Friday, April 30, 2010

in the hospital

hi everyone! i had double jaw surgery on wed april 28th. it is now 4:47am fri morning. i should be going home today! i will be wired shut for 6 weeks and off of work for 2.
first off let me celebrate that surgery was a success! :D the doctors said everything went great. it took about 5 hours.
when i woke up i remember feeling content. i could breathe better than i ever could before in my life.
by moving my upper jaw up, my doctor changed the shape of my nose, widening it and triming some cartiledge to shorten it. within a few hours it began to swell and since there was a breathing tube during surgery eventually it swelled to the point i had to breathe out my my mouth. i was a bit concerned about that but when my dr checked up on me the next day said it was completely normal. swelling peaks from anywhere from 24-48 hours and then tapers off. im approaching the 48 hour mark so thankfully can look forward to it gradually decreasing on the inside (throat, nose) and out. my upper lip is most swollen of all. my nickname at the hospital is angelina julie. lol
eating for the first time had me near tears until i dedcided to be patient and tenacious. i needed a syringe to get any fluid in my swollen mouth and could barely swallow so most drooled out into a plastic bin i had on my lap. everything i drank was clear at first but by day 2 dinner i was on ensure because i held everything else down. thankfully i had no nausea whatsoever since coming to after surgery. i believe it is because i had nothing to eat or drink, including water, for about 18 hours before surgery and i had friends specifically pray against it happening.
speaking of friends, i have some amazing ones. one of my roommates is fasting on a liquid diet the full time with me. another is giving up all media to support me. others have signed up on a calendar to have the same diet (liquid fast) as me for a few days at a time. i am being supported by people throughout the entire process and am so amazed and grateful.
one of the saddest thoughts to me when i first decided to get the surgery (3 years ago, i committed to it when I got braces) was that i would be going thru it alone. that was a huge lie! instead i have more support than i ever could have imagined and i give God all the credit for that. when you pray to Him in Jesus' Name, powerful things happen!!
anyhoo, i hope this has been a helpful post. please feel free to ask me any Qs bout my experience or leave a comment.
i promise you i am working on getting after pics up!
love ya

Monday, March 15, 2010


I got a letter from my insurance company that states, "Decision: Certify / approve benefit reimbursement for proposed orthognathic surgery."

I am soo excited and relieved!!!!

On April 28, 2010, I will have double surgery.

I'll get to join the club of before/after photos!

Details about the day I got the letter to follow. It was a huge turning point in my life. I will never be the same.


Monday, December 21, 2009

fun in the interim

I'm waiting for letters to arrive at my house from my primary care physician, orthodontist, and oral surgeon. When I receive all of them I will FedEx it to my ins. co. and wait for a response.

I felt anger initially when I was denied coverage. It was the kind that comes from an injustice taking place. The thoughts I had were "It's just wrong!" and "It's not fair!" Then I felt bummed out and mopey. I was discouraged. A few friends invited me over the day before I was supposed to have surgery after they found out it was postponed and cheered me up. I now feel at peace about waiting for the surgery to happen and I'm learning patience in the process.

I started drinking some of the liquids I bought in preparation for surgery, including Ensure. One of my coworkers saw me drinking it for breakfast and offered to bring in a case for me that she has at home. Woo-hoo! I'm taking it as an encouraging sign that having the surgery is only a matter of time.

I blended mashed potatoes and gravy in a blender to practice drinking it and 2 of my roommates thought it was a milkshake. When I told them what it was, they put some in a chalice and brought it to our other roommate and told her it was a milkshake and she almost drank it! It was funny. She sounded so excited when we first brought it to her that I made eggnog frosties later.

I'm actually enjoying the fact that surgery will be later because I was able to participate in many holiday-related activities I would have otherwise missed. One upcoming event I'm excited for is seeing the Transiberian Orchestra for the first time! :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

fighting the good fight

Hello everyone! Welcome to my first-ever blog inspired by my impending orthognathic surgery. I came across the smilingbella community while searching for what to expect post-op. I've had braces for 2 years now and my teeth are now "aligned to the bone" and ready for double jaw surgery to correct a class III malocclusion. I'm ready for surgery physically and emotionally but am waiting for the 'ok' from my insurance company.

Here is a picture of me at 19 years old before getting braces on. As you can see, my teeth didn't touch at all on one side and chewing was very difficult for me. I'll post more updates pics soon.

Here's a little history about my case: I went to an orthodontist when I was 15 to correct what I thought were merely crooked teeth. He told me I have a complicated case that cannot be corrected by braces alone. In his expert opinion, my "malocclusion" would require "orthognathic surgery." Dun dun dun! I wasn't sure what that meant at the time but I remember the sinking feeling I had when I heard it! I went on to see at least 5 more orthodontists for additional opinions and the feedback was unanimous: I needed jaw surgery. Period. Ugh.

The good side of it was making sense of problems I faced as a child. Previously I never thought much about or vocalized the issues I had with chewing. The older I got, the more difficult it became to bite into and chew my food. I have never hit the 100 lb. mark. Granted, I am petite overall at 5ft but putting on weight has always been nearly impossible for me and learning about my jaws was a relief because suddenly it all made sense. My chewing was so inefficient, it was affecting my nutrition!

I'll never forget an experience that illustrates my day to day life so well: I sat down to eat with a friend of mine, a solid 6ft tall guy, who recently had all of his wisdom teeth removed. As we were eating he remarked, "I'd love to eat more but it's just too much effort." Wow. I had an epiphany: That's how I feel everyday. I can't bite into a sandwich or through a bagel. I cannot bite into an apple. I cannot chew steak, or beef in beef stew. I avoid so many foods because I cannot adequately chew them! Having corrective jaw surgery would give me the ability to chew and satiate my healthy appetite.

An oral surgeon I went to recommended I wait until at least age 18 but preferably 21 to ensure that my jaw wouldn't grow more. So I waited and got braces at age 22. And now, after 2 years of preparation, I am ready to follow through with the surgery. :)

...BUT my surgery scheduled for Dec. 2 was cancelled because my ins. co. denied my claim due to lack of documentation of "persistant problems with mastication." My oral surgeon submitted all of my measurements but included only one sentence about my chewing difficulties which didn't cut it with the bigwigs reviewing my case. So all this week I'll be contacting doctors to write letters on my behalf. Oh how I pray everything works out for the best! :)