Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 15

Happy Halloween:)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day 14 - Two weeks!

Feels so good to get to two weeks.

Here are pics from today compared to the morning of surgery. I'm beyond happy with my profile and am happy my front view doesn't look too different. I am still swollen in my jowel area and my upper lip, so it's hard to tell if I have a 'cut' jaw or if it's just still swollen. Either way, I'm happy. P.S. Pardon the glasses tan line on my nose! I always wear them but have been taking pics w/out, to get a more complete picture of my face.

I am stealing this next move from Tom. Here's a map of my numbness. The dark grey is totally numb, the yellow is semi numb. It's not perfect, but you get the idea!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Day 13 - video

Not much to report. Taking a quiet day today.

I did sneeze for the first time since surgery. This was one of the things I have been worried about happening. I sneezed five times in a row. I was told to sneeze with my mouth open. I did, no harm done I think!

Had one of my fave meals so far. Refried beans, mushed avocado and vegan tofutti sour cream. So good.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Day 12

Today was the first time I drove since surgery. It felt good to be behind the wheel and to know I have some independence back. I met two girlfriends for brunch. I had a smoothie! It was nice to catch up and get my mind off of jaw surgery.

I noticed yesterday that my stitches are starting to dissolve. Every so often I fish out bits of string from my mouth.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day 11 - video

Hi y'all! Feeling great. Went for a nice long walk today with Jeff and the dogs. The weather is really warm and the sun feels so good on my face. I thought I'd shoot a video, since it's been one week since my last one.

I dropped by my ortho's office yesterday. He's out of town, but one of the assistants helped my by removing some wires poking my lips. Which is why my front lower teeth have sparkling new blue ligatures.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Day 10

Today is the first day since being home I can actually relax. Yesterday I had a doctors appointment (ladies, beware of side effect of antibiotics overload!), went grocery shopping, made split pea soup, went to an 8 year old's soccer practice and did laundry. Of course, it's 9am here and I've eaten, showered watched an episode of Homeland and am wondering "ok now what?".

Here are today's pix. It's so interesting to see how my left side is a little ahead of healing than my right. Both in swelling and function. Even when I talk or smile, the left side of my upper lip moves more than my right.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 9

I'm back home. Traveling yesterday took a lot out of me. I always consider myself a tough cookie, but by the time I reached my gate yesterday afternoon I was in tears. I was feeling tired, beat up and a little scared about flying. I made it home, but didn't get very much sleep. My jaw was so tense I kept clenching the first few hours. So, I stayed awake until I was relaxed enough to release my bite. So happy to be home with Jeff, Thomas, doggies and my kitchen!!! Can't wait to break out the Vitamix and juicer;)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Public eating!

Ok at Boston Logan. Huddled in the corner w/napkins, a hand mirror, soup and juice. Not sure what I'm most excited about, finding vegan soup or juice that will give me almost 300 calories! And yes, I've kept the bloody nostril for sympathy.

Day 8

I fly home today! I'm so excited. Woke up with my nose semi cleared, minimal dripping and minimal drooling. I even squeezed my toothbrush between my teeth to brush the inside of my mouth...heavenly. I am so happy that my lips are looking more normal. Especially my top one, which is showing some definition. Up until now the space between my nose and lip has been totally flat, but now it's gotten it's "shape" back!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 7 - One week!!!

I can't believe I made it to this point. On Day 1 post op in the hospital I was so down and Day 7 seemed so far away. But alas, I'm here:)

I had an appointment with my surgeon yesterday and he was very happy with how things look and my progress.
So much so that there's no reason to wait until Saturday to fly home! I can leave as soon as tomorrow. Since my mom and I both used miles, we can change last minute w/out paying. I'm going to see how I feel today. I'm most concerned w/my nose being stuffed.
He took out the stitched on outside each cheek. I always wondered why people had these cheek holes. They were for the screwdriver!!

Here's a recap of how things stand:

Numbness: still numb on chin, upper lip and over sinuses. Lots of tingling and weird coldness on my cheeks and chin.

Sleeping: I have been lucky to have gotten a lot of sleep since arriving here. I sleep with three pillows behind me and I must slide down through the night bc I usually end up waking pretty flat on my back. I also use a Vicks brand vaporizer at night. It puts out hot steam.

Meds: Taking 600mg ibuprofen every 6 hrs. (3 gel caps that I push between my teeth and slurp down w/water)

Food: I eat "meals" three times a day either slurping from a cup or with a spoon if it's too thick to slurp. Morning is usually blended oatmeal and soy milk. Lunch and dinner is usually soup. Last night I blended spaghetti marinara. It was great!!

Snacks: I eat snacks before I take my meds. I love the apple sauce pouches bc they are easy, take no prep and taste great. I usually make a banana, peanut butter and almond milk smoothie in the afternoon.

Brushing: I can brush the outside of all my teeth. Yay! I also use a saline mouthwash after each meal and swish and rinse w/Peridex in the morning and night.

Nose: My right nostril has been running (mostly red) since surgery and has been mostly stuffy. My left doesn't run much but it goes through cycles of being stuffed, runs and deposits gook (usually after shower) and then is clear... Then stuffed again.

Surgery: bottom jaw advanced 12mm. Top jaw advanced 6mm. Nasal turbinates cleared.

Talking: I do my best! I am semi-understandable.

Drooling: all the time.

Pics for today:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 6

I was able to brush most of the outside of my teeth today - very exciting!
I highly recommend two long showers a day post op. One to get the day going and one to relax you after a long day. I have my appt w/the doc at 2:15. His office has been a less than 10 min walk from the hotel. Let's see how long it takes today!

I should also mention I am only taking 600mg of ibuprofen every 6 hrs. My last dose of oxycodone was once on Day 4 before bed. My other vice is Aquaphor and Vaseline lip therapy.

Here are today's pix! My biggest smile attempt and my beautifully closed bite;)


Just thought I would recap my eating experience so far...

I was lucky enough to have an NG tube the first 24 hrs, so my first few "meals" were poured directly into my stomach. These meals were usually one bottle of isopure, which was about 10oz and had 190 calories. These were given before my pain meds.

Dr. Henry is anti-syringe, pro-slurping out of a cup. In ICU the first night he found a huge cup and let me try slurping down some diluted ginger ale.
This was not very successful. Most of it went down my chin. However, there was one spot on my tongue that could "taste" and the ginger ale was heavenly. But too taxing to keep trying.

On day 1 Post op they took the tube out, so I was responsible for actual eating. The nurses put together some syringes (even though Dr Henry frowned upon them) and off I went to my recovery room. I had met with the hospital dietitian and we created a menu. She was really nice and after the anti vegan fiasco with my nurse, I found dietary to be extremely helpful and accommodating.

My days meld together, but I know I started with broth from a syringe and eventually took my docs advice and successfully was slurping from a cup. This was so much better!!! It took me the same amount of time to syringe 2 oz of something as it would a half a cup while slurping.

Things I was eating at the hospital: cream of wheat, pureed veggie soup, smoothies.

I eat about the same now as i did in the hospital. Lots of puréed soups, blenderized oatmeal, cream of wheat with lots of almond milk as well as green juices (kale, cucumber, parsley, etc). I haven't been very adventurous in trying to purée something like spaghetti, but I guess when I'm sick of what I'm eating now ill give it a shot. I'm lucky, there are two restaurants within 50ft of my hotel that make two vegan soups a day. So variety has been aplenty;)

I don't know how much weight I've lost, but I will try to find out the next time I go to Dr. Henry's office. I imagine maybe 5 or 6 lbs.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day 5

Definitely have a bit more spring in my step today. Actually put on jeans and shoes after my shower. Went with my mom to a pharmacy to pick up more Motrin and to take a drive to enjoy all the colors of the trees. Going out in public is a bit humbling, but oh well!

Question: when am I going to be able to really brush my teeth?! My mouth is disgusting. I do what I can... Saline rinse after every meal as well as brushing my front teeth, but it is just not enough!

Oh, and I DID make it out last night to take a look at Pumpkinfest!

Recap: The Hospital

It's always a good sign when a blogger writes her recap of the hospital stay. Any sort of blogging, texting, mental activity in general, is exhausting. But I've gotten to that point where I'm feeling more like I have a really bad flu + recent wisdom teeth removal, rather than being post surgery. So here goes...

Jeff and I arrived at the hospital at 6am for surgery at 7:30am. It took about 15 mins to get admitted and was sent to a waiting room to wait for the pre-surgery nurse. After a short wait I was brought back to a changing area (Jeff waited behind) and then was brought to the pre-op beds. The nurse then did a whole new health history with me, took blood and started my IV. Then my dad (who had since arrived to hospital) and Jeff were brought back to wait with me.  


My dad and Jeff.

My surgical team started coming in : My surgeon, the OR nurse, Anesthesiologist, recovery nurse, etc. Then I said my goodbyes to Jeff and my dad and was wheeled away to the OR. The OR was hoppin' when I was wheeled in with people buzzing around and music playing. I remember being moved from the bed to the table and that's about it! The next thing I remember is waking up in the first recovery room and my dad and Jeff were there. But it was pretty foggy. At some point I remember being wheeled from recovery to the ICU. The pain meds they had given me was too strong for my system and they had a hard time keeping me alert and my oxygen levels dropped. I remember my surgeon saying "take deep breaths Amanda!" I remember thinking "why all the fuss, I feel fine, let me drift back to sleep, leave me alone!" But after hearing the story from my dad and Jeff later I guess everyone was very freaked out at the time. They ended up giving me another drug to counter act the first pain medication and decided to switch me to morphine.

The next thing I remember is being woken up by an earthquake. So bizarre.

Coming out of surgery I had a urinary catheter and an NG tube coming out my nose. The NG tube was pumping blood and junk out of my stomach. The other purpose was to pump nutrition in. My first feeding was scheduled for about 10pm. This was when my least favorite of my nurses was on....James. He seemed like he was some young kid who just started. I much preferred the mommy type women who took care of me at every other shift. Anyway, so James says "We have Ensure, Boost, etc" At this point I hadn't started speaking yet, I was writing everything down, which was exhausting. I wrote to him "I AM VEGAN." Which the hospital knew coming into this and I even told Jeff to please make sure they didn't pump in dairy. Not only is it against my daily practice, but I haven't had it in so long that dairy would really upset my stomach. Anyway, Jeff was there and was being my advocate and explaining my concern. The kid was such a jerk he basically looked at me and said, "Well, you decide, either you eat or you don't". Jeff kept asking, can't we pump in some soy milk or something? And the kid was stuck on the fact that the Ensure comes packaged in a way where it 'snaps' into their NG system. Finally he left and came back about 20 minutes later with a container of soy milk and bottles of ISOPURE. Technically Isopure isn't vegan, because there is whey protein, but it's not a dairy drink, it looks like gatorade. He was able to rig they system so that he could pour it down my tube.
First meal. Finally!

Later that night, after my second meal, James gave me my morphine. He did it too fast and I puked about 10 minutes later. Sad for him, I puked all over my gown and bed. So he and another nurse had to clean it all up. After that, they cut my morphine dose in half and made sure to administer it super slowly. The puking wasn't bad, it came on really quick and once it was done, I never felt nauseous again.

I slept pretty well considering. The next day in the afternoon they transferred me out of ICU. Before sending me down they took out my tube and catheter. Neither was bad at all.  I was so happy because I was put in the pediatrics floor. (Apparently, Dr. Henry likes all his patients to go to pediatrics b/c the care is so good). I had kids as neighbors and babies being born down the hall. I also had my own room and very attentive, friendly nurses. I stayed for two nights and was finally sent home yesterday. I don't know how some of you leave the hospital after one night! Three seemed perfect.

OK, now I'm tired and I know I'm leaving stuff out. But these are the basics of my stay:)


A few added notes to this post:
-For the first few days out of surgery my face felt like it had vaseline smothered all over it. Maybe it did, I never asked.
-My surgeon was a rockstar. He was so attentive and visited me twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night. He also checked in with the nurses during the day. He was very encouraging and was always giving me information and tips.

Here's a link to my hospital writing pad pictures.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day 4 Video

I apologize in advance for all the drool!

Day 4

It feels like I'm getting close to the "it was worth it" stage.

A lot of numbness, but I am getting the itchy and tingly feelings on lower jaw. One side is still bigger than the other (my right). It keeps switching in pictures depending on how I take them on my iPhone.

I will be a whole lot happier when my nose clears. It really sucks having a dry mouth throughout the night. And I'm hoping that will alleviate some of the pressure I feel in my head.

I left the hospital yesterday afternoon and am very happy in the hotel. I am by myself now until this afternoon when my mom gets here. It's probably good that I have to move around so much.

I have to admit I've been sleeping pretty good. I even got 8 hours the night before surgery. It seems I sleep in 2/2.5 hour cycles. Where I wake up to drink water for my parched mouth and to take my ibuprofen (every 6hrs). I was even able to watch an episode of Mad Men and Downton Abby yesterday. Which doesn't seem like an achievement but it was!

Today is Pumpkinfest in Keene. I can hear the loudspeaker from the town square in my room. I'd like to get out today and take a look.

Anyway thanks for your support and well wishes!


Pics are from just now. A bit more swollen than last night.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Shout out

This post is a shout out to CeCe and Ellie. I don't know how you both did this twice. I keep thinking of you when I get down and remember that I will get through this. You ladies are champions.

Day 3

Thanks everyone for your comments. I read them all but have zero concentration to reply.

It's 3am here. Just got an antibiotic in my drip, and it's the dreaded time for me to take Motrin. It's disgusting. It's grape flavored and it makes me gag. It takes 4 1oz diluted syringes to get it down. I'm using syringes to eat everything but water, which I can drink straight from a cup.

The hardest thing is my stuffed nose. I have to breath w/my mouth and it gets so dry.

I think I am getting out of here today. I can't wait to sit next to a steamy shower to try to open up my nasal airway.

Ps I am laughing (on the inside) at everyone who though I looked "cute" in my pics. I definitely don't feel it!

I will do a recap of surgery day when I have energy.

Here r pics I just took.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 1

Thank u everyone who has sent me wishes. They were greatly appreciated.

How did all get through this?! Eating (drinking) is almost impossible. My lips are ginormous. And my mouth is filled w/guck.

Was in ICU last night and just got moved into a room in the pediatric department. I already feel a little bit better being in a quiet place.

Last night there was an earthquake here! I kid you not. 4.6 in Maine but felt it pretty good.

Havent had a ton of pain, just swollen. I did puke once last night after given some morphine too quickly. I've just been taking Motrin and am good.

The first pic was from today The second from last nigh.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Made it

Hi kids.
Just a quick post. Surgeon says all went perfectly. This whole experience is intense. But doable. thanks for all the wishes and support.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Pre-Game: Surgery Tomorrow!

By this time tomorrow I will have been wheeled out of the OR and will have the coveted classification as a "post-opper".  Today I am gathering last minute supplies and hanging close to hotel, while trying to stay calm.

We have enjoyed our weekend here in New England. We walked around Walden Pond, drove through Vermont and enjoyed some local microbrews.  My dad arrived to town yesterday and will be here until Thurs and my mom is coming on Saturday to switch with Jeff, since he has to get back home to take care of his son.

I check into the hospital tomorrow at 6:00am and surgery is at 7:30am. It will be about 6 hours long.

Here's to a very restful night sleep for my surgeon.

See you all on the other side:)


Walden Pond

Jeff tests out the sleeping-while-sitting position.