Archive for the ‘Photos and Xrays’ Category

Post MMA pics back up

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

What do May Showers Bring? (Hint: Sniffling and Breakups)

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Allergies!  That’s what May Showers Bring!

I have never had such a time of allergies before!  I’m even doing the sneezing thing!  Anyone else been hit with all this sun, no–rain, no–sun, no–rain the world is my histamine way of things?  *sniffle*  On the up side, one would think, based on my history that my sleep would suffer immensely with all this upper respiratory aggravation, but it seems Dr. Li’s UPPP (leaving the U of course) is still working on keeping that airway open.  Hooray!  Now on to the non-hooray-type things you love so much.

I’ve been dumped.  The short story is I’m a people pleaser and I guess I didn’t communicate enough that I was not happy…or that I was actually in physical pain…  Alas, when it finally got to the point where I could not bear it anymore and I didn’t feel heard or even genuinely cared about, I went to the only man who has been able to help in the past…Dr. Li.  I didn’t even run to him in person.  I ran to him on email…and he wrote back with a solution.  But that solution had consequences.  And so I give you, the not-as-long-as-it-could-be (but most likely longer than it should be) version of my breakup — with my orthodontist.

As you know (or can pretend to have known going forward), I have been kind of unhappy with the whole non-touching of my back left teeth phenomenon and have been trying to get my ortho to fix it.  As I may or may not have mentioned previously, my jaw, post surgery, has not returned to pre-surgery opening-ability, but I figured that was a small sacrifice for the whole ability to breathe thing I gained.  I also figured that over time my jaw would stop hurting when I tried to bite high-resistance food…  At one point in time my ortho recommended physical therapy, which I went to once and was given home exercises that made things even worse.  That was a couple years ago.  I eat Naproxen like mints (sorry, future ulcerated digestive tract) and had been managing under this CRAZY theory I had that once my teeth touched in the back, the pain would go away.

Every 3 months I would dutifully drive to my ortho exam, happily chat with the lovely people who work there, and mention that I was experiencing discomfort biting and chewing and ask if anything was going to be done about the teeth touching thing, and I’d be told one of these things: 1.  Your dentist should deal with this.  2.  Maybe he can cap your teeth.  3.  Maybe he’ll file down the teeth that are touching soon.  4.  I think you need PT.  And every 6 months I would talk to my dentist who would say: 1. No way.  We wouldn’t add THAT much height to a tooth.  2.  No way,  We won’t file down your teeth.  3.  Maybe in a few years when you need to replace that filling we could do something back there.  Honestly?  Nothing ever sounded good so I just didn’t press it, and dealt with the pain…WHICH I SHOULD NOT HAVE DONE.  Here are my words of wisdom to you who may be afraid to say to your doctor, “I don’t think what you did (or are doing) works”:  SAY IT.  By the end of November I could no longer chew.  I was back to baby food and mashed potatoes.  It was too much to bear.  Was I really never going to be able to eat pain-free?  This time I was adamant that things were not right when I saw my ortho.  Response?  PT.  I wanted to cry.  I asked, “Don’t you think this would go away if my teeth touched in the back on the left? ”  Got the usual response.  So I emailed Dr. Li.  I asked, do you know any good PT’s?  Because I figured he must have dealt with this before.  He wrote back immediately and told me to come in.

This post is already too long so I’ll nutshell the rest:

Dr Li sent me to a guy he thought could help me.  The guy ordered XRays (3-D x-rays that cost about $100 per dimension).  I went in to see him and he made me a splint for my teeth that basically looks like invisalign but is actually a wedge on the left giving my back teeth contact.  I have to eat with this thing in and it sucks…but within 2 days I COULD EAT NORMAL FOOD.  This guy happens to be an orthodontist but he wasn’t working on  my teeth, he was working on my jaw.

I went to my next 3 month appointment where I let my ortho know I was working with this other guy for my jaw.  She repeated she thought it was just that the disc in my jaw had slipped and I thought to myself “yeah, and how did that happen?  Could it be because my back teeth on the left weren’t touching?”  I’m being snarky now, but that’s just because I didn’t think there would be a problem since she was still working on my teeth (though she had told me she thought we were just in “maintenance mode” which was about when I flipped and wrote Dr. Li)…and last time I went to see the guy taking care of my jaw, he had to tell me I’d been dumped and that if it was okay with me, he would be my new orthodontist…oh, and could he put braces on me?

So there it is.

And my new ortho had to build my teeth up even more last week since my jaw started to calm down and we have started to see what my real bite looks like.  So here is what I look like now.

This is the bite wedge I wear 24/7.  Can't eat without it.

This is the bite wedge I wear 24/7. Can't eat without it! That's my bite. Good times.

Another surgery? What the What?

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Here I am, luxuriating (read: flopped and propped) on my chaise lounge, post-op.  It’s like deja-vu, but not really.  This surgery was on a body part well below my neck and not, I believe, a contributer to sleep apnea.  Although, I did hypothesize to my surgeon that the reason none of my previous forays into this particular body part repair in essence failed previously was due to the fact that I did not breathe at night, hence had greatly diminished my healing power, and he agreed there was a high likelihood I was right.  I love being right…or even people suspecting I am right.  It just feels so…RIGHT. But I digress as usual. Please do keep in mind surgery was this morning so I’m still in the “don’t operate heavy machinery” zone – which is why I am using a laptop! (ba-dum-bum)

What was it this time?  (Believe me, I heard that question plenty) Alas, it is my knee.  The left one.  But I’m already doing 50% weight bearing (as in 50% of my body weight) and little knee bends (per doctor’s instructions!  I promise I’m not jumping the recovery gun!).  How did this happen?  Well there’s really no easy answer.  Let’s go back in time a few years, shall we?

December 1983.  Or maybe go back even further to my birth.  This story is already too long.  I’ll put it in timeline fashion.

Birth: I was born “toeing in” and wore a Denis-Browne splint to turn my feet/legs/hips out.


Not sure if it was tibial or femoral, but nonetheless, I got to wear a lovely pair of shoes attached to a big blue bar.  I don’t remember this.  I do remember my brother also got to wear one.  Not my sister, lucky duck.  It is hereditary and my mom actually had casts on her legs to correct hers.  Now I don’t know if this contributed to my knee issues, but I figured I’d mention it.

Age 4: Enter the world of ballet.  It’s possible Mom put me in ballet just to help with the pidgeon toed swayed back pot belly thing, but the main point is that I LOVED ballet and I was evidently pretty good.

Age 6 (I think): I was accepted into the San Francisco School of Ballet on scholarship, and by age 7 I think I was dancing in the professional level.  I got paid (I think it covered bridge toll–this was not the lottery) to perform in various ballets, the primary one being, of course The Nutcracker.

Age 10: One of my parts was as the tail end of the Chinese dragon in Act II.  Imagine 5 girls harnessed together under a big dragon costume with only their legs showing.  It’s a short piece, but the guy playing the Chinese Dragon Tamer found himself in a little bit of a pickle when he vaulted himself up onto his pole (he would do cartwheels using the pole instead of his hands if that makes sense) and found his landing spot was either the dragon or the orchesta pit.  He chose the tail end of the dragon (aka: me) and since I couldn’t see more than the girl in front of me, I had no idea what was coming.  Boom!  Splat.  The costume even came up for a moment and I saw a guy in the front row laughing (not mean laughing but probably surprise that the dude landed on the dragon).  ER visit that night, back to performing almost immediately.  Years of PT and chiropractics.

Age 14: Lots of factors contributed  to my leaving ballet, but a big one was that I was watching more classes than I was taking due to knee pain.

I love this picture of the last full length ballet I was in.  Check out the knee brace AND band-aid.  My mom was so mad that I hadn’t thought to take them off before the shoot!

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Age 18: Left knee surgery.  PT rocked me back into recreational ballet shape.  I think I would have been good to go.

Age 19: Car accident.  Woman ran a red light and hit me while I was turning Left across an  intersection with a green arrow.  Hit right knee on steering wheel.  College student = no money so no treatment until knee started locking and I started falling.  It was actually kind of funny except for the horrible sudden pain.  I mean, how many 19 year old girls do you see falling out of cars when they are trying to exit when they are NOT drunk?

Age 22: Right knee surgery.  (Doc found pieces of cartilage hanging out in joint, one was the size of a quarter – it had been growing for 3 years. I believe the limping and falling thing was probably what tore the Left knee up again.  No PT (recent college grad also = no $), which resulted in bad knee tracking which led to shredding the cartilage up.

~Age 26: After trying to take Tai Chi and asking my instructor: Is this walk supposed to hurt?  Right knee surgery.  Doc said it looked like “shredded crab meat” on back of knee.  It’s supposed to be smooth like a cue ball.

~Age 26 6 weeks later: Left knee surgery.  Doc found the back of this knee fractured from stress.  When I woke up he said “Well, it wasn’t in your head, it was in your knee!  It was broken!”  6+ months of PT and they still couldn’t get me pain free.  This was when I started REALLY slipping downhill health-wise and still had absolutely no idea that I had Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  I think a couple years earlier I’d started getting “treatment” (read: Ambien) for insomnia.  And as we all know, you don’t give people with untreated sleep apnea sleeping pills.  Almost immediate disintegration of knees Rice Krispy syndrome I call it).

2005: Started Adult Ballet Classes for exercise – no center, just barre.  Painful, but no more than stairs so I stuck with it.

2006: MMA/GA (The BIG Sleep Apnea surgery)

2007: WHAT THE–I went RUNNING!  My knees were actually beginning to HEAL!

2008: UPPP (The small yet ever so painful Sleep Apnea surgery)

2009: Started ballet again.  *joy*  Not professional – nowhere near.  Just a little (yes, sometimes painful and definitely crackly when I bent, but happy) barre work in the Adult Class, but by July I was Jumping.  Unfortunately that also led to falling (with style!…and embarrassment) but I recovered and was back in class (sans jumping) the next week.

November 2009: The infamous Ridge Hike on Oahu.  The trail looked like this:

The Trail - uh, what?

The Trail - uh, what?

I was told it was a 2 hour hike.  Yeah, 2 hours…ONE WAY.  It probably wouldn’t have ended the way it did, except the group I was with was JETTING up the mountain.  Way too fast-paced for someone with problems stepping UP.  And if you know anything about patellar knee pain, then you know that down hill is worse than uphill.  At 1 hour 45 minutes I was in way too much pain and kinda figured out (yeah I’m slow) that this wasn’t ending anytime soon.  I had to turn around and go back (using poor Courtland as my crutch).  From that incident, I never recovered and stairs became a thing of the past.  Also, squatting (which I do frequently when adjusting chairs and evaluating people for my work) became excruciating no matter how much I stuck my bottom out.  It was time to see the doc again.

2010: Stanford. X-Rays.  MRI’s.

Today: Left knee surgery.  I’ll post those pics later (don’t worry, not gross IMO).

Next Tuesday: Post-Op and PT.

I’m hoping my hypothesis holds water!  And I’m also REALLY hoping my right knee doesn’t take a big dump (it didn’t look as bad on the MRI so we’re going to try just PT instead of surgery) and fracture like last time!

Okay that was maybe my longest post ever.  Smac Out.

Someday my teeth will meet again…

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Here we are again, talking about my teeth.  Really the only annoying ongoing problem post MMA (aside from the numbness, but that’s not really too annoying).  Why a problem?  Well, I personally like symmetry.  I like to chew my food equally on both sides.  If I have M&Ms or something small like that, I eat 2 at a time.  One for each side.  Symmetry, OCD, call it what you will, I prefer to chew that way…and since my surgery, that has not been able to happen.  grr.  argh.

When I first got my braces off I commented on the unequal feeling back in molar-land, and my ortho said my teeth would likely still move a little and not to worry.  So I didn’t.  But it’s been awhile now.  A too long while for me to be satisfied…and so I angst my irk here.  For you.

Here’s where I am in orthodontia: The retainer they gave me for the bottom had hooks that looped over my teeth to hold it in place.  Those hooks, unfortunately, started pushing my teeth apart and I got little gaps.

img_77521 img_77501

I’ve already been wearing the new retainer to correct that for a couple weeks so the gaps are not as pronounced.  In case you can’t see it in these pix, it’s where the bubble of spit is on the left picture (so rad, I know). :)  sorry.  In other words, the gaps occured between the teeth that some would call canines (though mine be none so pointy anymore) and the first molar-y looking ones.  What did you want me to say?  Eye tooth and first bicuspid?  Okay I said it.

So they made me a new retainer.  This one actually encases all of my bottom teeth within one piece of plastic with springs to pull the teeth back together.

img_77561 img_77572 img_77661

While I was in getting this retainer, I commented (again) how my back teeth didn’t touch on the left side.  Once again the little pieces of carbon paper were inserted and once again I was instructed to chomp chomp chomp and grind…and I was assured that I was crazy (okay she didn’t say crazy)  and that my teeth did touch.  I also mentioned the numbness I am still experiencing in my gums and teeth, and then that was blamed for my crooked feeling.  But I know that’s not true.  I mean, yes, I am crazy…but no, my teeth do not touch at all evenly on the back left.  Here, judge for yourself and tell me how the carbon paper touched…I’m pretty sure it didn’t.

img_7745 I went to see Dr Steve my dentist (he looks a little like my boyfriend and has a Shelby of his own) who was about to do the carbon paper thing for me (I felt he was unbiased but skilled in the carbon paper test) when he put the cute little dentist mirror back there and said, “Uh Shelby, I don’t need carbon paper.  Those teeth don’t touch.”  SEE!  Told you!!!  So I’m feeling miffed…but I do have to say that I didn’t peek back there before getting the new retainer so things may have changed.  HOWEVER: they do not feel different.  So I think this is how it has looked all along and I am … irritated?  Yes, that.

But from the front all looks good, and maybe that’s all people really care about (unless they are me and craving a meetup between upper and lower molars).

img_7748 ta-da  (Just don’t try to chew on that back left side)

I’m also experiencing a little clickity clickity in the right jaw joint which I think is occuring because I chew everything on the right and non-purposely try to make the left molars touch by moving my jaws around (which doesn’t work, but for some reason I notice sometimes I am doing it and I stop when I notice, but still…it happens).

Okay have I ranted enough?

Here’s a little non-ranting story:  Dr. Steve wanted to make sure I was flossing and I told him I have a huge bag of those pre-flossed picks and I floss while I am driving.  He broke in and said “I’m glad you’re flossing but I can’t condone practicing oral hygeine and driving…”  I said, “I don’t look in the mirror or anything and he said “Oh…” and then I thought, did he think I was driving with my mouth open, chin back, and eyes on the rearview mirror peering into  my mouth?  I suppose I could have been.  But no, I just kind of mindlessly use that little pick thing… Geeze, now I feel like a bad driver…but I swear I’m not distracted!  I think I’m more distracted putting on chapstick (and no I don’t look for that either).  I’ll stop now before the non-ranting story turns into a rant.  Wouldn’t want that.

Next entry we’ll talk numbness.  Everyone’s favorite subject.

MMA Surgery recovery pix back up!

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

I know you missed them.

It’s been 2 years and 2 months since my surgery.  Absolutely amazing.  Just looking back at these pictures it’s extraordinary where I was and where I am now.  I feel like I got the gift of life…  I’m not a different person.  I’m still the same old Shelby.  But I think I am the better non-sick version and that is something I didn’t even know was going to happen going into this.  I just thought I wouldn’t look like Gonzo at night anymore.

As I write this I am at my sister’s house in Dublin (no, not Ireland) taking care of her two kids for a week…more than a week actually.  I moved in on Thursday afternoon (it’s Wednesday night right now), they left Friday night, and will be home (from Belize) this coming Saturday night after midnight.  In a million years I could not have imagined taking care of a 3 1/2 year old and a 15 month old for a week+ on my own…I couldn’t imagine having kids of my own would be really all that possible with how crappy my immune system was and how tired I was even on my best day.

Now, I’m not signing up for the baby wagon just yet.  I think my clock is unplugged or on mute, and that’s just fine.  I mean, after all, I just started sleeping.  Why would I voluntarily give that benefit away so soon?  I hear it takes a long time to make up sleep debt…and I have a lot of it.  Sweet, sweet sleep.  I owe, I owe, so off to sleep I go!  However, big drawback to finding out what a good night’s rest REALLY is?  Take any of that away and I am a GRUMPMEISTER!  Steer clear of the modern-day sleep-deprived Shelby.  Now she KNOWS it could be better…and you will PAY!  :)

Sleep well!


Countdown to REAL food!

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Saw Dr. Li yesterday.  This will be a boring Dr. Li entry because I was not my usual peppy self, but rather a sleep deprived grumpy scratchy throat version that no one wanted to be around, including myself.  I did manage to ask “What’s the difference between me and Toni that she feels better enough to go back to work today?”  To which he had a one word answer: Tonsils.  Okay.

To make myself feel better I have been eating 1-2 tsp of frosting a day.  Better than a cake a day, right?!?  Guh.  I tried eating stuffing but that started to pull my own stuffing out, so I had to stop.  Imagine having to stop eating stuffing after like 2 bites!!!  Torture. Pure torture.  I’ve taken to heating up cheese soup minus the extra cup of milk so it’s all goopy, then adding avocado and taco sauce.  It’s pretty num.  I also stopped at Safeway today after bringing boyfriend iced latte and taking stroll around Goose Poop Lake.  I bought deviled egg potato salad, artichoke dip, split pea soup, and creamed spinach.  Dr. Li says I can start eating real people food tomorrow but it won’t be like a nut party or anything.  Just softish real people food…so I stocked up.  Also, I’m allergic to some nuts, so that would probably never be a good thing. :P

This morning was nice though.  I woke up to modest kitten:

Such a little lady and a package arrived at the door!  I was immediately accused of online shopping since the box was from one of my favorite sites (, but I plead innocent!  Turns out, it was a GIFT for ME!!!  From my dear dear friend Nicholas.

What does that shirt say?

Can you not hear it?  Let me turn it up.

I\'m partial to farmboys.

Oh yeah, that’s right.

Have I mentioned how much I love my friends?  My friend Cynthia sent me a get well soon gift on itunes…Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog…OMG.  Can’t stop watching!!!  With my freeze ray I will STOP…the world.

This post sucks

Friday, July 4th, 2008

First of all, I had my sleep study.  And I wanted to share, as is my nature

That was Sunday night.  Monday I was TIRED.  I did dream a lot so I know I slept, but sheesh, I was awake more than asleep that’s for sure.  On Monday morning when the tech was removing the electrodes and as much glue as possible from my head, I asked “Can you tell me if I had any events?  He paused and said “You had a lot of hypopneas.  Well, that explained the headaches and the fatigue, but I figured it still had to be TONS better than before my surgery, right?

Had my preliminary study faxed to Dr. Li who called me on my way to work on Thursday morning.  Here’s the conversation (on my headset of course):

DL: Shelby, this is Dr. Li!

me: Yes.  Hi Dr. Li.  How are you?

DL: Shelby.  You still have sleep apnea!

me: Can I swear?

DL: Yes

me: F***************CK!  Ok thank you.

And then we went on to talk about things like me coming in to see him on Monday at 3:30 and him looking at my airway to see if tonsils need to come out.  And he also said “Shelby, I’m going to tell you something you don’t want to hear.”  I said “I have to wear the freaking machine.”  He said “No.  You have to lose weight.”  And I said I’ve never had a problem with hearing that.  And he said “Yes you did!  We were fighting!…Oh wait, oh yeah, we were fighting because…”  And I said “Yes.  We were fighting because you said Courtland was leaving me for a younger model.”  And he said “Oh yeah.  Ok.  So: More sushi, less pasta.”

I went to work and was sad.  Not because of the sushi prescription which I could do in a hearbeat, but because…what do you mean I still have sleep apnea?  Then again, now I know why I kept looking at Court on the weekends and saying “I don’t know what it is, I could just sleep all day.

On my way home I called Dr. Li’s office and asked Daisy…or Juanita (I cannot remember who had to bear the bad news) what my number was.  I figured if it was originally 43 (when I had zero body fat because I was dying) it should be at least down to 20 or something post surgery (yes I know I’m a big girl right now)…but I was NOT prepared for the number: 34.8

That’s all I have to say.  Until after Monday when Dr. Li looks at my airway I cannot deal.

Keep in mind I am happier and healthier than I have ever been…so even this cannot change that.  Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July! I’m BBQing some ribs with Court and Cynthia and David’s coming over later.  We’ve got Lego Indiana Jones on the Wii and the sun is out.  Plenty to keep my mind of Suckfest 2008…but hey…maybe if he removes my tonsils I’ll lose weight *giggle*

Happy Merry Stuff

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

So, today…Christmas Day…2007. Hard to imagine exactly a year ago I was preparing to go to bed wearing a CPAP machine FOR THE LAST TIME.

CPAP sleep

good morning CPAPIn all my CPAP chinstrap glory

The Day of SurgePre-Knife (or was it a hacksaw? How DO they cut through bone these days?)

Upon AwakeningThe Recovery Begins

day 2Day 2

pizza notThe Day (2 months post op) I tried to eat Pizza (yes, I was frustrated, how can you tell?)

liquid candyThe Day Nicholas brought me LIQUID CANDY. mmmmmmm

cats and drugs All I needed was my cat and my drugs.

ah sleep Ah, sweet sleep…and sweeter dreams. NOTE: Lack of CPAP machine. w00t!

Best Holiday Wishes to all of you and yours…and Sweetest Dreams Possible.



Mochi Update

Friday, November 16th, 2007

This should satisfy those Mochi-watchers out there.  She’s only 1.5 lbs lighter than Rira now.  Crazy belly baby.

Shelby and Mochi

le mew

Today I saw hot Doctor Steve my dentist (he has a Shelby too) and he filled Mr. Crapity sans big needles full of numbing drugs.  I mean really, I’m still numb on my gums, a little nerve action shouldn’t bother me.  Actually, I don’t like getting numbed, so unless the doc knows they are going to touch/expose the nerve, I go numbless…  There were actually 3 people (including me) today who declined drugs in the office.  So I guess they’re crazy too.

Off to Hawaii in 3 days.  Life sucks.  Again I ask…how on earth did I get friends like the ones I have?  I mean, loan me your house in Hawaii?  Yeah…I dreamed that.


Operation Turkey Trot Hitch

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Today was my ultrasound of my kidneys. They made me drink 24 oz. water 1 hour before pressing very very hard on my belleh…that’s just mean! Well, I found out that more fluid=more pain. So I’d like not to do that again, except that they keep telling me to push fluids. Blech.

One would think (well, I was hoping) that with all this nausea and lack of appetite I would have squeaked a little closer to my OTT goal, but alas, I am still in the 149 range, though one morning I saw 147 and almost broke the scale jumping in excitement. So I guess that diet is on hold…or done with and the new one is called…Operation MMAniversary. So maybe one year after my date of surge (December 26, 2006) I will be the ALL NEW, ALL IMPROVED Super chomping and gleaming tooth action super hero I would have dreamed of being, if I could have had normal dreams. How’s that for a mouthful?

Speaking of a mouthful, I went to a movie yesterday called “Wrist Cutters. A Love Story” Okay yes, bad title…but AWESOME movie. And Tom Waites is in it, so…BONUS. I loved it…and you know what else I loved? POPCORN. A whole frikkin bag of it with MY NAME ON IT. I was shoving that stuff in and getting my hands all greasy and Courtland almost lost a finger trying to snag a kernel. Oh I was loving that. And then I flossed last night WITHOUT the stupid threader thingy…Heaven, I tell you. Absolute Heaven.

And just because I’m so excited to have slippy slidey teeth, I will show you again…


shelby and courtland