Day 65

My life really does feel entirely different than it did 9 weeks ago. I am still thinking about surgery all the time, but it's more 'I LOVE the way my bite looks' kind of thoughts, rather than being consumed daily about how things were going to turn out after surgery.

I really am at the point where I can say I AM SO HAPPY I DID THIS. I am still not 100% comfortable with the way I look, but I am getting closer and closer to that point every day. I am no longer as surprised when I look at myself in the mirror. I recognize my face to a much greater degree than I did before. It's not to the point where I don't give myself a second glance, but I do not spend ages staring in the mirror trying to find myself like I did before.

I feel so free to have put so much of this past me. I feel like the issues with my jaw were holding me back from so much. I didn't realize to what degree until after the surgery. I really do feel much more confident and I am not CONSTANTLY worrying about what people think of the way I look. I seriously was always so conscious of my profile and my teeth (especially before braces, they were a MESS!) and now that I know how great my profile looks and how perfect my bite feels, I don't worry at all.

I recently broke up with my boyfriend, and it's just another change to go through this summer. I mourn the loss of the relationship, but I am feeling like I have such freedom, in every aspect of my life, and I cannot wait to see where I end up. I know it sounds silly, but I really feel like now I can do anything I want to do. For weeks I didn't want to see any of my friends, and I have gotten to the point where I can't WAIT to get back to campus and be surrounded by all of them. I have one semester left of my undergrad and I am sure this is going to be the best semester yet.

It's been quite the rollercoaster, but every up and every down has really made me a stronger person, and I am so thankful to be at the point I am at right now.


This picture was taken on my 21st birthday, OBVIOUSLY without me knowing. I see pictures like this and am SO thankful every day to have gotten the surgery. It really tore down my self esteem to know this is the way I looked to other people. I know it's not all about looks, but really, it's hard to feel good about yourself without thinking you LOOK good. and uh, this picture is not good. haha

I am getting over taking daily pictures, so I am probably going to be posting less often now.

One of my absolute favorite things during my research of this surgery was seeing before and after pictures. I think it is so so insane to look at my pictures side by side. I also want to throw out a little disclaimer on my before picture. I look like a shit head. I had zero makeup on that picture and probably hadn't seen the light of day in weeks, as it was final exam time.I absolutely did not smile like that or hold my mouth open like that everrr. I was very conscious of the way I looked when I was around other people, especially when cameras were involved. So, the before picture shows the extremes. Most people around me never saw me looking that way. Once I get back to campus and back to taking normal, every day pictures, I will do a post with casual pics of me before, and casual pics of me after. I learned to position my face correctly and hold my smile a certain way to hide the overjet and terrible profile.

Day 61

Since I missed a few days in the Day 60 run of pictures, I thought I would make a few more posts.

I am starting to get sick of these elastics. I don't actually mind wearing them, but now that I am seeing friends more often and actually socializing, they get old. It is a bit awkward to go to the bar with elastics in, so the other night I left them out. For 7 hours. I realize this isn't great, but I am not going to be self conscious ALL night because of the bands that make me look like I have fangs.\

I thought this was a fun little survey and may help you get to know me a little more! You have to answer every question in one word. I cheated a little :)

1. Where is your cell phone? Couch
2. Your hair? Blonde
3. Your mother? Incredible
4. Your father? Frustrating
5. Your favorite food? Pasta
6. Your dream last night? None
7. Your favorite drink? Coffee
8. Your dream/goal? Family
9. What room are you in? Living
10. Your hobby? Fitness
11. Your fear? Death
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Happy
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something you aren’t? Stress-free
15. Muffins? Blueberry
16. Wish list item? Tattoo
17. Where did you grow up? Minnesota
18. Last thing you did? Eat
19. What are you wearing? PJs
20. Your TV? Pricey
21. Your pets? Lovely
22. Your friends? Wonderful
23. Your life? Insane
24. Your mood? Overwhelmed
25. Missing someone? Always
26. Vehicle? Saturn
27. Something you’re not wearing? Socks
28. Your favorite store? Urban Outfitters
29. Your favorite color? Green
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Today
32. Your best friend? Chrissy
33. One place that I go over and over? Alpha Chi
34. One person who emails me regularly? Momma
35. Favorite place to eat? Olive Garden

Day 60

Day 60 was yesterday, but after getting an hour of sleep the night before last (and maybe a few too many long islands), I was seriously exhausted ALL day and had no desire to post. I did take pictures though!

I have seen quite a few friends recently and everyone has had positive things to say. I have seen old friends out at the bar who have recognized me immediately, and haven't mentioned me looking different, so that makes me feel pretty good. I never wanted to be not immediately recognizable. Friends I do talk to usually say, mid convo, 'yeah, you do look different!' hahaha, I think it takes people a while to figure out what seems off to them.

The right side of the roof of my mouth is numb, and my upper gums are completely numb as well. Dr. M things that feeling will come back, but I am kind of doubting it in the upper gums. I haven't felt any changes at all, they are still totally lacking feeling. It's kind of annoying, but it's much better than my face being numb!!

Day 59

Update on numbness: Not a ton has changed, but there is definitely more feeling in my chin than there was before. It's definitely not 100% feeling back, but it's getting better and better. My lips still have a little bit of numbness. This is something I don't feel has improved much in the last 2-3 weeks, but I am sure it has and will continue to gain more and more feeling back. I don't notice numbness at all in either my chin or lips when I am going about my normal life. Putting on chapstick and touching my lips reminds me that they still have little tingles. I am not sure what the deal with my chin is, when I pucker my lips the indentations in my chin aren't normal yet, so I am assuming that means the soft tissue hasn't fully settled or there is still some level of swelling there?

Day 58

I forgot to mention that Monday was 8 weeks post-op! Wow. I still cannot believe it's been two months. Time really has flown by.

I am definitely not one of those people who can say 'I barely think about surgery anymore!' Every time I eat, brush my teeth, put on chapstick, or anything like that, of COURSE I think about it. I think it will take months before things become so comfortable that I don't notice it any more. There is definitely some effort put into eating. It's not difficult by any means, but I still have to think more when I eat compared to before, when chewing was totally natural. I am surprised to think back to blogs I have read where 3 months post-op, some people were saying they were forgetting about surgery. I am not sure I am going to be one of those people. It certainly doesn't take over my mind the way it used to, but it is still definitely present in my mind every day.

Day 57

I am home! I actually got home Monday, wrote this post Tuesday, and am finally getting it posted Wednesday, whoops! Slow poke :) Gosh, that was the longest I have been away from blogging or blog reading in probably a year! I have spent so much time researching and reading about surgery and have been totally obsessed with it for so long. It actually was really nice to get away for a little bit and not obsess so much.

I had such a fantastic vacation to the UP. I went up with my boyfriend and his dad to visit his grandma. We did a lot of exploring, walking around the little town, hiking and searching for waterfalls. Friday night we went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2! It was such a different experience because I am used to huge theaters in the cities with really comfy seats and stadium seating, but this theater was super dinky in the middle of small town Michigan. My mind was totally blown when I saw a woman in the theater with her newborn baby. The baby had to have been 6 weeks old. WHO BRINGS A BABY TO A MOVIE THEATER? SERIOUSLY? Anyway, the baby was making it's baby noises through the first 20 minutes until the woman finally got up and stood at the back of the theater, bouncing her baby for the remainder of the movie. We went out to dinner and breakfast a few times, and I ate like such a champion. :) I bit into a burger and chicken sandwich! I had to squeeze both things through my teeth a little bit, my mouth doesn't fit fully around a sandwich but I manage to make it work.

Am I totally insane for not having kissed my boyfriend for probably 4+ weeks? Was anyone else as insane as I was about this? I finally kiss him now, but I avoided it like the plague for ages. My face didn't move right, my lips were so tingly and swollen, and it just didn't feel right. My lips were always coated in Aquaphor and I felt really yucky all the time! It still doesn't feel normal. I can definitely kiss him, but I can't really KISS him. Hehe. I am looking forward to when something so simple can be normal again!

Day 52

I had an appointment with Dr. M today, and everything went really well. He said that he can tell that my bite is a little bit more open on the right, but I mentioned that the new elastic configuration Dr. S gave me has definitely helped. We talked more about the back molars not touching, and he explained a little bit further. It is absolutely done on purpose, and it is really important that they do not touch after surgery. The molars are very strong teeth, and with the new arrangement of the jaw, the molars may not have fit together perfectly after surgery. If they were close enough to bite together, they may start working to "correct" the jaw to allow them to fit together, which would throw off everything. It is most important to have the front teeth meeting properly, specifically the few teeth around the canines. Dr. M said Dr. S will be adjusting things as my jaw continues to heal to allow the molars to meet properly. I can feel my teeth meeting properly on nearly all of the teeth but the furthest back molars. The second to last molars could probably fit together a little better as well.

I asked Dr. M if he thought my lips would meet at rest and he said YES he thinks they will eventually. He said the only way they could have meet better at rest (or more quickly in my recovery) would be if he lifted my upper jaw more. He said that wouldn't have been a good thing to do because it would have gotten rid of too much of the gums showing, and the way it's placed now is 'ideal'. So, even if they don't meet at rest ever, I would much rather have the perfect smile and amount of tooth showing over my lips meeting perfectly. I can say though that it takes little effort to make them meet, so it's not that big of a deal. When I bite down and relax my face, they do not touch, but they are still pretty close.

I finally asked Dr. M about the actual measurements of movement done during surgery, and I am SOOO confused now. He said that the actual CHIN projection, from where it was before, is 19 mm! The lower jaw itself was advanced 14 mm and the chin (genioplasty) was advanced 5 mm, so a total of 19 mm from where the placement of the chin was before. He said the upper jaw movement was something like a tilt of 4-5 mm. Orginally, the measurements me told me were 5-6 mm movement on the bottom (not including genio) and 1-2 mm movement on the top. Uh...? I mean, I don't think anything looks like it wasn't done right, but what on earth happened to those original measurements? And 14 mm on the bottom seems INSANE. He threw out these numbers without looking at any charts, so I am wondering if somehow, he's confused, maybe?

The first thing Dr. M asked me when I walked in to my appointment was 'where do you work'. After talking a bit, he said he came into my work yesterday to look at a new jeep. He saw me and thought it was me, but asked his salesmen if my name was 'Danielle' (which is what is on all of my medical records, but not what I go by). The salesman said 'No, her name is Dani, but I think she has a sister named Danielle." --- obviously this seriously confused Dr. M, as he KNOWS my sister and is doing a genioplasty on her, so he was totally lost but really thought it was me. Its a big store, so I think he could only see me from across the room, so he decided not to come over and say hi. Anyway, can anyone make any sense of why someone would think that a person named Dani would have a SISTER named Danielle? Seriously.... How stupid.

I am going up to the UP of Michigan tonight with my boyfriend until Monday, so I won't be posting again until then!

Day 51

I wanted to address a few blog comments I have received regarding differences in breathing pre and post op. I know I mentioned this before surgery as one of the things I was MOST excited about experiencing post-op -- better breathing and not feeling so tired all of the time! Well, I am so happy to report, it's true! Since having surgery, I have been feeling SO much more awake during the day. I am able to roll out of bed by 8:00 feeling like I got a good night's sleep. I don't spend every day dragging, and don't feel like I could go down for a nap by 10 am any more! I go to the gym every morning, and don't need a nap immediately afterwards.

Unfortunately, surgery did not solve this issue 100%. I have had two septoplasty surgeries previously, and both of those surgeries relapsed. I was crossing my fingers that jaw surgery would help correct this a little bit, but it didn't. My septum is still very deviated, and eventually I will have to go in for a third (and final) surgery. Doctors are going to give it one last shot, but the nose can only take so much surgery and 3 times is about all it can handle. Doctors recommend you wait a year after jaw surgery to have the septoplasty, which is a little irritating but I guess that's just the way it goes. I still don't have the ability to breath out of my nose very well, but I am so lucky that I am breathing better through my mouth and getting in enough oxygen to leave me well rested. As far as I know, I am no longer snoring. This is most likely attributed to moving my jaw forward and making more room in my airway to breath. I am sleeping much better, not waking up with a sore throat from snoring and not needing to nap twice a day. I haven't taken a nap in weeks.

I am not sure how my energy will change come university time. I can definitely say I won't have the amount of energy I do at this point, as during the school year I work two jobs, am part of a sorority, taking classes, volunteering, AND trying to maintain my sanity (which is a huge energy consumer in itself!). I will keep you all reported on how my energy levels fluctuate when the daily pace picks up. BUT the energy I have now is absolutely amazing in comparison to the way things were before, and I am SO SO happy about this.

I came across this really cool website on tumblr, I really think everyone should check it out! It's called Dear Photograph

Day 50

Whoa. Day 50. Crazy!

Day 49

I am 7 weeks post-op today!

My boyfriend and I went hiking yesterday, and I took a few pictures. My hair was a mess, it was 93 degrees out and I was dying.