Sunday, 30 March 2014

My Products / My Mission

Read my story from the beginning by clicking here

Over the past few months I've been battling with friends and family who tell me about under selling myself and my products. I have always had a problem with money and accepting money and I constantly battle between the need to survive and the want to support and help as many people as I can.  

On many occasions I got myself into such a state about taking money from people for my services. I cried on the phone to my friends for hours and tried to justify my lack of action. I was reading new age books and psychology papers, trying to understand what this mental block is. In an ideal world I wouldn't charge for anything and I would willingly give my all to help people who need me. Here is where my friend stepped in and said.... Surely it would be better to give people your all and pursue a career you love, than to go and get an office job and leave all these people to work it out for themselves. After all isn’t it all about the quid pro quo in any job we undertake? Even the voluntary ones?

I've been through a lot in my life and I know some amazingly strong people who have been through worse traumas than me. I have lost my brother, I have lost people close to me, and I’ve had countless illness / accidents, strings of bad luck and been hurt countless times. No matter what, I have always picked myself up (with the help of my amazing mother) and carried on. Despite the first class BA Hons degree, despite the countless attempts at career paths and numerous jobs, I still end up back here, communicating with people, mentoring, life couching and writing. 

My friends always come to me when they have a problem and I always know of things they can try to help them. My friend’s sister is very ill with cancer at the moment and during my extensive research into pain conditions, fatigue and illness I have gathered a wealth of knowledge on cancer curing techniques. It's often easier to help and heal others and not ourselves. My friend Peter calls me an AFE. At first I was coming up with ideas like “absolutely freckin excellent” and “a friend everyday”. Obviously these are lame ideas and the answer was; I am and have an “Answer For Everything!” Brilliant and not too sarcastic haha! I'm glad I can help people and share my experiences. It would be a shame if they all went to waste. 

Moving back to Jaw & Face... I couldn't get around to writing a hard hitting catchy sales pitch to promote my eBooks, so I didn't. I asked my friend to write me a snazzy sales page and set the price and the exclusivity. Yes I sold packs over the past few months, yes I sold books but still something did not feel right. It was not me selling the books, it was my friend. The page was his creation, not mine. He wanted to sell the books for £100 because that is what they are worth. I couldn't allow that so we agreed on £50 for the whole ePack. I think in this current economic climate for many people this is unrealistic. There are enough people being ripped off by so called health care providers and healers without me withholding vital information (regardless of its worth). Yes the information is worth more than $79.99, but I am depriving many of a resource that they need. 

I want to lower the price. I feel there are too many people missing out on this valuable information. Yes in an ideal world I would give this away for free but it's not viable when I have to pay to keep my sites open and running. I also want to expand my life couching and mentoring services. I want to share my knowledge and experience, but to do this I must stay with the flow of give and take in the universe and bite the bullet. 

I know my product is unique, I know this is the best resource for people who are about to have surgery and I know how much it has helped others. I wish I would have known what I know now because my recovery would have been so much less traumatic and lengthy. I also know how the money raised has enabled me to keep the blog and mentoring running and has also helped charities such as the brain and spine foundation and the pain society. I have enjoyed helping and mentoring people and answering questions and concerns patients have. It is amazing how many people from all over the world have been struggling with these problems alone and it is great that I have had the opportunity to share my experiences and become friends with such amazingly strong and resilient people. 

So with this in mind my last and final proposal is this…… 

For the price of $49.99 (approx. £30.00) I will provide the whole jaw surgery survival ePack.  (Was $129.99 then $79.99 NOW ONLY $49.99 for the ePack) 

What the ePack Includes:

  1. “What They Don’t Tell You About Orthognathic Surgery!” The most valuable book you will ever need in your jaw surgery journey from the perspective of a double jaw surgery survivor!
  2. Patient’s Liquid Diet Recipe Book – 42 of my favourite recovery recipes
  3. 10 Myths About Braces – put your mind at ease with this great little booklet that dispels all the worries you have about braces.
  4. Patient’s Guide to Retainers – this booklet lists with pictures, all of the different types of retainers out there and shows you how to maintain them through proper care and cleaning.
  5. Patients Guide to Facial Pain Diagnosis – be prepared and understand what type of facial pain you are experiencing.
  6. Patient’s Guide to Acupuncture – a detailed review of one natural way to combat pain and swelling post-surgery.
  7. Patient’s Guide to Cupping – a cool like booklet listing the benefits and drawbacks of using cupping as a natural pain therapy.
  8. PLUS BRAND NEW to Jaw & Face – Patient’s Guide to Swelling, my ultimate guide to decreasing swelling fast!

This ePack Also Includes:

  • How to cope with braces help sheet
  • A list of simple soft food diet ideas
  • Detailed Pre-op questions to ask your surgeon
  • A list of essentials for after your surgery
  • Your Hospital Check List – For The Big Day!
  • Access to my online community, which includes world renowned surgeons and other jaw surgery patients, just like you and I
  • FREE subscription to Jaw & Face newsletters, promotions and research projects
  • As a valued customer I will also continue to update and forward on to you all new editions of these ebooklets when they come to market.

If you do not require the full pack, you can purchase the exclusive "What They Don't Tell You About Orthognathic Surgery" eBook with FREE patients guide to retainers booklet separate for the new low price of $29.99 (approx. £18).

To purchase my other eBooks please visit my eBook store on:

If you are interested in the life couching or mentoring sessions please feel free to email me At the moment I am only offering a limited number of slots as I am still operating my PA services. Visit my Facebook page and Twitter for news and availability.

Additionally, if you would like to be kept up to date with the work I am doing and receive exclusive offers please sign up to my mailing list of free on this link below: 

I look forward speaking with you all. Have a great day and stay jaw-geous ! Xx

P.S Thank you to everybody near and far who wished me a Happy Birthday. I had a lovely time catching up with family and friends. Here are a couple of selfies from my celebrations :)

Tuesday, 18 February 2014


Well, what a whirlwind the past few weeks have been. I was contacted at the beginning of January by a lady from Caters News Agency. She had seen my blog and Facebook page and wondered if I would like to share my story with the national press. At first I was really nervous and wondered why anybody would want to read about my story. What if they poked fun at me or bullied me like some people have? Then I remembered why I started this blog, to help other people who are going through the same thing as me or people who can relate to the issues I have had to overcome. If I could get my story out there, more people would be aware and it would probably help raise awareness for people who are in the same boat and felt alone on their journey.  

So after I built my confidence up, I bit the bullet and called the lady back. I spoke with the lady for over an hour about my story and she asked a lot of questions. The next week she had sent over a draft copy of her article and needed it edited and returned for the next day’s press. I was so stressed. I really did not want the article to glamourize corrective jaw surgery and I most certainly did not want to come across as a victim of circumstance. 

The Original Daily Mail Article:
Recently, I have been reading a lot about the latest trend in Asia (especially in Korea) for young women to undergo jaw surgery to achieve a more western looking facial profile. This really makes me sad. This is a huge operation and there are so many risks. I personally believe that you need to be comfortable in your own skin and address the underlying psychological issues before undergoing any life changing surgery. I am not against cosmetic surgery. But I feel a lot of people do it for the wrong reasons. For me personally, I would like to arrive at a place where I am confident and happy in myself naturally, not because some doctor changed my outward appearance to fit in with society. We are all beautiful and unique. Why would we all want to look like clones? 

South Korean Presenter Ruins Face Article:

Throughout my blog I have never really talked about the bullying or the hurtful things people use to say to me before the operation. And I never feel the need to discuss the attack that took place when I was 17. In my opinion these people took enough of my time and emotion and do not deserve to have their egos inflated any more. They thrive on attention. To be honest they will never think they are in the wrong for singling people out for the way they look or act. And the root of their issues come from a place inside themselves which is unhappy. To treat others in this way means that you have no respect or love for yourself or anybody else. You do not live in a state of love but a permanent state of fear, where your ego is in constant defence mode. I do not wish any ill to these people, for I can see why they behave the way they do. 

As many of you who know me have stated, the paper does like to make the story seem a bit more dramatic and theatrical than it actually is. But that is what they have to do to sell papers. I just wanted to reinforce the fact that I did not have this operation for any type of cosmetic reason; it was purely from a health perspective. For all the lovely people who read my articles and took the time to comment, I thank you so much. Especially, the people who stood up for me and corrected others, who maybe did not fully understand why I had to undergo this surgery. 

If you did not know my story, I was born with a birth defect and as I grew my upper jaw was quite compact and my lower jaw was very asymmetric and prominent. This in turn, meant that my back teeth did not meet at all and my jaw joints were under a lot of pressure from the inability to function properly. I had a slipped cartilage on my right jaw joint and by the age of 21 they were starting to show deterioration. Alongside this, my jaw would click and sometimes I would find it hard to eat and speak. At the age of 21 I developed severe and constant left sided facial pain. Literally, even a slight touch or a breeze would cause the pain to sky rocket to the point I would be in tears. I was put on a lot of medication to try and dull the pain. But that only made the muscle spasms and exhaustion worse. Alongside this, I was still trying to complete my university degree and work to support my family. With that in mind, the last thing on my mind was the way I looked. I just wanted to be out of pain. After having severe, constant and crippling pain for over 2 years, I was suicidal and desperate to try anything that would help me. 

Although the operation was a huge success in correcting my bite and taking pressure of my jaw joints, I still suffer with pain every day and I still take high doses of pain medication. I undergo psychological therapy and most recently have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, agoraphobia and PTSD (from the attack). I do not think these illnesses will be with me forever, no matter what the hospital say! They are simply my markers to steer me in the right direction at the moment. 

On a more positive note, the blog has just reached over 100,000 views. This is thanks in part to the recent publicity that saw my story go global. I was front page news in Italy, had news reports in Hong Kong and was featured in Marie Claire. I have had such an amazing response to my story and I thank you all for your kind words and friendship. 

My story will also be featuring in UK pick me up magazine and I will be doing a more detailed article for the Sun Newspaper's health section. I will let you know when they are released. In addition to this, I would like to thank everybody who has been investing in Jaw & Face charity project through eBook sales and donations. You are all truly amazing and I am sure the information provided will help you through your Orthognathic journey. 

Do not forget to scroll backwards to view my journey through double jaw surgery and plate removal surgery. As always, sending my love and healing thoughts. Wishing you all the best! 

If you have not already, join me on social media :)

Love Steffie xx 

Here are just a few of the articles 

My DailyMail Article:
Yahoo! Lifestyle:
TGCom24 Italy:
Leggo Italy:
Mako Israel: 
Marie Claire Portugal :
Iefimerida Greece:
Bluewin News Switzerland:

Available now

To find out more click on the link below:

If you would like to be kept informed about the latest work I am undertaking and want to receive more content from the Jaw & Face charity project, you can subscribe for FREE on the link below.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Happy 2014!

I’m back!

First of all let me wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year! I hope you all had an awesome Christmas. Sorry it has taken me a few days to get my head together enough to write this blog.

It's been a long old year in some ways but in other ways it has absolutely flown by. I have had some wonderful moments and some pretty bad ones but I would definitely say 2013 has been a year of learning and personal growth. It has opened my eyes to a lot of new ways of thinking and coping with the challenges that have come up in my daily life. I've also learnt to be more accepting of the "now" and I have been trying not to worry about the past or the future as much. At the age of 25, I never could have imagined this is how my life would be. Constant pain, restrictions and major confidence and esteem issues. But here I am and to be honest it could be a lot worse :). So let's have a quick review of my year.

January - March

January - March revolved around me conducting research on behalf on the NHS and deciding to create my own website. I really wanted to expand the work I was doing with the blog and help a wider audience. Anybody who knows me knows how much I struggle with technology. But I did it and I'm proud of myself. Here's the link if you are interested.

I also started to look into alternative pain therapies such as reflexology, massage and aromatherapy. I decided to purchase a couple of day courses to see if that was an area that I would like to work in. Unfortunately, due to my ongoing health issues it was too physically demanding. Maybe it would be something I can get back to, once I'm back on my feet.

In January time I also started a course of psychological treatment called cognitive behavioural therapy. As a starting point, I discussed all my issues with my psychologist dating back to my early childhood. It soon became clear that my esteem issues started at a young age and stem from when I was first told I would need surgery at the age of 11. As I grew, so did my deformity, more people noticed and this was never addressed, until this year. During the sessions we worked on behavioural techniques, such as; thought records and the best friend techniques. This involved me learning to be less hard on myself and trying to silence the self-critic. I am still undergoing treatment but so far it has been useful in helping me to get out more and socialise with friends. I was also able to go to the shops and to the doctors on my own for the first time in years. I also visited the spot in which I was attacked 8 years ago. This was obviously very scary but good for me and I now have a positive reference point of the area.

In the first part of the year I also started Physiotherapy again. I was pretty desperate to find something to help with the pain in my face, neck and shoulders. I really don't like taking pills. They make me so tired and cause all sorts of side effects. For me, I prefer to try more natural therapies. Every time I have physio it just seems to cause more pain and muscle spasms. The physiotherapist was really confused by my case, so just suggested 5 second stretches and lots of heat packs. Then I was sent on my way for another 3-6 months. Not very helpful at all!

This year I was also encouraged by my physiotherapist to try acupuncture again. However, just like the times before this proved to be unsuccessful. The muscles contracted around the needle areas and this caused me more pain than I had initially been in before the treatment.

Around March time I visited my surgeon. I was a little concerned with my bite as my muscles had been playing up terribly. My face muscles often pulled on my lower jaw and caused me to bite the inside of my mouth. I was also concerned because I had read online about jaw relapse after plate removal. A lady I spoke with online had the exact same symptoms as me and after years of hospital visits her surgeon told her she would need to go through the whole procedure again. She was understandably upset and felt that if her team had listened to her concerns in the beginning, she would not be in this position now.

From speaking with other jaw surgery patients the symptoms of jaw relapse include:
  • Changes to the bite
  • Teeth movement
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Spasmed muscle around the jaw and TMJ
  • Spasmed muscle around the back of your ears
  • Constant pain and pulling of one or both jaws
  • Relapse is more common in people who have had their titanium plates and screws removed

My surgeon reassured me that my bite was stable and said that if I was concerned I could always book an appointment with him in a few months. He referred me back to the pain management department to see Dr Poate to see if there was anything more we could do about my widespread pain. At this appointment my surgeon also mentioned that I could have another operation to straighten my chin (genioplasty). I have a very asymmetrical face so this would improve my physical appearance. However, it would not do anything for my pain or muscular issues. In fact it may make my pain and numbness worse. It could also compromise my lip and chin muscles.  Personally, I am against having surgery for cosmetic reason, so I declined this offer.

April - July

After a very unsuccessful course of physiotherapy and acupuncture I decided to take it upon myself to research alternative therapies. One of the therapies that appealed to me was hot stone massage and sports massage. Heat packs and mum rubbing my neck normally give me a little bit of relief so I thought this may help. When I asked my physiotherapist he advised against massage and stated they he did not think it would help. Even after the first appointment I could feel my pain levels had decreased. I was taking less pills for two days following the treatment. Although I was in pain, it was a nice pain. Like the pain you feel the day after a workout at the gym, not the excruciating muscle spasm pain that renders me unable to move.  Ever since that day, I have paid to see Christine weekly for 30 minutes for a shoulder, back and neck massage. When Christine was on holiday and when I received a free spa voucher I saw other masseuses but they are nowhere near as good as Christine. She really works on the muscles and you can feel the tension being released as she presses and rubs on them.  She has many clients who have health issues so she is very knowledgeable about a lot of conditions. To anybody who is having problems with muscle tension/spasms or is highly stress, I would definitely recommend trying massage as part of your pain relief treatment.  

After a few months of seeing Christine and seeing some reduction in my pain levels, she suggested that I might want to see an Osteopath. She has problems with her hips and lower back and Christine found that seeing an osteopath helped to relieve some of her pain. I booked an appointment at a local osteopath. I saw John Roberts who was a lovely man. I spoke about my symptoms and briefly outlined my medical history. It was a rather strange experience. I was pulled about and put into weird positions while he pressed on trigger points around my face and neck. At one point he was actually cuddling me and I was trying not to laugh.

He was baffled about my pain but still tried to reassure me by saying he believed it would ease off in time. As part of the treatment he also suggested using laser therapy. But I was not too keen on trying this. By the end of the session I think we both knew that osteopathic treatment was not going to work for me and that it would be best to carry on with the sports and hot stone massages. After leaving the centre my pain went through the roof and was unbearable by the evening. I could not eat properly and my pain medication was not working. This high level of pain lasted for around 5 days before wearing off. This obviously put me off trying this type of treatment again. I was due to see John again in 2 weeks’ time but I cancelled the appointment. Although this treatment did not work for me, I would never discourage anybody from trying it. What works for one person, does not necessarily work for another. There have been numerous studies to support osteopathy as a form of treatment.

On a positive note, me and my family went on holiday to Rhodes in Greece at the end of July.  This was our first family holiday in 14 years and my brothers first time going on a plane. My dad had received some money from a life insurance policy that had matured and my parents had decided it would be a nice idea to send me, mum and Fraser on holiday as a surprise for my brother’s 18th. My brother had been going on for years that he wanted to go on holiday, so he was really excited. We had a lovely time and the hotel was wonderful. We stayed in a little family run hotel at the edge of Rhodes town. The people were very friendly and the island was beautiful. I would definitely like to go back one day. Unfortunately, on the last day mum fell and broke her ankle. It was a very stressful time for all of us, especially when Thompson were not sure if they could let mum fly home with us. We managed to get home and thankfully mum did not need any operations. She is now on her way to recovery and is managing to get around with little support now.

August to October

August was mainly taken up with hospital trips for my mum and my brother. Fraser had nearly finished his orthodontic treatment and just needed a few tweaks before his braces could be removed. He was really happy that he would be brace free before his 18th birthday.

Mum was in plaster on and off with suspected blood clots and then a&e plastering her in the wrong position.  By early October she had her final cast removed and she was fitted with a moon boot and sent for physio. Very fetching! As she was out of action, I had to resume the role of head of house. I was doing all of the cooking, cleaning and shopping. I was suffering quite a lot with pain and would get very frustrated with myself. I wanted to be superwoman and kept beating myself up because I should be able to do all of these things being a 25 year old. The more stressed I became the worse my pain was. I also felt extremely guilty that mum had to go back to work in her state because otherwise we would not be able to pay the bills or have food. I felt like I should be out there making money and being in full time employment. The reality of it though was that I struggle to sit on a computer for more than 2 hours at a time and if I go to the shop I am exhausted and need to have a sit down. The prospect of work is out of the question. I do miss work and I feel a lot of my confidence issues come from the fact I lost everything in 2012. I broke up with my partner of 5 years, I had to quit a job I loved and I lost people from my life who I thought I could trust. It was a lot to adjust to and now it seemed I needed to make a whole new identity and life for myself.

My two year anniversary on the 26th August was pretty uneventful. Mum had been in her plaster cast for 4 weeks now; my cousin had visited from Cornwall and had stayed with us until the Sunday. The anniversary fell on bank holiday Monday so it came and went without much notice. Nothing had really changed since December last year when I had my plates and screws removed. I was still in pain and suffering from severe muscle weakness and tiredness and the sinus infections that I thought would be resolved were still haunting me. Every time I get a sniffle or a cold it seems to escalate into a full blown infection. According to doctors this is to be expected and it is something that I will have to learn to deal with.

In the midst of all of the emotion of the year, I decided to take a little break from blogging. Although, I love blogging and I love connecting with all of you, it does take a lot out of my mentally and physically. Constantly reliving my surgery and issues can be therapeutic, but at the same time it can be really upsetting. I sat down one afternoon and decided to write down all the skills I have and all the things I am good at (besides the mentoring and blogging). Out of this, I realised I have over 8 years of experience in PA, Administration and Human Resources under my belt and maybe this could be something I could utilise. I find this area of work easy and enjoyable. It allows me to help people and pull together all of my knowledge in the field of admin, law and HR. So on the 9th September I launched SG Virtual Office. SG Virtual Office is a remote based office offering a wide variety of business services. Everything from; logo designs and website building, to diary management and recruitment services. You can check it out on the link below:

November - December

On the 18th November I finally got to see Dr Poate the Pain Management Consultant at King’s. The 2x before I had to cancel the appointments because I could not find anybody to come with me. I do not travel alone or take public transport. Mum was still on crutches so she was unable to come with me. Luckily my god mother volunteered and I finally made the appointment. I was in the treatment room for over an hour and we reviewed my case again. I have seen Dr Poate on and off for the past 4 years with my face pain issues. The last time he only suggested muscle relaxants (which I was allergic to) and tricyclic antidepressants (used for pain). These just seemed to make everything worse before my original orthognathic surgery. My GP had recently placed me back on to amitriptyline after I had been experiencing increased pain and terrible headaches. I am still taking co-codomol 30/500mg 8x a day and ibruprofen 400mg 3x a day. I have also been prescribed sertraline antidepressants because of my low mood, which was causing me to have suicidal thoughts. With the combination of pills I feel a little better pain wise but I am still very tired. Dr Poate sat there and discussed my options but was reluctant to alter any of my medication. He asked me what I thought of a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, to which I responded I am not quite sure. He stated that he thought this was it for me now and that it did not look like I would make a full recovery as we had all hoped. We both agreed that it was not something a young woman wants to hear but to move forward it would be something I would have to accept. He suggested seeing a psychiatrist to be assessed for a final diagnosis and that with the psychological help I could learn to live with the chronic pain and fatigue. He stated that a lot of people’s pain is made worse by stress and depression and that if I worked on these aspects, I may find that my pain levels would lessen. I totally agreed with this point of view and was very willing to give it a try. He sent me on my way and said that I should receive an appointment just before the New Year.

6th December was my 1 year anniversary for plate removal. I do get a lot of people messaging me in a little bit of a panic asking why my plates were removed. My plates were removed because my top plates and screws were stuck in my nasal cavity and were causing reoccurring sinus infections. My bottom plates and screws were causing me pain. The muscle would often spasm around the plate site and the screws would poke through the skin and cause red patches. On top of these issues, my face would sting badly in the cold and my breathing was very restricted.

My surgeon was not too worried about removing the metal work as it had been in over a year. I know some surgeons are reluctant to remove all the metal work because it is expensive and can be tricky if the titanium has fused to the bone. Although there are risks (like all surgeries), I felt like this was the best option for me.

On the 5th December my brother turned 18. It is crazy how time just seems to fly by. I still remember the day he was born like it was yesterday. As the weather was poor we were very restricted in what we could do to celebrate. Me and mum had talked about hiring a scary open top bus tour for him and his mates to go around London. When I passed this idea on to my friends they said “Stef, you are going to put your brother on a bus for his 18th Birthday?” I thought it was a brilliant idea because all of his friends are into scary zombies and ghosts. However, after this rather weird reaction from my friends, I decided to ask my brother what he thought of the idea before we booked it. Originally it was going to be a surprise. Lucky, I did ask! He thought it was a terrible idea for a birthday gift and moaned about how cold it would be. Instead we celebrated by going for a meal with my mum and dad and then he invited some friends around to our house for the evening. I remember when I was that age I was always having my friends around and playing silly games and listening to music. But times have changed. I felt so old. The kids drink like fish and listen to the most horrific noise. Me, my mum and friend Peter were standing in the kitchen for most of the night trying to keep our eyes open. At one point mum suggested that we get scrabble out haha. But the main thing was, Fraser had a good birthday and it was lovely of his friends all to make the effort.

Christmas was nice but quiet this year. It was actually the first Christmas in 3 years that I could actually eat a full Christmas dinner. Halleluiah! I really enjoyed it and loved having a relaxing pyjama day with my family.

Most recently, on the 30th December I went to see the psychiatrist and after years of the hospital being vague, they were finally willing to put a diagnosis on the problems I have been suffering from. Not really much of a surprise, apart from the long list of acronyms that most people wouldn't understand. According to pain therapists, my physiotherapists, psychologist and psychiatrists I have post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, overlapped with fibromyalgia, Agoraphobia and Depression. Phew what a mouthful that is. With everything going on I probably will write a second post on this when I have the brain capacity.

As some of you may be aware, alongside my book launch, I have continued to create material to be sold through my blog and charity projects. This material has taken months of research and writing to compile. After speaking with some of my jaw surgery friends and online family it was decided that it may be a good idea to bundle all of the booklets and material into one package for patients to purchase. The package is aptly entitled: Jaw Surgery Survival Pack. Enclosed in the pack is everything you need to prepare you for your jaw surgery / orthognathic surgery journey. This pack will guarantee that your mind is put at ease before, during and after your surgery. It will also help you to speed up your recovery through the use of tried and tested self-help tips. As an added bonus, I have decided to reduce the pack from £99 to £49 for the duration of January.

For more info click here

I will continue to update my blog with new material throughout the next couple of months.

I hope you have had a great start to the New Year and I look forward to catching up with you all.  

Love Steffie x

orthognathic surgery before and after 2014

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Well I Spoke too Soon!

Well it really does sum up my year really. After boasting in my past couple of posts about not having sinus infections and being on less pain medication, the poop has hit the fan again. I started to develop a really weird headache in the front corner of my skull. I did not really think much of it as I have been under some stress since returning from holiday where mum had badly broken her ankle. We have been spending more time at the accident and emergency room than at home the past few weeks. Mum had suspected blood clots and was getting a huge amount of pain in her whole ankle and calf muscle.

When the hospital took the plaster off to investigate the clots, they were not happy with the ankle and its positioning. They decided to re-break and manipulate the ankle whilst my mum was still awake. It was one of the most horrific things I have seen. It really upset me to see my mum in pain like that and me not being able to do anything to help her. She was really brave and managed to get through it without swearing. Anyone who has met my mum knows she is not a stranger to colourful language lol .

Because we were in urgent care we were also seeing all the trauma patients being brought through and one woman was crying and losing her baby in the room opposite. Despite the horrific scenes I saw, it was really comforting and reassuring to see that humanity is still alive. Everybody in critical care was joining together and supporting one another. Social barriers are lowered in favour of care and support for the people around us. All of the patients and staff were wonderful and very kind.

I got home after spending 2 days in A&E mortified and drained. I had been pulling mum around in a wheelchair for half of it and I had spent another 48 hours holding my fat head on my neck. The muscles had just gone into a wild spasm and there was nothing I could do to ease the pain in my face or neck. I resorted to lying on the sofa with heat packs in between caring for mum. Again I have no idea why my muscles behave like this.

So I started to develop this headache in the top right of my skull and I noticed the insides of my ears were really hurting. Anybody who had TMD/TMJ will know that this is a normal symptom of this disorder. As the days went on I started to develop nerve pain down the side of my face and the pressure started to build again. I was in a panic and called the doctor. I was praying this was not the start of more infections or worse it was the start of atypical nerve pain again. I spoke with my doctor and they advised that I try some antibiotics to treat a sinus infection. I was given a week’s course of doxycycline and told to call back if the symptoms got any worse. After a week some of the pressure had decreased but I still had pain on the left side of my face. This is the side I had my original constant trigeminal pain from years ago. I called my doctor and he prescribed another 2 weeks of antibiotics. Fingers crossed this will help. If I start getting infections again I might have to undergo more surgery. But we will cross that bridge if it comes to it.

In the meantime, I have been using a salt sinus rinse and Karvol inhalations to see if that will ease some of the pain. The issue I have when I have infections is that I never have a runny nose. It seems the bacteria grows but cannot find a way out of my body.

On an even more annoying note I had to rearrange my appointment at King’s Pain Clinic with Mr Poate because I did not have anyone to come with me. I do not travel alone on public transport since I was attacked at the age of 17. I did have high hopes of going on the train by myself but the night before I was just in a mess. I was crying, shaking and really stressed out. By the time the morning came my muscles were rigid and my anxiety levels were through the roof. Hence this is why I have to wait another 3 months before my next appointment.

Mum could see I was really struggling and upset so she made me an appointment to visit the doctors last Thursday. The doctor was new so I had to explain the whole story to her from the beginning and a 15 minute appointment ended up lasting 1 hour. I do apologise to the people who were behind me. My previous physiotherapist’s and my massage lady Christine, have all expressed concerns about my neck and back. I have developed two lumps at the back of my head and any exercise I do flares up the muscles in my face and neck. They have all mentioned that I might have a slight curve in my spine or possibly my one of my hips is higher than the other. The doctor checked me over. We discussed the numbness I have down the right side of my chest and arm since orthognathic surgery and the vertebrae that is slightly sticking out in my neck. The doctor decided to have my bloods checked and send me to the hospital for a back x-ray. She has also re-prescribed me amitriptyline to cope with the pain and to help me sleep. I do not remember the last time I had a nice night’s sleep, so if the pills can help with that I would be very happy.

I really do not like taking pills. But the pain would not allow me to function on a day to day basis or in fact do something as simple as write this blog. I have tried acupuncture, I also visited an osteopath, I tried aromatherapy, massages, meditation, herbs and supplements. I recently re-read one of my favourite books “Wild Love” by Gill Edwards and I read a chapter on energy psychology. I am a great believer in the human body’s ability to heal itself and this type of holistic area really resonated with me. I went on to amazon and purchased a text book and a dvd on energy psychology for £3 each. Once I have tested this treatment I will definitely be writing a blog review for you all.

On a positive note I do have some good news. YAY! I have recently completed the website for my new business project SG Virtual Office. This is a service which provides remote PA, admin and secretarial services for sole traders and small businesses. I have over 8 years of experience in the field of administration and HR. I thought that this would be a perfect start up business for me to pursue whilst I am still recovering and undergoing treatment. I am really excited about this new venture and I hope that this will also aid in the growth and promotion of the Jaw & Face charity.  

Check out the website and let me know what you think:

Anyway I think I have rambled on enough for today. I hope you are all well. To those who I have neglected over the past few weeks, I hope this blog explains my distance and silence.  Furthermore, I would like to give a huge thank you to everybody who has purchased my charity booklet “What They Don’t Tell YouAbout Orthognathic Surgery!” Your feedback on the product has been so great and I am pleased to put the money towards creating the Jaw & Face Charity for facial deformity and facial pain disorders.

Look out for my osteopath vs facial pain blog coming soon!

Available now

To find out more click on the link below:

If you would like to be kept informed about the latest work I am undertaking and want to receive more content from the Jaw & Face charity project, you can subscribe for FREE on the link below. 

Additional to this, if you have not already, please join me on my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and google+ accounts. Stay tuned for more useful booklets and YouTube videos coming soon.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Happy Birthday Face!

Happy 2 Year Anniversary to my Face!

So it has been 2 years (today) since my original orthognathic surgery. Sometimes it seems like 2 long years. Other times it seems to have flown by. In that time I have experienced highs and lows. I experienced some of the happiest moments of my life and I've also had to face some of the darkest and hardest moments of my time on this earth. I've met some amazing people. True friends have shone through and some people have left my life forever. I said goodbye to people I have known for years who have finally shown their true colours and I ended a 5 year relationship with my partner. 

I believe that at this point in my life I am truly blessed to have amazing family and friends. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly and I am reasonably capable of living a normal life.  

Pain level in 2011 = 10
Pain level now = 5/6

I still take co-codomol 30/500mg and Ibruprofen.... But I have completely cut out the muscle relaxants and amitrypline. Starting each day with a big dose of codeine is not ideal but it's much better than before. I am exhausted mentally and physically before I start but I am very aware that it could be so much worse. 

In terms of work, I had to finally give up my employment as an auditor, trainer and hr assistant in April 2012. The company I was working for needed me to work full time and I was struggling to complete 2 days. I was killing myself and unable to function for the rest of the week. I took the big decision to quit work and focus on my health. It has not been easy but I feel this was the right thing to do. 

In December 2012 I had surgery to remove my titanium plates and screws. This was successful and my sinuses have not been infected since April this year. I am still suffering from jaw, neck and back pain. I have muscle spasm, shakes and weakness. I am currently waiting for my appointment at Kings pain clinic on 2nd September. 

A lot of people have the misconception that because I look ok, I must be ok. But the reality is I'm struggling with pain and this operation has mentally taken a lot out of me. Friends I thought were friends turned out to be selfish and very cruel. My boyfriend of 5 years cheated on me and didnt have one thought of me when I was physically unable to lift my head off of the pillow for weeks on end. 

I am currently undertaking a course of cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling for my depression and social anxiety. In a few months time I will be starting a course of therapy to treat body dysmorphia. 

Body dysmorphic disorder (body dysmorphia) describes a condition where a person can't stop thinking about one or more perceived flaws with your appearance. The flaw can either be major or one that is imagined. Seen from an outside perspective, the obsession with these flaws will seem unnecessary or baseless, but to the person, her appearance seems so shameful and distressing that in some cases she won't want to be seen by anyone. The sufferer may also believe that every aspect of their life is affected because of their imagine. For example I believe I was attacked because of the way I looked.... I believe that dash cheated on me because I am a freak and worthless. I also believe this is why no one ever stays around for long. Everybody seems to leave. I do whole heartedly believe I am abnormal. I feel so ugly inside and out some times. But I understand I have this problem and I am willing to face my esteem issues and distorted view of myself head on.

People ask me all the time, would I have done anything differently and did I make the right decision?.....
Absolutely! I do not for one moment regret having orthognathic surgery. I know everything that has happened, has happened for a reason and everything is as it should be. I had terrible pain before the operation and although the operation was horrific, it did solve some of my pain issues and the constant nerve pain. Ultimately it removed people from my life who were fake and insincere. 

Any tips for anyone undergoing surgery......? A good support network and some home help is essential. Understand this is a life changing operation so recovery will not take 5 minutes. On an average it takes 2 years to fully recover from this surgery. So don't be too hard on yourself.....Eat well and follow your surgeons instructions. Don't try to run before you can walk or chew before you have healed. 

I wish you all the best of luck in life and with your journey and I will continue to blog about my story and help wherever I can. Hope you are well. 

Special thanks to my family, family friends and my friends near and far. I love you all so much, thank you for all of your support and love. xxx

Available now

To find out more click on the link below:

If you would like to be kept informed about the latest work I am undertaking and want to receive more content from the Jaw & Face charity project, you can subscribe for FREE on the link below. 

Additional to this, if you have not already, please join me on my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and google+ accounts. Stay tuned for more useful booklets and YouTube videos coming soon.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Massage for Jaw & Neck Pain

At the end of April I was desperate to have some relief so I booked a massage therapist. It was going to cost me £20 for a 30 minute session but if it worked it would be worth it. After discussing my case with the massage therapist, we both agreed to try deep tissue massage with hot stones.

The woman was really lovely and the room was cozy and warm. She put some relaxing music on and I placed my head into the hole at the end of the bed. Because my face is sensitive to pressure and touch, I placed my head so my forehead was taking the weight away from my jaw and face area.

The therapist was really shocked at how hard my muscles were and decided to concentrate mainly on the shoulders and neck. These are my main two problem areas. The hot stones felt lovely and although the massage hurt it was a nice pain. It felt like tension was being taken away from the area. After I left the therapist I felt really happy and light. I had hardly any pain and for the first time in a long time it wasn't too hard to drive.

Normally I find it very difficult to drive as I am constantly using my neck to look around and I have to use my shoulders to steer and turn the wheel. The therapist had told me I may feel tired so I should rest and have a light dinner. I felt the complete opposite. I felt alive and nearly pain free. This was amazing.

The next day I woke up and I was sore and a little stiff but was happy that I had relief the day before. The next few days I used less pain relief and cut out ibruprofen completely.

When I went back the next week to the massage therapist she did not use the hot stones. Again I had this amazing light and happy feeling when I left but the next day I was in complete agony. I was also very drained and lacked any energy. I searched the Internet and without fail the usual horror stories pop up.... No matter what is wrong with you, you are dying lol. Some man had gone for a massage therapy and died of kidney failure. Apparently when you have a massage it releases all the toxins and bad chemicals built up in the muscles and this seeps back into your blood. The body then has the job of filtering and removing the toxins. This makes perfect sense to me. My therapist had pressed and rubbed very hard on muscles that had been tense for a long period of time and had probably accumulated a lot of toxic acid inside them.

I didn't really like this feeling but because this was the only treatment I have tried that actually seemed to relieve my pain, I wanted to continue with it.

During the May bank holidays one of my Essix retainers broke. The one that was for my top teeth. I was in a blind panic as I knew I would have to wait over 4 days before I could get to the hospital for a new one. When I don't wear my retainers for a period of time I feel my teeth moving and you can see how much my front teeth move apart. Within 3 days of not wearing them I had a gap between my two front middle teeth. I went to the emergency clinic and explained the situation to one of the junior staff. He didn't seem to think it was a big deal but I hadn't gone through 5 years of braces for nothing. He initially tried to charge me £150. I flat out refused. I explained to him that I did not have the money and that was not the deal I had with my orthodontist. I had wanted fixed retainers as they would last forever but he advised against them.

When I originally had my retainers I asked for fixed retainers as the Essix ones are not practical and they make me gag. My orthodontist said that it would be better to stick with the Essix retainers. He explained that with the fixed retainers I would find it hard to floss and it would be hard to maintain a good level of oral hygiene. I agreed to stick with the Essix retainers and was instructed to wear them every night. So long story short…. the junior guy agreed to make me a new upper set and took new moulds of my teeth. My teeth now have a gap in between them so I am not happy and keep having flashes of the surgeon telling me I have relapsed. The junior orthodontist then said I will have to wait 2 weeks for my new retainers to be ready. I cannot wait that long! I have already waited 4 days before having the moulds. I decide to text my orthodontist Professor Cobourne and explain the situation. He says he will have the new retainers ready to pick up on my appointment which was Friday. Not so bad I thought!

Over the next couple of days I was in agony. I am really stressed and my teeth are really painful and my gums are tender. My appointment came and I picked up my new retainers. I popped them into my mouth straight away and could feel them pulling on my teeth. Just like when you have your braces tightened. I went home dosed myself up on pain relief and lay on the sofa with my teddy and pillow. The evening came and I was hungry. I went to take my retainers out but could not. I normally use a piece of tissue to grab the back of the retainers to pull them out. The retainers were fused to my teeth. They would not budge one bit. I tried yanking from the front but it just felt like I was going to pull my whole set of teeth clean out of my mouth. I tried a few times and started to get upset. I was hungry, frustrated and now I was in a lot of pain. I started to cry and used my anger to try and pull the retainers out of my mouth. But nothing worked. I then went upstairs and put loads of toothpaste around the gums and retainers to try lubricate it. Much like you do soap with a ring stuck on your finger. I tried again and it didn't work. I tried using kitchen towel and even a face towel to get a grip on the retainer. Mum suggested using warm water as it is plastic and that might allow it to defuse and come out. This is no way near ideal. I used warm water in my mouth and spat it out. I then gave it two more attempts before it came out. I was relieved but my neck and facial muscles were not. My neck had completely spasmed and my jaw joints hurt from opening my mouth wide for a long period of time.

By this stage I was not hungry and opted for a soft food dinner. This same drama of removing the retainers continued for the first 4 days while my teeth got back into a sensible position.

When I went back to see my massage therapist she decided to use the hot stones again and go a bit lighter. Half way through the massage she pressed on the front of my neck and a sharp nerve pain went up to my brain. In the drama of this week’s retainer episode I had managed to tear my sternocleidomastoid muscles. These muscles are responsible for eating, speaking, turning your head and breathing. No wonder id not been able to do much. She said it was a nasty injury and would take a while to mend itself.

During this session the lady also started discussing my muscles and how mine are slightly weird. Tell me something I don't know lol I am walking weirdness. She said when she pressed on my trigger points my muscles would often kick back and spasm up. She has never seen this when doing trigger point therapy. The massage therapist then suggested that I might want to see an osteopath to see if they could give a diagnosis on the issue. I do not have the money at the moment but when I do I plan to book an appointment.

I am still waiting on my hospital to get back to me with an appointment for pain clinic. They cancelled my last appointment as the head consultant Mr Poate had gone off on sick. The other doctors did not want to make a decision as my case is quite complex so I must wait for him to return. Hopefully this will be soon.

Available now

To find out more click on the link below:

If you would like to be kept informed about the latest work I am undertaking and want to receive more content from the Jaw & Face charity project, you can subscribe for FREE on the link below. 

Additional to this, if you have not already, please join me on my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and google+ accounts. Stay tuned for more useful booklets and YouTube videos coming soon.