Saturday, February 21, 2009

Long Recovery Road

I had upper and lower jaw surgery on October 23, 2008 so it's been almost 4 months. I had taken 3 weeks off work to heal and ever since I've been back it has been insanely busy and stressful. The entire year before the surgery was stressful because I was fighting with my insurance company. So, here I am finally on the "other side" and you'd think I should be so happy. But somewhere along the road ... I have become severely depressed. I mean, clinically depressed. I have nothing left to give and I feel so empty. I don't know what happended except to say I truly think your body and emotions can actually shut down from stress. I feel like I have no happy ability left. It's awful. Last Thursday I was actually supposed to get my braces off, but I had to serve on jury duty. So I still have them on - I'll have to reschedule for this upcoming week. Shortly before surgery I switched orthodontists (as well as surgeons) and this orthodontist works quite differently than my other one. He is going to take off my braces, put a permanent (for a year) retainer on the bottom and a clear retainer on the top, but I'll still see him monthly for about a year ... but without the braces. I think its all very interesting. I want to get my teeth whitened immediately following braces removal, but supposedly am supposed to wait 2 weeks because of sensitivity. Forget that though - I do not want to have to show off a brand new smile without the brite whiteness. I'm getting it all done on the same day.

Anyways, regarding the depression - I'm going to start going back to therapy next week. I seriously need help.


Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear you have been feeling seriously blue.
This unexpected turn of events must seem like a total curve ball...and yet, I hear this wave of intense depression can come up with jaw surgery (argh....).
You look really great in the post op photos you have shared. I hope at least, that you are feeling good about the esthetic changes that your surgery has brought about. I am scheduled for upper and lower jaw surgery in the fall. Your decision to change orthodontists before surgery caught my eye. Am curious about why you decided to switch, and once you made your decision to leave ortho#1, how difficult was it to transfer to a new ortho? I ask because the ortho I have been working with (this is the ortho my surgeon collaborates with) makes me
really uneasy. He seems to distrust me, and he is impossible to reach for answering questions. I worry that it will be even harder to tolerate the poor communication after surgery (especially given my
vulnerability to blue moods). I know this ortho will do a good enough job from a technical's just from the emotional/communication end of things that has me worried. I hear it is really hard to switch orthos, and that most orthos reluctantly accept transfer cases. Would really appreciate hearing aabout what your experience has been like from the ortho end of the surgery. Look forward to hearing from you. Take care


Katherine (Kate) said...

I was wondering how you've been doing. So sorry to hear you've been having such a hard time these past months.

I'm happy to hear you're seeking help in wading through everything, and will be praying you're able to get feeling like yourself again. That dark space can be so consuming.

Strenth to you. *hug*

mcgee33 said...

I've been following your blog and I'm so glad to hear from you again. I'm sorry you're feeling so depressed but I commend you for sharing it. I think talking about things honestly is so good and the first step to getting out of the depression. I know this may sound weird but, after being depressed myself for lengths of time, I'm seeing pain as a gift... when we face it and deal with it, it can truly be a weight off our shoulders. Emotional pain is like physical pain, both show parts of us there is something wrong - that is a gift. Then we can go after healing and I think, ultimately, what our deepest hearts long for and are made for...

I hope you find health and healing as you go through this difficult process. I'm glad you're taking care of yourself.

I'll be praying for you,

Aimee said...

I'm sorry to hear you are depressed. :( I hope you can get the help you need. I know what it's like. I've had a really rough past 6 months. Hopefully it will get better for you. On the bright side, you look amazing. :)

Katherine said...

Hi MDS :)
I read your post last weekend and have pondered what to say. I am sorry the recovery has been so difficult. I remember how awful it felt to be blue for days on end following surgery, crying constantly over everything. Hang in will get better at some point.

When new mothers rush back into their regular routines, they are more likely to suffer from post partum depression, and it got me wondering. If your job requires you to smile all the time, and basically pretend like nothing has happened, that could make the recovery worse.

I'm sure your husband has told you how pretty you are. :) Perhaps the surgery uncovered areas you had not devled into in a while - therapy is an excellent tool for working through issues. All the preparation for surgery requires a good deal of introspection and critical analysis of our features. Once surgery has passed, I think it's hard to turn off that critical eye, you know?

Personally, I don't feel 100% normal yet. Sometimes it feels like no one understand how crazy all the little changes can make us, but then I realized that each person has some area where they feel craziness. Give yourself some'll find yourself again.

Bella said...

I have had a lot of problems with post-surgical depression over the past year as well, so I can relate to what you're going through. I will be thinking about you, and I hope you are doing better.

If you are looking for some supplements to take that may help (in addition to medication, if you are on anything): 1,000 mgs of fish oil, two times a day; 1,000 mgs of Vitamin C, two times a day; 2,000 of Vitamin D, once a day; B50 Complex, two times a day. Take all supplements with food.

Take care, and be good to yourself.


Emily said...

I have read many orthognatic stories so far and I find that you all are very strong even when you may think you are not. I have been putting this surgery off for some time as it makes me queazy. I tend to worry alot and can get down but I try to focus on the brighter things in life. You look great before and after.

Anonymous said...
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Susie said...

wow, reading the blog gives a real sense of what a rollercoaster the whole process is! i am looking to start on the braces and orthognathic surgery journey in the near future and blogs like yours are invaluable. I hope you manage to get on top of your depression. I've been there, so am TOTALLY understanding of what you're going through on that front. It can be tackled! When you have a moment could you drop me a quick email so I can ask a couple of questions about your surgery? It's (could you edit my email address out from the post?) Best wishes, Susie

Denise said...

Hi there,

It's been almost a year and a half since you last posted. I was wondering how you are doing/feeling today? I really hope that you are happy and completely healed.

I am having my upper jaw moved forward and I'm actually using the same Ortho and Surgeon (Dr. J and Dr. S) ! So funny, I read your blog from start to finish and I almost fell out of my chair when I saw his pic that you posted. Anyway, I'm really anxious to hear what your overall experience with them was.

You look gorgeous, by the way!

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is "You Go Girl!" That has taken a LOT of fortitude and courage to stand up to the insurance companies!

Just wanted to tell you that you are such and inspiration! I too have the same condition, and have been battling insurance companies for years. Many dentists, orthodontist have admitted that my bite and jaw are seriously off, I had TMJ, (former fractured jaw, and previous surgery for grossly impacted wisdom teeth that further aggravated the condition) and jaw deformity, however the front of my teeth looked fine, so they've shrugged it off. They don't want to battle the insurance companies.

I have lived with this pain, ache in my jaw and neck, headaches and neckache for most of my adult life. It is not until recently that I have taken a serious stand on it. My jaw was so out of alignment that it began to look deformed. I had crowns put on a few years ago that further shifted my teeth. The front of my teeth looked beautiful but the side and lower teeth are bent and the my back teeth don't meet at all (huge gap). Like WHAT was that dentist thinking? Short sighted -only focused on the front crowns and not my over-all bite! I cannot chew food and I gag, and therefore eat mostly soft foods. Meanwhile since my jaw shifts out of the socket I grind my teeth while I sleep, and wore down molars even more.

I too had a childhood dentist who warned my parents of Maxillofacial problems later on if I didn't get braces. However my father saw no good practical reason to put braces on a kid who's teeth looked "okay"! Cheap bastard! I've had a lifetime of jaw pain, facial pain, headaches, neck pain, chewing/ gagging problems and speech problems because of it. I lisp out the back of my mouth.

That doesn't include the money I've spent on other solutions that didn't work - not to mention the money spent on dozens of TMJ specialist that didn't help. One doctor wanted to charge $50,000 on a full mouth of crowns - without correcting the jaw problem! His plan was that with his "magic crowns" would re-align my jaw on their own. Imagine spending $50,000 on a gamble that the crowns would work to re-align my jaw! (without braces and without correcting the spacing or re-alignment issues)~ Okay maybe you could lengthen the molars to create the space - but instant re-alignment?

SO I would Plead With you, to please tell reveal who your Orthodontist and Surgeon(s) are/ were!

Hope all is well! and Congrats on your courage to have gone through this

That girl!

Million Dollar $mile said...

To the most recent Annonymous poster's request ... My orthodontist was Dr. Richard L. Jacobson (in Pacific Palisades, CA) and the surgeon was Dr. Stephen A. Schendel (of Stanford University). I am SO happy with the results. It changed my life. I feel for you! I hope you can find someone soon to help you. It's totally worth it. Keep in touch!