Wednesday, April 11, 2007

the bigger picture eludes me

Sixteen days ago, I had a maxillary advancement, genioplasty, and a zygomatic arch reconstruction.

Essentially and in English, and in a nutshell, my face was broken into moveable parts and then rebuilt. Bigger, better and faster than before. Maybe no faster. Or bigger. But it should stop the collapse of my face from progressing to epic proportions.

My maxilla, or midface, was brought forward by 4mm, my jawline was moved backward by removing bone from either side of my chin, and a bone graft was taken from my right hip in order to fashion some (hopefully bitchen) cheekbones.

Now, while mine was created by bad dentistry as without bands and with extractions, as in, the brain realises it no longer needs to expand the upper and lower jaws to create space for the non existent teeth. The upper jaw stops growing and the lower jaw for reasons I don't understand, overcompensates and grows longer than it should. Anyway, mine isn't a genetic defect, but the second row down on this page, the girl with binder syndrome, is very much like my before. Except my nose was prettier. Until it started drooping. Anyhoo, I had the bowl like face, the prominent chin, the non existent cheekbones, and my nose, while pretty, was starting to 'hook' toward my chin as my mid face receded more.

Essentially, I looked like a quarter moon with a dangly nose.

And y'all are going to say 'but aibee, you don't look deformed!'. People, like anyone does, I vet any images I upload with an obsessive precision. Oh, I looked acceptable, attractive even when I was younger and my face, while it hadn't grown past 12 years of age, hadn't yet started its march backwards, but my face was deformed (as told by x-rays and visible to the naked eye of the craniofacial specialist) and eventually, it would be apparent even sans x-rays. Until last Monday, looking at me on the quarter profile, my face just disappeared. You'd see my nose and my chin and beyond that, nothing. It was like the rest of my face just didn't exist, and from that angle, you could already see the punched in look my face was getting.

This hasn't been a cosmetic procedure, even though cosmetically (god willing) there'll be an improvement. It was to fix a problem that would only get worse, and would possibly or probably be a REAL problem when I was older. It should have been fixed twenty years ago. Truth is though, it should never have happened at all. Give me time but right now? I'm still pissed that I've got to do all this shit now because of some stupid decisions made then.

It all sounds a lot worse than it actually was because, quite honestly, it wasn't that bad. Day 2 was pretty miserable, but as Day 3 felt marginally less so, I knew the worst was already over. Painwise, the worst has been - and still is - the donor site for the bone graft. The swelling was the worst of the facial pain because if you swell that much, it's going to hurt, but the bone grafrt? Man, that thing hurt like a motherfucker directly after surgery, and kept on hurting for quite some time afterwards. And not where the incision was made or where the bone harvested. It hurt a good two or three inches south of that. These days, while it's usually okay, if I move a certain way or hit my hip against a countertop (you have no idea how often you bump your hip against something oh, hip height? until you've used that bitch to rebuild your face) it burns like the worst Chinese burn you can imagine. Yowza. That being said, the hardest part of this whole experience has been the 'wafer', which is an innocuous word that in no way describes the hell that was the plastic Hannibal Lector type contraption placed in my mouth to do I don't know what the fuck. Hold the repositioned maxilla in place?

When this is all healed, or maybe before, I'm a little hazy on the time line, my teeth will be banded and hopefully, their appearance and function will improve as my bite is corrected.

And then after that, I need to sell my other kidney to pay for the full reconstruction of my upper teeth. That part too, while seemingly only aesthetically driven, will also help restore the correct spacing between my upper and lower teeth, thusly correcting the function of my jaw joint thing whatsit back there. My teeth have worn down, in part due to the aforementioned bad dentistry (bad bite, more wear on teeth) and also thanks to my glorious ED.

It's all part of a five year plan, yo.

Or on the recount, a five year and three week plan because, shit a brick, man.

The wafer was removed last Wednesday at nine days post op by the surgeon's nurse and, joy!! Given a choice, I'd have ten surgeries, twenty, god, thirty even, rather than wear that wafer just one hour more. I can't explain the hell it is and I can't explain why it's so awful, but it really IS that awful. Toward the end of the first ten days of wearing it, I was panicky and anxious counting down the days and thinking about having to wear it for another x number of days, so having it removed was the BEST feeling ever (and brushing my top teeth for the first time in as many days ran a very close second).

At the time, I asked the nurse about the jaunty tilt of my maxilla. I'd noticed my teeth were at an angle under the wafer while still in ICU, and with the wafer off, my front teeth actually were quite lopsided. She told me to ask the surgeon this week, it was probably swelling, bla bla, and I shut my (crooked) piehole and waited 'til today to ask, dude, wassup? I expected to hear that nothing wassup, so colour me you have got to be fucking kidding?! upon hearing that something was indeed, sup.

So come Monday, I'm having more surgery to reposition my maxilla. That I can handle. There'll be no bones to break this time, so while I'll be sore and probably grossly swollen, it won't be as dramatic as the last time. The mere thought, though, of having that wafer back in is freaking my shit right out.

and it'll be in for another ten days.

My shit, FREAKED.

And I'll be away from Daniel for another night so have got to find more money for more childcare and more still for more overnight care and will be off work for at least another two weeks and making NO money and most off all, that wafer. MY GOD.

Excuse me while I take some time to shake my fist at the motherfuckin' sky.

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