Braced Faced Nuptials.. Say What??!!!

As I wrap up a family holiday, my attention shifts to the upcoming nuptials of my brother. I got my ministers license on-line, and will be officiating his wedding. I am thrilled, and overjoyed at the opportunity. My one and only concern is prolonged speaking. I notice that when I read out loud, my facial muscles tire, and my lips tangle in the brackets causing a ruckus of communication. There is no chance that the braces will be off in time, so I will need to figure out how to get through this without lisping and tangling words. (do any of my jaw surgery friends have this issue?) The advancement of my upper jaw by 6mm, has put my teeth noticeably closer to my lips, I could wax up the brackets and look like a football player wearing a mouth guard, or just tough it out and pray for ease in speaking. I for-see myself practicing in front of a mirror. Wish me luck. If you would have told me that one day I would perform a wedding ceremony, I would have called you crazy. According to my credentials, I am not only authorized to perform weddings, but can perform baptisms and forgive sins. So friends, schedule your appointments, I will be offering redemptions in a town near you! I did check with the county clerk to verify that my credentials are official and recognized as legal. Can you imagine performing a wedding only to realize that it was faux... Whew we are good to go!! Im sure I will have a lengthy post after its all over so stay tuned for the braced faced nuptials.

CARPE consciously seize the day!!

Gorillas are great mothers....

I saw my original surgeon Dr. L for the first time since surgery. Many postings ago I described in detail the events that surrounded my surgery and last minute changes/miracles that took place. I was anxious to have him see my new bite, hoping he would approve of the results. Without a full on examination in a public place, he offered his smile of approval, and said it was just what he imagined it would be. He said my Dr. did a great job, and was thrilled with the results. He also mentioned that I should be very patient with the small details of healing. He said it can take up to a full year to really recover totally from this process. I had been told all along to expect more permanent numbness. I am considered "OLD" to be doing this kind of surgery. I'm proud to say that I truly believe I will have 100% feeling return. The total surface of my face has feeling, and around 90% deeper tissue has returned. I have been taking vitamins  B-12 every day since about the 2 week post op date. I've been to a chiropractor several times who specializes in nerve memory and repair, I have been graced with a tremendous amount of prayers on my behalf, and of course I have a fantastic Dr. who minimized the nerve damage with smaller incisions, and only an hour and 20 min surgery for both the upper and lower jaw. Im really starting to notice a tightness around my nose, Im not sure if it is scar tissue from the Altar stitch or the plates and screws screaming to be noticed? It's not painful just a noticing that wasn't there before. 

On another note, I have mixed feelings about Zoos. On one hand it makes me sad to see these animals in a captive environment, are they really happy? But on the other hand, it is a protected space for those animals who are hurt or injured and would not survive on their own, it also provides an education for us humans hopefully fostering compassion and learning about them. I was incredibly touched when I recently visited the wild animal park, and saw this mother gorilla with her brand new baby. She kissed and hugged this little one, offering protection and nurturing. It was incredible to see, and demonstrated the true emotion and sense of family that exists in the animal kingdom. It was the highlight of my day. To all of you mothers out there, God bless...

"She's still talking about her teeth?!" My birthday goddesses...

Im 42 years old as of yesterday! I had a very eventful 41st year, and feel like this year that awaits me will be loaded with progress and growth. I anticipate new milestones and opportunities that are waiting to be discovered. I always take a moment to honor and remember my Mother on my birthday. I know that 42 years ago, she was in the hospital bed watching Neal Armstrong land on the moon, as she was delivering her first born child. I know that I was wanted and loved, and that my Birthday was celebrated by her. Every year until I was 8 years old (year she died) she baked from scratch, a 3 tier chocolate cake, with the old sugar letters and candles. She did this for all 5 of her babies every single year. So on this day July 21, every year I thank my mother for my birthday!
This Is my dear friend Lisa M. who is from Boston. She is a die hard Red Sox fan, and loves the Patriots. She is the only woman I know that can smack down any man regarding sports statistics and commentary. She is an awesome neighbor, and had the girls and I over for coffee and home made blue berry cake. She woke up at the crack of shmack to bake this delightful yumminess! First time in years someone has baked for me! She has also been a devoted follower of my blog. (thanks lisa) She was reading it the other day and her husband said "what are you doing?" She said "Reading Tresa's blog" his reply "IS SHE STILL WRITING ABOUT HER TEETH?!" I peed my pants laughing so hard, tears streaming down my face. Ohh Joe... Yes I'm still writing about my teeth. I know it's been 3 months, but the blogging has become addicting, (Im also a woman, with a lot to say)  and may transition away from the mouth at some point. I thank all of you who still read my blog, I just find it so satisfying to write!! Thanks LISA M... you are a treasured friend, my only wish is that everyone is lucky enough to have someone like you in their life...

And Miss Sharon, my dear sweet one, thank you for celebrating with me! I just adore you. You woke up to take care of me night after night as I recovered, making sure I had my meds, and was comfortable. To you, I owe my deepest love!!

I adore you Valli, You bring laughter and passion to all who know you! Your gifts are endless and I am so lucky to have you in my life!!

Becca and lady DI, goddesses of light and love. Thank you for sitting by my bedside for countless days offering healing in your own special ways. I love you to the moon and back!

The gang at the DODO restaurant, Jill in the hat, you are a pillar and a true friend. To all of my soul sisters and my darling daughter, thank you for planning such a great day!

BaDu Mamma...all the way from Arizona, so lucky to know you and love you! Thank you for your daily support and powerful medicine that helped me heal!! I love you!!

And the heavens gave me this most stunning gift. To all of those who came before me, I honor you all and only hope to leave the next generation better than the last! What a great year I leave behind, and welcome the re-birthing of my 42nd year ahead!! 

Side note, I saw my OS the morning of my birthday, he gave me 2 thumbs up. When I told him that most of the numbness is gone, he said "thats because you came to the best" he said "when you hire a good painter, you get a good paint job." I do offer credit to his marvelous skill and talent, but must not forget that I have had hundreds of powerful people who have prayed, lit candles, held space, all for my recovery and healing. I say that I would not have wanted one without the other. To all of you who have read my blog, offered a prayer, or held space for healing in whatever tradition rings true to your soul... THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! You all have helped my recovery become such a success story. I honor you all and send my deepest gratitude and love!! 

A Python around my neck and chips at 3 months Post OP

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
Helen Keller

"Nothing heals us like letting people know our scariest parts: When people listen to you cry and lament, and look at you with love, it's like they are holding the baby of you." Anne Lamott

Can you believe it's been 3 months?  The quotes above are so true...The past 3 months have been all about me showing my scariest parts. I've cried, and lamented and been looked upon with the most gracious love and support.  Through this process, my soul has been strengthened and success achieved. 
At 3 months, my progress includes, 
1- Eating solid foods.
2- using normal sized utensils. 
3- No rubber bands at all!
4- drinking without a straw, and I don't spill!
5- Phantom itches are no longer phantom, they can be scratched.
6- Sleeping without being propped up.
8- I can feel 100% of the surface of my face, (deeper tissue at about 80%)
9- Speaking is easier.
10- Swelling is gone. (a tiny bit in morning)
11- Energy feels mostly restored.
12- Pupils are no longer dilated.
13- Orthodontist is perfecting my bite!

All great signs of success! For my 3 month celebration, my daughter Sydnie and I went to Chipotle for lunch. This time I added "CHIPS" and I was able to chew them and enjoy another layer of texture in my food! Hooray! 

Below are photos of our local town carnival. It's turned into a major event that brings hundreds of people out to shop, eat and watch fireworks.  I happened upon this large yellow python snake. In the past, I would not have wrapped a snake this size around my neck like a scarf, but it wasn't strangling it's owner so I figured why not! 

Her soul found in a recipe box.. Why words matter... 11 weeks 6 days post op

Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic, words wound. Words heal. Words matter!
~Albus Dumbeldore~

Keeping a blog has brought focus and attention to WORDS. Im not a writer per se, but have found power and magic in telling my story. It has been cathartic for me, and looking back at all of my postings, is a powerful documentary that has let people into my world. I am leaving a journal for my kids. This chapter of my life has been documented. Why is this important??

33 years ago, my mother passed away from an aneurism. She was 29 years old I was 8. My father was left to manage 5 children, the youngest only 18 months old. His solution was another mother. Being an attractive man with a home and financial stability, made him a hot ticket on the singles market. It only took him 3 months to arrange nuptials and introduce us to a new mom. The woman he brought home had issues with the haunting idea that she was moving into another woman's home. Her solution was to have EVERY single thing removed. She literally erased any evidence that my mother existed. Like gesso on an old canvas, she created a clean slate to start fresh.  We were cut off from her side of the family, not to see them again until I would turn 17. It wasn't until I was 16, that I found an old yellowed obituary that restored my memory of what my mother actually looked like. Once I was able to reunite with my Grandparents (her mom and dad) I was able to scour through old boxes of her things that were taken away. In my searchings, I found many items that gave clues to who our mother was, but no Journals. She never kept record of her daily comings and goings, her beliefs, joys, happy times, hard times. Nada!
Being a motherless child, comes with a sense of identity loss. Knowing where you came from, helps to understand who you are. With no WORDS to help figure it out, I contacted anyone I could find that knew her and my request from them was their WORDS. "Please tell me what you remember," and in my pleadings, a few WORDS came back.  With newly discovered photos, and words of others, I managed to put together a small book all about my Mother. A puzzle with missing pieces, but enough to go on. I found old hand written recipes. Believe it or not, this was the only writing found from her, but many clues lay in the WORDS, and types of foods she chose to record. (It was as if a small part of her soul lived in that little box.)  A small recipe box full of words, produced many clues about who my mother was. She was a phonetic speller, and misspelled many words. She had pretty handwriting, and kept organized files. She loved cooking casseroles, and dessert. So many little ideas about her emerging in just a few words.

Why do I share this story? After years of trying to restore and remember a mother with no journals, I recognized the importance of keeping my own records for my children. And with the rising age of technology and the format of blogging, we can all share our stories, journeys, and adventures through life, and use their magic to preserve who we are, and help others along the way. I am a rule breaker, always have been. As I age, I find myself getting really comfortable in my own skin, and showing up in the world in right relationship with myself. I don't write my words in any kind of formal style. Im sure if my writing were to be graded, I may fail. But this doesn't matter to me because as a rule breaker, I get to let go of that pressure, and throw down MY words MY way. If I can find so many clues from a recipe box. I can only imagine what magic MY words will have for my children. Words matter and I find such true joy in sharing them.

What are your words? How can you share your inexhaustible source of magic by stringing together your  stories. Throw caution to the wind, type away. Share your magic, some day, someone out there will stumble upon your words, and they will "heal" from reading them!

By the way, In looking back at the old recovered photos of my mother, I realized that I got my cross/underbite from her. I then passed it onto my son. Another clue uncovered. And another commonality, She loved fashion! Alway put together in the highest of style, and she decked her kids out every day. I don't have a childhood photo when she was alive, where a single hair is out of place. My sister and I are much the same way. My kids get scruffy, but I've never met a pair of shoes or high fashion outfit I didn't love!!  Its an artistic expression of who I am, and who she was as well.

Cheers... now go write yourself some WORDS!!

Nice Gnashers, You don't ride a horse wearing flip flops! 11 weeks 5 days post op

Nice Gnashers!!

"When you come to the edge of the light you have known and take the first step into the darkness of uncertainty, you have to believe that one of two things will happen. You will find something solid there to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly." Paul Overton
This surgery with its months of recovering coupled with the uncertainty of what to expect requires the belief that you will either learn to fly as the ground has fallen away, or you will find a different way on a new solid surface. 

I saw my Orthodontist today. The left side of my teeth are all joined up nicely like a perfectly put together puzzle. The right side however, needs help. My upper arch was over-widened and now needs to be moved back in so that the bottom and top teeth touch. I have a canine tooth on the right side with a mind of its own. The Ortho replaced the bracket and changed its position to rotate it into a different position. My son Connor came with me, he also had a quick check up to fix his retainer. I should mention that he was born with my same cross/underbite, (genetic gift) the beauty for him, is that the ortho was able to correct it with a palate expander and 4 brackets, it took 9 months, virtually pain free. Connor could tell I was in distress when the Ortho began breaking the bracket off my tooth (i chose porcelain, they don't pop off they have to be shattered off.) He rushed over to hold my hand as I have done for him so many times. It hurt, and gave me a glimpse into the future of that day when he takes them all off (ouch!)   He thinks I will be done with braces in 3 to 4 months. The advancement of my upper jaw has brought the braces and teeth closer to my lips. I feel like I don't speak as clearly or have a slight lisp and I can't whistle. I used to be a great whistler but not anymore. 

My little Sydnie has had a fascination with horses and has been asking for a pony on her birthday.  I could no sooner own a horse than an elephant. Lucky for us, my greatest friend Monica has 2. She offered to have sydnie come to the stables to ride this mini horse "Thunder." Sydnie  dragged her pink cowgirl boots from the closet, and woke up early with excitement and anticipation to learn all about what it requires to ride a horse. This is a photo of her cleaning Thunders feet before riding. She has no fear (unlike her mother) and had a magical day at the stables. 

This is Monica mentoring sydnie on her Big horse Biscut. She showed no fear even up high on this gentle giant. She made her way around the arena on both horses and went to bed dreaming of rodeos and barrel racing, 4-H clubs and ponies... 

Monica, insisted I climb on Biscut for a ride. I had a bad experience as a young child and have never again had a desire to sit on the back of such a big strong animal. I showed up at the stables prepared to go shopping not riding. I wore flip flop shoes, and was looked at by the riders at the stables as some sort of freakish misfit. Monica is always prepared and brought me  a sassy pair of riding boots, and informed me that open toe shoes and horses, are not a good match. (Not if your feet mean anything to you.) So for me lesson 1, when in Rome, dress like the romans! Cover up yer feet you daft girl!! Once outfitted in cowgirl boots, I rode this giant around the arena. It was actually fun, but once he trotted, I felt like a human jack hammer. I later learned that there is an art to riding the rhythm of the horse. I don't know if this is the art i will want to add to my repertoire, but a fun day none the less. Thank you Monica, for allowing Sydnies dreams of riding ponies, become a reality. I love how children effortlessly manifest their desires. 

A jaw surgery photo show BEWARE I show the UGLY ONES!!!

After hours of preparation, I managed to arrange my photos, starting with the before surgery shots, continuing until a couple of days ago. I felt tears filling up in my eyes watching this journey. From a broken face in bed all the way to my high heel shoes and jewelry. Looking back at the ugly photos (the really bad days) make me realize how truly difficult it was mentally to survive such an ordeal. How grateful I am that I kept a photo diary to remember every single day, and a blog that tells the story. I have so many stories to tell, what are the stories in you? Sharing your soul may help another, and it has assisted me in finding myself! 

The music selection for this clip is Meredith Brooks "Bitch" It has been my theme song for a while now.  I relate to all of the archetypes and find a deep sense of inner knowing when I recognize that
Im a Bitch
Im a lover
Im a child
 Im a mother
Im a sinner
Im a saint
I do not feel ashamed,
Im your hell
Im your dream
Im nothing in between, you know you wouldn't want it any other way!!
I've been numbed Im revived, can't say Im not alive!!!
you know you wouldn't want it any other way.

I have learned to adore and honor each and every one!

Sassy high heel shoe sprint, American Idol, "I see You" 10 weeks 4 days Post Op

"You look exactly the same!" To that I say "Thank you" but inside know that I look different! (Ive been looking at this grill for 41 years, I see the changes!) I know that my underbite/crossbite was not a major esthetic problem from the beginning. That is why I waited 41 years to undergo such a massive jaw/face breaking process. I was able to "get by." It was only when basic function of the jaw met major pain and deterioration of the joint, that I decided to intervene and salvage my later years in life. (I will NEVER be an "Ensure" girl) My sister in law became my biggest fan when she said "I totally notice a difference!" "You look so much better!" Thank you Michele for taking the time to not only notice, but to say so. There is a major phycological hurdle of this surgery that has to be jumped. It's not even so much about the fact that your face has been tweaked and looks (in my case slightly) different, but that those who know you and acknowledge that difference are really acknowledging that you have survived a MAJOR surgery and process.  At my stage of 10 weeks post op,  I look totally normal. But underneath the soft tissue of my face, are bones and nerves that are still recovering and firing all day long. The healing process is still in full swing, and when someone like my sis-in-law is so kind to notice, it's like she is acknowledging my process and saying, "I see you!" It's that deeper level of support that feels so good to have. Thanks Michele and all of my besties that not only say "I see you" but mean it! It's that level of support that has carried me through!

This is an old photo from May right around my 3 week mark. This photo represents a weekly ritual during American Idol season. We record all episodes and then pile in bed and fast forward through the commercials. We had to move my medical recovery tray from the middle of the bed so that every one could pile in. Connor and Sydnie were much more invested in this season more than previous years. I imagine it's their age "growing up." From the first episodes, Sydnie chose Lauren to be her favorite, with  Hailey in second. Connor loved James (who didn't) and Casey. We decided to surprise them with concert tickets. The event center was a logistical nightmare. Getting in and "Out" was quite a fiasco.  The concert it's self was fantastic, and the kids loved every minute of it. They wanted so badly to go back stage to meet their favorites. But it was not meant to be. We got in our car and lined up to leave out the back exit of the car park and sat there idling for what seemed like ages. Finally the flow of traffic picked up and we were actually able to move. We  passed a crowd of fans packed behind caution tape and metal barricades waiting for the Idols to emerge and sign an autograph. The sprinkling system was on full blast soaking everyone in it's path at every turn. The fans didn't move. Their spots were far to important to move for sprinkler water. My kids countenance fell when they saw a missed opportunity. John however, is the master at getting autographs, and gave us mere seconds to hop out of the slow moving car and join the crazy fans. He found a place to pull over just in the nick of time. 
These are the shoes I had on when I jumped onto broken pavement. My Sam Edelman designer shoes now running after 2 small children, over water soaked grassy knolls, and broken cement as if on an obstacle course. (Operation Idol!)  These shoes aren't made for running... We secured a spot at the end of the roped off area, pens in hand and me operating the camera. The kids were out of their minds with excitement. Slowly one by one, the Idols emerged signing autographs and posing for photos. We were lucky as this was the FIRST stop on the tour, so the Idols must have been equally excited as the fans to have their moment of fame. Below are all of the photos we took and you will see the sheer joy on the faces of my kids. My shoes survived "operation Idol" they may have a small ding or two, but dings worth the smiles and moment of joy and pure "living in the moment" that my kids experienced. 

This was the "Money Shot" look at Sydnie's smile. She wanted nothing more than to meet Lauren Alaina.  I had to get aggressive. She had big security guards around her, and they were ready to take her away. I broke through the roped off area, ran like was in tennis shoes, to a body guard in a yellow shirt. I almost fell into him as I tried to slow down my high heel sprint. I said "Sir, my little 8 year old wants nothing more than an autograph and photo with Lauren, I need you to make that happen will you please help me."(truth... Im an old pro. John has sent me out time and again to get autographs for him on his vintage sports illustrated covers, from golf, football, and baseball)  He turned around grabbed Lauren away from the pawing fans and said "Lauren, you are needed over here." He handed her over to my little Sydnie, who said "Lauren, you are a great singer and I really loved your concert tonight it was my very first one." She signed her photo and then stopped to allow a photograph. This made her so happy she almost couldn't stand it. 

I would have never guessed, as I lay in my bed watching recorded Idol episodes. Swollen face recovering from jaw surgery, that just weeks later, I would be sprinting through grass and sprinklers to help my kids meet their favorite idols, and watch their concert. Seriously, its crazy. Time is circular not linear and when we see it that way, anything is possible!!

Finding the diamond in the rough 10 weeks Post Op

"Your diamonds are not in far distant mountains or in yonder seas; they are in your backyard, if you but dig for them." Russell H. Conwell
My entire surgery and recovery has been a diamond in the rough, found through digging and surviving!
Celebrating 10 weeks post Op on Independence day!!

The Diamonds are found in the rough, the most unsuspecting places. For years and years, It has been our 4th of July tradition, to flee to our local mountains, where there is a breakfast and parade, that has been preserved in the nostalgia of "the olden days."  Anyone can participate, and for a small fee you can feed the family bisquick right from the griddle under the tent in the parking lot. Our family traveled from Ohio for their summer vacation.  The house was pulsing with the energy of cousins reuniting and excitement of getting up early to time travel backwards in time. John decided that he would take the kids in the convertible mustang, armed with candy to throw and flags to wave. 

en route, they had so much fun throwing candy to all of the parade watchers. This kind of old fashioned fun is off the richter scale..

Two moms capturing the event on cameras. All of my batteries died prematurely, I missed getting a picture of the bull Moose we saw on our way down the canyon.

This little grandpa wins the prize for best parade entry. He stuffed himself in this vintage fire-truck with a grandchild as his passenger. So darling I just smiled out loud..

Miss Sydnie enjoying her parade time. 
I realize that this post isn't anything at all to do with my jaw surgery, except to say that my recovery has included the solace found in my own back yard. The lushiness of these rocky mountains has provided such a diamond of beauty that is so refreshing. Thanks to our extended family for a fabulous visit! So happy that my recovery is far enough along to enjoy such memories! 
 A happy independence day celebration. No fire works or stadium events, just good ol fashioned fun with  family, and a parade that is so fantastic I feel lucky to have enjoyed it for so many years! 

The Phantom fur ball 9 weeks and 6 days post op

"I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear."Joan Didion

"Everything that doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. And later on you can use it in some story." Tapani Bagge

Sunday afternoon, kids hosing down the trampoline jumping with delight as they drench their clothes in water and bounce higher than normal. My view from where I sit is amazing as I look in stillness out the window. There are dozens of dragon flies flying around the yard, I look forward to their visit every summer. The butterflies are visiting the flowers and weeds that cover the rock-wall stretching for what seems like miles when it needs to be worked on. John is grooming the rose bushes, he complains about the yard work, but secretly finds the greatest joy when his hands are busy in the dirt. As I steal a quiet moment to reflect, I recognize how far I've come and have such gratitude for the deeper lessons that didn't kill me but made me stronger. I found a gift in the most unsuspecting place.... HERE. When communicating was nearly impossible, a face  paralyzed with numbness and forming words so difficult. What started as a documentary to show my progress in healing, became an outlet, a sort of meditation, that helped me to figure out what I am thinking, what Im looking at, what it all means... There are so may lessons, and so much healing. I feel lucky to have this physical correction and healing go much deeper to a soul level, where the metaphors are daily transformations. 

On a physical note I need to discuss the phantom in the room. (1. Something apparently sensed but having no physical reality) On the back of my bottom front tooth sits a phantom hair ball. It's feels small almost like a hair trapped between my teeth. It's not really on the tooth at all, the phantom lives on the tip of my tongue that is activated when it swipes the tooth. It is very annoying.. I am however so glad to be contending with a phantom hair ball v.s. the phantom itch that attacked my nose just a few weeks ago. My whole face erupts in itching, the good news is that it can be scratched. This is also a good sign of healing and feeling returning. Phantoms appear in many forms to many people. Mine have been itchy and furry and I wonder how many more may appear without warning?  What phantoms have you experienced?? 

Progress.. I ate a tortilla chip today. Not the THICK benchmark chip but a chip none the less. I am only able to really crunch down on the left side. The right side is still wacky and out of alignment. Boo.... I am anxious for the teeth to seat properly on both sides so that I can enjoy chewing and eating like a normal human. 

These are the benchmark brand chips. The chompers will have to be in their finest condition to knaw through a bag. 

And finally, this is the place where all of my troubles melt away in the beauty of the mountain air, hummingbirds buzzing around, and sparrows playing above ground. Delightfully relaxing and refreshing. This is the place where phantoms in the form of itches and fur balls, have no consequence. This is the place where the body, mind and spirit seek refuge.