Hi there….. so here is my first ever blog post. My name is Stefanie and I am 24 year old female from London. Here is a presentation of the issues and learning curves I have encountered during my time with chronic facial pain, Sinusitis and muscular pain in my neck, back and shoulders. This blog will also cover my journey from 2008 when I was first fitted with braces to the present time after undergoing dramatic orthognathic surgery on both my upper and lower jaws. Additionally, this blog will also cover issues, such as dealing with long term pain whilst working and undertaking full time studies and coping with the long term issues surrounding my internal and external well-being.
Although at first glance this all seems very heavy and depressing, I hope that my story will comfort and encourage others to stay strong and find ways in which you can deal with long term pain issues and medication. From reading blogs and self-help books online it is often very calming to know you are not alone and there are people (such as myself) going through the same struggle. My journey has been nothing but surprising to myself, family and my doctors, who all find it hard to understand or grasp why I have had so many issues.
The outline of my case
In August 2011, I undertook bimaxillary osteotomy surgery to correct my class III asymmetric malocclusion. Designed to straighten, shorten and align my upper and lower jaw with the mid line of my face. My lower chin point was moved 9mm to the left and my upper jaw rotated 2mm right and 2mm forward. Although, there was a risk of making my TMJ and facial pain significantly worse, I did not have any alternatives available to me at the time. I had been under the care of Kings College Hospital and Guy’s Hospital for 3 years and had been fitted with braces to straighten and move my teeth into an optimal positioning for surgery.
I had been suffering for 2 years with severe left sided facial pain and I had episodes of bruising externally. All I can describe the pain on a good day was having a 24/7 migraine in my face. The doctors and various specialists pumped me full of drugs from codeine, to muscle relaxants to anti-epileptic drugs but nothing touched the surface. They had no clue what was wrong with me until they opened me up for the original orthognathic surgery and cut my nerve on the left side of my face by accident. As it goes my trigeminal nerve on the left side of my face runs along the top of the jaw bone (which is unique). When I was fitted with braces before the operation my orthodontist needed to move my teeth to the other side of my mouth due to my asymmetry. Because we did not know that my nerve was positioned there the braces and teeth (that had little room anyway) started to rub against the nerve and this gave me severe crippling pain on the whole left side of my face.
Four years into treatment and one year post orthognathic surgery, I am no longer wearing braces and no longer have this nerve pain. However, I am experiencing various side effects of orthognathic surgery (numbness, weak teeth, geographic tongue etc). But my main concern is that I have discomfort and pain in the lower jaw where my plates are and I am also experiencing reoccurring sinus infections. These infections are thought to be the result of the surgery screws poking through the nasal cavity and I have been booked in for the removal of my titanium plates and screws on 6th December 2012. Before this point, I want to provide you with as much information as I can on my case and problems I have experienced through my orthognathic surgery journey. I hope this blog proves useful.