Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 43 - 6 weeks!! (and one day)

I couldn't get it together to post last night, so here is my 6 week update a day late.

I'm feeling great. I was officially able to start chewing soft foods yesterday, though I have to admit, I started on Sunday morning with a bagel.  Then followed it up by chewing every meal after that. It's very bizarre because my teeth are still numb, so I have to rely on my tongue to feel my food's consistency going from solid to mashed.

My surgeon called me last night to see how I was doing at the 6 week mark and to also give me the green light to start chewing soft foods... um... thanks?! I figure I've been so good up until this point that I didn't need to mention the fact that I started a couple days ago! He also said the more I chew, the better my mouth will function, that it will be like physical therapy. He said I should continue sleeping on my back for another 3 weeks. At that point I can also start eating a more regular diet.

I also didn't mention that I went on a jog last week. I didn't over do it. I ran in intervals of 1 min run, 1 1/2 min walk (8 times). This is the first workout in a program called "couch to 5k". I've used it before when training for a 5k race, but figured why not start at the beginning again. I'm glad I did. Even though I felt good while running, I was so exhausted that night. I think I was in bed by 730pm. I haven't run again since then, because it's been so busy with the holidays, but I will go out again this weekend. I have to say, the opening of my airway made a HUGE difference. I didn't feel out of breath at all! (The iPhone app I use is called "Get Running")

Chin, gums and teeth are totally numb. The rest of my face is in different stages of semi-numbness. My lips feel like they are totally chapped, but in reality aren't at all. Just one of those weird semi-numb feelings.

I still get achy feelings in my right jawline and chin, but not as much as I used to.

My next ortho appointment is Dec. 18.

My right side is still more swollen than my left. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 38

I saw all of my family yesterday for Thanksgiving. Most of whom I hadn't seen since surgery. It was very nice because most everyone was so positive w/comments, either saying I didn't look that different, but my bite looked great (which I'm happy with) or saying that they could see the changes to my profile (which I'm also happy with). I only had one family member, who's first comment with hand gestures was, "your jaw is huge" look like that guy, what's his name? Oh yeah, Jaws". Um thanks. I'm only semi offended, this relative is a known grump since, well, birth I'm told.
It seems every one of us has had at least one instance of mean post-surgery commentary, so glad to get it out of the way. It was also soon shrugged off when my aunt told my lips looked luscious;)

Anyway, it really was a lovely day and most everyone was so supportive and excited for me. I ate lots of mashed and chopped up food!!

Can't wait to try chewing on Tuesday!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 35 - 5 weeks!

Feeling good at five weeks. I woke up on Sunday and felt like my numbness eased slightly. I can actually rub my lips together and feel it... very exciting.

One more week of no chew diet! Even though I can't chew, I'm done with soup. For dinner I had a falafel sandwich. It took me forever to eat, but I smashed it up one semi-forkful at a time - falafel, pita, shredded carrots, sprouts and all. Brushing took twice as long and I will probably still have sprouts and carrots in my teeth tomorrow.

My chin and right jawline are still sensitive and I get cold sensations sometimes. My right jawline still gets a bit achey too. I feel generally "tight" around my mouth and nose. I'm still sleeping on my back and need at least 8 hours (I usually need 7). My gums are TOTALLY numb, but that is something you don't even notice. Brushing is easier and I don't feel like I have to be as gentle. It's also easier now that I can really open my mouth.

I'm very excited because I can almost imagine feeling normal and having normal function. It is so close!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving... even you non-yanks! I am beyond thankful for being able to breathe and having teeth that fit together... and last but not least for all you bloggers who have encouraged me by sharing your own stories and by giving me words of support on this blog.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Day 32

You know when you go to the kitchen and you are about to make something, but then realize you can't eat it because you are on a no chew diet? Well, this afternoon I was about to toast a bagel when I realized my mistake. Then I said f*#k it and toasted it anyway, smothered it in vegan butter and ate it one tiny morsel at a time. It took about a half hour to swallow half a bagel w/out chewing.

I apologize for the off color language, but sometimes, that's how I feel and thank goodness for carbs.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 31 - One month!!!

It's crazy to think that one month ago today I was waking up in recovery with a smushed and swollen face wrapped in ice and an ace bandage. I am so grateful to have come so far so quickly.

I really feel like my energy is back to where it was before surgery. I expect to have even more with my improved airway. That being said, my loss of muscle was apparent after my office building had a fire drill on Wednesday. I walked down 17 flights of stairs. I didn't think it was a big deal, until the next morning when my calves were on fire walking down the stairs at home. It was quite shocking.

As my numbness eased over the past week, I was having pulsing pain in my lower right jaw (the more swollen of the two). I've notice that the pain has eased. I'm also able to sit comfortably at night to watch TV without all the coldness and general itchiness I was feeling for the past few weeks. I stopped taking ibuprofen earlier this week.

I'm generally pretty numb, but the areas that have moved from the category of totally numb to a little bit of feeling have increased. For example, my skin on my upper lip has some feeling, but the muscle underneath is pretty numb. It's weird.

My right nostril is still pretty stuffed. My left is open most of the time. It's still draining junk from my sinuses. My favorite thing is taking a shower. I literally stay in the shower for 30 mins or so. It does wonders with my nose! Aside from a little stuffiness in my nose, my main airway is SO OPEN!!! I will use the expression "I'm drowning in air"! I can't wait to take some "after" imaging to compare to my before.

Broccoli is my new best friend. It is chock full of nutrients and so easy to mash up and eat without having to chew!! I can chew soft foods at 6 weeks and at 9 I can be more adventurous.

I sleep pretty soundly. I use two pillows and still sleep on my back and am keeping my mouth closed and breathing through my nose.

The state of my jaw:
I can open about an inch.
I've been to the ortho about 3 times. The first (day 20) was just for oohs and aahs and he took out my rubber bands. The second (day 23) he took out all the hard composite holding together my top wire and replaced it with a 1625. The third was yesterday (day 30) where he upgraded my top wire with a 1725. He'd like to expand my upper arch a bit. My next appointment is a month from now. I still don't have rubber bands. Yesterday at my appointment, Liz, Dr. Hang's amazing assistant, showed me how I could feel the missing bone on each side of my lower jaw. The bone will eventually grow back, but there is a big divot now. It is gross and fascinating!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 28 - 4 Weeks!!

Hey y'all. So happy for 4 weeks. Things are good except that I'm getting more achey/pain as my numbness eases. My face still feels like it's numb from standing outside on a blistery winter's day.

Saturday night I went to the 50th birthday bash of my former boss. There were tons of people there I haven't seen or talked to since before I left that job a year ago. Only my boss and his wife knew about my surgery, so I had a TON of conversations about it and why I was speaking a bit "off". It was also 4 hours of non-stop smiling. I was so exhausted, my jaw was sore and I was slurring my speech by the end of the night. The next day my jaw was aching pretty badly. On Sunday I went to visit Jeff's family for his sister's bday party and had another long day of talking, smiling and laughing... but I didn't mind, I was so happy to see everyone! His family seemed really surprised by my progress and excited about the results.

I'm still more swollen on my right side, which is also the side I have pain - a dull ache on my jawline.

Here are pics from tonight:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 23 - Video

Had a follow up appointment with my orthodontist today. He didn't want to do too much on Monday, because it was too soon so today he went to town. When my surgeon split my upper jaw into three pieces he had cut my arch wire in two places and "reattached" it with a hard composite. My orthodontist spent this afternoon drilling that composite off my wire so that he could remove and replace it. He also replaced a broken band on one of my molars. I was in the chair with my mouth open for quite some time. I happily left without rubber bands! He'd like to expand my upper arch a bit and put in a 1625 wire today. I am going back a week from today so that he can hopefully change the wire to the next size up.

Spoiler alert! There's a very exciting moment around 2:07 in the video.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

This is what my surgery was (sorta)

This is for the handful of family and friends who I shared this blog with during recovery (who aren't obsessive jaw bloggers who know every aspect of these procedures already!). This is a combination of the surgery I had, though my bite is different than the videos.

Maxillary (upper jaw) Advanced 6mm (Mine was separated into 3 pieces as well as moved forward)

Mandibal Advanced 12mm

I also had my nasal turbinates cleared on both sides.

Day 21 - 3 weeks!!

So happy to have gotten here:)

How crazy is this before and after?! I am so happy to have my rubber bands off and be able to see my FANTASTIC bite.
Morning of surgery - biting down.

Day 21!

I've been wanting to do a timeline of all my photos for awhile, but figured I'd wait for a special occasion. Looking back at day 0 through 4 gives me the shivers just remembering how terrible I felt. How easily we forget discomfort.
I love that I can't contain a smile in my last few pics!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 20

Was so happy to see my OD today and his staff. He's been out of the country lecturing and this is the first time I've seen him since surgery. Everyone was super excited to see me and the results. It made me especially happy because everyone who has seen me thus far are friends and family. No one can appreciate the talent of surgeon in combination with the talent of my orthodontist in combination with my crazy terrible bite like professionals;) Besides, we've all taken this long journey together and it's so satisfying to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And he let me go without rubber bands, which have been in and unchanged since surgery... Woohoo!!

This is how big I can open without rubber bands!

Surgery Supply List

Here are the items that made my life more comfortable:

- Travel neck pillow - I used this my first week and a half at night in addition to 3 pillows.

- Syringes - The hospital supplied these. I used them the first 24 hours after my feeding tube was removed. I found them to be very helpful in the beginning.

- Paper cups - I slurped all my food from paper cups starting on morning 2. Hard plastic and glass are too difficult. I swear by slurping. It takes the same amount of time to slurp an 8 oz cup as it does to syringe 1 oz.

Vick's Vaporizer - A humidifier is a MUST the first week and a half! Since I had my nasal turbinates cleared, my nose was extremely congested, making me breathe through my mouth at night. This was very uncomfortable and made my mouth very dry. The vaporizer let out hot steam, which helped my throat and nose.

- Lip Balm - A MUST. I used a combination of Aquaphor, Vaseline Lip Therapy and Chapstick.

- Blender - a must.

- Ice packs - I brought a jawbraw, but I ended up using the ice packs the hospital sent me home with.

- Baby toothbrush

- Baby spoons

- Apple sauce pouches - quick and easy calories to take before middle of the night meds.

- Hand mirror - I still use one to eat!

My advice is don't go crazy on supplies. I hardly used any of the items I purchased. That being said, if anyone is looking for new supplies, I'd be happy to send you my left overs! I have unused syringes, squeeze bottles, jawbraw w/packs and nutriSqueez pouches. Please don't be shy - let me send them to you!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 19

I am realizing my taste buds are WAY off. I have a hard time with sweet and sour. There's a mint and grapefruit juice that I usually love, but now it just tastes super sour and I can't make out the mint. I can't quite pinpoint how they are off, but they are just off.

I had pancakes this morning! I put extra (vegan) butter and syrup on them and mashed each forkful and put it on my tongue, mashed some more against the roof of my mouth and swallowed. So good!!!

I also bought a bag of chips. I successfully ate about 10 yesterday at my dad's, by breaking them up into small pieces and leaving them in my mouth until they are mush. So i figured that warranted my buying my own bag.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 18

Watching football today w/the fam. Had two sips of beer and have been breaking up chips (crisps for you brits!) and placing them on my tongue until they dissolve. Heaven.

Thomas helped me take my pics today;)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 17

The numbness is really getting to me. My face feels so tight. It's especially uncomfortable at night before bed. I can never get comfortable sitting on the couch watching tv. My gums also ache. Getting pulsing sensations in my chin, jawline and sinuses and have "the itches" on my lips. Argh!!! I think I look better in pics than in person. The right side of my jawline is noticeably more swollen, but it doesn't really show here. Sorry for the grumpy post! It really is tiresome to have these sensations for so many days in a row.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 16

I went back to work today. It was a shorter day (5hrs), but it was work nonetheless. I felt like I was ready and I was getting bored at home. I was also eager to catch up on things, since I've been gone for so long. I was really happy to see my workmate, who I've been friends with forever. I followed it up w/a trip to the grocery store (anyone else sick of making soup?!) and a short walk w/the doggies. I can guess what I'll be doing the rest of the afternoon...that is after I make another pot of soup:(