Thursday, May 31, 2007

Four-Month Mark!

Wow, it's been four months already, since my jaw surgery on January 31st. I don't think about it much anymore....the swelling's probably all gone - if it hasn't then at least I haven't noticed. The numbness in my chin still lingers, but only about 10%.

The BEST part? Had an appointment with the ortho today to adjust my braces. She had originally estimated to de-brace me by February of 2008. This afternoon she told me it would happen a lot sooner - around mid-September! I am completely thrilled. :)

The photo on the top left shows my profile before braces. The one on the right is my profile as of today. For more before and after photos, click on the links in the left-hand column.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Top 10 Most Expensive Cities in the World

The top 10 most expensive cities in the world this year, according to the Economist, using New York as 100:
  1. Oslo, 134
  2. Paris, 130
  3. Copenhagen, 126
  4. London, 125
  5. Tokyo, 124
  6. Osaka, 118
  7. Reykjavic, 118
  8. Zurich, 118
  9. Frankfurt, 116
  10. Helsinki, 116

New York came in at #28, Chicago #36, Los Angeles #39, and San Francisco #41.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Rain in Spain

....Falls mainly on the plain. Or does it?

I'll find out soon enough! Just booked my flight to Brussels in July. Then taking the train to Spain! Woohoo! Thanks Chris, for inviting me to your wedding!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

3rd Rock from the Sun

I wish I'd remembered to add 3rd Rock from the Sun to my Netflix queue while healing at home post-op. On a 2nd thought, no I don't. The show is just hilarious, and laughing would've hurt too much. Doug would know. He made me laugh so hard once, about two weeks after the surgery, that I literally had to pinch my lips together to keep the muscles from pulling and hurting too much. Nice mental image, huh? ;)

It feels great to be able to laugh again. :)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Visual Reality

Watched Dreamgirls the other night. Effie White is denied the chance to super stardom because she's overweight. Overweight doesn't sell records. Beauty does - in the form of Deena Jones.

We all love beautiful things. And beautiful people. Do good-looking people get better treatment? Sure they do. When I went to a flower shop with a girlfriend a few years ago - she got half a dozen roses from the shop owner for no reason, and I got....nothing. Men buy drinks for pretty girls at bars. Us mere mortals? We gotta buy our own.

But sometimes good looks can backfire. Look what happened to Ms. Segolene Royal in the French election. She received only 48% from the women voters. I'm not saying she lost because of her astonishingly good looks. But her beauty perhaps cost her a few votes. A San Francisco radio station took calls earlier this week to see if/how a political candidate's appearance impacts the way people vote. The confessions were mixed. Some callers admitted that they simply didn't trust too-good-looking politicians, suspecting that they had it easier because of their looks. Others said - "Sure, if they're equally smart and competent, I'd vote for the hotter one 'cause I have to watch them on TV for the next few years!"

Men are not immune to this type of scrutiny. A recent New York Times article revealed that "a 5-foot-8 man was just as successful in getting dates as a 6-footer if he made more money — precisely $146,000 a year more. For a 5-foot-2 man, the number was $277,000". Ouch.

Fair? No. Reality? Yes.

Boing, Boing....Bouncing Back

Thanks so much for the support, folks! She's entitled to her opinions - and I'm entitled to a switch. Switching to a new dentist, that is. ;) I was never that impressed to begin with.... and this just provided that last bit of motivation I needed to look around.

I feel extremely grateful that everything has gone according to plan so far - the braces (so far, to date), and the surgery. Couldn't have asked for better!

Mary - Thanks for sharing my blog with your colleague. He can read more about Dr. Li at Best of luck!

Ruby, Graham - Thanks for the encouragement. I signed up for a membership at Helium yesterday. It's a site where you can write about any subject they specify, rate each other's articles, and somehow get paid (haven't figured out how that part works yet). So far I've only written two articles, but plan to do more soon. :)

What would I do without y'all (my Texas roots seeping through)? Thanks again, to each of you, for your kindness and support. You've made this journey so much easier.... and even FUN. :)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Dent in My Day

My dentist isn't involved in this whole jaw surgery ordeal, even though her office also does braces. A friend of mine had recommended her ortho and oral surgeon to me, so that's who I went with. When I told my dentist about my plans to undergo jaw surgery, about a year and half ago, she said - "Oh I noticed your bite is off, but I didn't want to say anything 'cause it'd require surgery. The only surgeon I know that's really good lives in Texas. I don't know any oral surgeons here so I can't recommend anyone to my patients." She took some "before" pictures of my face - front view, profile, and smile - so that she could compare and see the difference when I'm done. If the results were good, she said, she'd recommend Dr. Li to her other patients who might need similar surgery.

Fastforward 18 months. I had my dental exam this afternoon. Saw my dentist for the first time since the surgery. I congratulated her on her new baby girl, flashed a smile, and said - "So, are you gonna recommend Dr. Li?"

"Oh....", she paused, "honestly, I think you'd have better results if you went to that surgeon in Texas. He would've made it perfect. Right now you still show some gum when you smile big." (See a photo here)

"Oh, that. Dr. Li had told me that he couldn't make the gum disappear completely when I smile. If he had shortened my upper jaw even further, it'd widen my nose too much. Plus, when your lips are relaxed, the bottom of your upper front teeth is suppposed to peek out just a little. If he had cut out more gumline, my front teeth would've completely disappeared behind the upper lip and I'd end up looking like an old lady. It's all about striking the right facial balance, right?"

"Still, the surgeon in Texas would have made it just perfect. Dr. Walford, I think, is his name. He doesn't do anything by the book and he's brilliant. He would've rotated both of your jaws and made them perfect."

"But Dr. Li did operate on both of my jaws. Besides, I don't mind showing a little gum when I smile big. What IS perfection anyway? It's different from person to person."

"How much did you pay for your operation? Dr. Walford in Texas charges $70,000."

"My surgeon quoted $33,600."

"Ah. Dr. Walford would've made it perfect. He's really famous and well-known, and he's expensive."

"Well," I sought ways to fight back without being rude, "I'm not gonna fly to Texas, and I'm not paying anyone $70,000 for this. By the way, Dr. Li is world-renowned, too. He's top-notch."

She started to say something else, but quick, I beat her to it: "Hey, you don't have to recommend him and you don't have to like the results," I kept a smile on my face, even though, yes, of course I was annoyed. "After all, I'm the one that has to live with it, and I really like it." Then I turned and winked at her assistant, who looked completely mortified.

I'd like to think I have an open mind and can take different opinions. But, I suspect it's insensitive of her to say that I should've gone to some surgeon in Texas when all has been said and done. Obviously there's nothing I can do now, even if the Texan were better than Dr. Li - which I highly doubt.

Bottom line: I'm happy with the results. I can chew properly now and cut noodles with my front teeth. Plus, in my opinion, my face looks more proportionate. Who cares what she thinks, right?

But it still made a dent in my day.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Before and After: 3 Months!

Three-month mark!! It's been three months since my jaw surgery. Click on the photos above to enlarge them. The photo on the left was dated September 2005, pre-braces. The photo on the right was taken yesterday, at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, B.C., Canada (which is, by the way, a beautiful place with lots of flowers. I snapped a photo of a random cute kid walking by).

They say time flies. But honestly, it feels longer than three months! Almost a distant memory. When a colleague asked me the other day how my jaws were feeling, it took me a split second to realize what he meant. :) My diet has gone back to almost normal, as well - still can't do the tougher meats or apples or carrots yet, but all in due time. My chin still feels numb on the right side...and my lower right lip, too. But each week the feelings return a little, so that's good!