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


    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 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.


    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"
    *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.


    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.



    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.


    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.


    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!!!
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