Sunday, January 25, 2009


Okay, so we have collectively made a goal to make at least one entry in the blog every week. Shouldn't be too hard, except that we made the goal three weeks ago...

Regardless, I just want to talk a little bit about the most recent, semi-significant change in my life. My jaw. Rather, my mouth. A picture to start out with should help me explain it all. Warning! Not for the faint of heart!

(Sad that these are the first pictures ever posted to our blog. You're sure to come back again...)

This is me during surgery - round 2.

This is me, post surgery. Swollen and drugged up as ever!

Well, that pretty much sums it up. EXCEPT NO IT DOESN'T! Lets give some stats and historical information on what this is about. Growing up I had the wonderful opportunity to have braces twice (yes, I am now on round three). Among the many appliances and retainers glued to my mouth, I had a handy little retainer that would get wider every time I cranked it with a key. The retainer's purpose was to expand the roof of my mouth, compensating for my under-bite. Not a big deal, it worked, temporarily, until I grew up and the roof of my mouth sealed shut to never be expanded again (this actually happens to every one's mouth). This would have been fine if my bottom jaw had ceased growing at the same time the orthodontist ceased having me expand the top. As time soon told, it wasn't enough.

The purpose of the surgery shown in the pictures was to basically cut the roof of my mouth in half, allowing me to expand it with one of the fancy (this time fixed) retainers. When the whole process is done I should be able to bite into a delicious piece of pizza without having all the toppings scraped off and dangling on my chin when I pull the rest of the piece away from my mouth - which by the way is very unattractive. The great part is that ever since the surgery I haven't had this problem.

That last statement may have been misleading. It has not been a problem because ever since the surgery I have not eaten anything, including pizza. As of today it has been one month and six days since my last pizza and solid food. I have about two more weeks until I can eat (I hope). For now, chewing is out of the question. Sports? Out of the question. Tripping on the sidewalk and landing on my jaw? Out of the question. Letting Shelley dance within a six foot radius of my face? Yep, out of the question for sure. Did I mention no pizza?! Finally, have you checked the weather? It is snowing in Utah. Naturally, you should be asking yourself, what about sledding? Even sledding, is out of the question...


Okay, so the first surgery went pretty well. It made for an interesting Christmas vacation in Washington. When I got back to Utah, however, I began a series of weekly checkups with the oral surgeon and orthodontist so they could evaluate the progress of my expanding mouth. Immediately both doctors recognized a problem that x-rays verified: only the left side of my mouth was moving. Instead of both sides moving equidistant from the center, the right side had probably gotten caught on some bone and was forcing the left side even farther left than it was supposed to be. You could say this was a minor problem. I mean nothing huge except that now I had an undercut, left hook bite. The thrilling part of this news was that any progress made with the mouth would now be undone when they went back in my mouth and re-did the surgery. Yes, just thrilling.

Back to sledding, something that Shelley, my sister, and my mother all strongly suggested I not do (three very influential women in my life, might I add). Well, we were having a church social at a local park, known for good sledding. It was the opening social for the semester and both Shelley and I felt obligated to go because of our respective church responsibilities. (Can you feel the story brewing?) After an enjoyable evening of spectator sledding I finally couldn't take it anymore. Besides, the hill seemed harmless as it was and no one else was falling on their JAWS. I mean seriously, what is the big deal.

Next thing you know I on the sled barreling down the hill on a part that no one had been on yet because it looked EVEN safer. Oops. Bad idea. No one had been on that part of the hill because of the violently huge jump at the bottom. That I hit. And flew off. And got a lot of air. And landed. Hard. Really hard. As I tumbled to the ground in physical pain, the real pain was the emotional anguish of how stupid I felt. When I landed the jump I landed on my rear (thankfully) but I bit down REALLY REALLY hard. Remember how I haven't chewed anything since Dec. 20? Oh yeah, so chomping as hard as I could was very bad. I don't know who felt worse: me for sledding, or Shelley for giving up on stopping me. It hurt. Things definitely shifted when I landed.

Shelley and me at the Ward Opening Social

Fast forward to the next day. I went to the orthodontist. After looking in my mouth, with a little surprise he said, "Looks like the second surgery went well."

Me: "What?"

Dr. Dalzen: "Didn't you have the second surgery last week to fix the first?"

Me: "No, was I supposed to?"

Dr. Dalzen: (with confusion) "Yeah, but, your mouth...? Everything is in place..."

Me: (with masked mischief in my voice) "Weird. I wonder how a crazy thing like that would have ever happened..."

Dr. Dalzen: "Yeah, I'm calling the oral surgeon. You need to go see him so he can verify that everything is in place."

And with that, I gleefully skipped to my truck and sped over to the oral surgeon, where he, without being able to explain the miraculousness of it, confirmed that both the left and ride side of my mouth had shifted right into place. "What a miracle!" he exclaimed.

Well Dr. Dobson, you have no idea what a miracle. Take THAT 2nd surgery! With a little luck and a few prayers I performed my own surgery. Quick, (nearly) painless, successful, and free. My kind of health care!

As of this week I finished expanding and next week I will get braces on to close the huge gap in the front of my mouth (The gap will be displayed and discussed in a future blog entry). The goal, get this thing done by April 24. Great idea, eh?

One last comment about the three influential women in my life. Laura is a truly incredible sister. She nursed me those first few days after the surgery putting up with my drugged state of incompetence. Shelley sat by me and loved me despite my hideous face. And my mom, well, after the pain of not being with me post-op, she got me in less than functional status a few days later and babied me back to health before sending me back to Utah. Since then Shelley and her mom have been satisfying my appetite by experimenting with lots of soups, smoothies, and shakes. Good to have some great women in my life. Thanks all.

Until next time!

1 comment:

  1. Nice....really nice.

    For all who do not have the opportunity to live with Trevor (as I do) these stories are quite the event to behold when told by the man himself face to face (as I am sure that anyone who knows Trevor well enough to be reading his blog would know).

    The best part about this situation are all the jokes about his teeth that fly around the apartment (both self inflicted by Trevor himself and by his loving's a good thing that he is a good sport about it)