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New runners: Brooks Adrenaline!Earlier this year, I mentioned how I wanted to put big travel plans on hold because I could have upcoming medical expenses that could cost me thousands. Well, now that I know a little bit more about the cost, I can share with you. :)

You probably know I’ve been having foot problems for over a year. After finding a passion for distance running last year, I injured myself in August of last year. Since then, I’ve stopped and started training programs a couple of times due to this nagging injury. Well, a few weeks ago I finally went to see a podiatrist, got x-rays, and today I went in and discussed the options available to me.

Basically, I need to get bunion surgery at some point. The bones in my big toe are drifting farther away from my foot, and surgery is the only answer to permanently fixing my problem. Otherwise it’s only going to get worse.

It will cost a total of $6,000 for both feet through the podiatrist (each foot has to be done separately), plus a recovery time of 4-5 weeks for each surgery. 2 weeks in a cast (1 week at home), and then 2-3 weeks of recovery/no exercise until I can start moving again. The cost of the surgery doesn’t worry me as much as the actual recovery, but $6,000 is still quite a lot of money.

So the only other option I have is to get a referral from my doctor to see an orthopedic surgeon. The same procedure done by an orthopedic surgeon should be covered under medical. But the problem is, it’s hard to get into see a surgeon, and the wait time could be extremely long (versus just a month or two with the podiatrist). I’ve booked an appointment to see my doctor in order to get that orthopedic surgeon referral, so fingers crossed! :)

In the meantime, I’m getting custom orthotics made by the podiatrist (covered under my extended health insurance). It won’t solve my problem, and my feet will still hurt, but it will help a little bit. And my bones will stop moving as fast as they have been.

Has anyone done this surgery before? I’d love to hear about cost and recovery time!

My braces – an update nearly 2 years later

Most of you know that back in April 2011, I got adult braces. It was something I had wanted to do since I was a teenager, and I was finally in a financial position where I could afford to do it (since none of my jobs had extended benefits that would cover orthodontics). My treatment was supposed to last 18-24 months. And now that we’re approaching the 2-year mark, I decided to finally do an update.

One of the big reasons I haven’t done an update is because I was unhappy because I assumed my treatment would be set back by a year (since I was overseas for that long without an adjustment). But when I went to see my orthodontist back in December, I was pleasantly surprised when he said my treatment would likely only get extended by 6 months. So, as of right now I have about 8-9 months left to go – but fingers crossed I get them off sooner. :)

Here are the original photos of me with braces (about 3.5 months into treatment):

Related: June 17, 2011 – An update on my braces

Before and after

Here is a close up of my mouth “before” (September 2010) and as of this week (February 2013):

braces-beforeafter copy

Notice how different my smile looks! :D

Getting braces as an adult was scary, but it’s been a lot easier than I had thought it would be. And I’m extremely pleased with the results so far. Before I had braces, I didn’t see a lot wrong with my teeth. But looking at these before-and-after photos, I can tell that it looks so much better now. My teeth are now lining up properly, my smile looks so much better, and my bottom teeth are all completely straight.

I thought getting braces would hold me back from my career, and from my love life (I was single when I first got them). But aside from the braces making me look younger than I am, I haven’t had any problems with my career. I’ve been on television, spoken in front of large audiences, and had successful job interviews. And as for my love life, well I’ve been dating Nic for nearly the entire time I’ve had them, and he said he hardly notices them.

The only major problem I’ve had with my braces is that they haven’t been easy on my mouth. The brackets and the wire constantly cut the inside of my mouth, and I go through dental wax so fast. It makes it difficult to eat sometimes as well, but the only foods I’ve completely stayed away from are hard veggies/fruits (unless they’re cut up), chewy candies, gum, and corn on the cob.

Anyway over the past few years, I’ve had a lot of search engine traffic to my blog, with people asking if adult braces are worth it. And now that I’m just one installment away from paying off my braces – which cost $6,980 out-of-pocket BTW – I can honestly say that it was worth it for me, and I absolutely recommend it to people who are on the fence (like I was).

It’s been worth all the discomfort, and all the lingering stares at my mouth, and all the anxiety, and of course all the money! Because not only is my mouth healthier now, but my smile looks nicer, and that’s going to give me so much more confidence in the future. I never used to smile with my teeth, and now I do all the time. :)

Have you ever had (or contemplated getting) adult braces?

Photos of my braces

Brace yourself (hahahaha)! I’ve decided to put myself out there and post photos of myself AND my braces. I’ve had multiple requests for photos, so here they are. You all know where I spend every last penny, so you might as well know about the metal in my mouth as well. All $6,890 of it.

These were taken yesterday morning – sorry if I look a little sleepy! Not the greatest quality photos (I was just using the webcam on my Mac), but I’m far too lazy to re-take them or use Photoshop to clean the images up. You can click on the image for a better look.

I will admit that these pictures are kind of cheating because I wasn’t brave enough to do any super close-up shots. :) I’m only 3.5 months into the process, so my teeth are still pretty wonky looking. That being said, these are literally the only photos in existence of me smiling with braces, and also, probably the only photos of myself on this entire blog (besides my first non-anonymous entry back in October).

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