Talking can also become a bit of a struggle if I do it for long periods of time, and if you mix talking with alcohol it becomes much worse and I talk like I have some sort of speech impediment. Suffice it to say its a good thing that I don't really drink! LOL

Ok, lets see what else. I'm sleeping like a baby now. I have great, colorful, vivid dreams at night, and wake rested and refreshed after about 8 hours of sleep. Gone are the days when I could sleep in for hours and hours. Now, no matter what time I go to bed I wake up within 8 hours. While I miss those days of just lounging in bed, I don't miss the morning headaches, the waking up gasping for air at night, feeling constantly exhausted, looking like hell, the memory loss, being sick constantly, or feeling like I'm losing my mind. So has truly been a Godsend!

Another wonderful benefit has been getting my health back. Knock on wood, I have not had a sinus infection or had to take antibiotics for 3 full months now. I know that doesn't sound like much, but for someone who has had chronic sinusitus for over 5 years now, being able to get a cold, and just get over it, is a total miracle.

I have my brain connections back. By that I mean I can think clearly and have good judgement again. I have energy like I never had before and honestly feel better then I've felt in years. Since I was about 30 years old I would say. It is crazy, but in a great sortof way. Last but not least my skin looks healthier, and with the slight advancement I have gotten some slight "reverse face lift" benefits. So I look a bit younger, which as you know is always good, especially as you get older. have I noticed any cons to this surgery? Well a couple mostly related to feeling returning in certain areas still, but since those are most likely going to disappear eventually I will not get into them. I have noticed though that I don't think my range of motion is totally back to where it was before. I have noticed that if I engage in prolonged sucking or licking activites. Things that utilize my tongue muscles a lot or for extended periods of time like trying to lick an ice cream cone. It causes me to have extreme pain in my right TMJ joint. It is probably something that I think will get better over time or with practice, however, since I don't do these sorts of exercises on a regular basis it has only made gradual improvement. I don't think it is so much my jaw muscles though as it is the muscles connected to my tongue. Since the sliding genioplasty changes the pull on the tongue muscles I suspect it is the culprit, and think the muscles are just very tight and don't get enough exercise to really loosen up.

Well I could go on and on. Suffice it to say that my whole life, or rather life as I knew it has been totally changed. There are not words for how grateful I am to my oral surgeon. Because of his great skill, expertise, and precision, I'm now a new and improved me. I have nothing bad to say about my experience or surgery, only good has come out of it. I will keep posting until I feel I have returned to 100% or until I feel my healing has ceased and I am not making anymore improvements.

I get my implant placed next Tuesday so I'm looking forward to that, and to getting my front crown replaced. I will continue to post any oral changes that take place within the next few months. Until them...good luck to all of you out there soon to be going under the knife. May your surgery be as much of a success as mine has been.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How things Heal is sooo Weird!

I know it's not quite one year, but I have been having a super healing spurt the last two weeks and felt like I should probably take a few minutes to report on it. Now mind you I have been a bit surprised by all of this as it has sortof come out of nowhere. My lower lip, lower teeth, upper teeth, underneath my chin right at the jaw bone, and some slight areas on my chin have been tingling like crazy. They have felt hot, swollen, numb, then hyper sensitive, freezing cold, tender, and sore. Even running my tongue across my lower lip was really uncomfortable. As of today, things are feeling much better, and I have a ton more feeling back. Don't get me wrong, it is not fully back yet, but still in the works. It is not like it has stopped or anything but it has just sortof settled for today.

It is crazy to me how it can be almost 12 months since my surgery, yet things are still very much healing. I mean looking at the outside you would never know, everything appears normal. There is no visible swelling, or noticible puffiness. Clearly things are much different on the inside though, my body is still working away to recover from this whole jaw surgery ordeal. It is shocking to me how long it has been and how things really are still on going.

I will post more in a few days on my big 1 year anniversary, but thought this stuff was important so that others thinking about having this surgery really understand how long of a journey it is, but also to remain optimistic as this whole healing thing really is on a schedule all its own.

Monday, May 12, 2008

11 months 2 weeks

Ok, so I realize I have been a bit lax in updating this blog lately, but truly it is not so much that I haven't wanted to, it's just that progress is slow so there is not much to report. Well that and I have been absolutely, insanely, busy!

Here is my most recent pic and the short and condensed update version. I went to the dentist to see my lumineer pics. They were not very impressive. Actually it was just more support for me not getting them. I think the dentist was a bit surprised when I said I rather liked my smile the way it is now and that I don't want fake teeth over my real ones.

I go in on June 2nd to have my implant placed and can't wait. It is here right now but I have been so busy, and with school getting out next week, I just don't have time to go until I"m officially signed out for the summer. Things are continuing to improve. My lower lip and teeth have been super tingly lately, and are getting more feeling back. It is annoying, but good as I know it will pass and when it does my lip will just feel that much more normal.

When I have my next appointment for the implant we are going to start on the front crown replacement, I want to have that done before my son and I head out on vacation the end of June. is some good news. My doctor has had me on a antifungal nasal spray and massive amounts of pro-biotics. I caught a cold about three weeks ago. It has kindof been hanging in there, but some of it may be allergy related too. Anyway....knock on wood, it has not turned into a sinus infection and seems to be almost gone. This is the first time in over 3 years that I have gotten a cold an it has gone away on its own. Wooo hooo! I'm so excited. It's so nice to feel like I'm getting my health back, and healing on my own now without having to take drugs constantly! Just another plus from this surgery I guess!

I will post again at the 1 year mark (which is coming up soon), or after my implant placement. Whichever comes first!