Joint Clinic…..

I arrived at the hospital an hour early – I was worried I wouldn’t get parked and also was paranoid about being late. I didn’t sleep much the night before and was feeling generally very overwhelmed by hearing the verdict on if I was ready or not, I was contending with panic if I was ready and obviously huge excitement, but also the fact that I could be about to hear something hugely disappointing….

I was in such an emotional muddle I completely forgot to take my questions in with me.

I did my usual ritual of getting some magazines and a drink and went to sit in the waiting area

GetAttachment

I was prepared for a long wait – the Thursday clinic is usually busier and there were people sitting in the waiting area already. I tried my hardest to engross myself in my magazine and kept looking up every time I heard the door go. I spotted an Asian man I don’t recall seeing before – could this be Mohammad Shorafa? hmmm, he looks quite young, but maybe it is…

“Alison Rocks” – shit, that’s me, they are calling me in now (they were running early).. I tried to pick up my coat, water, magazines and bag, I dropped my car keys on the floor – I was already an emotional mess….. (my legs felt like jelly and my heart was pounding – come on Ali, pull yourself together)…

I went in and saw two men, one of them my orthodontist and a man next to him “Alison, this is Mr Shorafa”… I shook his hand and said something along the lines of “lovely to meet you” , I sat in the chair opposite them. There were two nurses in there too – one I had never seen before (maybe she’s training?) and a dental nurse that I know, she has assisted Mr power in the past when he has been adjusting my braces.

It’s all a blur, but the long and short of it was…..(drumrole)…….. I’m ready!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mr Shorafa asked what the 3 things that I wanted to change most about my bite were, I said that the angle of the top jaw, the asymmetry and also being able to smile with my mouth closed without having to try to stretch my lips ( I couldn’t think too much, I was overcome with emotions – all good emotions but it was intense)

Mr Shorafa asked me to sit on the dental chair and hold a metal ruler in my mouth – I think he uses this to look at the angles of my jaw….

He agreed to my requests. I did say that I am aware my face is long and that I really don’t want it to appear any longer (and if possible a bit shorter) after surgery

He said that they would correct the angle of my top jaw, Mr power asked that he bring the back of my mouth in line too as I have a slight open bite (buck teeth – but only slightly)

It was then decided that they would rotate my lower jaw to correct the asymmetry, but instead of cutting the top jaw in half to widen the upper arch, to make an incision between my two middle lower teeth and narrow the lower jaw by 2-3mm – he said that the top split is such a big operation, that for the minimal narrowing it would be far safer, a faster recovery for me, would allow my lower teeth to sit under the top teeth and not narrow my face enough to be noticeable to anyone other than me really.

He said that with correcting the asymmetry, that he would get it as near to perfect as possible, but that there may be a very small relapse so it would not be “perfect” but very close – i really appreciated his honesty and the way he was clearly managing my expectations.

I was shown models of my bite – at the start and now, (which I took a picture of):

GetAttachment (1)

I asked if he had treated similar cases to mine, he explained that he had been doing this for 17 years and had treated lots of similar cases with successful outcomes. He was a very caring man and I liked him (phew) i felt like he was thorough and really empathetic to my case.

I said i trusted his judgement and would go with his recommendations. He asked if I thought I showed too much gum when I smiled, I said I wasnt sure, but didn’t think so as long as the angle of the top jaw was raised not brought down during the correction. he agreed and said that although they could take a mm or 2 mm off of the length of the top jaw (how much gum I show) he feels i would age better if we left it. Also I said I didn’t really want to show too much lower tooth with my smile as i prefer my top teeth.

I asked if my chin was still an area to be worked on as initially suggested by Caroline, he said they weren’t going to operate on this as it was only minimal and that actually I had a nice chin (aww, thanks – its nice to have a compliment in between words like – long face, asymmetry, open bite etc! lol). I actually prefer this decision, as if the lower jaw is being narrowed my chin will keep the fullness of my face as the soft tissues lie over the bone structure (ooh, get me and my terminology!!)

So, as I understand it, the treatment is upper and lower jaw only. I asked “when” and they have said the end of July – I will receive a letter in the post, but that the operation will take place on a Thursday (either 24th or 31st July I guess). I will receive this letter in the post in the next month.

They asked if I had any more questions, I said to my orthodontist “can I give you a hug?” he laughed and said yes. I gave him a big hug and said “Thank you so so much for getting my teeth ready” i turned to the surgeon and said “I don’t want you to feel left out, you can have a hug to” I hugged him and said thank you for doing this for me.

My Ortho joked that I wouldn’t be thanking them after surgery, but I said I would.

I go back in 2 weeks for Ortho adjustments, another in may and I have a new appointment on 27th June at 9.30am.

When booking my appointment for June the dental nurse gave me a hug and said she was so happy for my and something else like “aww, bless you” she’s lovely.

So, this time in 5 months I will have a new bite. I know the recovery will be hard, but I think its going to be much easier without the top jaw split (that was the part I was most afraid of).

I’m so excited for whats coming now. I understand that I will also be contacted by the other hospital for a pre op, and also by a man called James who will schedule me in to have impressions with him to make my “wafer” which will be used to hold my bite in place straight after surgery.

I am feeling relieved, grateful, excited, nervous, but overall really happy right now. It’s so nice to know “when”. 5 months – enough time to save (as my work don’t pay me when I’m off) to cover my wage for that month, enough time to pick up bits like baby toothbrushes, head bras etc each month and also enough time to mentally prepare. x x x

 

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My List of Questions for Joint Clinic (Tomorrow… well, 23 hours, not that i’m counting or anything???!!!!) x

So, ever the pessimist that I am I have decided to be optimistic and positive about my appointment tomorrow and prepare a list of questions (assuming they say that I am ready) – im still on the fence, I have a tooth that i don’t think is perfectly straight and I think this will need addressing before I’m ready although saying that, last september i thought my teeth were fandabidozeeee and ready… and i wasnt. keeping up lol?

anyway, being positive about this (bare with me on this, its my new thing) here are the following questions to ask when they say the words ive waited almost two years to hear (so Far) “Miss Rocks, you are ready for surgery” :

1) What exactly are you doing to do in the surgery?

2) How many people have you treated who are similar to my case?

3) Will I have to have more than one operation?

4) What are the risks?

5) Will the surgery affect my jaw joints and nerves?

6) What is the risk of infection?

7) What happens if the surgery is not successful?

8) realistically, what should i hope for after the surgery in terms of jaw function and how i will look?

9) Will the plates and screws be permanently left in?

10) How long will the operation take?

11) What hospital will the surgery be undertaken at?

12) How long will I be in hospital for?

13) What are my options regarding pain relief after surgery?

14) What happens if i vomit and my teeth are banded shut?

15) Breathing – how will i breath – can you leave the breathing tube in my nose for a while afterwards?

16) How long before feeling returns (if it’s going to?)

17) How long will it take for the broken jaws/and chin to be fully repaired and stable?

18) How long should I take off of work?

19) How long until I fully recover?

20) When do the orthodontics resume following the surgery?

21)How will I keep my mouth clean if i am unable to brush my teeth?

22) I have a waterpick – when am I allowed to start using that following surgery?

23) Where can i research your case studies/previous jaw surgeries and their results?

Thank you x

– Hopefully if im not ready I will still get answers to these… its 10.59 now… this time tomorrow I will know………….. x

Im such a selfish person….

I watched a documentary last night on the TV that has made me feel so selfish for the way I have been moaning about waiting for my surgery to happen….. it follows an incredible young lady called Tare with an aggressive growth in her jaws, and the fight to save her life:

Tare’s Journey x

if the link has expired by the time you read this, if you type Tare my face is eating me alive documentary on a web search or in youtube you should be able to find this documentarty – I cannot urge you to watch this enough.

This young lady is going through something unimaginable to me and she never once moaned, and remained positive. It made me put things into perspective massively and I feel very selfish for the previous post and the way I have complained.  I urge anyone that is getting frustrated with their jaw surgery process to watch this, I can almost guarantee that by the end of it you will feel grateful for where you are in your journey and for the face you have now x x x

To donate to the charity – they have a just giving page. The charity is called changing faces

Struggling with the patience!!!

Am I ready?……Am I not?     Am I ready?…Am I not?!!!! aaargh , I can convince myself either way right now. Ironically the closer the joint clinic gets, the more impatient I get… “Just give me a bloody answer!!!” let me know what i’m dealing with, and I can deal with it.  1 week and 13 hours and I will be in my appointment. I’m sure there will be tears, just not sure if they will be happy or sad ones yet. The not knowing is a real challenge, someone somewhere must have done the work on my molds by now and know the verdict. My ortho is on paternity leave, and to the best of my knowledge my surgeon hasn’t even started his job with Wexham yet. Stomp stomp, huff puff, moan, rolling eyes and finishing with a big sigh.

Rant over (for now) x

I posted on the Facebook group today asking has anyone been told no at a second joint clinic and someone replied saying that as I am NHS they probably wouldn’t waste their surgeons budget on a joint clinic if I wasn’t ready, however I can sway either way. I wont believe it if they say I am ready, I wont believe it if they say am not…

physical age right now, 30 … mental age 5 (childish tantrum still in progress)

tantrum

Practicing Patience…

It’s now 10th February, 2 and a half weeks until I have my joint clinic appointment….

I’m feeling a bit “nothing” at the moment if that makes sense? in limbo land. I keep trying to research my new surgeon but there are a few possible pictures that this person could be, I did manage to find a review from a patient and it was really good so that does make me feel a little better – I still wish I had’ve had Caroline Mills though, I really liked her, she was really nice and…. also a plastic surgeon (double bonus) but alas, not meant to be I guess..

I have made a list of questions to ask If im ready and a little list of questions if im not ready yet. I called the appointment line this morning to see if I was booked on any surgery waiting list and the lady said no, but that could be for many reasons – they may not have even plaster casted my mouth/teeth molds yet… argh who knows? certainly not me.

I’m struggling with being patient right now, but try to catch myself when I’m doing it and turn my thoughts around to knowing that I am already 21 months through this journey and closer to where I want to be each day, its hard sometimes but I guess it’s just my selfishness that makes it hard as things aren’t happening when “I” want. not qualities I really want to have so im working on this. (pretty deep and meaningful thoughts for a Monday morning) One thing this whole process is teaching me is mental stamina, which is positive. It’s also helping lots to write this blog and know that one day this will be something I will look back on (which is a strange feeling when you feel like this process has no sign of ending anytime soon) One thing I did think a while ago was actually how strange and almost sad it will be to not have my 6-8 week appointments at Wexham one day, I have spent 2 years of my life getting to know my consultant and he almost feels like a friend now, going to appointments has just become the norm for me and im quite used to it being part of my life.

I am “handing it over” I have no control of this situation’s progress in any way, and I accept that, and although I get impatient at times I know that the work beforehand will ensure the best result I can get and I am genuinely grateful for that. I will update again after my joint clinic, (trying to practice what I preach I am not going to sign off with fingers crossed or anything like that (this is soooo hard lol) and be grateful that in another 2 and a half weeks I will have taken another step in my journey). x x x

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