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.

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.


  • At 7:31 AM, Blogger Michelle said…

    Congratulations! You were the first blog that I started reading and I can't even begin to tell you how much it has helped me.
    I had my SARPE June 1st, almost a year ago and I will go in for my second surgery on July 11th. I wanted to ask you, and you actually did touch on it a bit in this post but, I wonder if my top front teeth will ever feel the same again? They are still quite sensitive and I still haven't bitten into anything hard. I can't even imagine eating an apple. Everything else has pretty much (feeling wise) is normal again. My bite however is just so strange to me. Sometimes, as strange as this sounds, I miss my old screwed up bite. I think just because it was familiar to me. Maybe I'm just in the in between surgeries, totally messed up bite kind of stage right now.
    I totally agree with what you say about attitude. I try very hard to stay positive, even though, some days are pretty tough!
    Like you, I have suffered from chronic sinusitus for several years and the SARPE has helped some. I am hoping my next surgery will help a bit too, fingers crossed!
    You truly look amazing and I am so grateful for all the information you have shared with us. This post has made me realize that I have come this far and I have to continue on with a positive outlook. Great things are in my future, I just have to get through the Oooooompa Loooooompa stage first. LOL
    Take care and keep posting!!!

  • At 12:10 PM, Blogger Brandyleigh35 said…

    Hey Michelle,
    Thank for the comment on my blog. I"m so glad it has been helpful to you. As for your question about your teeth. I would have to say yes! My front teeth were super tender and sensitive for a long long time. I remember that it took exactly 15 months before I could bite into things and have it feel normal again. I remember this because it was only about 2 weeks before my second round of surgeries, so I was just getting my eating groove on, and then BAM there I was at square one again.

    At one year post op my front teeth feel tender, but I can tell it is getting better and better, and feel confident it will just take more time. I figure at least a few more months before things totally settle down and return to their pre-surgical state.

    So with all that being said, your teeth look great! and don't worry it will eventually heal up and you will be able to bite into things again. Since it looks like you will be having upper jaw surgery though, be prepared for probably at least another year or more afterwards of having to recover again in that area. It's a long journey....but trust me, it is so worth it in the end!

    Good luck to you and keep on smiling!


  • At 3:01 AM, Blogger Tara said…

    WOW, I can't believe it's been a year already! I want to thank you for your blog. It has really helped me through this whole ordeal. I would TOTALLY agree with you on attitude having a major effect on how you heal. I tried to go into this with the right attitude, and I have to say that the surgery wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. With so much information from everyone, and knowing that I would come out just fine, I feel it really helped my healing. I still have some numbness on the chin, but I have confidence that it will go away. And if it doesn't, oh well. At least I'm not a guy and I have to shave!

    Thank you again Brandy for all of your support. Can't wait to hear how the implant goes! I get the next piece of mine in a few weeks!

  • At 4:26 PM, Blogger Judy Zuniga said…

    hi wow ur blog is awesome and full of positive words im new to this jaw and tmj problems im 26 and at 24 was diagnosed with tmj my symtoms were headaches and facial pain on my right side i have a crossbite i dont know if thats the problem ive had the crossbite forever well my teeth shift to the right my pain is mostly on the right i saw an ortho a few days ago and she wants to do full set of braces and evaluate me 6/9 months after to see if enything changed if not ill probly need upper wident jaw surgery with an expander im sooo nervous do u think her treatment sounds good i just dont want to get my tmj worse oh ive been using a lower splint (stabilization) for almost 2yrs and that gave me an open bite so now i have a crossbite and openbite with tmj im soo scared and nervous into going in braces i hope you can give me some advice or tips since all this tmj is recent


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