Monday, December 28, 2009


Hi everyone.

Hope Christmas was excellent for all of you... I was so spoiled it isn't funny ;)

Had an ortho appointment on the 18th, and I was all fitted up with tons of annoying rubberbands. I'm supposed to wear them 24/7, but it's too difficult to talk to wear them at work... so I've mostly been wearing them at night. My bite feels just about perfect, and my midlines are lining up beautifully. I've just got one issue left: one of my front teeth is a bit crooked, so I'm doubling up on the bands every once in awhile in the front to try and move that baby back into place where it should be. My next appointment is January 25... I'm hoping so badly that that is the day that I've been looking forward to... yep, that's right: the debracing.

I have another post-op surgeon appointment on the 29th. OH, that reminds me. I was under the impression that Kaiser would not be paying the $2000 assistant surgeon's fee, which was the fee that I had to get a loan out for to pay the doctor before my surgery. But get this: Kaiser DID approve it, and they sent a check for $7500 to my surgeon's office. What!! They overpaid by $5500! So the office sent the check back (darn it, haha) and asked for them to resend the correct amount of $2000, which we're still waiting for. They were ridiculously slow, but I am SO THANKFUL that they paid for EVERYTHING. I am one lucky girl. So my advice based on my experience is... GO WITH KAISER!

Have a wonderful New Year!

All banded up, yuck. See my crooked front tooth? Argh!

On Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


when i get my braces taken off i'm gonna do more pics like this, but i was messing around and came up with a contrast pic... i can definately tell the difference, even though it's from a slightly different angle...

Ortho appointment tomorrow... hopefully my last adjustment. WOO HOO!

Friday, November 13, 2009

3 months post-op

Hi! Hope everyone is doing fantastic.

I had an appointment with my surgeon a couple of weeks ago... not due again until December.

This week I had an ortho appointment, and Dr. Arango said to give him one more adjustment and then I'm done. YAY! That means.. dare I say it.. January?! Awesome! Some tiny little thought in the back of my head was hoping for lovely white teeth in time for Christmas... but yeah, that was asking too much.

They took off the buttons on the inside of my teeth, too! I wasn't expecting that, and it was AWESOME. I had them on for a year and a half! I have to wear one band on each side right now to get all my teeth to sit together more tightly, and it's a pain. Each band is in the shape of a box, and I have to take them off to eat. It's hard to get them back on the front of my braces, too. Boo.

I still feel swollen sometimes, and the scar tissue bugs me. Every once in awhile my jaw will get sore, but I have about 60% feeling back on the left chin area and 75% on the right.

Take care, til next time...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ortho Appointment

Hi, all.

I had my first post-op orthodontist appointment last Tuesday. Everyone in the office was so excited for me, and they all came over to see my results. I don't have "very much longer" in braces, according to the assistant who changed my wires. Yay!! Just some fine tuning left. And I only have to wear one band. Double yay!!

I also wanted to mention that Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Cleansing Cloths are awesome!! They cleared up my skin in just a couple days, and they feel great. Check them out at this site!!

My smile still looks a little weird, but as I get more feeling back in my chin, it gets better.

Take care, everyone!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day 38

I've been so busy the past couple of weeks!

I started back to work on Wednesday, and it went a lot more smoothly than I thought it would. I still feel like my lip looks incredibly silly when I talk.

My chin area is SO BROKEN OUT! It's awful! I have never had so many pimples on my face at one time. Anyone else have issues with this? I think it might be from touching it so often (hey, it's very interesting not being able to feel your lip and chin).

I had my IVC filter (the little umbrella-shaped thing that was placed in my chest to catch any blood clots that might try to go up into my lungs) removed on Tuesday. Everyone from interventional radiology remembered me, and even asked me how my farmville was doing (HAHAHAHA). The only issue I had with the whole thing was that the nurse couldn't use my arms for the IV (since they were so messed up from the first hospital visit a month ago), so she had to use my hand. Apparently I have tiny veins in my hands, though, and she couldn't get the IV in right. Owwie.

Other than that, I'm doing well. I like my courses this semester. This weekend is the Fallen Firefighters Memorial, so I get to make lots of money and then go hang out downtown with my boyfriend, my friends, and a billion dudes in kilts. Ha.

I was supposed to have my first post-op ortho appointment tomorrow, but they called and asked if I could come in next friday instead because Dr. Arango had a family emergency. bummer!

Only two pics today (since I'm so pimplified).

Here's me now... still a little swollen:

Here's where they took my filter out through my neck. Yeah. Sick.

Friday, September 11, 2009

1 Month Post-op

Today marks a month since my jaw surgery, yay!

Bad news first, to get it out of the way:

Apparently, while I was in the hospital, my teeth moved around a lot. Since I don't have an appointment to see my ortho until next Friday, my surgeon put some rubberbands back in my mouth to try and correct the movement. Bummer!

Good news:

I'm feeling a LOT better. The only thing that is annoying to me now is the numbness. It's a constant tingling in my chin and lower lip. I've started snapping at people when they tell me I have food on my face ("I KNOW! I CANT FEEL IT!"), and putting on lipstick is a joke. I have a tiny bit of feeling back in the lower right part of my bottom lip, but other than that... still totally numb, baby.

I am still a little bit swollen.. but everyday it gets better.

Every once in awhile the incision on my right side hurts, but it has healed nicely.


Thursday, September 3, 2009


Taking out and setting up a scanner sounds lame right now, so I just took pics of my x-rays. You get the idea. My teeth line up so beautifully now!






Yo, thought I would mention a good thing:

I've lost twelve pounds! Yaaaaaaay! My pants fit again!

Monday, August 31, 2009


k, so here are some pics, taken 18 days post-op.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

An Update

Hey all.

Sorry for the lack of updates; I have had a rough week.

Last week I started having really bad pains in my left leg, and by Friday I couldn't even walk on it; it was all purple and swollen. So Nathan took me to the emergency room and they told me I had a clot from my ankle to the middle of my stomach. I was so scared... I thought I was going to die!

They performed this surgery on me where they go in through the back of my calf and put a catheter in, and the catheter runs through my leg, along with "clot-busting" medicine, and disperses the clot. They also put this little filter that is shaped like an umbrella in through my neck and placed it right below my heart so that no other clots can travel up into my lungs, heart, or brain. I get that taken out in three weeks.

So I'm on an anti-coagulant for six months and I have to give myself shots twice a day for a few days.

Apparently I have May-Thurner syndrome, which is where the main artery that lies on top of the vein to my left leg compresses the vein and doesn't allow blood to escape my leg. So they implanted this tiny little stent tube thing that will hold the vein open and allow the blood to flow. They said that being immobile after my jaw surgery, having the syndrome, and taking birth control pills all contributed to the clot.

I just got out of the hospital about an hour ago, and I am so glad to be out!!! At one point I had three IVs in me and I was just laying there sobbing... it was awful.

I have to wear these goofy stockings, I'm limping around, my arms hurt, my neck hurts, my stomach hurts, my hands hurt from needles, plus my jaw is still kinda swollen and sore.

The swelling has gone down tremendously in my jaw, though. I didn't look in the mirror for five days and when I finally was able to get up and go to the bathroom, I was so surprised at what I saw! My teeth have been sore; I think I've been clenching at night :( I couldn't go to my second follow up appointment with my surgeon because I was in the hospital, so I have to call and make a new one today.. or maybe tomorrow.. I'm so tired!

Well, I have to email my instructors (I've missed a week of school) before I run out of energy... I will post pictures in the next couple of days when I get some strength back.

Hope everyone is doing well!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 8- Balloon Head!

Hey hey hey.

So today was my first post-op appointment, and Dr. Vetter said everything looks perfect! yay! We compared xrays from before and after the surgery, and it's so crazy to see my top teeth in front of my bottom teeth. My jaw looks way shorter, too.

He took all the rubberbands off, but he said if I want them back on I can come back in. At first it felt like my jaw was just hanging there, but now the muscles are getting used to it. Today I had mashed potatoes, and they were soooo goooood.

We got back from the doctor and I was exhausted.. had to take a nap.

My mom said I look more swollen today than yesterday... going in the wrong direction! School starts on Monday; I hope I can go!

Pics later.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

DAY 5 - More swollen?

I think I'm more swollen today than I was yesterday, and my neck is all yellow. It also looks like I'm stuffing tennis balls in my cheeks!!

Today all I could think about was a McDonald's cheeseburger. Wah!

I slept most of the day, and then my mom came over and made me "dinner." A shower felt great today, too. I hope this balloon face doesn't last too much longer.

Friday, August 14, 2009

DAY 4 - Swelling

Well, I'm happy to report that the swelling looks like it's going down just a tad--or at least not getting any worse. I had a bit more energy today, too, and I am amazingly not sick of Boost yet :)

It's so weird to have a 100% numb bottom lip and chin!

Here is a pic from this morning (about 12 hours ago).. oh, and I'm not saluting, just holding my glasses up, haha:

And these two are from tonight... it looks better to me than it did this morning. ..Maybe it's that I'm getting used to it, though.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Arrrrgh, my face and neck are so swollen.. it's so freakin' uncomfortable! There is so much pressure... Im glad I just had bottom jaw surgery and not top. I couldn't imagine having cold symptoms too...

k, i'm a baby. ow.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Also, I want to thank my mommy and boyfriend for taking care of me. My mom bought me all kinds of stuff and has been reloading my ice pack all day. ...And it's her birthday, too!! Yay for moms.

for steph

Thanks so much for the zip n squeeze bags, Stephanie. They have really come in handy today. You're a lifesaver!

I'm so swollen!!

Post-op Pics

Here are some pics from the night before my surgery:

And after:

DAY 2 - Can't Sleep

Hi, everyone!!

Going into day 2 after surgery, and feeling/looking incredibly swollen. It's so funny how much my face can expand. I have no feeling in my chin and bottom lip, but my tongue is all tingly and coming back to life.

The surgery went very well! I arrived at the surgery center yesterday morning at 6:45, filled out some paperwork and was taken into the surgery waiting area. Had my blood pressure measured, an IV put in (ugh), peed in a cup and changed into my lovely hospital gown. At around 7:30 I was wheeled into the surgery room, and there were like six nurses in there, all of whom were very funny and friendly. They put stockings and warm blankets on me. My anesthesiologist was awesome, and before I knew it one of the nurses was asking me a question I couldn't answer because I was drifting off to sleep...

And then the next thing I remember I was waking up, and the lights seemed so bright to me. I wasn't in any pain, but I could definitely "feel" the numbness in my face. I had been wheeled into the post-operative area, and there was a nurse there who was making sure I was comfortable. Apparently Dr. Vetter was there (i don't remember that) and he told me I had been trying to smile when they were first waking me up, hahaha. Another thing I could feel with my weirdo tongue was my teeth... the bottom ones were behind the top ones, something I've never felt in all my life!! It was awesome.

I had put my anti-nausea patch behind the ear the night before, and I never did nor haven't yet felt one inkling that I may throw up, which is honestly what I was terrified of!! The nurse helped me put on my fentanyl patch, and a few minutes later I was wheeled into my little room/curtained off area. I had multiple nurses and doctors peek in as they were walking by and tell me how happy I was going to be for getting this surgery, and that I had such a great attitude. Yay.

My mom and boyfriend were let in to see me, and at this time I was not really swollen at all. I wore a humidified oxygen mask the entire time I was there, and it felt good on my sore throat.

So glad I bought a dry erase board.. my mom laughed when I first told her I was buying one, but I'm pretty sure she found it useful when she couldn't figure out what the hell I was trying to grunt/mumble/say. I asked for the time when she came in, and it was only ten! My surgery only lasted two hours.

The nurse came over and told me that if I continued to do that wonderfully then I could go home at two! I was so excited, as the IV and oxygen mask and pulse reader thing were making it incredibly difficult to sleep. I dozed off probably half a dozen times, but each time I woke up I was in a little more pain. I told the nurse at around noon that my pain was at about a 4, and they gave me morphine three times (which didn't seem to work right until the last dose). The nurse helped me get dressed around 1:45, and I was home and sitting in my couch recliner by 2:30.

All in all, I am very happy with the surgical center and Dr. Vetter. Everyone was so nice and helpful, and it doesn't hurt that they were telling me how beautiful my results are.

Swelling increased dramatically throughout the day and night, and I had to take a bunch of naps. I had two chocolate Boosts and some protein water, and I think I might have another breakfast Boost here in a bit. Just now when I woke up I felt like my bottom lip was taking over my face... I honestly look like the nutty professor!!

They gave me three ice packs, and I've been filling them with ice constantly because it feels great on my chin. Today I will start my antibiotics.

I'm soooo happy right now. I can't really tell too much about my results because I'm so swollen, but not having an underbite anymore is such a wonderful feeling. I finally have a normal bite!! I am banded shut pretty loosely, and I can open my mouth more than I thought I'd be able to (enough to get a pill through, most definitely).

Hoping my zip n squeeze bags will get here today from Stephanie, whom I am incredibly grateful toward. Thanks, girl!!! :)

Here ya go, day 2 pics:

I can't feel when I drip stuff on my chin. Wah!

Starting to bruise...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm home! I had my surgery at 7:30 and was home by 2:30! I didn't even have to spend the night. I'm so swollen!! More info later.

My mom wants me to mention that I look like Fat Bastard. HAHAHAHAHA And my boyfriend thinks I look like the nutty professor.


My surgery is in three hours and I can't sleep!! I'm so nervous!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Zip-N-Squeeze... !!!

So, I ordered two bags and a cool jaw wrap from Zip-N-Squeeze on July 24th. Surgery is coming up, and I still haven't received them. One phone number they have listed has a full mailbox, and the other number that is listed through Paypal is out of order. I sent them an email only to be emailed back with an automated response from the server saying that the account is not accepting new emails "due to inactivity."

$30 bucks down the drain, or what?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

pre-op appointment

I had my pre-op appointment on monday... nothing spectacular.

I had my xrays and molds taken. dr. vetter came in and went over the surgery (which put my mom more at ease). He gave me four prescriptions, including a mouth rinse, amoxycillin, an anti-nausea patch and a pain medication patch. I think it's interesting that I was given patches... they're supposed to last for 2-3 days.

He also told me that I might not have to stay overnight. Sweet.

I called the surgery center, and my co-pay is only $150!! I thought it would be five hundred. YAY!

I work a double tomorrow, Friday night, and Saturday night... and then surgery on Tuesday. I get my surgery lug hooky things on Friday afternoon at my ortho's office.

It's coming up so fast, and I'm excited!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Money money money

After a few embarrassing phone calls to family members and a couple of crying sessions, I asked my boyfriend's mom if she would co-sign on a loan to help cover my $2500 in costs, which are due at my History and Physical appointment on August 3rd. YAAAAY! She was really nice about it... she's great!!

I went into my orthodontist's office yesterday and explained that I am having my surgery on August 11th and that I sure hope I'm ready for surgery because I haven't been into the orthodontist's office since March and my bottom teeth have shifted a little bit. She was only able to squeeze me in for an appointment on August 7th, which I'm a little worried about, being that it's only four days before the surgery.

I also found out yesterday who my assistant surgeon is... Dr. William McMunn, who lives in Denver. Yeah, I so googled him.

I totally ordered a couple zip-n-squeeze bags and the cool jaw wrap ( I'm hoping (more like praying) that stuff will be here in time. I also ordered The Sims 3 to help ease the pain :)

I'm having a bit of a dilemma with school. My surgery is August 11th, and school starts August 24th. Ummm. Yeah. I'm probably not going to make it the first week. I guess I'll have to send all my professors emails and hope that I won't miss too much the first week. I'm hoping (again, more like praying) I'll be able to go by the second week of school, which will be 3 weeks post-op. Anyone have any insight (besides "you are stupid for scheduling surgery right before school," haha)?

On a more personal note, I am kind of proud of myself for getting this far all by myself. It's been really hard, being that I had no idea braces and surgery were really plausible back when I stumbled over kristen's blog a couple of years ago. I had some bad experiences in the beginning... it seemed like no one wanted to help me, and I felt completely lost and hopeless many times. I am so lucky that insurance covered my braces and (seriously, out of sheer luck) surgery, and I hope that this is all worth it in the end. Thank you to everyone for being so supportive and helpful. Had I not found all of your blogs, I probably never would have gotten this far. much love, much love.

Also, if anyone is interested, here are my orthognathic surgery fees, right off the paper Dr. Vetter's office gave me:

Initial Consultation: $175.00
Progress Checks with Dr. Vetter (per visit): $50.00
History and Physical Appointment (models, photos, facebow, wax bite and records): $130.00
Surgical Fee (includes Dr. Vetter's fee, 3 months of follow-up care and post-operative radiographs): $7,650.00
Assistant Surgeon's Fee: $1,912.50
A new face and newfound confidence: priceless k, i added that

These are just Dr. Vetter's fees; I know that I have a $400 co-pay at the facility where I'm having the surgery, and insurance is paying their facility and anesthesia fees.

Again, I am only being required to pay the assistant surgeon's fee, my current account balance (from my consultation), and my history and physical fee up front. They kindly waived the up front Surgical Fee for me because I whined and cried and stomped my feet a lot (not really, but I told them I couldn't afford that craziness).

So, that's where I'm at. ;)

Friday, July 24, 2009

a surgery date

...and now that we've started moving, everything is happening so fast.

I have a freakin' surgery date!! August 11th is the big day.

I had a week or two of major problems, though. Kim (financial coordinator) told me that Dr. Vetter requires payment up front, before the insurance company pays out (apparently they don't have a contract with Kaiser so they can pretty much do whatever they want). Grand total: $10,000, plus my $400 copay for the facility. Um, hello?

So I applied with Care Credit using my mom and my aunt and was denied (of course). I went to Dr. Vetter's office and told Kim that there is no way I can pay 10,000 bucks up front... it's just not something that is possible!

A couple of days later I met with Kim and she told me that Dr. Vetter agreed to let me have the surgery before paying... something they "have never done before." However, I still have to pay the assistant surgeon's fee of $2000 plus my current bill and the cost of my x-rays and molds, which comes out to $2500. WAAAAY better than ten grand. I'm really happy that they did this for me. Hopefully I can find a way to get a loan for a couple thousand before August 3rd, when I go in for molds and the money is due.

Another thing: I was on the phone with Kaiser seeing if there was any way the insurance company could pay out BEFORE the surgery, and the lady told me something very interesting. She said that usually, insurance claims are sent to Kaiser, and they are reviewed by Kaiser's staff and then sent to an oral surgeon for a final decision. But for some reason, my case was never sent to an oral surgeon for approval or denial, it was just approved without any further review. She said she's not sure what happened and my surgery probably would have been denied had it gone to the oral surgeon... but now that they've approved it, they're still going to pay for it. The only thing is that she suggested I don't try and go to a different surgeon who doesn't require me to pay up front. Why? Because that surgeon would have to submit a new claim, meaning it would go to an oral surgeon for review and "most likely be denied."

So, you can see my dilemma, here. I have to stay with Dr. Vetter or risk losing my insurance coverage. I really like him, though, and everyone at his office is very helpful.

Now I just need 2500 bucks. :)

ohhh annnd I HAVE to remember to go in to my orthodontist's office on Monday and let them know I have a surgery date. Back in March (or whenever it was) Dr. Arango told me there was nothing else he could do and that I was ready for surgery, and to just let him know when I had a date. So I haven't been in there for an adjustment in four months! Not good.. I was supposed to go in last month, at the latest. My bottom teeth are looking a little crooked...

Yay for a date, though!

Friday, July 10, 2009


i haven't done a braces pic post in quite awhile... not much has changed.

here's a side view. still stickin' out! :)

the news

so, today i got the news that i've been waiting for.

my surgery claim has been approved by kaiser permanente.

i got the voicemail this afternoon and i started crying! my surgery and facility fee are approved. my work recently switched from cigna (yuck) to kaiser, and so i submitted a new claim through my surgeon's office last week. some research i did online made it seem like kaiser was way more likely to approve orthognathic surgeries than a lot of other companies. i am so thankful that we got new insurance.

kim at dr. vetter's office told me to call on monday so that we can start taking the next steps. i haven't been to my orthodontist's office since march--he told me to wait to make another appointment until i knew what was going on with my surgery.

YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!! i actually jumped up and down earlier. hahaha.

my mom got an akita, and we all decided on the japanese name Hana. She's so cute. Here are the two of us, pic taken yesterday.

again, thank you everyone for all your helpful comments. I'm finally moving forward!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

a year and a half in braces...

hey all.

thanks for your comments... i'm still alive!

i am fully recovered from having my wisdom teeth taken out. I was so worried about having dry socket, but everything went really well! Also, I'd never been put under before--or had an IV--and I must say, it wasn't so bad. i felt pretty good when i woke up :)

the past couple of months have been tremendously irritating on the braces/surgery front.

i still owe a couple hundred dollars to dr. vetter's office. money has been very tight lately, and my boyfriend recently lost his job. i'm struggling to pay my rent, let alone pay off my surgeon consultation from last october.

last week i went in to dr. vetter's office to make a payment (finally) on my account, and i asked the financial coordinator lady what i should do next. she said since they hadn't spoken with me in a couple of months, they hadn't yet faxed my application for surgery coverage to the insurance company (cigna). she did it that day, and they asked for more proof that i need the surgery by last friday. she sent in xrays and whatever else they requested, but i got a letter today that says that cigna has denied my request. to be honest, i was expecting it, but now i'm not sure what i should do.

to make matters worse, the financial coordinator at dr. vetter's office told me that capital one financing, who works with the office to finance patients, has discontinued offering medical loans. they are trying to find another company to work with.

soo... is anyone else paying for this surgery out of pocket? it looks like that is what is going to happen with me (if someone will finance me!!). I'm just wondering if there's anything else i can do, besides appeal to the insurance company. hold a freaking bake sale?

i also had a dentist appointment last week, and it was so painful! the dentist flossed my teeth and her hands were covered in blood when she was done. and i try and floss regularly, too!

i want my surgery now, please!

/end frustration rant

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I have an appointment to get all four of my wisdom teeth out on Tuesday 2/17.

After that, I will be calling the insurance company to argue with them about not wanting to cover basic x-rays with dr. vetter. after all, he IS on their oral surgeons list!

Hopefully, I'll get some answers, and I can get the outstanding bill I have with Dr. Vetter's office paid off. Then, I'm calling them and seeing what I should do next. As awful as it sounds, I have been considering just paying full price for my surgery--I really like Dr. Vetter, and there are no oral surgeons in this city covered by Cigna, apparently. BOO.

On another note, the oral surgeon who is removing my wisdom teeth (yep, the same guy who told me two years ago that he didn't recommend jaw surgery and then blew me off when I tried to schedule another appointment with him), who obviously forgot me from before, told me that he thinks I'm going to be thrilled with the results of my orthognathic surgery, and that it will be good for me. umm, okay??? Whatever.

Time is wasting away!

Friday, January 2, 2009

new years

I realize it's been a very long time, but nothing has really happened. Like most other people, I have been becoming more and more broke the past couple of months, and as of now I can barely pay my bills. I still need to have my wisdom teeth removed, but have no money to pay for it. Only then can my journey continue... believe me, every extra, seemingly wasted day with braces only makes me more and more frustrated. Hope you're all doing well. Happy New Years...

Until next time!