Sunday, July 27, 2014

Overdue Mouth Post

I haven't written about my mouth business lately. No time like the present...

For starters, I went back to my dental surgeon in June. He said that everything was healing up nicely and my upper jaw is the perfect width now. The new bone in my palate is not 100% healed yet which is normal.

My triple jaw surgery is tentatively scheduled for June 11, 2015. This is much earlier than I was expecting, as I was told 2016 in my initial consultation. I am getting upper and lower jaw surgery, plus sliding genioplasty. Sliding genioplasty is the same as chin augmentation surgery, but instead of an implant, they cut your chin off (yikes), slide it forward, and screw it in place with plates. The jaw surgeries work in a similar way.

Now onto the braces!

I am happy to report that flossing is no longer the 10-15 minute task it was in the beginning. I've gotten much quicker at it. 

Eating isn't too bad, although eating socially is stressful. I am constantly wondering what is in my teeth that people aren't telling me. Salad is the worst. I also still need to cut everything with a fork and knife, which can be inconvenient, especially with plastic cutlery.

My bite is currently whacked, although it wasn't something I paid attention to pre-SARPE so I don't know how much worse it is. If I open and my close my mouth, I can see my lower jaw veering off to my right. I am sure elastics will help immensely with this.

Numerous people have told me that braces make me look much younger than my actual age (28). The consensus seems to be that I look anywhere from 18-24. I have noticed a difference in how strangers treat me, and it is occasionally frustrating.

I know many adults are too self-conscious to get braces, but I haven't had a single stranger say anything. Before I had braces, I very rarely noticed adults with them. One of my curling friends had them for a year before I noticed. I'm not joking, I seriously never noticed.

Anyway, I know everyone loves progress photos...


May 21 (day one) vs July 27


May 22 (day two) vs July 27.


pre-SARPE, December 2013; Post-SARPE, May 2014; 7 weeks in braces, July 2014

I had my first adjustment on July 21 and all 3 employees I came into contact with literally said, "Wow, your teeth have moved a lot!" The assistant told me my teeth are moving fast for an adult!

P.S. I know my teeth look dingy in the recent photos...I had copious amounts of coffee today and haven't yet brushed my teeth!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Gel Pen Reflections

When we were teens exchanging greeting cards, my BFF Tori and I had a sacred tradition. We would gather all of our gel pens and write dozens of little notes on the card as tiny as possible. We would fill the entire card so there was literally no space left to write anything else. It was a great tradition that we have since gotten a little lazy with.



Last week I found a pack of hard copy Some E-cards and the one on the front perfectly described my lifelong friendship with Tori. So I gathered up my now pathetic stash of coloured pens (blue, black, and red) and wrote as tiny as possible (which, by the way, is difficult after years of relying on keyboards).

Maybe it's the beer talking, Tori, but you've got a butt that won't quit (no homo).

In the card, I posed the question to Tori, "what would your younger self think of you now?" After receiving the card, Tori told me she hadn't ever really thought about it, but she supposed she'd be confused by her current haircut and job, but that she'd probably admire her apartment and cat (which I helped her obtain by pretending to be her mom...it's a good story). Tori posed the same question back to me and I decided I'd make a blog entry out it, mostly because I haven't written an introspective entry lately.

Maybe because I'm overly reflective, I often think about what my younger self would think of me now.

As a kid, I think I definitely had some weird ideas about myself. I was fascinated by the idea of having a "real name," IE having a different name on your birth certificate than what you go by. I hadn't seen my birth certificate as a kid, so I didn't know it said plain old "Jaime" on it. I remember always bragging to my friends that my real name was something other than Jaime. For example, I learned that my mom had watched The Bionic Woman in the 70s and decided she liked the name Jaime for a girl. I took this to mean I was named after The Bionic Woman, and this was very exciting to me. I liked the idea of being named after someone; it seemed special and important. She told me the actress who played Jaime was named Lindsay. Thus, I surmised that my REAL NAME must be Lindsay, and I can remember telling a skeptical friend about it.

As I got a bit older and was being teased relentlessly at school, I took much of it to heart. I thought I was smart and funny, but I also thought I was ugly, undesirable to boys, and destined to be a geek forever.

Seriously, did I mention I was a geek?

I actually remember thinking my life goal should be to find a man who would marry me, because I felt like I was going to really have to work to find anyone who would actually like me. Now, looking back, I feel like there is a giant chasm between how I envisioned my future self and who I am now.

As far as boys are concerned, I haven't really spent much time single or at the least, not casually dating. Also, as you may be aware, I was married briefly in my early 20s. So I guess I had to come up with a new life goal.

Younger Jaime would probably be impressed that 2014 Jaime is in decent shape, plays sports, and exercises regularly. I've never been naturally talented in any sport, but I do enjoy the sports I play now (curling, soccer, hockey) and I love running. I always wanted to be a runner so I think Young Jaime would be excited about that.

Younger Jaime would definitely not be impressed at my lack of a diploma or a degree (I do have a certificate); however, Younger Jaime would think it's insane that I chose moving to Nunavut over going to college. Young Jaime would have been ecstatic that not only did I get to see Hudson Bay, I actually lived on it for 2 years.

Younger Jaime would probably also refuse to believe that I now work in a male dominated industry and fit in well with my coworkers. Younger Jaime would probably wonder how the hell I got into law enforcement.

I think my younger self would also be impressed that I've managed to style my wavy, unwieldy hair into something that looks semi-decent, and that Future Jaime dresses so much better.

Truthfully, Younger Jaime would probably not be impressed that I've been living with my dad for 4 years, and she would think it's crazy that I'm engaged to an American and plan to move stateside some day. I think Young Jaime would think Anthony is out of her league, although truthfully, 2014 Jaime still thinks that sometimes (2009 Jaime thought she had just another unrequited crush).

All in all, I do think Younger Jaime would be impressed and surprised and sometimes I fantasize about going back in time and telling my younger self all of this. Of course, that would create some trippy mind fuck and would probably mess everything up. But still.

Jaime and Tori: 2065?

Hopefully this long entry of self-reflection was at least somewhat interesting. If you've just woken up after falling asleep reading it, I'll take a coffee and some French toast, please!


Also, I think this entry perfectly fits into the title of my blog and the whole theme of your life turning into something unexpected, which I think is very true of my life. Kinda cool, huh! Look at me, coming up with these relevant entries, 4 years in...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Thoughts After 48 Hours with Braces

  • Ouch
  • Will eating always just feel like mashing food into the brackets?
  • Oh my god, oatmeal is the worst.
  • Where did this GIANT chunk of banana come from? I've brushed my teeth twice AND flossed?!!?!
  • What else is hiding in there that I can't feel, see, or brush out?!
  • Has anything moved yet?
  • How can such a tiny bracket and thin wire feel so sharp?
  • How come nobody is noticing the braces?!
  • Please don't look at my braces.
  • When am I going to stop dreaming about braces?
  • Oh my god, flossing. Can I hire somebody to do it for me?
  • Seriously, it took me 10 minutes to floss and I had to wash my hands practically after every tooth because I was drooling everywhere.
  • Do I really have to floss everyday? I might as well quit my job and be a stay-at-home flosser.
  • When can I eat steak again? :(
  • I can't believe I signed up for possibly more than 2 years of this. How do people not go insane?
  • Wednesday, May 21, 2014

    B-Day

    Today was the day I've been trying to make happen since I was 12: I FINALLY got braces.

    It only took 9 consultations, 1 surgery, and 2 orthodontic devices before I was finally ready.

    I can't say that I was excited, though. Rather, I was sort of dreading it because I knew they were going to be uncomfortable in the beginning and I am a little tired of the soft food diet right now. The TPA device (see my last entry) caused more pain than anticipated and I was only just getting back to normal. I figured that'd happen. I was frustrated as this past weekend was very busy and I was out of town (and therefore eating in restaurants) for all of it. And then Tuesday was my real b-day and I went out for lunch and a post soccer game snack. I feel like my fun was compromised by the dumb TPA.

    But anyway, enough whining.

    Getting braces put on is a pretty straightforward experience. They slide this funky device over your mouth so your lips and tongue can't touch your teeth. There is even a little cage for your tongue. That contraption was one of the worst parts as stuff like that tends to send me into a panic, making it hard to breathe through my nose. I knew they couldn't put the braces on without it, though, so I closed my eyes and tried to relax.

    My teeth were polished and then had two different solutions brushed on. The actual application of the brace brackets is super cool. In the lab, they make this plastic mouth tray that looks like your teeth (using your impressions). Then they place the brackets in the tray thing, and they slide the whole tray on at once. Then they just zap your teeth with the UV light wand for a few minutes and it's finished.

    Putting on the wire and ligatures was more painful, mostly on the top because my front teeth are STILL tender from SARPE. Actually, I mentioned that to the assistant and she didn't know that I'd had surgery or what I meant by SARPE. Then she asked me if I'd noticed a difference from SARPE (after I had to explain what it is). I almost laughed I was so incredulous. I was like "Well YEAH." I kinda noticed when I was off work for 2 weeks, high on percs for a week, and then had to crank a key into a giant metal bar in my mouth, creating a gigantic gap between my front friggin teeth. I noticed JUST A TAD.

    Maybe I'm being a jerk but come on...how do you not know about a giant part of my treatment plan?! You work there!

    Anyway. So getting the elastics installed really hurt on the top but was fine on the bottom. They were clipping the wire off the back and it felt like she clipped my tooth instead. "Oops, we popped a bracket off! Sorry!" Um, ouch!! So they had to reinstall a bracket. That tooth throbbed for about an hour afterwards.

    After they finally let me go, I went back to work where I was in progressively more pain until I came home and took one of my left over Percocets and had a nap. After lunch, the pain definitely peaked. It hurt so badly that I was actually nauseous. I didn't get much done today at work, unless you consider staring off into space and feeling sick as doing something.

    But guess what! Today is the worst my teeth will ever look!! It's all uphill from here. Apparently by my first adjustment in 8 weeks, I will already look so much better.

    Before SARPE, December 2013.


    After SARPE, before braces. This picture makes it really obvious how messed up the midline of my face is.


    Braces Day 1: ceramic on the front 6, metal for all the rest. Went with pink for my first elastics!

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

    IT'S OUT!

    Today was the day I'd been looking forward to since December 17: the RPE was removed! To say I was excited would be the understatement of the year.

    Obviously the day dragged until 1:45pm when I finally got to leave work and go to my appointment. My excitement was palpable, the assistants seemed amused.

    The appliance is removed much more quickly than it goes on. They saw a cut in each of the 4 bands and then gently pull the whole thing out. It was a little uncomfortable getting it removed but I was too excited to care. It was a few minutes before I could finally have my mouth to myself and when I touched my tongue to the roof of my mouth, I immediately exclaimed "Oh my god!" My mouth felt GIGANTIC!

    Unfortunately they did have to put the TPA (transpalatal arch) in immediately as per normal procedure. This is a much smaller wire that goes across the roof of my mouth to keep my palate from reverting.

    Getting fitted for the bands was a bit painful but the whole thing didn't take very long. Them trying to pry off excess cement was probably the worst part.

    The crappy thing with the TPA is that it has brackets on either side. The inside brackets hold the wire in place and the outside brackets are for when I get braces next week. I came home and put some Gishy Goo on the outer brackets as I could feel my cheek was already getting chewed up.

    Gotta admit, I'm not thrilled that the TPA will be in there until the end of my treatment but it is much more tolerable and not really in the way. If something has to be in there for the next 2 years, better the TPA than the RPE.

    I do need to have an honestly moment here. Every time I'm at a new stage in the process, I can't help feeling somewhat frustrated with all of it. I always look forward so much to the next step and then it happens and it's like, "Oh yeah, this still sucks!" It's obviously worth the trouble but it does get momentarily annoying having to go through everything. It's a lot of adjusting to less than ideal circumstances that you can't escape and that you paid a lot of money to be dealing with. Most of my frustration had settled down because it's been nearly 5 months since anything new happened, but the TPA has reawakened it. I'm sure next week when I get braces, I will be happy and excited to get going, but also frustrated because let's face it, this whole process sucks!

    In the meantime, I'm back to soft foods because ouch.

    Anyway, here's what a TPA looks like!



    Next stop, braces on May 21st!

    Wednesday, May 7, 2014

    Getting Fit, Progress Update #5

    Yep, I'm alive despite my decrease in posting. I feel like my brain activity has been suppressed lately, I often don't think of much else besides myself and what I'm doing that day. I'd like to get back in the habit of writing about other stuff. Regardless, I am still trying to get more fit, although I've been more focused on exercise than food.

    MEASUREMENTS

    Height: 5'5½" May 7 March 6 January 7 December 6 November 7 October 7 September 7Total Lost
    Weight 121-123lbs 121-125lbs 122-125lbs 130lbs 135lbs 140lbs148lbs27-29 lbs*
    Bust 33" 33" 33" 33" 34" 35"36"3"
    Waist 26-26.5" 26" 27" 27.5" 28" 30"31"4.5-5"
    Muffin top 33.5 33.5" 34.5" 35" 36.5" 38"39"5.5"
    Upper thigh 21" 21" 20.5" 21.5" 22" 23"24.5"3.5"
    Belly32"32"32"35"35.5"??3.5"
    *I started trying to lose weight on August 26, but I didn't start going low carb until September 6.

    You shall notice that abso-fucking-lutely nothing has changed in quite awhile. All I can really claim is that my weight doesn't usually hit 125lbs in the morning anymore.


    FOOD

    So here's the deal. I've not really been that strict low-carb lately. I still have my limits and try to make good choices, but I've started buying more fruit lately as well as not denying myself stuff I feel like eating. Considering this has had zero impact on my weight, I'm not that worried. Personally, I just felt like I needed a break from trying so hard. It started burning me out and it's possible my metabolism is burnt out, too. I haven't gone back to how I used to eat, but I think I'm in the process of finding a happy medium.

    RECIPES I'VE TRIED


    THOUGHTS

    Lately I waver between wondering if it's good to give myself a bit of a break from keto or if I should just buckle down and get serious again. I have been running way more lately and I have noticed how carb consumption definitely gives me more energy during my run and after. I have tried to run after being strict for a few days and I felt like crap. Running has been my top priority these days, especially now that I've decided to do a half marathon in the fall. I'm one of those people who gets obsessed with things and right now it's running.

    I've also been feeling guilty because I don't feel like my life is well-balanced. I barely touch my sewing machine anymore and I haven't really lifted weights lately. I've been so focused on running that it pushes other stuff out, but this is how I normally operate. I generally go with the flow of my obsessions, but this time, I feel bad that it's been to the detriment of my other hobbies. I'm hoping that soccer starting this month and hockey next month will help spread my attention out a bit more.

    VICTORIES

    This past Sunday, I finally ran in a 10k race. This is something I've wanted to do since 2003. I signed up for a couch to 10k program in 2003 but wasn't able to complete it due to spraining my ankle (not from running). Since then, I have run on and off, but never enough to be able to complete a 10k. Since last summer when I was finally diagnosed with exercise asthma and prescribed medication, I've started running again and stuck with it. I could run 10k in a row as of last fall and now I run at least 10k once a week.

    Back in March, I signed up for a local small race. So small in fact, only 14 other people did the 10k. But here are the official results and you will note how close my name is to the top! My race goal was to get under 1hr and I did it. Honestly, it wasn't my best run as I feel sluggish in the morning, but my excitement to finally cross off an item from my bucket list kept me going.

    I'm currently signed up for 2 more 10k races and am planning on doing the Scotia Bank half marathon in the fall, as well as maybe a few other 5k or 10ks that pop up in the meantime.

    PHOTOS


    Me after crossing the finish line!


    My most recent before and after, taken in April. The kawaii pop-tart is because my undies left little to the imagination. I found the photo on the left in my Apple photo stream, I had totally forgotten I took it. It's from way back in February of 2013. I probably weigh more than 150lbs there, as the scale I had at the time under-reported weight.


    Left: September. Right: January or February. I couldn't figure out why my torso looks so much longer but I think I am standing up straighter. 



    P.S. 6 more days until the RPE is removed!!!

    Friday, April 18, 2014

    4 Months Post SARPE Surgery

    Wow, those 4 months went by fast!

    I just wanted to give an update because I had an orthodontist appointment the other day. Besides usually being the only adult patient in there, the assistants are always interested in how things are going with me. I haven't taken any photos lately but my smile already looks better than it did pre-surgery. I already feel more confident when I smile, it's hard to believe that some day in the not-so-distant future, I'll have even straighter teeth. Amazing! So glad I did this.

    My appointment with my orthodontist was to talk about getting the expander removed. WOOOOOOOOO.

    I was so excited that it seemed like my orthodontist was talking as slowly as possible. Honestly, he was, because he was reading or writing notes or something while talking.

    Dr. M: Okay so it looks like we can...remove the appliance...hmm...let's remove it, let's see...

    Me: ?!!?!!?!?!??!?!

    Dr: M: In uh...4...

    Me: [[FOUR WHAT?!]]

    Dr M: ...to 6 weeks.

    I was little disappointed I had/have to wait another month, but I knew it was going to be 4-6 months and I've just been telling myself to expect it out as late as June, so I can live with May.

    May 13th is the big day. I do have to get the smaller retaining wire thing across the roof of my mouth, but apparently it's nowhere near as annoying as the RPE. I will at least have the roof of my mouth back.

    One week later I'll get my braces. That puts us at May 20 but I said no way because that's my birthday! It's also the second soccer game of the season and I don't want to be in pain for that. I want to enjoy my birthday as the last day for awhile when I can eat what I want, so I'm getting my braces first thing on May 21st.

    Anyway, if it's of any interest, my front teeth are still tender. I still can't bite into anything except for very soft foods. My upper gums are still mostly numb though I do think a tiny bit of feeling has come back since I last wrote about it in March.

    Although this has nothing to do with SARPE, it looks like I may need a root canal next week. I had a cavity filled in one of my molars last week and my tooth has been in agony ever since. I can't function without about 400mg of ibuprofen in me, and it wears off so quickly. I really hope it settles down this weekend but I have a feeling it's not going to. This shit is painful. As painful, if not more painful than the SARPE surgery. Whenever I tell people about SARPE, their first response is to cringe and ask how painful it was. I'd rather get SARPE again than deal with this tooth ache, I'll tell you that much. At least  with surgery, I was justified in staying home from work and whining!

    Alright, so expect another mouth update on May 13th or 14th! 25 more days with the expander until I'm freeeeeeeee!

    Friday, April 11, 2014

    Thoughts on Weight Loss #1, featuring Kara

    It's no joke that losing weight is a big lifestyle change. It tends to consume my thoughts regularly, to the point of pushing out other stuff (I think I used to have a sewing hobby...). I thought it might be interesting if I wrote regulary about some of the thoughts I have on weight loss, running, getting fit, dieting, etc.

    The first topic I want to talk about is how losing weight does not magically fix your problems.

    Last week, I had an experience that made me realize I still have things about myself I don't like, things weight loss and getting healthy haven't magically fixed. I tend to get wrapped up in positive thoughts about myself and my progress, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it can be easy to forget that I still have issues to work through.

    Basically what happened was that a complete stranger was rude to me for reasons I'm sure seemed justified to them, but in actuality, came from a lack of information about the situation. I'm not going to repeat the story (mostly because it's a boring parking lot story), but basically, yet again, I totally lacked the ability to stand up for myself when it happened. Instead of properly explaining myself like I should have, I proverbially slunk away defeated and moved my car (which is what they wanted me to do, despite it not being necessary).

    Afterwards, I was really mad at myself for being such a pushover. I know that I'm a confident person, I know that I can achieve amazing things, but why can't I tell a rude stranger to shove it? Aren't I supposed to be happier and more confident now that I've lost weight? What's wrong with me? Why would some idiot get me so upset and embarrassed? I've come so far, why do I still struggle to speak my voice?

    The thing is, the number on the scale hasn't changed that I still let people boss me around, I still freeze up in conflict situations. It's very easy to fall into the trap of, "If I fix x, then y will improve."

    The thing is, as far as most emotional stuff is concerned, y will never improve unless you specifically work on y. You can insert any optimistic ideal into y: eating healthier, being more confident, being less of a procrastinator, making friends, going out in public.

    Coincidentally, at work we just had a 1.5 day workshop on informal conflict resolution, and it came in very handy for analyzing the situation in the parking lot last week. I realized that my default reaction to bad situations is freeze up, or just accommodate the other person.

    Other things about me that haven't changed that I hoped would, 30lbs later:
    -I still struggle to eat healthily. I was raised on junk food and every day is a struggle, though it is getting easier. I am slowly getting to a point where I honestly prefer healthy food over junk. I am trying to treat my body like a garden,  not a garbage can. You have to nourish your body in order for it to give back; you can't just fill it with junk and expect something other than decay and disease in response.

    -I still battle with feeling lazy and unmotivated. Many people have told me that just hearing about the stuff I do in my free time makes them tired, but to me I still feel like I do relatively nothing with my time.

    -I still feel self-conscious in public, like people look at me and instantly judge me negatively.

    My long-time good online friend Kara recently lost 130lbs. Kara has written about her weight loss pretty extensively and has always been great at "keeping it real" when it comes to the fact that weight loss doesn't magically solve your life's problems. Since I plan to write more about my thoughts on weight loss, I thought Kara would be the perfect co-contributor for this series of entries. Here's what Kara had to say on this topic:

    ***
    A little introduction! My name is Kara and I live in the Yukon. Two and a half years ago at 320lbs I underwent bariatric surgery (most of my stomach was removed and my stomach now only holds 1 cup of food at a time or less depending on how dense the food is) and very successfully lost 130lbs. Then five months ago I had reconstructive skin surgery to remove the excess skin from my abdomen and lower body. It has been far from easy, but still worth every bit of it.

    I thought I would be better at not feeling left out of social situations because I lost weight, but nope, I still feel left out.

    I have always felt self conscious about being left out of anything that is going on. I am a social butterfly (only until 7pm) and I knew I was being left out of fun events growing up and as an adult too because of my weight. Or I would go and still feel left out or awkward. Well now I am average size and I still struggle with feeling left out. If people get together without me, I wonder if they did it on purpose. By losing all this weight I was hoping that feeling would go away, but I learning it is more part of my personality type and has nothing to do with anyone leaving me out on purpose!

    ***

    Thanks to Kara for her story. Kara's thoughts on weight loss will continue to be a part of my entries since I think it's great to have another person's perspective along with my own. Kara's journey has been quite a bit different from mine for numerous reasons, so it's interesting to see some similarities in our stories, as well.

    Saturday, March 29, 2014

    14 Weeks Post SARPE Surgery

    I thought I'd give an update since I see a lot of my blog hits come from people looking for information about SARPE!

    My case is different from ALL the blogs I've read, because my orthodontist doesn't want to put braces on until the RPE comes out. In literally every other blog, they have braces by now.

    The gap: I mentioned this in a post earlier this month, but the gap closed on March 4, which was 75 days after surgery, and 55 days from the last turn of the key. Not gonna lie, I was pretty happy about it.

    I could see and feel that it was closing a bit everyday. My front teeth are on a slight angle, which my orthodontist told me is normal. He said any time there is a space between teeth, they will tip inward to fill the space. So there is a little gap at the top of my front teeth, which has not closed at all since my teeth finally met. It is barely noticeable, though.

    The facial numbness/swelling: that all disappeared quite awhile ago, with the feeling in and around my right nostril being the last to return to normal.

    Gum numbness: my upper gums are still mostly numb, I'd say 95% numb. The last time I saw my orthodontist, he kind of evaded my question when I asked if that's normal. So I called the oral surgeon's office and their answer was, "Well, you knew ahead of time that might happen." They did say to give it 6 months, but if at 3+ I'm still 95% numb, I honestly don't hold out hope. This is disappointing and upsetting and makes me really worried about the second surgery, since I'm getting triple jaw surgery (upper, lower, and genioplasty).

    The numbness doesn't bother me that much except that I'm constantly aware of my upper gums because there is no mutual sensation between my gum feeling my lip and lip feeling my gum. It's just my lip feeling my gums, so it feels like there's something wedged in there.

    Biting/chewing: My upper teeth are still not stable enough to bite into anything, but it has gotten a lot better since the gap closed. I can bite into something very soft like a fresh donut but anything more than that, I have to stick it under my molars to bite off a chunk. I'm quite lovely and graceful to watch eat! The appliance still tends to push food out of my mouth, so sometimes food falls out of my mouth when I'm eating.

    Also, I still can't chew hard or excessively chewy thinks like almonds, pumpkin seeds, steak (wah!), raw carrots, etc. I am addicted to Quest bars which are hard and chewy. I have to cut them up into bite-size pieces and my jaw still aches after having one. I made the mistake of eating two in a day last week and my jaw let me know what it thought of that.

    The appliance: I barely think about it anymore. I've gotten so used to it, sometimes I forget it's there. I am looking forward to getting it out, though. I have another orthodontist appointment on April 14, which my ortho says is when we will discuss removing it. I hope to god that means shortly thereafter and not like, June.

    Other: In January, if I bit down normally, I could stick my tongue out the space between my upper and lower teeth. I could also stick my baby finger all the way in my mouth. Gradually, the relationship between my upper and lower teeth has changed. Now if I bite down normally, I can barely fit the tip of my pinky finger in the space! The other day at the gym, my upper and lower front teeth knocked together. It took me a second to realize what was going on because it felt so strange. I have NEVER been able to get those teeth to touch, and now I can stick my lower jaw out so my lower teeth are in FRONT of my upper teeth. Holy smokes, you guys. I'm amazed that SARPE has made that much of a difference to the shape of my upper jaw. These are things I'd probably never know if I got braces put on right after surgery like everybody else.

    Sadly, I fried my MacBook Air in an unfortunate inept-yoga-meets-large-glass-of-water-meets-MacBook incident, so I have to make do with what I have on this laptop, which is my old 2007 MacBook that contains only old photos.

    December 2009 vs March 2014, smile already looking better...hair is not

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

    Low Carb Nut Butter Bread + Keto Cinnamon Spread


    If you read my previous entry, you'll know I've been craving cinnamon and sugar lately. When it comes to special diets, cravings are the mother of invention. Until I found this bread and this cinnamon spread recipe, I was buttering saltine crackers and sprinkling cinnamon + Truvia on them, and sticking them under the broiler for a few minutes. Not bad, but this is so much better (and keto friendly).

    Low Carb Nut Butter Bread - Adapted from this recipe.
    If you take a look at the original recipe, you'll see it's twice the size and uses only almond butter. It apparently makes for good sandwich bread, but I balked at the idea of dropping a $13 jar of almond butter into a recipe I wasn't sure I would like or that would work. If you've made bread before, you know it can be a finicky process. I also wanted my bread to be a bit sweeter, hence the cinnamon and sugar additions.

    3 eggs
    112g almond butter (or 250g almond butter and no peanut butter, as per the original)
    112g peanut butter (or any combination of almond butter and peanut butter that equal 225g)
    (optional)1tsp sweetener (I use Truvia)
    1tsp baking powder
    1/4tsp salt
    1tsp cinnamon
    1/4 warm water

    Mix everything together in a bowl and bake in a small, greased loaf pan at 325F until the crust is firm. In my oven, it was 34min.

    My own tips: I try to use room temperature eggs whenever I'm baking. I also use fresh ingredients for things like baking soda, baking powder, etc. Also, it doesn't matter if you use crunchy or smooth almond/PB butter. I used crunchy almond butter and smooth peanut butter. The almond bits add some texture to the bread.

    I've only done this once and I was bracing myself as I took the loaf out of the pan. To my pleasant surprise, it came out perfectly.



    Now that you have your nut butter bread, time to toast it and add keto cinnamon spread!

    Keto Cinnamon Spread - from this Reddit post.
    This is double the recipe in the post...it doesn't make a gigantic batch by any means.


    2 tbsp salted butter, soft
    2 tbsp coconut oil
    Your preferred sweetener, to taste
    4 tsp of cinnamon

    Mix all ingredients well and store in an air tight container at room temperature.

    I don't have a photo of it but honestly, it doesn't look that appetizing anyway. It sure is delicious, though. It's delicious dipped or spread onto celery, crackers and would probably taste great on your favorite low carb pancakes.

    Know of a low carb or paleo recipe you want me to try? I'd love to...leave me a comment and as long as it's not something I know I'd hate, I'll give it a shot.

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

    Getting Fit, Progress Update #4 (6 months!)

    Did you miss these?! Because I kinda did. Getting the SARPE surgery really threw a wrench into things for awhile.

    I didn't post in January or February because in January, I was right out of surgery and still not eating normally. In February, I had only just started getting back into the low carb thing.

    Here are the measurements! I'm throwing January in there just for the record, because I have them. I did not measure myself on February 6/7 (my normal check in date).

    MEASUREMENTS

    Height: 5'5½" March 6 January 7 December 6 November 7 October 7 September 7Total Lost
    Weight 121-125lbs 122-125lbs 130lbs 135lbs 140lbs148lbs25-29 lbs*
    Bust 33" 33" 33" 34" 35"36"3"
    Waist 26" 27" 27.5" 28" 30"31"5"
    Muffin top 33.5" 34.5" 35" 36.5" 38"39"5.5"
    Upper thigh 21" 20.5" 21.5" 22" 23"24.5"3.5"
    Belly32"32"35"35.5"??3.5"
    *I started trying to lose weight on August 26, but I didn't start going low carb until September 6.

    Things of note from the measurements:

    1. My weight is stuck, I can't seem to break past 121-123 most days. I will talk more about this in a bit.
    2. Bust has stayed the same, although I swear it looks like they're actually smaller.
    3. Holy shit, have I really lost that much from my muffin top?!!??!?!?!
    4. You'll see my thigh measurement went down and then back up. I've been exercising 5-6 times a week lately so I'm sure I'm building some muscle there.

    You'll also see I'm being more open about my weight, showing the actual fluctuations instead of just the bottom weight I've hit (none of the previous measurements were lies, I promise).


    FOODS I'VE BEEN EATING A LOT OF
    Coconut milk! This is my newest addiction. I add it to my smoothies and I make keto chocolate mousse from it
    Tea (I'm on a tea kick this winter)
    Baby spinach
    Pumpkin puree (I made these pancakes and now I'm on a pumpkin kick.)
    Cinnamon
    Flax meal
    Eggs
    Cocoa powder
    Peanut butter
    Avocados
    Junk food :(

    Sadly, steak is still too painful to eat. Trust me, I have tried. I ended up getting my dad to ground up some steak I couldn't eat, and I made a delicious bunless burger from it.

    THOUGHTS

    As for the junk food, I'm not sure what's going on with me, but I could probably write a whole other entry about it. I've been in a bad place mentally because I can't seem to make my weight budge (which is stupid, I know). So I decided to cut down my dairy intake, and totally cut out artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, malitol). In response to trying harder to be "good," I've had intense carb cravings, mostly centered around obsessing over Tim Hortons cinnamon sugar donuts. Resisting made it worse, and I think because I feel like I'm restricting myself so much, I've been compulsively eating other carb-laden junk. I do find that giving into one craving brings new and stronger cravings, and eventually I'm just overwhelmed with how much I want junk food. I feel like it's become this vicious circle. Depressed my weight isn't moving --> eat carbs because I feel a lack of motivation --> depressed my weight isn't moving.

    I'm just in a place I really don't like anymore with all of this. It's hard to talk about, because I feel like I'm starting to struggle mentally. I feel like I've become too focused on all of this. Anthony and I are going away this weekend and I'll be glad to have a break from it.

    Anyway, today I finally decided I didn't want to resist anymore, and I bought myself a cinnamon sugar donut. I learned from being up north that your cravings taste a lot better in your brain than they do in real life. The donut was good, but I get more satisfaction these days out of real food. A strawberry with freshly whipped cream is 1000x tastier than a donut. After I finished the donut, I almost felt like crying because I finally felt free of the craving, like I'm free to get back to being more disciplined.

    I do think I need to change my approach to ensure I'm doing something I can stick with. I'm not about "dieting," I'm about living a generally healthy lifestyle that includes moderation of all things good and bad. Perhaps a regular "cheat day" is in order, maybe once every two weeks or something. I was not doing that previously, but obviously I need to change things up a bit.

    I think I do need to be more strict on non-cheat days, as obviously I've lost no weight since after my surgery. I think it's half-muscle gaining and half-carb creep (see #10).  I'm now at a healthy weight and don't want/need to lose much more, so I probably need to get my net carbs down to under 20g a day. It's definitely doable, but requires more focus than what I've been giving.

    Okay, now that I've sufficiently bored you with my innermost thoughts...

    RECIPES I MADE
    I've really ramped up my cooking lately...here's what I've been making!

    1. Homemade bacon mayo/aioli. I used bacon grease along with olive oil as per a suggestion from my paleo-eating BFF. It tastes amazing on everything. Can't recommend enough.

    2. Chocolate mousse mentioned above.

    3. Low carb, gluten-free, paleo-friendly pumpkin spice pancakes

    4. KetoDietApp's ketchup. KetoDietApp is a low carb and paleo-friendly app with a blog component. They have free recipes on their blog, and a bunch more if you buy the app or their e-book. After trying to find a keto blog for the past 6 months, this is the first one I've really felt works for me, my likes, my cooking skill level, and seems to use ingredients I normally have on hand.

    5. Keto cinnamon spread. This is amazing on crackers and on celery.

    6. Low carb, gluten-free Nanaimo bars.


    RECIPES I'M PLANNING TO TRY

    1. Almond butter bread

    2. Keto cinnamon rolls

    3. Low carb, gluten free brownie cheesecake

    4. Low carb skillet chocolate chip cookie

    Basically everything from All Day I Dream About Food.


    That's all for this month...maybe next month I will do another round of photos, as well as talk about goals and such.

    Oh and by the way, the gap between my teeth closed 2 days ago, all on their own. The last day I turned the RPE key was January 8, so it took less than 2 months for my teeth to move 5mm. I'm hoping my teeth get a little more sturdy so I can start biting into things again!

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    Super Easy 4 Ingredient Spinach Dip

    I've been curling now for four years, three at my current club. By far, the thing I like most about curling is the camaraderie. It's a very polite sport with lots of inter-team encouragement and a refreshing lack of aggressive competitiveness. The club I curl at is in a small town north of Sarnia, where everyone has known each other their entire lives, it seems. One of the best things about our club is that 3 times per curling season, we bring food! The ladies I curl with seem to love dip and crackers, so I found a quick and easy spinach dip recipe I can throw together in 5 minutes to please the masses.

    Sorry for the lack of photo, but if you click the link above, you'll see a photo. We all know what spinach dip looks like anyway, right?!

    Ingredients:
    1 9oz box of chopped, frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
    1 Knorr vegetable dry soup mix
    8-16 oz (250-500mL) sour cream (seems to taste better when you use less sour cream)
    1 cup mayo 

    1. Mix all ingredients and stir well
    2. Let chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving
    3. Serve cold.

    There you have it! By far the biggest pain is thawing and squeezing dry the spinach. That stuff's a sponge. I don't know if there's a better way, but I microwave-thawed mine (to save time), then I dumped it in a large strainer and squeezed out the water by hand over the sink.

    Wednesday, February 12, 2014

    Mini Weight Loss Progress (5+ months) and Mouth Update (8 weeks)

    Hello! It seems I get a lot of questions (IRL) about my mouth and my weight loss. It's super sweet, it's really flattering knowing people are interested in how you're doing. I don't have a whole lot to say on either front so I'm combining the two.

    Weight Loss

    Much to my surprise, I've maintained the weight loss from after surgery. Also to my surprise, when I came back to work and curling in January, THAT'S when "everybody" finally seemed to notice I'd lost weight. People pointed out I was noticeably thinner since surgery which seemed crazy to me. Overall, I've lost 8lbs since my last weigh-in in December. My measurements are down about 1-1.5" from each area, but I'll leave it to March to do an actual update with all that. I didn't really start back into the low carb and exercise until about 2 weeks ago, so it seems dumb to celebrate "progress" made due to surgery.

    As far as an exercise goal, I've been feeling a little lost and confused. I'm not sure what I want to focus on or how I want to go about it. I like the idea of lifting weights but I absolutely hate lifting weights when the gym is busy, and I don't know if waking up early to go is feasible when I have so much other stuff going on that sometimes doesn't end until late.

    Ever since 2003, I've wanted to become a runner. I've run on and off since then, never improving very much. Now that my asthma is under control, it's become a lot easier and I would love to do a 10k and/or a half marathon this year. I can already run a 10k in a little over an hour. I feel like running and other various cardio is easier to incorporate into my low carb lifestyle, since building muscle requires carbs and I don't feel "done" with the low carb thing yet.

    In March I'll post a new before and after. I found an even older, fatter photo of myself from last year and I was stunned when I realized how terrible I used to look compared to now.


    SARPE Surgery Progress

    Things are going pretty well with my mouth. In January when my orthodontist told me the gap would start closing, I have to admit I didn't really believe him. But look!!!


    January 8th (last day of turning the key) vs February 12th


    As you can imagine, this has led to quite a bit of front tooth sensitivity. Since my front 6 teeth are obviously on the move, they're extremely tender. Knocking a tooth on my drinking glass is a painful affair, and biting into food is out of the question. Next time you hold a burger up to your mouth and bite into it, please think of me and be grateful for the convenience of sturdy teeth. You don't know how nice that luxury is until you're using a fork and knife to eat a tuna salad sandwich.

    As far as numbness, my face is back to normal but my upper gums are still 100% numb. I'm actually a little concerned about that and will be asking my orthodontist when I see him next Thursday.

    My facial muscles are pretty much back to normal. My upper lip still feels stiff and I have no idea why; if it's the new placement of my teeth, the gum numbness, etc. I can pucker my lips but it's uncomfortable and I've lost the ability to whistle. Smiling and laughing are no longer uncomfortable, thank god. Since the gap has gotten so much smaller, I find it much easier to talk and less embarrassing to smile.

    My talking is probably 95% normal now. I also barely think about the RPE in my mouth and waiting until April-June to get it out no longer seems like cruel and unusual punishment. Every time someone told me I'd get used to it, I said or thought, "There's no way!" Then one day I realized I hadn't thought about the RPE in a few days. Then even more days went by. Then I realized I'd been eating without focusing on it, talking without paying attention to my own voice and before I knew it, I was indifferent to it.

    I had my first steak last week, thinking my chewing was good enough for it. Sadly, a steak is still a little too much, but that's the only food I've struggled with lately.

    I probably won't do another mouth update until something big happens.

    Monday, February 10, 2014

    White Chocolate Oreo Blondies with Buttercreme Icing

    What do you love most about the Super Bowl? The hoopla? The commercials? The parties? For me, it's definitely the parties. I first started watching the Super Bowl in 2008. I bet $20 on the Patriots and won my $20 plus an additional $20. I loved the Super Bowl immediately. Nowadays my Super Bowls involve less gambling and more cooking. My boyfriend holds a Super Bowl party at his house every year. Normally I make a cake with my football cake pan, but this year I was feeling adventurous. I combined a few recipes to come up with these blondies. They turned out great and I will definitely make them again! They're very rich so it's easy to eat only a small amount, but I found them pretty addictive nonetheless. I had already eaten a big chunk before our guests arrived (oops).

    Ingredients: Blondies
    Courtesy of All Recipes.

    8 ounces white chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli)
    1 TBSP vanilla extract
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    2 eggs
    3/4 TSP salt
    1/3 white sugar
    1 cup semisweet white chocolate chips (again, I used Ghirardelli)
    1 package Oreos (I used Double Stuf but you can use whatever you want)

    Ingredients: Buttercreme Icing (optional)
    Courtesy of The Kitchen Magpie...this has been my go-to vanilla frosting recipe for a few years, it's amazing.

    1 cup of salted butter
    3  teaspoons of vanilla
    4 cups of icing sugar
    4-5 tablespoons of  coffee cream (18% and up)
    4-5 Oreos, crushed (from package of Oreos listed above)


    Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan. Melt white chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler, over barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool. (Note from Jaime: if you've never melted chocolate before, do yourself a favour and read about how to do it first. You cannot just throw some chocolate in a pot and put it on the burner.)

    2. Crush 6-7 Oreos with a potato masher, set aside.

    3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs until foamy. With the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and vanilla. Drizzle in the melted white chocolate/butter mixture. Combine the flour and salt; fold into the white chocolate mixture using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Fold in chocolate chips and crushed Oreos.



    4. Spread evenly a small layer of batter in the pan, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.



    5. Lay Oreos on top of batter (do not squish them down against the pan, they should be sitting on top of the thin layer of batter.



    6. Spread rest of batter over Oreos.



    7. Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

    8. Let cool completely before icing.

    Directions for icing:

    1. Whip butter with hand or stand mixer.

    2. Add in icing sugar, a bit at a time.

    3. Add cream.

    4. Add vanilla.

    5. Add crushed oreo.

    6. Whip with hand or stand mixer.

    7. Avoid eating spoonfuls of icing




    Spread icing over blondies. I also crushed up the leftovers Oreos and sprinkled them on top.


    Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any diabetic shock, clogged arteries, heart attacks, or any other bodily malfunction due to high levels of sugar!

    Thursday, January 23, 2014

    5 Weeks Post Surgery

    Today I mentioned to a coworker that it had been exactly 5 weeks since my surgery. He replied, "Wow, already? That went by fast."
    "Get a metal bar installed in your mouth. You'll feel differently about time."

    Things seem to always be changing. Some symptoms last a day, others a few days, and the throbbing is still going on 2.5 weeks later. The front teeth throbbing has actually gotten about 90% better. My teeth only throb once or twice a day and not for as long. Before, they were at it all day, every day.

    I am pretty sure the throbbing is caused by my front teeth trying to come back together. Most of the pain is localized to my central incisors (front 2 teeth), and kind of radiates out from there. I measured the gap yesterday and it's down to 4mm from 5.5mm! That's a lot of movement for 10 days.

    As far as other pain, for the last day I've had some pain on the upper ridge of my cheekbone, just on one side. No idea why.

    Upper gums are still numb, 99% of my nose is back now, the rest is back to normal. It feels like only a small spot on my nose is numb now. When my nose is cold while I'm curling, it feels like there's something in my nostril. Very weird and distracting.

    I read a comment on another jaw surgery blog that recommended trying to whistle in order to break up the scar tissue under the lip. The first time I tried, I could barely purse my lips. Now I can kind of whistle. I still feel some tightness in my lips. I think part of it is getting used to how my teeth feel under my lips now. 

    Anyway, did you notice I went this whole time (except for the first paragraph) without mentioning how much I hate the RPE? I will begrudgingly admit I am getting used to it. I roll my eyes when I see other bloggers mention it only took a day or two to get used to. It took me 4-5 weeks to stop thinking about it when I eat.

    I feel like my talking is getting a bit better too. I noticed it's hard to pronounce the letter V, because my front teeth have been pushed forward. My open bite is very inconvenient and I'm still accidentally spitting out food all the time. It's embarrassing going out to eat. I'll be chewing and then some food just makes its escape. I also still need to chew with my mouth open in order to chew. I'm just all-around really gross to eat with right now.

    Anyway, the photos.


    Looking pretty much normal


    Still slightly swollen


    Showing off my very open bite


    Is it just me or are my teeth coming together at a bit of an angle?


    Overbite from the side. I can't wait until this goes away forever. It's one of the things I hate most about how I look.


    Award-winning smile (not yet). Look how off the midline of my face is. Either my mouth is too far to the right or my nose is angled left. Either way, I'm definitely not winning any symmetry awards.


    And yes, I did get a haircut and dyed it dark. Not really digging it but it'll do.

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

    4 Weeks Post Surgery

    Hard to believe it's almost been a month already, but here we are at 4 weeks. Sorry it's long, I am writing this with future SARPE "victims" in mind!

    For starters, there is only faint bruising left on the left side; the right side seems to be gone completely.

    Some swelling but I think you'll see in the photos below that I look more or less normal to the untrained eye. I can feel I'm still swollen when I wash my face. My sinuses are still tender and feel like they're filled with air or something.

    The numbness has really come down this week, which I am happy about. My cheek apples were the most numb before and now it feels like they have most of the feeling back, if not all of it. My gums are still numb and there is about 90% feeling in my nostrils.

    Front teeth are still throbbing hourly or so. I took 2 Percocet last night as I overdid it with the chewing yesterday, and even that makes no difference with the throbbing.

    So, I've been overdoing it with chewing lately and I think it's a bad idea. My teeth, even my lower teeth, are still tender and chewing harder foods makes them just ache. However, I am happy to say that my palate is starting to feel more stable, even just in the past few days. Yawning was uncomfortable as I think your palate stretches a bit when you yawn, and the RPE obviously doesn't. I was feeling a lot of pressure on my teeth when yawning. I also seem to be able to push my lower jaw forward without any pressure on my palate anymore.

    My lisp also seems to be improving, and people are quick to tell me I don't sound as bad as I probably think. I find because my voice is different due to the lisp, I pay a lot of attention to sound of my voice. Annoyingly enough, the hardest thing to say is my own name, leading to a lot of repeats of it, which causes me to feel self-conscious.

    I'm having a hard time keeping my spirits up about not getting braces until possibly June. I wasn't self-conscious about the gap at first but now I notice myself trying to keep my mouth closed whenever there are people around who don't know I had surgery. My facial muscles are starting to come back and I'm a person who smiles a lot, so I know the gap is becoming more and more visible as my lip gains more movement. However, I will say that compared to ALL of the blogs I've looked at, I have the smallest gap. Some of them have a gap as wide as a front tooth, if not bigger.

    Speaking of smiling, it's a very weird feeling. I don't know if it's because my front teeth are pushed forward more, because of the incision, because of the numbness, because my smile is wider, or all of the above, but I feel a lot of pressure on my upper lip when I smile. It feels like my lip is going to split open. I never realized how much I smile until this, and I find myself forcing a straight face just to avoid the discomfort.

    Okay so that's enough talk for now, here are the photos.

    I've noticed that the centre of my top lip lines up weird with my septum. It's more noticeable when you can see the gap, which is not centred, either.

    Looking much better from the side.

    5.5mm gap

    I can finally smile like a normal person, gap notwithstanding. You can see here my septum and gap don't line up perfectly. I'm assuming braces will fix that back up.

    Before and after...not the hugest difference but still noticeable. You can see by the centre of the expander how much wider my palate is. Also, you can see a big difference comparing the width between my front 6 teeth, especially my lateral incisors and canines. I'm excited to get the expander off; it's going to feel like a total real estate upgrade!



    Before and after smile...obviously a work in progress! I think things are looking a bit wider; look how far apart my canine teeth are now! Both these photos were me smiling my widest, so you can see on the right I still don't have full control of my facial muscles.

    Monday, January 13, 2014

    Weighty Matters

    Our weight is a pretty sensitive thing, isn't it? I had 16 years of sweet ignorance before the lifelong, society-induced battle caught up with me.

    I have two siblings and fortunately for them, they inherited my dad's "eat anything, never gain weight" metabolism. I was not so lucky, as I inherited my mom's "look at cake, gain weight" metabolism.

    When I was a kid, you would have assumed I was going to end up like my siblings. I was tall and slender, with skinny arms and legs. Then the big P hit: puberty. Still, I really didn't think about my weight. I remember being proud every time I stepped on the scale and the number had gone up. At the CNE one year, I played a Guess Your Weight? game thing. I think the guesser thought I was 100lbs but I was actually 114, and I was absurdly proud that I was heavier than I looked.

    Me at 14, terrible at accessorizing

    In high school, I started gaining about 5+ pounds a year. I still thought I looked pretty good, though. I'd never cared about my weight before.

    The year I was 16, I remember having a conversation with one of my friends. I can't remember what we were talking about, but I remember she told me I had "a little extra to pinch" or something like that. I'd never, ever thought of myself as fat before and suddenly, someone was telling me I was, kind of. At the time I was probably 125-130lbs (I'm 5'5½"), so obviously not even "kind of" fat, but I didn't see that at the time. All I saw was hips, thighs, stomach. I started internally freaking out. No longer did I pass over myself in the mirror when dressing, I started scrutinizing everything and deciding I hated my entire midsection, mainly my hips. Before writing this, I went through my journal at that time of my life. I wrote long tangents about how much I hated my body.

    That summer, I started an extreme regimen to get skinny. I tried to eat as little as possible, and bike as far as possible every day. I wrote down everything I ate and felt proud when my calories reached only a few hundred that day. I would bike 2+ hours a day as fast as I could handle. A very slippery slope, and I knew it. I must have gotten distracted or bored with it, fortunately, because that was my only foray into disordered eating and exercising. Interestingly, looking at my journal during this time, I talk frequently about how I felt close to having a nervous breakdown. Our family was having huge, loud, mean blow-out fights nearly everyday. My family was always threatening to send me away to a group home. I hated my mom and my brother, and screamed at them constantly. I hated everything going on around me. I will admit, I was a difficult teenager. I never realized until tonight that the disordered weight obsession mirrored dysfunctional family fights (my parents separated a year later, BTW). How I never developed a full-fledged mental illness escapes me, although as a teenager I always felt I wasn't normal. I think my frequent volunteering at the community theatre and my determination to move out fought off what could have been a lot worse for me.

    Me, on the far right, at 16. Not a great photo but the only one I can find from when I was 16.


    At some point later on when I became a "woman," I realized I needed to learn to love my body, because somebody said so. I don't think I've ever achieved this. I don't think I know how, I don't know if I'm capable of it. I don't even know if I agree it's necessary. I know I feel proud of myself when I lift weights, but love? That's a strong word. I don't hate my body anymore, I guess I just feel ambivalent towards it. I know I love cake, and my feelings about my body don't even come close to how I feel about cake.

    In the 12 years since I was 16, my weight has fluctuated about 20lbs up and down. I get serious about being healthy, but then cake. In the past 5 months, I have learned that the way I naturally want to eat leads to weight gain, and it's a long road trying to change that.

    Today I stand 123lbs, less than what I weighed at 16, and I do not love my body. In fact, its continued flabbiness and my continued dissatisfaction over it bother me deeply when I look in the mirror. I still hate my hips. Honestly, I thought I would look better at 123lbs. This is a number that 5 short months ago, I would have been fucking ECSTATIC about seeing on the scale. And now that it's here? Meh. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy I'm here, but a switch didn't flip inside me where suddenly I loved my body. I think that's a very popular misconception with weight loss. It's not a magic wand that fixes all your problems. You just become a skinnier you with the same problems. That said, I don't think I have "problems" per se, just a continued dissatisfaction with how I look.

    This year, one of my new year's resolutions is to start lifting weights again. It's amazing what feeling physically strong can do for your self-confidence and not to mention, for carrying in the groceries. The weight lifting needs to wait until I have less pain in my jaw, though. In the meantime, I'm going to try and think of something positive about myself whenever I catch myself staring disappointedly in the mirror. Maybe I might even learn to like my body more, I don't know. All I know is I need to do something or I will end up gaining all the weight back and learning nothing.

    Anyway, I don't think I even really touched on what I meant to talk about when starting this entry. I meant it to be less about me and more about people in general, but alas, I'm not very good at talking about people in general. I hope this doesn't come off sounding like I'm still 16 years old, and I especially hope you don't think I'm pushing some kind of "omg u gotta love urself!! real women have curves!" agenda, because I'm not. This is simply a history of me and my weight. And before you harass me in the comments, no, I don't think I'm fat. I've actually never thought I was fat, just flabbier than desired.

    Me as a toddler, picking my nose and sucking my thumb: exactly zero fucks given.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

    20 Days Post-Surgery

    Tomorrow is 3 weeks since my SARPE surgery. The time is flying!

    I went back to work this week. It's been very tiring. I'm getting way less sleep on top of walking, talking, and laughing most of the day. My coworkers joke around quite a bit and on Monday, I had to go straight home to take a Percocet because my mouth hurt from laughing so much. Admittedly, not a terrible problem to have.

    I don't feel like I've really made any progress since last week. I'm still just as numb as the day after surgery. My incision doesn't sting except for the odd little pain here and there. I'm getting a lot of random sensations in the part of my face that's most numb: on the right side just to the side of my nose. Sometimes it's itchy, sometimes it throbs, sometimes it tickles. I know that's a good sign but it's so distracting! As I type this, it's doing some weird tingling mixed with throbbing.

    Due to talking more, I am having more pain in my palate and upper teeth. My upper teeth have been throbbing a lot, which they didn't do when I was at home resting.

    Anyway, today I had a checkup with the orthodontist. He said everything looked good and my palate has widened to exactly where he wanted it. I don't have to turn the key anymore, and he threaded a wire in the RPE keyhole to hold it in position.

    I was a little disappointed because on all the blogs I've read, people get their braces put on about a month or two after SARPE surgery. My orthodontist is telling me I won't be getting braces until the expander comes out in 4-6 months. Bummer. I'm pretty sure these are going to be the longest 4-6 months I've ever experienced. I'm sorry if you're a prospective SARPE recipient, but the RPE friggin' sucks. I've been pretty positive and optimistic about everything else but I loathe that expander. I sound like an idiot, I chew like an idiot, it takes me 30 minutes to eat a small meal, it's always in the way, it always has food stuck in it. 

    On the bright side, at least I won't have the expander AND braces to figure out chewing with. Another good thing is the orthodontist said the gap will start closing on its own now that I'm finished turning the key. Unlike a lot of other SARPE bloggers, the gap doesn't bother me that much. The gap combined with my very open- and over-bite looks pretty terrible, but what embarrasses me is my lisp. Ugh.


    Here's what I look like today.

    My swelling and bruising are mostly gone, though some remains.

    I see that I still look pretty chunky around my chin. I've noticed it's exceedingly difficult to push my lower jaw forward, so I think there's something going on, like perhaps my lower jaw is further back than it was. It would explain the double-chin look I have going on lately.

    Still having a hard time smiling.

    17 turns, plus some during surgery?


    In other news, today would have been the day I'd talk about my weight loss progress. I decided not to do an actual progress post because I haven't done much in the past month to try to lose weight. I also didn't want to highlight the fact I have lost weight, but only because I haven't been eating as much. I don't want to promote weight loss via starvation.

    The good thing is that I am at a point where I had to buy myself all new pants as absolutely nothing fits anymore. It's really nice to have pants and jeans that actually fit. 


    Hopefully I can return to the gym sometime soon, though it still hurts just to walk.

    Wednesday, January 1, 2014

    2013 Year in Review

    2013 was a pretty great year!

    JANUARY
    January was pretty uneventful, although I did start going to the gym again. I also redeemed a free 45-minute "makeover" thing I had for Sephora.

    Holy makeup, Batman

    I also started another sewing class with my mom. I started working on a dress that I've never finished. I'm probably just going to pay a tailor to finish it for me since I'd likely mess it up.

    FEBRUARY
    Not a whole lot happened this month either, but my mom and I did get food poisoning the night of the Academy Awards.

    MARCH
    I started a quilting class with my friends. Yeah, still not done this either. The quilt is a sampler and the finished blocks look like this:


    APRIL
    This was a fun month because my quilty friends and I went on our quilting guild's trip to the International Quilt Show in Cincinnati. You know you're meant to be friends if you can have 4 people stay in one hotel room (2 double beds, 1 bathroom) and you're still friends after 3 nights of that. We had a great time and are planning to go on the 2014 guild trip to the Quilt Canada show in June. 



    Left: Aisles of shops at the quilt show. Right: Highlight of the show for me: two of my favourite things: clear electronics and Bernina!

    MAY
    Another great month! Anthony's birthday, my birthday, Beer Fest, and a trip to Mexico!


    Beer Fest drunk is the best drunk.

    Relaxing in Cancun.

    Giant Mrs. Fields birthday cookie. I have the best boyfriend in the world.

    Right before parasailing!
    I also started playing soccer in May. As I wrote about at the time, I was terrified to start playing again due to a bad experience playing as a preteen. Soccer ended up being a blast and I can't wait to play again this summer, hopefully with the same team.
    Also, another fun thing that happened this month was that my mom and Anthony's mom finally met for the first time (we'd only been dating 3.5 years)! We went to a really nice buffet and I hope to do it again this upcoming Mother's Day.

    JUNE
    After playing a few soccer games, I realized I couldn't deny my breathing problems any longer. I'd always known I had a problem, which I assumed to be exercise-induced asthma. I finally went to my doctor and he agreed I have exercise asthma and gave me an inhaler. It made a huge difference and I was able to run faster and longer out on the soccer field. He also referred me to an actual respirologist who agreed with the diagnosis and I now take Singulair, which has helped immensely (and I am not getting paid to say that).

    This month I also reunited with two friends from high school. I didn't have many friends in high school and have kept in contact with even fewer, two of them being Kelly and Amanda. The three of us hung out one night in June and it was even more fun than high school, and this time included beer! I've hung out with both of them individually since and it's been awesome, I'm very glad to have them in my life again.

    JULY
    Relatively quiet month, though I did cross an item off my baking bucket list: rhubarb!! I made a rhubarb pie and a rhubarb cake. Both were yummy!

    Photo does not do tastes justice.


    AUGUST
    This month started out fun when my cousin got married, and I was a bridesmaid for the first time ever!



    The lowest point of the year was in August. Anthony and I went to Kincardine for a relaxing weekend but ended up witnessing a car accident that killed both drivers. I'd never witnessed anything like that before and I struggled for a month or two after. It was a huge reality check and I think has made me appreciate life that much more.

    We did manage to have a nice time in Kincardine considering, though I don't think we'll be rushing back to Kincardine anytime soon.


    Just before getting ourselves two giant ice cream cones in downtown Kincardine.

    Toward the end of the month, Anthony and I started a weight loss bet. The bet was only for a month but we've both continued to lose weight. Oh, and nobody won the bet because neither of us made our goal weight by the end of the month. I think we're both still winners, though. Anthony has lost almost 30lbs, and I've lost about 25. Pretty awesome!!


    Day before the bet began...

    SEPTEMBER
    I started playing indoor soccer this month. In the beginning, I would get SO tired. The first time, I came home, drew a bath, and lied in it feeling like I was going to vomit. Last time I went, I barely broke a sweat. I'm so proud of how far I've come.

    I also started eating low carb early in the month. Initially I was pretty freaked out by the idea but it's been going well and I really like my new way of eating. I eat so much healthier when I can't rely on bread and other carbs to fill me up. 

    OCTOBER
    I started playing hockey for the first time ever! I love it, I wish I started when I was younger!

    Curling started back up too. This is my 4th year playing and I'm only just starting to feel decent at it.

    My awesome hockey jersey

    My sister and I made infinity scarves in October.

    NOVEMBER
    Not much, just getting busy with hockey, curling, and futsal going on 3 nights a week, plus going to the gym. My sister and I started booking our braces consultations and went to all of them this month. I had 5 consultations, and we both picked the same orthodontist.

    DECEMBER
    I went for my consultation with the oral surgeon and the very next week, had SARPE surgery to widen my upper palate.

    Christmas was nice and relaxing.

    By the time I went for SARPE surgery, I'd lost 24lbs! You've all seen enough photos my surgery and my weight loss so I won't bother with it.



    This year went by so fast! In 2014 I'll be turning 28 and I'm hoping to continue to get in better shape, continue eating healthily, and continue to develop my sewing skills.
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