Wednesday, October 27, 2010

News and Changes!

So, went to the orthodontics last week and he said I was still on track for May'ish. They tried to change out the top wire to a larger one, but after getting it stuck and having to cut is out the remainder - they came to the conclusion that I needed to stay with the same guage. I was excited about the notion of getting the upgraded wire...because I equate that with faster progress.

While I was there, I spoke with treatment coordinator (Shelley) about the surgeon I have and how it seems to be rediculous to get help and coordinaiton from the hospital for quotes on the surgery package I need. During our conversation, we both decided that we should shift surgeons and go back to the guy the I originally worked with. In the beginning, I was hestitant to go back to the same guy in fear that he would throw some kind of temper tantrum about me never follow through 20 years ago. Well, today I went and visited him, and I am so excited about working with him again. I could not get the comfort level everone speaks about with they bring up their surgeon with the other guy. Both me and my wife went today to see my new surgeon and we both walked out of his office very pleased. So, that is my very exciting news today to announce my new surgeon Dr. Feldman out of Seattle. And he also provides a "surgery package" and has options for financing the surgery! The last surgeon's staff essentially said that coordinating with the hospital was my job and I could not get any help at all from them.
So, next step for me - wait for results from new cast. Also, Dr. Feldman wants me to go take a sleep study to see what extent my open bite is causing apena. Sounds silly, me picking my underwear out of my ass on camera with a bunch of probes in my head! (I make me laugh). But I got to do what I got to do, more later!

Thank you all for your support and encouragement!

Cheers for now!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tardy Update

Wow, time flies and I have been wacky busy! Lots of very exciting things going on at work that have been grabbing my attention lately (all good)!

Teeth, well I go see the ortho this Wednesday and as you can see in the fabulous picture in the last post the bottom teeth are really whacked out, but they have adjusted further inward lately (but still looks weird). The last appointment the orthodontist inserted the large wire into the very back molars, and the flossing is freaking frustrating. All is good because I signed up for this program, but what is interesting is that when I had braces back in my 20's they didn't put brackets on the last molars. I know this because I still have the molds for my teeth from back then and they don't have brackets. It is fun to to compare my progress today to what I had done previously.

Insurance issues are dead. I can't say this companies that exclude this from coverage across the nation SUCK! That being said, I am on to plan b, saving money, and/or getting loans!

I have been checking in with the community, I can't believe how fast Shaye's teeth are moving and it looks like January/February for you! Shout out to Makay, Elisha, Mandy, Sarah, Alexis, June and Stephanie! All your blogs are so wonderful and I enjoy the community and knowledge I gain from them!!

That's it for now. I will post after my orthodontist appointment on Wednesday.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Update

So, I am a couple week past my 4th adjustment. Got a larger wire installed and the first few days where pretty tough, but all is well now. while at the orthodontist I asked his opinion when I might be ready for surgery and he said about 8 more months (which rounds out about 1 year from my start date). That puts me in surgery around May'ish of 2011... I was originally thinking February, so time will only tell. As far at the insurance woes go - that front is going good and not so good. The not so good part is that the insurance company has denied me totally, and the Insurance Commissioner reviewed their claim and substiantiated too. But, on the good part, my boss said she will help me financially with the surgery (how much of a commitment I don't know now). We are going to get together soon to discuss the level the company will help, I will keep you posted. I am going to make an appointment/consultation with the oral surgeon again to begin to get to know him a little better - when I was at the ortho I also asked when I would see him next and he said that it wouldn't be until I got closer to the surgery date...I feel like that is a little too late in the game. So, in October I am going to take my list of questions to Dr. Surgeon and chat him up!
Pattie and I went shoping this weekend to look for something for me to sleep in while in recovery. I remember when I broke my collar bone I sleep upright for 2 weeks, but it sounds like this may be much longer. Looking into perhaps a really comfortable recliner...any thoughts about sleeping arrangements?

Also, I thought it might be good to throw a picture or two into the mix, but I really hate pictures, so I had my puppy help me out to so "progress" you go..

That's it for now...stay well!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

4 months, Well Almost

I see the ortho next wednesday, I am kinda excited for that...wierd but progress is progress. In terms of the insurance/paying for the surgery...I enlisted my employer into the process too. After getting the standard "your insurance contract provided from your employer doesn't include coverage blah, blah, blah" I ran the issues I was having with my boss. She is super cool, and I know will help me in some kind of way! Needless to say though, I also need to hunker down for "Plan B" which is selling off assets, my beloved garden tractor. I don't use it too much, and it seems that this would be more important to do then having it just sit around like large, expensive yard art!
On other fronts, OMG, because I am sooooo curious about the process of this surgery, I found myself watching a timelapsed video of a Lefort I procedure...SHIT THAT'S SOME CRAZY STUFF! That is really all I can say. Funny though, it did not bother me as much as maybe it should. But for now, that is all I am going to watch of the live surgery (I will stick to the animated videos thank you!) I really think that being in the "orthognathic blog" community helps my realize the anxiety I have around the surgery (all though it still worries me that everyone's first words in their day 1 Post Op blog is "I am alive"!!!!!!) It seems that being alive should just be a given, but it's not. But, just seeing that old and young all make it through this with pretty predictiable results is comforting. I really enjoy the company!

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Big FU

So, my week has been roughed up by the stupid insurance company. I called early on Monday, because I got yet another letter from them that did not contain any further clarity then the others. I got someone on the phone and she essentially said tuff, tuff coco puff. Saturday, I got the letter explaining in more detail why they exclude it from coverage, except for a whopping $1000.00. Well, that may pay for the anesthesiologist! All that being said, I know I am on an up hill fight with the odds stacked way against me, so I got my employer involved. The insurance company keeps saying that this is what your employer has provided and to go to them to modify the policy. Which, by the way, is nearly impossible for a mid-size company like ours. Needless to say, my boss said she will work on it and do the best she can. In the mean time, I need to keep planing for the next step of getting enough money together to take care of the surgery, ug and booo. It just seems wrong to spend so much money on something that will be so uncomfortable for so long. HMMMMM, I just got to keep saying to myself that this is the healthiest choice for my future.

GOODnews is that in the Pacific Northwest it is really hot and we have air conditioning! And, even though I have been without my truck and having to ride my motorcycle for two weeks (because my truck is in the shop having the engine replace) my extended warranty will pay the entire bill for the engine replacement and car rental for 4 days! Sweet!

Okay, that is it for this week. I see the orthodontics in 2 weeks and will begin to work on further surgery quotes, without insurance.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Insurance Update

Shortly after I wrote this letter I got a call from my surgeon's staff saying that the insurance commissioner needed more information; they forwarded on to me additional forms to complete and mail off - so I did. Then shortly after that, I got a call from the insurance company (only because they had to contact me by law) saying they received my letter and that I would receive a letter from them soon. Today, I check the mail box and got a letter from the them saying that they will approve the surgery subject to the limitations of the contract...which good news, but still does not tell me much. The difference between this letter and the last letter is that it includes approval for the hospital, but again does not tell me how much they will cover. I will follow up with them on Monday to get more clarification. I don't think this is a response to my complaint to the commish because it makes no mention about that. In the mean time, I have been working on the hospital coordination for my surgery. I know that I can go to a surgeon that has a "surgery package" but I am working with the surgeon that my ortho suggested (which by the way did the same procedure on his wife this year) and he does not have that kind of arrangement. So, I find myself in the midst of booking the hospital and anesthesiologist and thinking to myself that this is wierd. Although it does allow me to interview each of the people that will be working on me, but I wish at times that someone would just do it all for me. I know this option is available to me, and I may pull the trigger on that if I get too far in the weeds of confusion.
On other fronts, I am very grateful to the encouragement from my wonderful wife, she is the BEST! I think my bite has actually gotten worse with the braces on, only because the repositioning of the teeth. When I first started, I measured the distance between my bite and it was about 3mm and it probably is 4mm now. Flossing is just annoying because of the threading of floss between the braces. I go for my next adjustment on Aug 25, I can't belive how fast time goes by!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Laugh out Loud!

One of my favorvite radio shows is "Car Talk" on NPR...and I have to share this story I heard this morning! So, this was a work assignment in an english class to create a tandem story. The instructions were as follows:

Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to reread what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.

First person:

At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

Second Person
Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "AS Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

First person

He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities toward the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4.

"Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth--when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

Second person

Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The president, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion which vaporized Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The president slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow 'em out of the sky!"

I thought this to be so funny I had to share...
Credits go to:

Monday, July 26, 2010

What the hell man..

Today, the insurance commissioner called my surgeon about my letter. They said that Group Health would not talk to them without my permission, due to patient privacy policies. I know I am up for a battle with them and it just make me think about the last 20 years where I have been told over and over that I needed this to be done - but every health insurance plan I have ever had has always excluded this surgery from coverage.

It's frustrating for me, to go through this process again and thinking of the "would of/could of" scenarios of the past. I've been here before (20 years ago) and was unable to get to the final end, because of lack of money an lack of support. I am disappointed because of all the obstacles this surgery has, I could not take care of this when I was younger. Then I begin to think of everything I still have to go through and my confidence waivers. Can I really do this? Can I really recover as well as they say I can? I should have done it 20 years ago - does that mean I won't recover as well as I would have then? Does that mean it's too late - or does that mean I THANK GOD I am finally able to make it happen?

UHG, all that being said, I have been not been feeling too well, I'm scared, I'm worried, and my stomach hurts. Then I get scared again...and then a little more worried...kind of a pattern here as you can see!

I was reading the trials and tribulation on Stephanie's blog about her challenges and I so appreciate you sharing with me your experience and ultimately your gives me hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Got my Grump On!

So, I have had this week off and made a goal to write a appeal/letter to the Insurance Company and Insurance Commissioner. So, I did! Speaking with the Oral Surgeon folks yesterday they gave me some inspiration to take a run at them. So this morning, after doing a few other chores, I sat down and got my "grump" on! I pulled out the insurance contract and began to dissecting the coverage claimed in the contract. To me, it seems very clear that they should cover some of the hospital stay. Although, it is very clear that they will only cover a whopping $1,000 for the orthognathic surgery part...but it states in the same coverage that related hospital stay is covered. I am sure that they will claim that both surgery and hospital coverage is only $1,000 but that is why I sent a copy to the insurance commissioner! Having the insurance commissioner in the mix will provide an advocate for me to keep the insurance companies honest! To me, it seems to be bad faith to say you will cover related hospital services and only cover $1,000. I can't think of any hospital service that would be less than that! We will see, wish me luck!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Time, I think

Not much to say about my teeth, the braces and the process today, except wax is still my friend and flossing is more than just a job - it now is an entire process and procedure that has its own time slot. I keep showing my wife my teeth, and she agrees that it is visually apparent that they have straightened.

On another subject, it seems we are experiencing a bi-polar summer...It rained, and then rained just a little more, then the sun arrived! Temps got almost to 100, so I was summoned to water the garden before everything withered away. While I was working in the yard I got to laughing about the stupid tugging match I always get in with the garden hose. I am always amazed how garden hoses always manage to get tangled and snaked into the weirdest ways. It is almost as if they are alive and their sole purpose is to wait until I am over heated, bent over and exhausted and then...BAM! springs into action, grabbing every rock, pole, weed and refusing to work with me at all. Today, at noon the tempature is trying to get to 60 after raining (again) all night! Wierd

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I am so grateful by all the blogs I am following, and their amazing posts through the surgery experience. I think it is awesome to read the journals and see that I am, clearly, not all alone in this problem. Although, I got to admit, when I read other’s journals of the surgery process, I future trip myself into that same experience that they are going through and begin the get scared, and then inspired, and then scared…and so on. The most comforting part is knowing that this surgery happens a LOT, and seems to be very common, and most important survivable! That being said – I don’t know why most insurance companies exclude this from coverage (actually now saying it I do they are cheap). Anyways, screw insurance companies – they suck…unless they help you then they are GREAT!

As for me in my progress…I am just on the flight path to the surgery room. I have had the second wire change to my braces, no big deal…discomfort every now and then. Although, the one thing that I keep thinking of when discomfort comes up is how grateful I am to even proceed forward with this process. It makes my psyche feel comforted that I am improving my health. Everyday, my teeth shift a little and I can begin to use different teeth to chew which is a great feeling. Just yesterday, Pattie and I were at the nursery and they had fresh cantaloupe samples and I took a sample, then bit into it and could almost see myself biting all the way thru it. Soon that will be the case it’s hard to believe, and sometimes I even feel it will never happen but, this stupid bite will go bye bye!

Thank you all!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

So Many Questions, So Few Answers

Okay, for some reason I was so excited to get to the orthodontist on Tuesday, expecting a great progress report, red carpet and an announcement that everything is moving ahead of schedule. NOT! When I got there, no red carpet (okay no big deal on that) but when the actual orthodontist came over to see me he was surprised that I would actually have questions. ( or at least that’s the way I experienced it) So, here it goes:
Q: Hi so can you tell me what I can expect in terms of movement in my upper and lower jaw…
A: hmm, that is a good question.
Q: Are you the person that would answer this or is it my surgeon?
A: Well, I could give you an approximation, it appears that you would probably be moving the upper jaw approximately 1 to 2 mm forward, the lower jaw approximately 4 to 6mm back.
Q: Okay great, do you think that I will be having any of this surgery done this year? If so, I would like to accommodate my work and sick leave appropriately.
A: Hmmm, good question, chances are less than 40% of being ready this year…if so it would be closer to the end of the year and you could just roll into next years leave.

Am I the only one doing this procedure that would ask for reasonable answers to reasonable questions? I know I am not, but it is a weird experience, to me, for the professionals being aloof about questions I have. If I were in their shoes, I would be more expressive about answering my questions. When people come into my shop and ask hard questions about my industry, I handle their question and answer it as if they were my grandmother… but, I know that everyone in this world is scared to death of being sued because they misrepresented.

My next appointment is in August and the way time ticks by so fast, the next thing I’ll know I will be freaking out about surgery feeling like it’s right around the corner. It kind of makes me sweat just typing it… I got lots of tasks I need to get accomplished, I still have not got the insurance crap figured out and with work being so busy it is hard for me to find the time to dedicate to it. My company does offer an EAP program and I did get time to call them, but that was an experience very similar to Steve Martin’s help line in the movie “Mixed Nuts.” A very compassionate man answers the phone and I ask ”Can you help me appeal my insurance denial?”… to which he answers, as politely as possible…NO - but if I am depressed or need counseling to feel free to call any time. I said no thanks, and I could only think that they could not ring the bell for me as someone they saved for the day…

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Watching Paint Dry

I think watching paint dry would sometimes be more fun than waiting for my teeth to align, and guessing, and obsessing, on what the surgery will be like. Getting use to the them rubbing the inside of my mouth, but keep biting my cheek ..OUCH. See the ortho next week for round two of adjustments which will be a thicker wire.

Also, got a letter from the insurance company saying that they will cover a whopping $1,000.00 for the procedure. Even though I knew when I started this process that the insurance company would probably not cover the procedure, I still get bent out of shape when they deny coverage. What ever…I will keep fighting…

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mug Shot

I went today and paid off the remainder of my metal mouth, after receiving my flex card in the mail over the weekend (and subsequently retrieving it from the trash...long story) I figured for $6500 bucks I should be able to get some photos, I asked the orthodontic to forward me the images..., so here are my teeth and jaw profiles...if I had a number underneath it would almost look like booking series. Anyway, not much to say about pictures other than perhaps I should consider a nose job too...Ha...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

One month update

So, Friday marked the one month mark of having braces and it seems a lot longer than that...anyway, things are going well in terms of teeth getting straighter, but I still freak out at the notion of whacking my jaws in surgery. I keep telling myself that it is just "dental" procedure to try and level out the anxiety around surgery and no matter what, because of my open bite, I am going to have to spend lots of money into dental work in the future and if I take advantage of this today at least it will be done right.
My next appointment is June 22 (at 4:20, by the way, which is think is hysterical) and I will ask for the number of mm I will have to advance the jaw etc. I have the picture and x-rays taken at my first appointment and need to scan them then I will post em..

It has been rolling around my head ideas of what braces are good for so I thought I would begin to keep track of them...

1. A bunch of new sharp toys that my tongue can't stop playing with
2. Providing me a new nick name like "brace face," "metal mouth," and my favorite "tin grin," etc.
3. Grating the inside of my mouth
4. Sewing in threading dental floss between my teeth and braces every night
5. Great place to store food for later!
6. They have effectively altered my diet towards softer foods..
7. Wow, jump start my weight loss
8. A new affectionate love for wax...
9. Learning new words like orthognathic and how to spell it to!
10. And finally, to straighten my teeth...duh

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Here we go!

Hi there, I am writing this blog to express my thoughts about orthognathic surgery I must have. I am 41 years old, and attempted to get this surgery done when I was in my early twenties, but to no avail due to the outrageous cost. Just recently had braces put back on the begin the journey once again. I have an "open bite" and have been to over and over and over again that if I don't get thiscondition corrected that eventyally the molars will break out and lead to further problems. At the urging of my new dentist (who also had the surgery done in the day that your jaw was wired shut) I made an appointment with the orthodontist. I took both my wife and sister with me so that they could hear and understand the wild ass journey this would be if it proceeded forward. It was quite an interesting experience, because while I thought that I woudl just go in and talk to an orthodontist and get a fancy booklet about braces and orthognathic surgery, that was further from the truth. The ortho took xrays and photo's of my mug then took me into the consultation room. Back in the 90's, when I first started this it seemed like this part took weeks to get....needless to say wife and sis got a good look at the pressure created on my jaw everytime I bite. Before I knew it, I was having dental impressions made for my Oral Surgeon consultation in 2 weeks. I must say, I did enjoy the swift, decisive push to get me going on this again. I have been dreading the notion of being a dental cripple in my older age....

Today, I am about 3 weeks into braces and getting use to the irratation created by them and have been encouraged by so many of the amazing blogs out there on successful journey in this surgery.