Monday, April 30, 2007

Before and After: Umbrella

December 2005 in Victoria, B.C., vs. April 2007 in New York. Click on the photos above to enlarge them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Who says everything looks good in black and white? ;)

Above: X-ray on November 22nd, 2005. Pre-op.
Below: X-ray on April 5th, 2007. Post-op. See the metal plates and screws? :D

Got A Date... Kinda

At my last ortho appointment their records showed my estimiated "de-brace" date as August 2008. August 2008!! That's obviously wrong, and the dental assistant agreed, since I'm weeks away from my final wires. I couldn't get a straight answer before I left their office because my ortho was way too busy to talk to me or her assistant (who does most of the work on my braces). See why I'm not impressed? In any case, I called them yesterday to clarify the date.

Long story short - the worst case scenario is February 2008. My ortho said on average it takes nine months of additional braces work after the jaw surgery. So that puts me at early November. Sometime between November and February. That's when they'll come off! :)

I'm extremely glad the surgery went well and there are no complications. Now I just want the roots to move and straighten out. Tick tock teeth! :P

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Not So Hidden Gems

Since the group of us orthognathic surgery patients has been relatively quiet on our blogs, I've wandered around online to find other gems.
  • Flight 001 - All the travel essentials and accessories one can dream of.
  • - Want smart investment advice? Bookmark this site. Don't let the name fool ya.
  • Closet Therapy - Oh boy. Is this the mother of all shopping blogs or what? I marvel at the amount of time she spends to keep it up to date.
  • - Type in the songs you enjoy, and Pandora will find similar songs for you and stream them for free. Pretty sweet, huh?
  • Fat Wallet - Don't know about you, but my wallet's never fat. Sigh. I've never personally used this site, but apparently it saves you $$.

Got any cool sites to share? ;)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Jennifer Ouellette Grosgrain Ribbon Headbands

Hey Ju, thanks for the comment on the headband. It's Jennifer Ouellette. You can get them from Barneys New York, or online at Viv&Ingrid. Aren't they adorable? Just the perfect spring accessory. :P

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yan Min Said....

Yan Min said...
"Hi Kristen, I have an underbite and I'm thinking of getting the surgery done this summer, but my parents are quite worried and to be honest, I'm quite scared myself. I only have about 3 months off before I head back to school. Do you think that'll be enough time to heal? I haven't gotten a chance to consult a surgeon yet because I'm now studying abroad. Will I still look weird 3 months post-op? I'm scared... :( "

Hey there - do you have braces on right now? Usually this type of surgery, as I understand it, is performed in conjunction with braces. Your orthodonitist and your surgeon should explain the entire treatment plan to you before they start anything. I'm not sure what your situation is - but you might want to consult with your surgeon to fully understand what to expect.

I'm almost 3 months post op (11 weeks now). I don't think I look weird. And believe me, I was really, really swollen after the surgery. Therefore, I think your chances of looking normal before heading back to school are pretty good!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


This is the best flight map I've found:

Train around Europe, or fly for $99 each way? THAT is the question.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

High tea!

Having high tea at Walforf=Astoria in New York, before heading to JFK to fly home tonight.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Hey Ju!

Ju, let me see if I can address your questions:

hey kristen, hmm got down a few questions. help me out. will the surgeon actually shorten yr chin as well?

No, he didn't, and he doesn't plan to.

did he push back ur lower jaw or push it backwards & upwards too?

Good questions. He pushed it backwards and tilted it upwards. In doing that, the chin "appears" shorter.

will the nose base be larger after the surgery?

Not "larger", but slightly "wider". But this really varies from patient to patient. In my opinion, my nose looks rounder, as does my lower face.

and also, will the braces period actually make our bite worsen before the surg? thanks in advance!!

Yes, the bite did indeed look worse per surgery. It's because they needed to reposition the teeth for optimal alignment immediately following the surgery, when the jaws had been repositioned. Don't worry, it's a gradual process. I didn't notice it that much. Good luck with everything!

Sunday, blurry Sunday

Fortunately, the need for Tylenol was a one off deal. All is well and I've got sundae on my brain this Sunday. :)

My back molars still don't touch (up and bottom). There's consierable gap between them, to the point that I really can't chew things properly. My ortho says she'll put on rubber bands to "hold them together and pull them in".... I'm not sure I understand that correctly. They also definitely do NOT have the right information in my record - because it says they expect to "debrace" me in August 2008. Um, NO, I don't think so. The dental assistant that helped me the other day said she'd double check on that. "It shouldn't take that long, since you'll be in your final wires pretty soon." See why I'm not impressed with my ortho's office? They make little mistakes like that, here and there, and they really do add up to destroy my confidence in them. Dr. Li's office never made any such errors - though I must say they're taking an awfully long time to sort out the insurance payment (sent it to the wrong insurance company at first). Well, maybe it's time I pick up the phone myself. If you want it done right....

But, as it is, it's Sunday, and sunny outside - and sundaes are in order! :)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Rude Awakening

The pain was so intense it woke me up. I sat up in bed, at two o'clock in the morning, half-asleep, and simultaneously fighting the urge the doze off again and the NEED to get some medication to stop the pain in my lower teeth.

I went in yesterday for my first ortho appointment since the surgery. They changed the wire on my bottom teeth and repositioned some brackets to make sure the roots are straight.

Now I can't even THINK straight, the pain is so intense.

Just as I was grabbing two pills from the bottle of Tylenol 8 hours, the nearly empty bottle of cherry-flavored Liquid Tylenol jumped out at me - the life saver from the good ol' days of immediate pos op.

I drank it.

Please let the pain go away.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Death & Taxes

Taxes make me want to die. OK... maybe not quite. But taxes definitely make me miserable.

I'm proud to say I'm 90% done with the filing. Only next steps left? 1. Call the doctor's offices in the morning to figure out exactly how much medical expenses I incurred in 2006, and 2. TurboTax it! So, if you haven't done your taxes yet - don't forget to include expenses on disposable toothbrushes (considered medical supply, I hope), mileage driven to medical facilities, parking, x-rays, and of course, prescriptions. Get back as much as you can. Heck, the lot of us here have certainly spent enough on braces and surgery (another whopping deduction for 2007, I'm sure).

I promised myself to absolutely get it done before Friday. Because I have a business trip to New York City next week, and another one to Portland immediately after. But I WILL have time for some fun towards the end of April, when I visit a friend in Vancouver, B.C.

On that note, a former colleague of mine invited me to his wedding in Spain this August - he and his future bride, who grew up there, were even generous enough to offer me free room and board (thanks Chris!). I'm so psyched! But I want to get the most out of the trip and add another country to the itinerary, somewhere I've never visited before. After mulling over a map of Europe for almost an hour and checking airfare, I've narrowed it down to three cities: London, Amsterdam, and Lisbon. Which one will it be? I'm so torn. Decisions, decisions!!

I won't book the flight until I'm done filing the taxes. Now THAT's motivation. ;)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Random Sentiments

Looking back on this whole braces/surgery ordeal - even though I've got at least 6 more months to go - some random nuggets of thought keep popping into my mind.
  • It was perhaps a good thing that I didn't really look for any surgery related information online before it happened. Sometimes too much information is a bad thing - there's a reason why they say "BLISSFUL ignorance". Haha. I knew I'd proceed with the braces and the surgery. I'd made the decision already. Case closed.

  • The braces didn't hurt much at all. Except maybe for three or four days after each adjustment.

  • But they're so damn inconvenient! After every meal, I'd excuse myself and run to the bathroom to make sure there's nothing stuck between my teeth.

  • They're NOT as socially awkward as I thought. I guess adults are more sensitive and considerate than teenagers and tend to NOT poke fun at you as much. Well, on average (no, I didn't have braces as a kid).

  • Surgery was actually the easiest part. Piece of cake. Really. All I had to do was pass out (with some help from the anesthesiologist, of course) - and viola! Four hours later, mission accomplished.

  • Mission accomplished. But oh boy, the AFTERMATH!! For me, personally - as it doesn't happen to everyone - the breathing difficulties were the hardest part.

  • The swelling - oh gosh, would it go away?! The post op photos amuse me now. Chipmunk! Pumpkinhead! :P There's still some residual swelling, but hey, compared to the photo above, I've come a looooooooooonnnnnng way.

  • The first time I brushed my teeth - about ten or twelve days post op - oh how I LOVED it! Mmmmmm. Minty breath.

  • Milkshakes. The three weeks immediately following surgery were about the ONLY time in my adult life where I could indulge in milkshakes and not worry about weight-gain. And guess what? I got sick of them. C'est la vie.

OK, gotta run to work. More later.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Bill's Round 2

Bill is having his 2nd round of surgery tomorrow. My goodness. How does he do it? I'd have completely freaked out by now. You gotta hand it to the Marines. Good luck Bill!!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Two Months Before & After

Hi folks!

I can't believe it's been two months already, since my double jaw surgery. But somehow it feels longer, even though the time has just zoomed by.

The milestone calls for another before and after comparison. The photo on the left (in the Paul Frank braces t-shirt) was taken right before I headed out the door to the ortho appointment to get the braces on. That was February 7th, 2006.

The photo on the right was taken this morning, two months after my surgery. My face does look rounder.... I can see why some people would chalk that up to weight gain. My lower 1/3 face seems less prominent. The feature are more in proportion. Some days I think the differences are subtle. Other times I think "oh my God, now I'm stuck with a round face!" What's your take on it? How much/little has your appearance changed post surgery?

Here (in the photo above) you see me in December 2005, December 2006, and this morning, from left to right. See how my lower jaw is shorter, and my gummy smile reduced? Click on the photos to enlarge them.