And I am DONE. This morning I had my final visit to the surgeons at Cornell and they took ultimate snaps of my marvelous American smile. It is probably the last time I will see Dr Dreamy and it was an emotional moment (possibly for both of us?– we will never know). After complimenting my mouth and being mightily pleased with his first ever patient and her textbook bite, we shook hands with vigor and wished each other the best of luck in the world.
And his number???
Nope I didn’t get it. But I did get the before and after images of my face so we can all gasp in awe at the transformation. So perhaps that is enough.
But what does it feel like after 15 months of living with train tracks in my mouth? Well I am free now and in addition to having a glorious Hollywood smile, I am also able to eat comfortably and my mouth is no longer cut to pieces with the sharp metal that rubs and rubs. While eating, I don’t have small pieces of food scuttling out of my mouth after they become dislodged from their brace-y resting place. I still don’t have feeling in my bottom lip and chin, and I was assured there is time yet for that sensation to return (fingers crossed), but as of now I am trying to enjoy the new reflection in the mirror and the ability to chew unhindered.
Now on to my reflection. I have had two or three moments of discomfort regarding my new face over the past 10 months. I think the first was post-op day 3 when my face blew up like a wonky balloon and I was reliving my mumps diary days with my sister photo-cataloging every new swelling. After that, once the mouth stent was removed and my face was back to almost normal size, I got to see the result of these two refitted jaws. That was a lot to take in. It took a few days of adapting to my new look and accepting a somewhat unrecognisable reflection. And now, this week, with the braces removed, my lips are able to lie comfortably and my true face is revealed. No longer must I hold a permanent pout as the braces push my cushiony puckers out into the ether. My face has changed again and I am reluctant to regard myself for too long for fear of disappointment. I am vain now. I admit it.
With so much focus on my face for so long, I have learned to critique every aspect of my look. My miniature nose embarrasses me sometimes as it settles into the new form. My cheeks feel too lean (a symptom of now being 10 lbs lighter) and the new dimples I have acquired amuse me as I wiggle my mouth around and about in front of the mirror.
It is a long time, 15 months, when you are at the beginning of it all. Back then, it seemed like forever. A ridiculous and unnecessary task to have braces at 28 and to have one’s jaw smashed and re-jigged for the sake of aesthetics and possibly a little bit of improved function.
I would do it all over again in an instant.
And here is the proof!
I am here today to unveil the before and after shots. If you are squeamish look away now.
AFTER (ta da!)
I would caption these but hey. They speak for themselves. Haha pun absolutely intended!