Wednesday, January 30, 2013

questioning Dr W

Went to the jaw surgeon's today and asked a ton of questions which I emailed him before the meet.

These were my questions:

  1. At what point of my orthodontic treatment will I have to visit you guys again to confirm exactly what needs to be done during surgery?
  2. About the surgical procedure
    1. Will I have to do other things like genioplasty with my surgery?
    2. Other than my bottom jaw being twisted to one side, Dr Wee also told me that my top jaw/teeth is slanted? I'm not sure what that means, but what will my surgery be like?
    3. Will it be a surgery on the inside of my mouth, or will there be punctures from the outside? I've seen both on jaw surgery blogs I think.
    4. Exactly how many plates and screws and such are we looking at that I will have to put in?
    5. What is our predicted time period of surgery? 2014? Quarter 1/2?
  3. On Aftercare
    1. Will I have to come back often to get them checked after the surgery? Are there need for replacements? What is the after-care like long term?
    2. I understand that there are chances of side-effects of the surgery - including numbness and all. Did I miss anything? 
    3. How are we going to assess nerve things? 
    4. On strange nerve concerns: I'm meeting Dr Wee on Monday for my appointment and will be asking him about my strange sudden "involuntary-jerk bites" that I have experienced a few times in the course of my past month of braces. I don't know if it's because of my braces and whether this affects our surgical plans?
  4. On costs
    1. Will there be extra costs for the screws and plates and all on top of the amount that you quoted me? Did we miss anything?
  5. On medisave and insurance
    1. I've spoken to my insurance agent and she said that it's probably okay because she understands that it's functional, but she will need to be in touch with you to understand what it is. We probably need to be certain what exactly will be done to be able to ascertain the costs right?
    2. For medisave things, what do I have to do to get this cleared? Or is this automatic?
  6. About the nose work:
    1. What exactly does Dr Winston have in mind? How extensive will this procedure be?
    2. How will this procedure affect the costs and the healing process/length of recovery time.

As you can see, having taken his advice to read up on some jaw surgery blogs, I did have a lot of questions after. So it turns out, that genioplasty may have to be an option for me, but I'm not too keen right now for all the work it's going to take. It's a little strange because we spoke about rhinoplasty the last time, and now he advised against it. I honestly didn't want this to become an aesthetic thing...which was exactly why I really didn't want to see the post-surgery mock-up, but I suppose everyone else around me feels like I should be a little more concerned about it.

I dragged my mum along with me for this consultation and she I guess it was wise as she asked the important questions like "What are the side effects and risks involved". I was surprised that there was everything from what I already knew (like numbness, or loss of feeling), to post-surgery bleeding to the point of having to stay overnight in ICU, to blindness! (Although it's a rarity.) I can't imagine going blind for the rest of my life because of a jaw surgery... but I guess in all surgeries there are risks. My surgeon (I shall hereby call him "Dr W", because somehow using the term "my surgeon" is getting a little annoying to me, and somehow sounds proud in a way that I don't quite like) also covered the psychological stuff like how a patient of his wasn't very happy after the surgery because her boss couldn't recognize her. But I suppose I've read enough (and been through a similar experience with my accent) to know that things like that will happen, and that I won't be able to avoid some people saying things like that they preferred the "old you". I'll just have to mentally and emotionally prepare myself, as well as my close loved ones, for such things.

Apparently the braces treatment will be changing my facial features a little due to the movement of my teeth. Wonder what that's going to look like at the end of the year. Maybe I should start documenting.

It's a little bit scary and yet really exciting to imagine all that's going to happen in a year.

Mileage Clocked: 3km (yes! I went to the gym a couple of days ago! :) Gotta run more! I'm running out of time to the marathon!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

just another food post :)

I haven't been posting my food logs for a while, so I figured I might as well do a food post. :) Here's stuff I've been eating...which has become a lot more adventurous since the first week of installing my braces.
Here's a delicious breakfast recipe I made.
Yogurt, sliced bananas, and chopped walnuts.
The walnuts weren't very friendly on the braces, but the health benefits was worth it.
This was a day I craved for pizza, and how I had to eat it (in itty bitty pieces).
They still tasted delicious though. :)
I added cheese cubes to the middle of this egg white omelette.
It eventually didn't taste like a great idea. Cheese tastes better in the omelette itself.
Maybe next time I'll try Philadelphia.
There's nothing like an egg white omelette with a cuppa and a good book at Starbucks. :)
This was my last breakfast before my first braces adjustment.
It was delicious.
This was a delicious Mackerel (Saba)!
I got adventurous with lunch after my braces adjustment. :)
Had to be really careful with the bones, but the fish perfect!
And I just couldn't resist the Omega 3. #^_^#
Dessert! Chocked full of raspberries and antioxidants. <3
It was a very stressful day and this was my stress relief lunch.
The edamame was a pain to eat, but I wanted (see: needed) something green in my system.
This is a crab salad with ebi and cheese roll.
I took so long to eat this, it became my main course.
It's amazing how much more filling food is when you take so much longer to consume them.
It was super happy food though!

Monday, January 21, 2013

first wire adjustment! :)

Can you see my crowded little incisors?
Disobedient little ones! Move, please!
I just got my first braces wire adjustment today and my ortho basically said that my teeth have moved VERY SLIGHTLY (in the whole past month!). Naughty teeth! Especially naughty are my bottom incisors that are so clingy with each other that they refuse to get in line! I guess I haven't been praying for their obedience cause I have been too distracted by the obedience of my skin healing and the minimization of scarring of the mole removals. But from now, I shall remember to pray over them whilst I brush my teeth every morning and night. I shall rejoice when my ortho finally puts a bracket on my one "out-group" incisor that has been left behind, literally.

The good feedback from the ortho appointment today was that my oral hygiene is pretty good. Yay for my OCD brush-interdental floss-brush-listerine routine. The next time I'm going to see him will be just after the Chinese new year season. I CAN'T WAIT!! I think I shall count down to all the readjustments and celebrate at every one cause I'd be a step closer to my jaw surgery.

The appointment at the orthos today hurt a bit when he pressed on my teeth and when he moved the wires, but after that I didn't feel much. I initially thought he didn't quite make it tight enough, but after a few hours, they've started aching a bit. Looks like it's back to mushy porridge for me. Good thing I like mushy porridge... at least I like it a lot more than having things stuck in my braces. Gross!

I'm going to start going to the gym this week too to get my legs moving and muscles building. I have less than 130 days now to the marathon! Help!

Total Mileage clocked (this shall be inserted here from now to make me constantly feel guilty if I haven't clocked anything): 0

Saturday, January 19, 2013

phase adjustments

Almost everyday now, someone will make a comment about my weight. Yesterday it was a contractor whom I've not seen for a year, and today it was my kitchen staff that seemed a little worried about me.

It's interesting, really, this whole season of life. I guess a lot of things go through one's mind when suddenly you find yourself doing things you've thought you might not do. Things such as a minor aesthetic surgery, losing almost 10 kilos (22 pounds) in a very short time, getting braces, planning for jaw surgery, lifestyle changes, making decisions about my personal life... and now, I believe I might be thinking of taking up another job for weekday nights. It feels like so much has changed in such a short period of time. I'm not sure if I have been changing, or that I'm losing myself. Is that a strange and scary question to ask oneself?

The other day I asked my mother "What would you say if I decided to take up modeling classes?" Of which, she (as expected) bewilderedly replied, "Whatever for?!" I suppose I asked that question cause it's been something I've considered experimenting with in my life. I eventually gave her some logical practical down-to-earth reason why I would ask such a question, but hey, it was worth a shot giving her a chance to surprise me with a different, unexpected, reaction.

But I think my parents are getting a bit worried about me in this phase.

I suppose it's natural for them to be worried about me because these are the decisions that I've kept away from (even though I desired to make them) because I knew the type of reactions that I'd get. I knew there'd be the "but you look fine"s, and the "why would you want to do that"s and the "don't be ridiculous"es. And so I listened all my life and made decisions based on what other people thought..even though the desire to make these changes just stayed in me - suppressed by the fear of social judgement and rejection. But this time, somehow I've found the courage to start making decisions just for me.

As I make these transitions in life though, I also know that I need to be loving not just to myself, but also for the people walking these journeys with me... and how I do desire for them to be able to walk with me. It is fair for one to desire to be oneself, and yet there is a responsibility we have to those whom we love and who love us.

It's a strange process which is a little grueling on my mind and emotions sometimes, but slowly, I'm learning how to love others more whilst being true to myself too.

It's quite a beautiful phase, really.

On other notes: I need to get new clothes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

stitches out

I got my stitches out today and the doctor said it looks like it's healing okay, though he didn't seem too surprised at how awesomely it was doing or said something that I really hoped he would...something like "Oh wow! You've been so disciplined with the care of your stitches I've never seen healing going that well before and you're definitely not going to see a scar", or anything I had idealistically thought in my head. He kinda said "it looks alright. It's a bit red because of the stitches, but that will go away". No smile, nothing. That kinda scared me a little.

I guess I have been very worried about my stitches. I think I freaked out sometime earlier this week when I dug around my prescription bag of cottons swabs, saline and ointment when I stumbled across some reading material that I vaguely remember the nurse stuffing in there. Thing is, when I read it, it specifically said not to touch the wound within 24 hours of the surgery! :(( But during the pre-surgery after-care briefing, the nurse also told me to clean it out first thing in the morning when I got up! (Which was about 12 hours or so. :() I was so sad and afraid that this is going to really leave an ugly scar. :( It's amazing how much reading a little bit of conflicting instructional stuff can really change things!

But I guess I can't quite do anything much else now. I did request for a scar cream that might help reduce the scarring and my doctor prescribed something that I'm to put on at night... as I pray that the Lord will be kind and help my skin heal up well whilst I do my part to ensure that I have a healthy diet and be disciplined with my ointments and creams and supplements.

I'm glad that I'm almost through this part of my journey though.
Looking forward to a good recovery period so that I can go visiting over CNY without any patches on my face. :)

On other notes, here's food I've been eating... I cooked/made some of them. :)

Fish soup without the salty soup. :D 
Egg white omelette with chicken & fresh diced tomatoes.
Served with Japanese sesame dressing.
I usually prefer the crusty bread type of olive bread, but I had to give in to the softer foccacia version for now.
Simply can't resist olives. :D
Smoked salmon spread and mint on olive foccacia.
In small squares, of course. :)
Angel food cake. It was a little too sweet though.
Tasted a little like a soft meringue. ^^
A cute wrap that I couldn't eat. My househelper had packed these for my other siblings.
The sticker was so cute though that I couldn't resist taking a shot of it. :)
Oatmeal squares in soymilk and freshly sliced peach. Delish!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

weekend ramblings and more food

Breakfast today: Egg white scramble with tuna and parmesan.
Protein + Omega 3 + Calcium! Great skinfood!
And Yes, I'm eating more! SO MUCH more. :)
So I got out of the house today...went to work actually. More interestingly still, was that my customer was in SENTOSA. Sunny sunny Sentosa. Argh. I did, however, did a lot of prevention stuff to try to keep out of the sun. I wore a hat. A big black floppy hat. I looked pretty French for the day. And yes, I got weird stares. But hey, it was serving to protect me from the rays.

My stitches have been itching all day though! I'm getting a little worried cause I don't know if it's normal that stitches should itch...or whether it might be signs of an infection. Or maybe it was the sun rays. :( I need to pray harder!

My customer gave me a very concerned face today and asked me mid-work-discussion "Are you okay? You lost a lot of weight." and I just told him that I got braces and that I'm training for a marathon. He didn't look too convinced by my answer though. Maybe he thinks I'm sick... I hope that doesn't affect our business project! :/ I think that question worried my mum a bit (as she came on the business meeting with me as the product technician so she heard the question being asked) because she was constantly asking me whether I was hungry throughout the day after the meeting. =_= I'm proud to say that I've now surpassed my 1000 calorie days and now am back up to 1200. I think the box of Hello Pandas did me in today....but they were SO delicious. <3

I have been feeling very tired very often nowadays though. Apparently I also look like I haven't been sleeping very well for a while. I guess I've been having a lot of dreams recently so I haven't been sleeping too well... It used to be a lot worse a few months ago, but after I stopped eating after 5pm it became a lot better. It was a big sacrifice because it means that I don't go for dinner dates or events anymore. Maybe I should try stopping at 4 now. :/

It's going to be while before I go out for my morning walk/runs now that I have to take care of my stitches... I'm prolly going to start going to the gym at nights now for the next two to three weeks to try to get some of my lower body muscles moving... the marathon is in less than 140 days!

Also, I REALLY want to cook this:
Doesn't it look delicious?!
It's a Sicilian Cauliflower & Black Olive Gratin
It's soft too! And I LOVE olives! The recipe is here. Can't wait to try it!
I'm slowly discovering that there are actually TONS of delicious soft things that people with braces can eat! Just need to be a little creative. :)

Man, if I didn't have a day job I think I would spend all day cleaning, cooking and organizing. Sounds a bit Martha Stewart-ish. :) But honestly, that'd be my dream days. Just staying home planning meals, getting things organized, doing art...maybe having some kids over to get some art therapy done in my big art room. And have some organizing project discussions... 

Friday, January 11, 2013

keeping scars away.

After cleaning.
I look like I have two little crosses.
Just cleaned my stitches for the first time and feeling a little bit grossed out by the bits of blood. They hurt a little bit when I cleaned them and that frightened me! I thought I had opened the wound! My stitches look like little crosses on my face now which is quite cute I guess. There is a bit of a pinch in the stitches though which I'm just going to assume is normal for stitches. I shall just continue praying over them for good healing, and look forward to getting them out next week.

I suppose I'm just glad that this part of my journey is almost over. I pray that if there be any memories of this procedure, that'd it'd only be in my heart and mind - and not on my face.

I've been reading quite a bit on the aftercare of stitches (also known as "sutures"), as well as the nutritional needs to ensure minimal scarring on my face from them. From laymen sites to that of the advise of plastic surgeons, this is what I have gathered so far in order to help this heal well:

Obviously, I'm not a doctor, so if you're here trying to look for what's best for you, here's just bits and pieces I've got from all sorts of places in the web of knowledge that is accessible to us. But the best person to ask is still your professionally-trained doctor. :)

  1. Consider a skin adhesive instead of stitches as they have much lower chances of scarring 
    • Oh why didn't I read this earlier?! :( 
    • Apparently they only work on areas which don't move as much though (so cheeks and joint areas are probably not feasible). But I guess it would have been worth considering this option at the start before the surgery.
    • There is the option of removing the stitches then using this adhesive, but I'll check in with my doctor next week.
  2. Ensure that area is well cleaned as directed by your doctor (mine is use water, air dry, clean with saline, then put a layer of the prescribed ointment) and don't aggravate the area with unnecessary tension to the skin.
    • The little plasters I got from Guardian.
      I snipped off the ends so they'll be easier
      to remove and not bother
      the stitches too much later.
    • Yep, all done. And because I have one on my cheek, I'm going to not talk as much as possible! Brushing is such a pain though! I wish I didn't have to!
  3. Make sure you put antibiotic ointment on to keep infections away, as well as to prevent a heavy scab forming that would result in a bad scar.
  4. Cover the stitches with a bandage as this will keep the area moist and protected which will encourage healing. 
    • During my pre-surgery after-care brief yesterday, the nurse told me that covering it doesn't matter, but it says differently through quite a few sites that I've read, and I think I'd rather be safe than sorry.
    • I bought the smallest rectangular plasters I could find at Guardian and snipped off the ends to about 2mm on either side so that I could remove them easily without disturbing my skin too much.
  5. Avoid the sun as much as possible! Apparently this is one of the worst things for scars! 
    • Gotta get me one of these boxes
      for after the stitches are out.
    • I'm SO glad I took the rest of the week off. I'm going to stay indoors like a good girl. No sun for me! I'm even keeping the blinds closed. ^^
  6. Arrange to remove your stitches between 5-7 days. Apparently, anymore than that would result in an ugly "track scar". And the best is as close to 5 days as possible. 
    • I'm removing mine on Day 6. It's a blessing as the nurse at the appointment counter yesterday said that my doctor was not available on Day 7 & 8 and I wasn't comfortable with keeping it in till day 11 (after the weekend). Hopefully that will be a good day!
  7. After stitches are removed and the area is completely healed 
    1. Apply vitamin E and gently massage the area to encourage the breakdown and formation of collagen to fill the stitch area.
    2. Consider a silicone sheet to cover the area to minimize scarring.

After a surgical excision - which basically is punching a piece of your flesh out which leaves a cavity and sewing it together - nutrition is really important in order to fill up that cavity again. Specifically, collagen is important to fill up that cavity to bring the skin back to its original glory.

What is collagen?

Collagen is classified as part of our body's connective tissue...Our bones and skin are composed primarily from connective tissue, but it's found everywhere, in virtually all of our organs. It's the job of connective tissue to hold things together, to protect other tissue, and provide our body with support. Our tendons and ligaments are all connective tissue structures. Collagen is one type of fiber found within connective tissue.

Here are some foods that have been recommended.

From HubPages.
  1. Water
    • Okay, not quite "foods" but it's important to stay hydrated so your cells stay happy.
  2. Egg Whites (yay!) for their protein and proline (some amino acid) content.
  3. Berries (double yay!) for their antioxidant properties and something called "anthocyanidins" that they have.
  4. Vitamin C. This is apparently VERY important as Vitamin C helps the body produce collagen. Several sites even suggest going beyond the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C to help. Fruits such as oranges, strawberries and grapefruit and vegetables including broccoli, sweet potatoes, and red bell peppers are good sources of Vitamin C!
    • I've bought myself a carton of orange juice that I intend to drink at least twice a day.
    • I've also gotten myself a pack of Redoxon's All-day Defence Vitamin C + Zinc tablets which are 8-hour slow-release pills (you can find them at pretty much any pharmacy in Singapore). Hopefully they will keep my Vitamin C levels up throughout the day! :)
  5. Green Tea & Garlic
    • Apparently reduces collagen damage. 
  6. Tomatoes - for the lycophene that's good for you.
  7. Omega-3 Foods
  8. Slow release capsules.
    Hopefully to help me be high
    on Vitamin C throughout the day!
    • Cold water fish, such as salmon, sardines, cod, mackerel, and tuna are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that keep skin soft and supple. Flax seed oil works well too.
  9. Amino Acid boosting Foods (amino acids are the building blocks of collagen):
    1. Threonine: foods such as lentils, peanuts, eggs, milk, pork, beef and chicken. If you prefer a vegetarian diet, you can also get threonine from soybeans, chickpeas, hummus, snap beans and asparagus...
    2. Proline:  Gelatin, soy, milk, cheese, egg whites, beef and cabbage. (Vitamin C works with Proline to promote collagen production)
    3. Lysine: Animal foods high in protein are very good sources of lysine. Good choices include meats and poultry, such as red meat, pork and chicken. Other good sources include dairy products, particularly Parmesan cheese, fish such as cod and sardines and eggs.
  10. Protein Rich Foods
    • Protein-rich food can help produce elastin and collagen in your body. Proteins are essential to build, strengthen and repair tissues and help build collagen and elastin. Good sources of animal protein include organ meats, poultry, turkey, eggs and dairy products. Good sources of plant protein include nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and soy products. Whole grains, such as quinoa, also supply some protein to your diet.
  11. Here's another really good and descriptive article on more foods that are good for you and your skin.
Looks like my daily diet has been pretty good for my skin. Along with my Flaxseed Oil and Vitamin C supplements, my body should be well supported to experience a good healing process. Inspired by my research, this afternoon I decided to make myself a skin-friendly meal! I attempted this by blending the remaining of my blanched broccoli, two tomatoes and some leftover chicken porridge together, and garnished it with Japanese seaweed so:

Step One: Put blanched broccoli and fresh raw tomatoes into blender. 
Step Two:
Add chicken porridge from stove.
Step Three:
Blend into disgusting looking mess.
Step Four:
Bring to boil on stove to psychologically make it less disgusting, and slightly more palatable.
Step Five:
Garnish and serve.
Blending the meal (because I simply because can't chew on the broccoli nor the tomatoes due to the braces and now that my right cheek is pretty much immobile...or should not be moved) made me feel a bit like a baby, or like it was prep for jaw surgery meals. It tasted tomato-y which was nice, but the mouthfeel was a bit choppy which would probably have been a little gross to most people, but just knowing how good it was for me was enough for me to devour it! I even had two bowls! Thank you, delicious skin-rejuvenating-friendly meal! 

Looks a little like pumpkin soup. :D
Help me heal well please, little bowl of healthy blended porridge!

For Surface Maintenance
Dr Mayfields Six Steps to Minimizing Surgical Scars (plastic surgeon's POV. Probably the best article!)
How to Prevent Scarring from Stitches - LiveStrong
How to Reduce Scars from Stiches - eHow
The Best Scar Treatments - Fitness Magazine
Scar Removal Q&A: What is the Absolute Longest Stitches should stay in the face -
On Nutrition for Collagen
Can you tell me which foods promote collagen? - WH Foods
How to naturally boost collagen - HowStuffWorks
Foods that Increase Collagen and Elastin - LiveStrong
Foods to Increase Collagen Production in your skin - HubPages

food log 11.01.13

Today's delicious breakfast!
So under doctor's orders, I've taken two days off from work so that I can keep out of the sun and keep my stitches as clean as possible. In the meantime, I've decided that I will be doing some cooking and cleaning in between whilst my stitches rest. 

Look how deliciously green it is!
Today's egg white omelette was a mix of broccoli (just the shavings from the tops), cheese, japanese seaweed flakes, and a dash of cracked black pepper. I put in only about half a tablespoon of oil in the whole pan this time (thank God for non-stick!) and cooked this one over low fire to prevent the result of hard crispy bits (which I know tastes so good, but are terrible on the braces). Especially now that my right cheek is pretty much immobile, brushing the teeth on the right side of my face is a pain, and really scary as I'm afraid I might rupture the stitches or aggravate it that it won't be able to heal well, I'm avoiding hard bits as much as possible! The amount of green in the pan made me VERY happy though. I love eating greens and knowing that I'm putting healthy foods into my system. I finished the plating with a sprinkling of more Japanese seaweed flakes, and a little more cracked black pepper, and voila! A delicious broccoli-seaweed cheese egg white omelette! It would have been interesting to have some corn in there too, but I think that might have been too difficult to eat. Maybe I'll try adding roasted red bell pepper cubes next time. Also note that I didn't put in any salt in today's breakfast; I counted on the cheese to provide enough tasty sodium for the meal, and they did very well to ensure the meal wasn't a disappointment.

Other things I've been eating include these: 

Knorr's Cup Porridge which is seriously SO delicious!
I eat this on days that I'm feeling the sickies or just not up to hard foods.
It's full of MSG everything in moderation.
I don't know how they did it, but the rice "grains" are so nice and fluffy!
 And yesterday, before my surgery, this was my lunch meal of choice!
Baked rice with fish in white sauce
Yes, I surprised myself too. And yes, it was pretty embarrassing asking the waitress for a teaspoon to eat with (she literally stared at my mouth for a few seconds). The rice was a little hard to eat. And I did get cheesies and rice bits stuck in my braces which were a pain to try to wash out in the toilet after. But it was delicious!

Today I'm going to find some time to finally cook up my quinoa (which I still haven't yet cooked :() and clean my room. I think it's high time I threw out the clothes that no longer fit me. I don't think I'm going back to that size I was two months ago. And any way, it's perfect timing for springcleaning too as it's Chinese New Year season around the corner.

I'm probably going to do a bit more research on scarring and how to really take care of my stitches in the week ahead this afternoon too... I'll probably write a post on it later.

It will be a good day.

real courageous thoughts

So after a week of agonizing, and a full day of incessant debating in my head - even to the very last minute before the surgery - I've done it. Two local anesthetic jabs, two 3mm punch cuts, and two stitches later, I've gotten two of my moles on my face excised.

The procedure wasn't that bad, actually. What hurt was the two jabs of anesthetic which felt a little like ant bites. I guess what didn't help was that I had watched bits and pieces of the procedure on youtube (queasy stomach and all) before the surgery, so I could pretty much imagine everything that was happening at every point - from the anesthetic, to the punch, to the cut, to the stitching. What was gross was that I could feel the tugging at my skin as the stitches were put in... I closed my eyes tight throughout the procedure and just kept praying. It didn't really hurt, but my heart was beating so fast and I had so much fear in me that I literally had to keep saying in my mind "be brave, be brave, BE BRAVE".

I guess it was the psychological process that was really grueling. It was as if my world was going to fall apart with getting my moles removed. I don't know why it affected me so much. Perhaps it was because I had grown used to them, and they were somewhat a part of me. Yes, even though they have bothered me through the years. I guess I was afraid that by changing the way I looked in some small way, it would change how people saw me, it would change part of my past - maybe to the point of erasing or marring it, and change part of my being itself. What a scary thought to think.

Thank God for my daddy. That even though he felt that I really didn't need to do this, and that I was beautiful anyway, after I sent the picture of me and my little post-surgery plaster patches (just to prepare my family before I got home and they saw my patches), my dad just chose to love me and told me "Smile! You look beautiful!" Daddies somehow always know what to say. <3

Ugly little post-surgery plasters.
Please heal well skin!
I"m counting on you!
In the middle of the day, a couple of hours before the surgery, I got a call from my doctor to clear some of my fears on the scarring and my mum heard the conversation (I was driving, so I had to communicate with the doctor over the speaker). I asked the doctor about the extent of the scar and how big the line scar would be - of which he said it'd be about a 4mm line scar which should fade over time - and we just talked about more scarring stuff. At the end of the conversation, my mum calmly, but obviously concerned, asked me if I was really willing to trade a mole for a scar. That was a tough question, but I guess something in me was certain that it was something that I wanted to do. But it was really her second question (statement) that bothered me.

"I hope you don't think he broke up with you because of your looks."

And that question stung at me throughout the procedure.

Amidst the praying, the fighting the fears, and the trying to encourage courage in my spirit in that half hour, I somehow also found the brain space to question it. I debated in my mind about this whole losing weight, mole removal, jaw surgery process, and my motivations to them. It's scary - this phase of my life. It's as if I want to change so much and break out of something that I've felt trapped in for a long time. I don't quite know how to explain it. I know I'm not quite there yet - at breakthrough point - but I also know that I will get there.

I guess my direct answer to her was a resounding, "No." Maybe a tiny part of me might question the totality of that answer (because I suppose somehow girls can be a little more sentimental with such issues in life), but at the same time, I'm also pretty certain that this is not about some post-traumatic reaction. I know the reasons why it happened - which ironically  has a lot to do with a lack of courage as well except it was on both our parts - so I 'm certain that this is not about that. 

This is about me.

It's about me choosing not being fearful of life and life's decisions anymore.
It's about me choosing to "man-up" and face-up to the stronger, more courageous, and visionary person that I know I am inside. 
It's about me overcoming all odds, especially the enemy of myself and my fears, to become everything that I was created to be. Anything less would be a lie.

It's about courage.

In a week my stitches will be removed, and everyday for the next 6 months I will pray that this will all heal well. In a week and a half, I will have my first adjustment for my braces. In 5 months, my first marathon. In a year, if my teeth are obedient, my jaw surgery. And in a year beyond that... goodness knows where life will bring me two years from now. There's only so much one can plan.

But somewhere in between, I will find my breakthrough.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

my first egg-white omelette!

Perfect! Haha. It was a glitch, obviously.
Lately I've been using myfitnesspal to keep track of all my food, water, and vitamin intake and been loving it! Thing is, a trend I've been noticing from my pie-chart analyses of my food consumption over the past few weeks has been bothering me - that of how much both carbohydrates and fats make up most of my meals, and how lacking I am in protein. I guess it's partially because I'm not quite the meat-lover, nor do have a habit of eating fish everyday, but after noticing this disturbing trend, I've decided to do something about it. I've decided that I shall now eat egg white omelettes on a daily or fortnightly basis (I never really liked the yolky parts of the eggs).

And this is what I cooked for breakfast this morning:

Egg White Omelette with three little beloved crab shumais.

LOVE the crab shumais. They were a little salty, but still delish. ^^
Don't they look delicious? <3

I was trying to incorporate was some healthies into the meal so I included some cheese for the taste and calcium, some canned peas for the greens (which turned out to be a little too hard to eat... should have mashed them a bit), and some tuna which my househelper fried up from the day before). There were bits of the omelette that were pretty hard and difficult to eat, but I'll try to put a little less oil and a little bit of water in the pan tomorrow and make them softer or something. Prolly going to have a plain cheese one tomorrow. I'll rummage around and figure something new out! :D

Here's a cross-section of my protein-rich meal!
Peas, onion, tuna and cheese!

I even packed a couple more crab shumais for lunch with some rice and a generous sprinkling of seaweed. :)
My lunchbox for the day!

Gosh, I've been so busy that I haven't been cooking for a while. The last time I cooked was probably for/with the (ex)boyfriend. I do miss those times of cooking together... but I'm going off tangent. And well, guess I'm glad that I have the opportunity now to build new memories now.

I delved into other edibles today too - including eating some otah and stuff from a nasi lemak store. Kinda regretted it after though as I tried to pick out bits of rice from the braces. :/

And this was another meal I regretted (well, kinda) giving in to yesterday too!

Vegetables! I <3 you!
I couldn't eat the hard stalks, but I ate all the leafies! I couldn't help it! I can't resist vegetables! I ended up with all sorts of stuff stuck in the braces. =_=. But whilst it lasted, it tasted good... except the rice, that was a little painful to swallow.

I'm beginning to think that I'm enjoying the soft-food-hunting part of this jaw surgery process the most. :) I've been challenging myself a little though because it also makes a little sense that chewing would probably help with bone rejuvenation, which is important in the braces process, but I suppose I'll ask my ortho these questions when I see him in two weeks. :) My first adjustment! Excited!

pre-surgery jitters

It's going to be a lot simpler than this.
But just as freaky!
I'm getting pre-surgery jitters and watching youtube videos on line is not helping. The first one I watched on "mole excision surgery" almost made me throw up.

Especially that the moles are on my face, I'm getting really frightened! I want to do this, and yet suddenly it feels like the risks are suddenly so high! :( And somehow, I feel like I should change my doctor. I went to do some research on their research interests and it turns out that my doctor doesn't specialize in dermatology or laser surgery, but his interests are in psoriasis. There are 3 other doctors who specialise in dermatology and laser surgery...maybe I should go to them.

I think I'm going to change surgical doctor. If the moles were anywhere else, fine. But the fact that they are on my face, I think it's okay to be a little more conservative about my choice of doctor. I think I will die if I was left with line scars or worse, craters in my face. :(

God, help!

Post-post edit: 
So I called up the National Skin Centre and spoke to the nurse on the helpline and apparently this procedure is so normal and basic that I needn't worry. I guess I'm just a lot more anxious about how this will be... also cause I've been well-freaked-out by the youtube videos.

This video is totally in-your-face with the punching out of the flesh, the digging around inside, the blood and the needles and sewing! Watch at your own risk of your stomach feeling really queasy after! I personally can't watch it the whole way through!

I can't seem to embed it properly, but you can watch the mole excision surgery video here.

Omgoodness, I feel like puking again. Can't believe that's going to happen to my face tomorrow. What freaked me out the most was how deep the incision went! It looked SO deep! (Apparently it has to go all the way into the fatty tissue to ensure that it's completely out and that it doesn't reappear) But all the flesh, the blood, the sewing.... Oh no, I'm freaking out again.

No. Must be strong. Be courageous!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

dealing with change

So the receptionist at my ortho's said that I needn't come down cause apparently the teeth only hurt for a few days after the wire's in, then you don't quite feel it, so it's apparently normal. I'm pretty sure she's wrong though cause I remember it feeling much looser after one of my vigorous interdental scrubs, but I'm going to find out in two weeks when I go for my appointment. To some extent, I hope she's right as well...cause if she's wrong, that means my treatment of having braces on would be extended by two or three weeks (NNooOoOoooo...). I seriously intend to make this experience the most efficient as possible. :)

I woke up immensely stressed and sad at the same time this morning. I think it's cause I've been taking a couple of profile pictures (which has been making me a bit self-conscious) and have been freaking out a little bit about my little mole surgery on Thursday and debating with myself whether I was making the right decision. This anxiousness has reminded me a lot of the dental surgery I had ten years ago where I got four of my wisdom teeth and two canines extracted (cause my jaw was just too small to accommodate all of them!) One of my canines was sticking out of the top of my gum and it bothered me. I sought a lot of advice from friends and family before deciding to get it out, and I remember the variety of responses I got. A lot of my friends said it looked okay, some even said it was cute, and there were people who even said that I shouldn't take it out because it was a "lucky tooth" and all sorts of stuff like that. Thing is, it bothered me. Alot.

No, these are not my teeth.
It's just a graphic to show
what my lucky tooth
looked like - as in the
top "before" pic.
I still remember the strange stares I got from people who were distracted by my "lucky tooth" when I first met them. I felt uncomfortable, and knew I wasn't appreciating its existence in my life, and yet I debated with myself whether it was a bad decision to remove the tooth simply because of what other people if removing it would curse me with bad luck for the rest of my life or something. Even though I don't quite believe in luck! I did the surgery in the end. And looking back, I'm glad I went with getting it extracted. I honestly think it would have just damaged me more if I had kept it in, and I'm thankful for that decision that I made even though I worried so much about it. This time, I suppose I'm just going through the same process again, except it's about my moles. And the barrage of responses like "but they look sexy", "they're cute!" or "they give you character" or "I didn't even know you had moles!" But they bother me.

For the past two days, as I inch closer to my surgery day, I've caught myself on several occasions, standing in front of a mirror and putting my two fingers on my moles, or covering them up on photos, to try to visualize how I'd look without them. It's frightening, really - change. I've come to the conclusion that it's change that we fear...and we get anxious because of the risk involved and the fear of a bad outcome - therefore conjuring so many cognitive dissonance-sy responses from people who are trying to encourage the status quo and keep life constant (which includes keeping the appearance of people around them constant as much as possible). But I suppose I've been bothered enough by my moles to want to do it for myself now, regardless of my fear of change... and even though I fear so much that they will leave ugly scars on my face and no one will love me forever and I will die cold and alone with a cat who looked like it understood me at some point but was really with me for the food and the occasional reassuring loving caresses.

But change must happen for progress to be ignited into existence. And surely progress will build me, and not tear me down. It's kind of like making decisions that force me to face my fears. Just like this whole jaw surgery process. And that's exactly what this whole blog is about - courage.

Two days to surgery...and I will walk out of the hospital with two little stitches on my face. Going to be praying hard that the Lord will give the surgeon good hands, skill, and concentration on that day.

But here's to change and progress and confidence and everything beautiful in life.

Anyway, here's stuff I ate today. Starting with breakfast!  :)

This is how my family tempts me to eat. With soft fluffy pancakes! ^^ <3
None of that golden syrup for me though! Carcinogens!
This is how I ate mine. :) Yes, with yesterday's leftover half-banana. Delish!
 And this was lunch of fish congee...
It's not difficult to tell which is mine and which is my sister's. :D
My appetite is improving though. :) Probably cause of that loose wire... but hey, I think I just might take advantage of this period and get myself some cheese puffs. #^_^# MAYBE.

Monday, January 07, 2013

my weight loss "secret"

Breakfast of overnight-soaked Quaker's Oatmeal Squares in milk, and a banana. Except I only ate half that banana.
How I ate the half-banana. :)
This blog seems to be becoming a food blog of sorts. Sorry, it's work hazard. I do work in the food industry after all. :)

Nothing much these days except the norm. Eating soft foods, worrying about caloric intake, having people comment about my weight, realizing I have to go shopping soon for new clothes. I guess to some extent I have lost quite a bit... About 5 kilos (~11pounds) in a month or so. But honestly, it wasn't that difficult.

Here are my weight loss "secrets":
  1. Have some traumatic life event that makes your appetite almost non-existent.  (Have I lost you yet?)
  2. Stop eating once 5pm hits. Fast and Pray. Have a good reason, or this won't stick.
  3. Have a general tendency to prefer vegetables to meats anytime. Wholegrain over whites, always. Apart from a chocolate weakness, I am actually quite the health/nutrition freak.
  4. Get braces. It REALLY limits your food intake. I literally went as far as touching some chips in a bag of kettle chips the other day till I realized how hard and probably inedible with braces they were... and how painful and unpleasant that experience would be. Immediate junk food craving-killer.
  5. Sign up for a marathon that requires you to walk/jog at least 3-4 times a week.

Easy peasy. 
Good luck with Number 1.

I'm predicting I might hit another 5 kilos more (less) with the start of my marathon training too. Just gotta make sure I have enough calories to keep me out of fainting spells zone. I had a few woozies last week with my struggling 300-500 calorie days, but now that I'm back up to 1000 cals, I think things should be alright. :)

Sunday, January 06, 2013

happy food & profile shots

Happy food for breakfast! Anything with vegetables for me is happy food!
Just when I thought I would never be able to eat out properly again, I took a chance and went out with my cell group for lunch! I was so worried for a while what I would eat and TONS of options went through my mind as I filtered through all the types of foods that'd work for me. Bak chor mee - nope. Any noodley thing - nope. Chicken rice - nope. Rojak - nope. Chicken Wings - nope. Satay - nope. Nasi Lemak - nope. I walked through almost half the food court getting more and more sad till I found something! And this was it!

Hello soft and very delicious plate of deliciousness! :D
I was SO happy when I found something that I could eat normally like a normal person. I love carrot cake too! I ordered the smallest portion though knowing how long I would take to eat (and I didn't want the guys to wait). One of the guys commented, "Will you be full on that? Is that enough? It looks just like an appetizer." I wasn't sure what to say to that, but just mustered an embarrassed bracey smile hoping he'd get the idea. He was pretty unconvinced, but I thank God my cell group leader jumped in and explained that I couldn't eat much with the braces and I think he settled with that answer. On a side note, I also learned at lunch that the choice of chopsticks is pretty much always better than a fork when it comes to putting things in my mouth without touching my brackets or teeth (which I'm quite OCD about for now).

I surprised myself the rest of the day though with some of my food choices! Perhaps it's that time of the month that I get super hungry but when I got home, I dipped into eating some fish keropok (which I had to break into pieces and suck on to be soft enough to taste and swallow), a few pieces of popcorn (which I had to suck on too) and 3 chocolate pralines! (which I fit into that little space on my tongue in the back of my mouth and I relished them all whilst they melted)! It was heavenly! And I was so proud of my food log today because I have finally hit 1000 calories!

And now, enough about food, here are some profile shots after slightly over a week of braces.
These are my lips when I'm stoning - they don't meet. And yes, they are dry cause it's painful to stick my tongue out to lick them because of the ulcers. :(
Twisted bottom jaw and slanted top jaw. Who knew my mouth could make such an odd shape?
I think the profile images are flipped so that the left looks like the right and the right the left. But yeah, I can tell because of my moles on my face. #^_^#

Left Profile. Typical flat cheeks of a Class 3. You can't quite see it here, but I will take closer shots when I'm not so shy. But this is my profile of choice cause of my moles on the other side.

Right Profile. Still flat. And you can't quite see the protruding lower lip so much here either... but I will take closer ones when I have the courage to.

I think I might visit my orthodontist tomorrow. I have this weird feeling that I might have accidentally loosened my lower jaw wire with my interdental brushing cause I don't quite feel it anymore. Other than that, I'm having my minor surgery this week for the moles on my face (finally!) and will go under a week of recovery, and then it will be time to tighten my wires! :D I'm so excited!

Gotta send my ortho and jaw surgeon my questions tonight too... especially that I have to get insurance settled.