Sunday, January 13, 2013

Patience certainly is a virtue- 6 MONTHS!

Thursday marked 6 months since my surgery, aka 6 months since I've been pretty much a one-topic pony (let's be real, I talked about it a lottttt leading up to the big day). I'm now broadening my horizons conversationally, but I'm going to just take 6 months like the big deal that it is and celebrate it with a lil blog post. 6 months is a really long time, and July seems like an eternity ago. I've just spent part of my afternoon browsing through old photos (post-surgery, but back when I was bedridden) and I've gotta say, I secretly didn't think I ever wouldn't be swollen. To be fair, I still am swollen to a degree, but I'd say I've made a stride or two! Exhibit A:

This is what 6 months of healing can do
If I've learned anything from this ordeal, other than of course the importance of modern pharmacology and the necessity of having parents who don't need sleep, it's that patience is absolutely a virtue. Whoever coined that phrase most definitely took their vitamins that morning. Healing is a really big pain in the interim, but eventually swelling goes down, hair grows back, and scars fade. Exhibit B:

I'm not discounting the power of a shower and some softer, more forgiving (read: not hospital) illumination, but time really is the hero in these two pictures. Obviously. I guess I shouldn't really say patience is a virtue, because it's not like I had a choice in the matter, but I like the saying so I'm keeping it. Point being, if you stick with it, things will get better. Feel free to get that nugget of wisdom embroidered onto a pillow and apply that logic to every problem you ever have. You are so welcome.

It has dawned on me that 6 months from now I will have a university degree (well, if all goes well), and I will maybe, maybe, have some sort of idea of what I'm doing with my life. I've applied to this masters of biotech program at uoft that would be lovely to get in to. Not shockingly, the marvel that is a prosthetic jaw has sparked my interest in the field, and I'm pretty much the self-proclaimed poster child of how biotechnology can change lives. (That's more or less the cliffnotes version of my letter of intent). So maybe I'll be doing that in 6 months. Or maybe I'll be traveling. Or maybe I'll be living at home and walking my dog a lot- it's a toss up, really.

Also, my average from the semester before surgery to the one after went up 17%. Like, what?  I CAN'T EVEN DEAL. Maybe there is something to be said about studying sans-headaches and all that. My level of effort remained virtually unchanged so it is the only variable I can think of. My only regret is that this surgery couldn't have happened before the nightmare that I like to call "Organic Chemistry". So yeah, 2012 wrapped itself up nicely and even the Mayans couldn't take that away from me.

The holiday was lovely and full of food, family, and fun. Christmas was busy but fantastic as always and new years was decidedly way better than usual because I hosted a party- no paying outrageous downtown cover, no trekking around in the cold, no making small talk with people I didn't want to. Glorious. The 3 weeks flew by though, filled with Nutcracker shows (I think we had 11 this year- new low?), many many trips to the eatons centre in between said shows, and boisterous outings with the coolest kids I know (we even went bowling). The break was definitely a success but I came back to school feeling anything but refreshed. Ah well, though- now I'm in the home stretch. Counting down the days til my beloved braces and I part ways, til I get a degree, and til I can raise my eyebrows (the jury is still out on that one but I have faith).

For now, it's time to shower and take my dad's car back home because my parents are coming back from their 25th anniversary vacay tonight. (Yay for them! The best people ever- not even biased). Time to put an end to all these wild adventures and road trips I've been up to all week (heehee just kidding poppa...just to the grocery store). I'll be glad to be home tonight. Really, I'm just excited to lie down...I got the A-OK from the doc to exercise again, so I've re-acquired a gym membership and I'm hurtin. Feels good not to be a slug though. Except I've just come to the realization that now I am the proud owner of a 12 month membership to two different gyms. But alas, a problem for another day.

6 month smiles!

So all in all, everything is going well. Oh except the other day I pulled a piece of bone out of my gum- that was really weird.

Happy new year everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Oh yeah! I still have a blog!

I guess the fact that I haven't posted in a month is a good thing- it hasn't even crossed my mind! I'm in the lab right now doing some super fun science stuff and I have to wait 2 hours for my cells to incubate before the fun can continue, so I thought what better way to pass the time than to do some writing.

First exciting face update is that I can pretty much smile now! I did a comparison shot of my smile before and my current smile (well, as of when I took the photo a couple weeks ago). I think it's particularly cool because you can have a more accurate view of the change as opposed to me just staring blankly at the camera. The biggest thing to notice is the disappearance of the gummy smile- I don't remember how much they cut out (maybe a half cm or something), but it's enough to bring my teeth up to normal smile level.

Smile comparison- @ 15 weeks

I still have a lot of botoxed-forehead action happening, but I can now close my eyes if I squeeze reeeeeally tight! You don't even understand how much easier this makes showering- it is extremely annoying to have to literally hold your eyes closed with one hand while washing your face. It's the little things in life.......

Only weird unexpected post-surgery thing was the other week I noticed this thing sticking out of my upper gum. I don't have any sensation up there on the inside, so I didn't notice it until I was checking out my stitches before an orthodontist appointment. Certainly freaked me right out. My orthodontist thought it could potentially be a piece of bone or a screw that had shifted, to which my mother replied "heehee maybe you have some screws'll find that funny later." Hilarity aside, it really is quite disturbing to have something poking out of your gum. Anyway, today my surgeon squeezed me in to take a look at it and said it was just a little bone fragment. It falls right along the line of where he split my upper jaw between my teeth (imagine if you drew a line straight down from the outsides of my nostrils...that's where they split to widen my bite). The way he put it, he cut like a carpenter, but bones aren't wood so they can move around as they heal. Basically, it will either just smooth itself out or work it's way out. Either way, I'm glad I don't have feeling back there yet. Yikes! He didn't seem shocked or concerned so that takes a load off. Considering how perfect the recovery has been so far, I shouldn't be surprised that my body did something weird, because bodies ARE weird. I don't think I expected him to say "Well, looks like a screw has popped out so we're going to have to go back in there or your entire jaw might fall off", but I'm still relieved nonetheless.

I've been keeping myself busy with lots of exciting things. Last week my choir was part of this awesome thing that Soundstreams puts on every other year called University Voices- they bring a handful of wicked university choirs from across Canada (good ol UoG being one, of course), and an amazing conductor from overseas to lead us for rehearsals for the week then we put on a big show at Koerner Hall on the Sunday (the 11th). It was really fun to be in Toronto for the week- since I'm the only one from nearby, I brought the choir to my house one of the nights for dinner and relaxing time. It was really nice to not be at a hotel/restaurant for one evening, and my family loved meeting everyone. Here's a picture of me with Mary and Kim, two of my beautiful roomies and fellow sopranos, all decked out in our concert dress...

This year the conductor they brought was this amazing man from Latvia, and they actually brought his professional choir, the Latvian Radio Choir, too, to sing with us. They are one of the best chamber choirs in the world so it was really choir nerd heaven. If you happen to be interested, there is a recording of the concert here. My favourite pieces that we did are at 45:00, a few movements from Rachmaninoff's Vespers (the Latvian choir does the first few, and we join in on the last one), and Schnittke's concerto for choirs at 1:55:00. The Schnittke one is probably my favourite choral piece ever- it's in 16 PARTS! Both pieces are in russian which I've never sang in before and it was awesome. I'd say it's now up there with german and latin on the list of languages-in-which-I-enjoy-singing. I actually can't stop listening to it. I need to find a way to get this transformed into an audio file and onto my itunes- it's too good to rely on the disastrous internet at my house to try to listen to it.

Speaking of itunes, computer issues are my newest time suck. I got an iPhone last week, and I couldn't put any music onto it because I didn't have the newest itunes. No problem, I thought, as I downloaded it. 500 hours later it was finally downloaded but wouldn't install because I don't have the latest mac operating system. It was only 20 bucks to download it seemed, but I figured I'd better walk over to the apple store before I tamper with anything. I knew my operating system was old when the girl at the counter had to shout to the back room asking what version this was, and her response was "OH MY GOD, REALLY?" Frankly, I'm surprised she didn't throw it into a glass case and ship it off to the Smithsonian right that instance. Apparently I was running this ancient operating system called "Leopard". They made it sound like I was basically running Windows 97. I couldn't jump right up to the newest version, Mountain Lion, without first updating to Snow Leopard, which isn't sold anymore.  I could bypass the one between Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion (Lion), but not without backing my stuff up onto an external harddrive. I just had no idea that you actually had to pursue these things to update. I prefer it like itunes and adobe when they let you know clearly that it's time to come up to modern times. Anyway, 2 days and $200 later, I now have music on my phone and my 3 year old macbook pro is no long obsolete. 

Me and my computer

I kind of wish my life was like my computer as it was last week. Frozen in time, still doing it's thing, not being bothered by anything, and no real problems other than not being up to date on current events and just running a little slowly (Ha! Get it? I don't run unless it's for the bus). But alas, it's not. My university life feels like this weekend's operating system overhall- all of a sudden, BAM. I spent a lot of money, jumped up a few levels, got a little smarter, got better looking, and now I'm expected to function a lot better. Everything is going by so quickly and it's the worst. I'm almost half way done 4th year! Next week is the last week of classes. Um, what? Where has the time gone!? I have to get myself in to some extra human anatomy lab hours this week because I missed the heart/lung dissection when I was away doing my choir thing, but other than that it's basically on to finals! As soon as that is done I have to actually start thinking about what I'm going to be doing come graduation. New operating system of my LIFE. I just hope it's not called Cougar. I'm not that old just yet.

In the meantime, I've been distracting myself by daydreaming about Christmas break- my girlfriends and I do a fancy schmancy secret santa event every year, and this year will be our 10th annual so I'm getting really excited. I just want the 14th to be here so I can do some shopping! One of my roommates is done on the 3rd. How ridiculous is that?

Now I need to go tend to my cells so I can go home and sleep. But you better believe I'm going to leave the christmas music on while I do it. Here's my latest profile shot for some ending excitement. If I had the time, I would photoshop a little santa hat on.

Profile comparison- 4 months

Sweet dreams!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

DAY 100!

Well, ladies and gents, I've done it. I've survived 100 days with my new face. Thinking back to the summer, I can't believe how long it's been. Yay! My little stint at home seemed to last forever, but I've almost been at school for that same amount of time. Crazy.

Anyway, things are going well. I can finally (sort of) smile!!! Here is photographic evidence. It's from a few days ago, but I promise it hasn't changed. I still can't move anything on the top half of my face, but it doesn't look half bad I don't think!

I finally went yesterday to get my card key for the pathobio building (where my lab is), and I was pleasantly surprised to look halfway normal in my photo. Finally!

Tuesday I had an appointment with my surgeon. It was awesome! He was so pleased with how I'm doing. Last time I was there (early September?) I could open 23mm wide- this time I got a massive 45. 45mm falls in the normal range! It's great and all to think the swelling is going down, but nothing is quite as exciting as concrete quantitative evidence. Guess the jaw exercises actually do work. He was so happy with my smile too- he says he's so proud of me, and although I'm not convinced that it actually has anything to do with me, I'll take it! It's very reassuring to be told that your progress is not only awesome, but it exceeds expectations. The big disappointment of the day though is the verdict on skydiving. If you've talked to me even once in the past month or so, I've probably told you about how I'm going skydiving. I've wanted to do it for absolutely ever, and I convinced my roommates to come with me. We signed up and it was going to be this coming Saturday (the 20th). I don't know why, but I absolutely couldn't see a potential problem. I figured that I could make it a gentle landing, and even if it were to be rough, titanium is pretty tough. Probably tougher than your "real bone" joints...psh. I thought at most I would have to wear a mouth guard to cushion the impact. Anyway, I told my surgeon about it and his response was not what I expected/wanted to hear. He burst out laughing and then realized I was serious- he could not wrap his head around the fact that I wanted to hurl myself out of a plane 15 weeks post-op. He said the landing could (and likely would) jar my jaw and then I would have chronic pain forever. Not exactly the road I want to go down after having such magical results so far. He is obviously right, but I am so disappointed I can hardly stand it. I was trying so hard not to cry because then I had to have photos taken- it was not a fun afternoon. I'm sure I would be fine, but if I were to go ahead and do it anyway and something were to happen, I would look like such an idiot and there would be no sympathy in the chronic pain department (not to mention these 100 days of recovery will have been for naught). Long story short, Saturday is going to suck when I am sitting at home alone while my roommates go live out my bucket list dream. Jaw surgery sucks.

On a more positive note, I am loving this fall season. I made these pumpkin chocolate chip bars the other day that are just wonderful, and I'm just obsessed with the weather. My new favourite study spot is in the big glass building where my lab is because it looks onto a field with lots of beautiful coloured trees. The view is probably distracting, but it certainly is a mood improver. Other good news is my gross haircut is almost long enough to tuck/pin behind my ears. While I have pretty much accepted it, I still can't fathom why anyone would voluntarily do this. There's going to be a solid year until I can put it in a ponytail with my normal hair. Actually I read an article thing this morning with the 25 worst fashion trends or something, and this bad boy made the list alright. Don't do it, kids. But back to the silver lining, it is almost tuck-behind-my-ears-able. 

Anyway, skydiving disaster aside, all is well. Feeling more normal and getting into the swing of school. Course selection was this morning, and I couldn't decide so I just signed up for everything and I'll decide what to drop later. Last course selection EVER. I have to go run to my anatomy lab now, but here is a more stoic, less trying to smile picture. Jawline for miles.

Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Peace, surgical hooks! 12 weeks.

Today I had the immense pleasure of getting my surgical hooks removed. It's definitely not the same level of awesomeness as having my splint taken out, but it's still a welcome change. No longer will my lip get awkwardly stuck while I'm talking to someone, and I won't be that weird girl on the bus who keeps licking her teeth anymore. Remember back when I got them put on? My 2nd blog post, if memory serves. Oh, how menacing I thought they were. And how menacing they turned out to be. Ah well, distant memory. I've already forgotten what it's like to get my lip stuck. Maybe it never even happened...

Anyway, this joy was made possible by a trip home today to visit my orthodontist. She also replaced all the brackets at the top because a few of them had broken in surgery (I don't want to know how) and they had unsightly blobs of white plaster holding them on. You realize how actually non-white teeth are when they have pure white glue on them. Now they are back to the beautiful invisible braces I've had for the past 15 months. My roommate didn't seem to notice a difference when I oh-so-excitedly showed him my new and improved hardware, but I notice and that's all that matters! (To be fair, I don't really smile very much). Regardless, now that they are a little more viewer-friendly I've snapped a good ol' photobooth shot to show the change in my teeth. In both photos, my teeth are clamped shut. Look at that space in the before shot! No wonder I was a disaster at biting things. Now they happily close like normal-people teeth! Never using a knife again- I will pick things up on a fork and bite pieces off. Just because I can.

Bite improvement!
Someone give me a plastic bag I can tear open please.

Oh! I found the little notebook that I was using to write on in the hospital when I couldn't speak. It is equally the funniest and saddest thing ever. Here are a few choice excerpts: 

"More pain meds. I can't swallow. I'm drowning." How depressing is this! Even required an underline, it was so hectic. First night drama no doubt.

"Do my teeth touch?" Why yes, Allie, yes they do! "Need to swallow :(" Problem was solved by a nifty little suction device.

"Pain pup. Mump. P" Third time's the charm. I think they understood that I wanted a pain pump, and not an aching doggie or a weird measles-like disease.

"More aip please. More aire please." My god- medicated, suffocating Allie sure is polite.

What song do you want, Allie? "Call me madbe lol. Also d my yelids close". No, no they don't, but that's okay because I had Carly Rae to cheer me up.

"Aliusfblzjflzkjfnvlkmcxvnlzudfbliuzdfn." What do you mean you don't understand? I do notice a "...yyyyyy" at the end of a word though, so I was clearly trying to emphasize something. What do you mean I have to move my hand as I write- can't I just write every letter on the same spot? Don't do drugs, kids.

Voila. Now it's as if you were all in the hospital with me! Can't believe that was 12 whole weeks ago. Insanity! It's gone by so quickly, yet at the same time it feels so long ago. I guess that's like everything though (I mean, take university for example- how am I in 4th year?). I read some of my pre-surgery blog posts the other day and it just brought back a flood of memories of the night before/morning of. I really have no idea how I actually did this. I get so flustered and nervous thinking about it, and then I remember that it's already happened! I never really thought about how it would feel to be done, though. I only thought as far ahead as immediate recovery, and to some distant future where I'm an real adult with the most unreal bone structure. Didn't really think about that moment when it wouldn't be the only thing occupying my mind at any given time. I might slowly be getting there. My smile is even slowly improving! My roomies are all such good sports when I run in to show them the latest flash of my pearly whites. Good god I must be annoying. But annoying or not, they always say it looks better.  And I'm finally starting to actually see it! The goal is still for big smiley grad photos in the spring. Those babies will be framed and/or put in the wallets of everyone I know. All you 7459 people who have read my blog can have one. Well, approximately 7456 views were my dad, but the other 3 of you are more than welcome to have a copy too. I'll be taking orders closer to the date.

More immediate goal, however, is skydiving! Me and 2 of my roommates are going on the 20th. I figured 15 weeks post-op is more than enough. Much to my mother's dismay, my orthodontist today said she didn't see a problem with it. The only thing that could stop me would be if my surgeon says my jaw will fall off. I would hazard a guess to say, though, that titanium is probably tougher than my real bones would've been. Maybe I'll wear a balaclava to keep everything together. Either way, I am UNBELIEVABLY EXCITED. 

Time to go study for the psych middy I have on Thursday. Gotta brush up on my facial recognition! Heehee. I'll end this post with the requisite 12-week-selfie.

Day 82



Monday, September 24, 2012

Update time! Day 76.

Hello friends! Sitting on campus, waiting for my 11:30 vocal lesson, and I figured what better way to spend my time than doing a little blogging. I really have a ton of work to do, but this is more fun. I have an abstract due on Friday for my research project that I'm working on right now. It's really hard to explain what you're going to do for the next 8 months when you haven't actually done anything yet. My working title is...wait for it..."Impact of vaccine platforms and anti-inflammatory drugs on the ability to separate tumor-specific autoimmunity from autoimmune pathology in a melanoma mouse model." Mouthful and a half. It is actually easier to write than I anticipated, but still. It's no small feat to explain cancer immunotherapy in 500 words. I also have to do a godforsaken chapter summary for a 2nd year psych class that I'm in. I signed up for a chapter swap group and purposely chose a chapter that wasn't needed til the second midterm since this is a busy week, and then they up and decided that everyone needed to submit them a week before the first midterm, aka this Thursday. Unnecessary and annoying. The course is actually fairly interesting though...we're talking right now about facial recognition (or lack thereof) which is particularly apt for me obviously. People keep asking me about that, and it really is strange. I've had absolutely zero "identity problems", which was one of my biggest fears going into this whole thing. I thought I'd have at least a while of looking in the mirror and freaking out, but that hasn't happened once. While still in the hospital I did make them open the bathroom cabinet so I couldn't see the mirror when I hobbled past, but that was more because I looked like Sloth from The Goonies than anything else. But since then, completely normal. Minds and bodies are crazy stuff, people. Who knew that you could change your face completely and still recognize yourself as yourself? Not me! What has been awkward, though, is at least 5 times I've passed people on campus that I know quite well and waved, and they've stared at me blankly and walked past. I don't think 5 people have decided to stop liking me so I'm pegging it on the lack of recognition. I do enjoy the 5 second pause before the realization as I start talking, though. Always entertaining. Ooh on that note, here is a comparison shot from last Tuesday (10 week mark). I think the swelling has gone down even since then, but it's a good side by side. 

10 weeks post-op

As my mother points out, yes it is a particularly bad before shot, but I couldn't put a nice photogenic smiley before shot or it wouldn't look as cool. That's the cardinal rule of before and after shots.

This weekend was very exciting. My mom came for lunch on Friday which was awesome because she hasn't seen me since I moved back 3 weeks ago! Big change in the swelling. Then it was homecoming on Saturday, and although we didn't actually get tickets (they sold out in 20 MINUTES), it was still wonderful. So weird to think that this is the last homecoming of my undergrad. (Cue the emotional music and slideshow of memories.) We got all dressed up in our red, black, and yellow and had some fun. In the evening we ended up going to "funk night" at one of the bars downtown that my roommate is obsessed with and it was way better than I expected. I did my best in all photos to not smile, so there are an excessive number of pictures with my tongue out or growling fiercely. You know how it is. Last night I discovered though that my smile really is coming along! I still have a little bit of that "I watch you while you sleep" look because the top half of my face is immobile, but it's getting there. The way less fun event of last night was when my poor roommate Rebecca broke her heel in a hockey fiasco. OUCH. We brought them food to the hospital but I didn't stay with them. They got home by 12:30, crutches in tow. 4 hours in the ER actually isn't that bad of a wait for a non-life-threatening injury I suppose, but it was quite the long day for her since she drove back from Montreal and then played 2 intramural games. She's a champ!

Overall I'm feeling quite good. Even though I'm feeling better (whether I've tricked myself into thinking so, or I actually am), I'm making a very conscious effort to not overdo it. Trying very hard. I'm still doing my exercises like a good girl, and the pain is minimal. Last week I was eating with headphones in! I never could do that before because the grinding of the joints was so loud. That was one of the first direct improvements I've noticed. I've been sick all week with a wicked cold though which isn't's really hard to blow your nose when you have screws right behind it, let me tell you! The only thing that's bothering me is that I've realized that my scars aren't even, as stupid as that sounds. They are both beautifully thin and straight, but they're not exactly symmetrical under my chin. The rest of my face is now perfectly symmetrical, so I wish they were too! Well actually I just wish I hadn't noticed it. Ah well, I'll just bio-oil the crap out of them until I can't see them anymore. Either that or I'll just stop being crazy and remind myself of how exquisite they are (they actually are unbelievably well done). On a more positive note, I'm crushing it in Fantasy Football. I won last week, and this week not only am I winning but I've got the highest projected total in the league with 147. That's right. The Goaldiggers are bringin the heat.

Anyway, off to sing now. I'll end this post with yet another selfie. I'll give up the selfies when the face novelty wears off, I promise. One of these days I might even smile.

Day 75

Yay for swelling going down! It's up to you now, facial muscles and nerves. I believe in you!


Saturday, September 08, 2012

Hi from Guelph!

Well, I successfully made it back to school and finished my first 2 days of classes. Go figure!

I was thinking about moving on Tuesday, but I desperately wanted to settle in, so by the grace of some higher power I got my act together and was ready for Monday night. Not without a break for some selfies of course:
Day 55

It was really hard to leave...all of a sudden my magical summer of tv, ice cream, and having nothing to do was ripped out from under me. All my roommates had moved in by the time I got here which was nice. When I arrived, the boys were here with 2 friends of theirs and they were getting ready to go out- I actually joined them! I lasted downtown far later than I care to admit, but it was a really fun night. Not too shabby for someone who hadn't been out later than 10:30 since early July (and that was across the street from my house).

That reminds me- I had another first-since-July: a drink! The day before I moved in, I finished my narcotics, and 3 of my roommates came and picked me up and we went to a Jays game. That's first beverage in 2 months was a $10 tallcan of Budweiser. And it was glorious. Certainly more glorious than the Jays themselves, who were losing 9-0 until the 7th inning (it ended 9-4). It was a great, sunburn-filled end to my summer.

Anyway, back to Guelph. Tuesday and Wednesday night I had 5 hour training sessions with the tour guides. I'm holding off on actually giving any campus tours for a little while, but it was still nice to see everyone (and get some free food). :)

Wednesday I actually did get to see my mom again, because she came and picked me up for an appointment with my surgeon. It went really well! He seems so happy with how things are going, which is really reassuring. He also set up my lovely little therabite (see photo). Basically I put this contraption in my mouth and squeeze it to stretch my jaw open. Shockingly it doesn't hurt at looks like a torture device so I was preparing for the worst. Much less horrific than it looks.

Thursday I had orientation at my new lab, one class, and choir rehearsal in Waterloo. I was more than pleasantly surprised by how well I could sing! I think I was more scared than anything, but all went well. Looks like I'll get to keep my job after all! So much relief.

Yesterday was also a good day. I had class at 9:30, then I managed to drop off 2 course waiver forms, a form to change calendar years, buy my textbooks, and get my bus pass ALL BY 10:45. Haven't felt that productive in quite awhile. My roommate Garnet and I had almost as productive of an afternoon- power nap, Staples, beer store and groceries, and home in time for supper! In the evening, all 5 of us went to a party at the house of some friends of theirs which was fun. Our night was capped off by walking home in the torrential downpour.

In what I can only assume to be a narcotic-induced decision, I volunteered a few weeks ago to make cupcakes for our choir rehearsal/welcome back dinner/party/whatever thing that's happening today. I planned to make them yesterday but ran out of time, so I had to whip them up this morning. And they look just awful. My original idea was to make them German themed, in honour of our competition in Germany in April (in which we came 3rd woooo). Do you know how hard it is to make German themed cupcakes? Have you ever thought about it? Whether I was colouring the icing or the actual cake, how on earth would you make it black without being black licorice? And how would the German flag look when the red part is actually pink, since that is always how red food colouring turns out. And if I made them plain with german-themed decor, what would I put on them? I ran out of ideas past lederhosen, schnitzel and pretzels, and really, those would just look stupid on a cupcake wouldn't they? These are all unanswered questions that ran through my head this morning as I tried to bake in a new house. All the extra time spent trying to find things didn't actually help me come to any more conclusions. So, long story short, I decided to just make fun colourful cupcakes. I've been meaning to do this forever- where you make different coloured batter and layer it. In theory, they are awesome. But looking at them, I find them particularly unappealing looking. Kind of like superkid ice cream, but not quite as bright. I'm going to ignore the fact that some of them look slightly undercooked and just ice them white. Before anyone eats them I'm definitely going to give a little warning that they might be disasters, and cross my fingers that they like me for more than just my baking abilities.

So that is where I'm at right now! I got kind of bummed out last night because I was meeting all these new people and I couldn't even smile at anyone. Do you know how awkward it is to make eye contact with someone when you can't even grin in acknowledgement? It's very awkward, and I probably came off as rude. My surgeon said on Wednesday that it can take up to a year or year and a half to be able to smile again (IF AT ALL), but he is very optimistic about me. One thing that keeps running through my head is grad photos. No one wants to be that girl that finally gets to don the black robes and earn her red and gold BScH grad hood, only to be giving a blank stare in every single shot. Come on little facial nerves/muscles, you can do it! On a positive note though, I think the swelling is coming down a bit. A bit. At least my new roommates are awesome, if not my new face yet.

Anyway, time to go ice some "cupcakes", if you can even call them that.  :)


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

To my splint: farewell, au revoir, sayonara, auf wiedersehen, adios, arrivederci.....

Today was the day I got my gigantic splint taken out of my mouth. And ya know what? It didn't actually suck like I thought it would. In fact, I had a wonderful day. I've been dreading this day for the past few weeks because I was warned about how much it would hurt. The splint is this honkin' piece of plastic that my upper teeth sat in like a retainer, and it had all these little wires wrapped around my braces to keep it in place. For some reason I had it in my mind that all the little wires had to be unraveled, but of course it just all got clipped. I had planned to start untwisting all the wires myself to minimize the time with hands all up in my grill, but my wise mother talked me out of it. Good thing I didn't start that or I think my surgeon and nurses would probably have started questioning my intelligence, or at least my sanity.

I decided to prepare by taking the dose of pain meds I was on a few weeks ago, aka quadruple what I'm taking right now. I took half on the way over, and when I got there they said I probably had about another 30 min to wait so I took the other half. Within maybe 2 minutes it was my turn, and nothing had kicked in. Luckily I didn't need it, but needless to say it was a sleeeeeepy afternoon. I was incredibly nervous because I knew it went so far back in my mouth, and it's still all so sensitive. So anyway, I lie down in my little chair and he comes in to get this speech-impediment-maker/food-holder/incision-healer out of my mouth after all these weeks. I imagine it's a similar feeling to childbirth: you have absolutely zero desire to go through it, but it's not like the thing can stay in there forever. Although in my case, my reward was a nasty little piece of plastic, not a loving bundle of joy. I also can only assume this was a more pleasant experience. Whatever, it's the best analogy I can come up with. 

As soon as I cranked my jaw open and saw him honing in on the target with wire clippers I immediately tensed up- back arched, and very nearly punctured holes in the armrests with my fingernails. This led to him asking me if I trusted him. I couldn't help but burst into laughter- if I didn't trust him, then I've certainly gone too far and maybe should've thought of that before I let him slice my face for 10 hrs. We all had a giggle. And then, all of a sudden, it was over. Sure, the wire clipping seemed to go on for awhile because there's so much of it, but as soon as that thing was out and I could clamp my teeth together, there was a little fireworks display in my head. I would estimate it's been about 6 years since my teeth have touched in all those places. It was magical. I then got to go brush my teeth (glorious- even though this "adult brush" was a bit bigger than the little kiddy Dora toothbrush I've been using). Not gonna lie, I teared up a little bit in the bathroom. I expected to cry today, but more because of the pain than the emotions. Yeah, yeah, it's lame, but it was a pretty sweet moment. I haven't been able to appreciate the pain-free fake joints yet because of, well, the pain, and I haven't been able to fully appreciate the aesthetics yet because of the swelling, but all of a sudden I could fully appreciate the new bite. It immediately validated the 2 years of appointments, the year of braces, the week in the hospital, the 7 weeks in bed, and the months of recovery to come. In that moment I knew that never again would I bite into a sandwich and only pull off the bread, leaving all the delicious filling exposed and un-devoured because I couldn't bite all the way through. It should be noted that I ate a grilled cheese- successfully- as soon as I got home. Ohhhh yeah. My mom and I high-fived.

With this splint out, I can instantly speak more clearly and I think my upper lip falls flatter. Maybe not to anyone else but in my eyes it does. It's also no longer poking through my lips. Exhibit A: 

Splint free!! Day 48.

Tomorrow I'm going to see my orthodontist and I'm very excited to see her reaction. She will definitely appreciate the change I think! The rest of the week will be spent trying to get my act together for school. As if summer is over- wowza. I'll probably be moving back on Monday or Tuesday to get settled in, then I have tour guide training Tuesday and Wednesday night, an appointment with my surgeon Wednesday morning, and classes start on Thursday. Yay! Back to school! :|

Anyway, here is my first side-by-side front view comparison. The "after" shot is taken on my less-than-stellar cell phone camera, but I am wearing the same dress at least! I am still quite swollen but I think you can see that it's gone down a bit since last time. As long as it keeps going down, I'll be happy!

Before and after as of day 46.

All in all, it's been a long but rewarding day. If anyone has had braces, imagine the feeling of getting your braces off but times 10...except that I still have braces. Haha.

I can't even begin to fathom how lucky I am. I was reading this online article profiling my surgeon and his colleague (read it here) and it only reaffirmed that. Most people endure 10-20 surgeries before they bring in the big guns, and I got it right off the bat. Their's is the largest clinic in Canada (there's also a small one in Alberta), and they're only funded to do about 20 a year. When I think about all the people that can't have this done for whatever reason, be it financial, distance, wait-list, whatever, it makes me really sad but it makes me appreciate this whole thing even more. Quite the adventure. And today is the first day I've felt closer to being recovered than to having had surgery. It's a great feeling. Ok, now time to go tear open plastic bags with my under-worked canines. (Just kidding...but the urge is strong).

A :)

ps. I changed my Fantasy Football team name to The Goaldiggers. Our logo is a picture of the Disney Princesses all clad in gold. I thought it was particularly more girly and less frightening than Skull Crushers, and I love it. Our draft is Saturday- time to start my research!