Brandy's Braces, SARPE, Jaw Surgery Journal

This is my daily journal to my eventual perfect smile and Apnea free life. It logs my surgeries, and daily progress.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

5 weeks Post Op - Leaving Las Vegas

So today is officially 5 weeks post op. Things have been going mostly well, however, I can officially say that I'm getting really frustrated with the whole eating thing. Now mind you I have been in Vegas for the past week. There are restaurants everywhere, and finding food I can eat has not been as hard as I thought it would be. With that being said, I think I have eaten pasta like everyday for what feels like a month now! I'm so sick of the stuff I could just hurl. This week alone I've had lobster ravioli, fetticini alfredo, spaghetti and meatballs, low mein noodles, and two noodle soup bowls. Noodles are seriously on my gross out list as of today. I'm feeling sorta frustrated with the lack of being able to eat freely. I didn't have time for breakfast this morning and figured I would just grab a bite to eat at the airport. There are a ton of restaurants here...unfortunately what they carry, that I can eat is pretty limited. Soup, chili, and that is about it. I was so hungry I managed to get down a pretzel dog from Aunt Annie's pretzels. Not the most healthy, nor very easy to eat, but it was protein and sorta filled me up. I can't wait to get home to be able to have a little more control over my food options. This diet is about killing me!

I must admit that I have been being a little bad. My doctor said no chew for 6 weeks, which will be next Friday. I have been testing out my new bite just a bit though to see how it will do. Now mind you everything I have tried to chew has been super soft, like a small piece of pasta, or the center of a piece of french bread. What I have found is that it is not pleasant nor enjoyable (as I was so hoping it was going to be.) in fact it is rather uncomfortable. Also since I'm missing the molar on my left side I can only chew on my right which is where my bridge is. Things are pretty sensitive in that area as my rubberbands sorta yank on the two teeth that secure it and it feels tender. So, I guess what I'm saying is that next week is probably going to be pretty anti-climatic when it comes to testing out the new choppers!

I'm typing this in the airport while I wait for my departure flight, and must say that I'm ready to get home. The allergy report around here says that ragweed and sage are very high. I had not known I was allergic to these two offenders but apparently I am as I have been having issues with my sinuses the whole time I have been here. When I haven't been all stuffed up and feeling puffy, my nose has been bleeding from the dryness. Also, it sucks to not be able to blow your nose when it feels congested. I have gently done a little bit of blowing, even though my doctor told me not to. I was so plugged up and a q tip was just not doing it. will be nice to get home to the familiar, dry, summer air of Alaska, and out of this desert!

As for how things are going with the healing. Not too much has changed in the last week. I have days where things seem like they are really improving and then others where I"m all puffed up again. My lower lip still feels very thick and numb, especially in the center. I have some sensation in it, and like I can put on lip stick, and rub my lips together and feel it, but my bottom lip just feels like it is 3 times the size of my upper lip. I still have a lot of swelling in my cheeks and closing my mouth at times is not something I can do without thought. Unless I want to bite off my cheeks, or lower lip that is. Most of my swelling continues to persist on the left hand side. My tongue continues to remain numb also. I'm really trying not to freak out about this part, but it is really starting to bother me. Sleeping has been improving, I just haven't been getting enough of it lately. I'm still trying to keep my head elevated so that I'm not as puffy through my sinuses during the day. I have been staying on my vitamins etc though, and have not used any pain medicine since I left Anchorage. I will post a 5 week pic that I took today at the hotel pool when I get back home. I feel very puffy today so change in appearance will probably be minimal. I'm hoping that once I'm back in my own environment I will be able to see greater improvements in the next week with a more adequate fluid intake, and varied diet.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Cirque De Soleil O - What an Amazing Show!!!!

Ok, so last night we went to our first Las Vegas show. We had hoped to go to a few others but things just didn't work out with the conference schedule we were attending. Plus our hotel is about 30 minutes from the strip so it didn't make things very easy.

Anyway.....we went to see Cirque de Soleile's O at the Bellagio. Tickets were spendy, $165.00 each. We had amazing seats though, third row from the front of the stage. That show was so worth it though! It was absolutely incredible! From the beginning to the end we were just mesmerized by the amazing feats and talent. In case your not familiar with this show it is a done in a specially designed water pool that changes constantly from solid, to fluid, to small stages in the center, off to the sides etc. Basically it is constantly changing! There are synchronized swimmers, acrobats, contortionists, aereolist, divers, dancers, trapeze artists, clowns, etc. It is very hard to describe it as there is so much going on at any given time you can hardly take it all in. It was truly the most captivating, impressive show I have ever watched. Soooooooo worth the money we spent on the tickets! The costumes, stage effects, and just the set itself are beyond words. If you ever get a chance to go see it I highly recommend it. We had been told by several other Las Vegas regulars and other friends who have been to Vegas a lot, that if you only see one show that this was the one to see. Not seeing the others I have nothing to compare it to, but can say that O will not leave you disappointed!

I would come back to Vegas only to go to another show. I definitely see what people are talking about when it comes to the entertainment. As for the rest of can keep it. I was not impressed, and given that I have had allergies the whole time it has not been the most enjoyable trip of my life. This show was really great though!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day 5 In Vegas, Chillin by the pool

Today we did nothing but hang by the pool. What a great day! Oh, and we did have to change hotels, as the one we were staying in was all booked up. Things are actually better at this much cheaper hotel. It is not so smokey, and a lot quieter, still smokey, but no where near as bad. At the really expensive hotel it was really dusty and my friend and I were having really bad allergies. We were both wheezing and sneezing all over the place. Here it is wonderful no problems breathing! We actually ate at a buffet tonight in the casino and it was good! I managed to eat some prime rib, hunan beef, salmon, noodles, spring roll, mashed potatoes, and a few bites of some different desserts. It was soo good to actually get some good, solid food into myself, even though I was miserably full for the rest of the night.

Here is a new updated pic. This is the view out of our hotel window now.
Tomorrow our conference starts so we will be inside from 7:30-5:30. We get a two hour lunch break and we are going to hit the pool during that time to continue working on our tan. Other than that not much else going on.

Here I am at the Bellagio waiting for the fountain show to come on. You can see the Eiffel Tower in the backround.  
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Monday, June 25, 2007

Day 4 in Vegas.....This is so not me!

So today we went down to the strip to check out the rely Vegas. I can sum it all up on one word..YUCK! I have come to the conclusion after seeing The Mirage, The Wynn, The Bellagio, The Venetian, Cesaear's Palace, Treasure Island, The Monte Carlo, New York, New York, and a few others I can't even remember right now, that they are all the same. Short of a bit different architecture they are all just smoked filled death traps. I hate that they build them all so that you must walk through the casio's to get to anything else. Everyone one we entered smelled like smoke covered with perfume, or air freshner spray. Just horrible.

We have not eaten in one restaurant inside a casino yet, as we can't stand the smoke long enough to want to stay in any of them. Every time we enter the smoke filled casio's my sinus burn so badly I can hardly stand it. It is so dry here that my nose has been bleeding, and the dust in the hotel rooms are making me sneeze like crazy. I'm pretty ok once I get outside but inside is really unpleasant on my sensitive post surgery nasal tissue.

Eating has been a bit difficult but not horrible. I bought a few things at the grocery store and put them in our hotel room refrigerator so I would have some staples to hold me over. As long as I stay hydrated my swelling is doing pretty ok. My lower lip is still a bit puffy but gets better each day which is good. At least sleeping has improved, and I have to say....we have the most glorious beds at this hotel. They are so wonderful! High quality linens, huge fluffy down pillows, and super soft pillow top beds. It is truly the most comfortable hotel bed I have ever slept in.

After today's adventure we have decided that our fun meter has been pegged. We are staying at our hotel and lounging by the pool tomorrow. Thats it and thats all I want to do.

We are going to see the Cirque du Soleil O on Friday, and perhap La Reve tomorrow night! Just depends on what we can work out.

Ok...I'm tired need to get some rest. I will post more tomorrow.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Day Two in Vegas

Well, being that this is my first time in Vegas I have to say it is interesting. Now coming from Alaska perhaps I'm just out of touch but I find things here to be rather depressing. I swear that there must be some kind of fake boob convention at our hotel, as I think my friend and I are the only ones who have the real thing. I mean today at the pool it was ridiculous! They were everywhere, and I swear if you pay for them there must be some secret code amongst other boob jobbers that you must push your chest out and see who can draw the most attention to that area. As if that wasn't enough a women came to the pool with her husband and her young daughter. By young I mean her dauther could not have been a day over 19 (and that is honestly probably a stretch) both mom and daughter had boob jobs! I found it to be do sad that people are so superfiscial here, but then I guess its Vegas right? Was was I expecting?

Also, I cannot believe the number of gray haired men running around with girlfriends that seriously lool like they could be their daughters! Its icky! Another thing that sorta floored me was all the drinking and smoking that goes on here. I mean its everywhere, in the pools! We went to the pool at 10:00am and I watched a couple young girls slam down 5 beers before noon! Now this is nothing I ever would have done, but their young so it doesn't really bother me. What I find a bit sickening is the number of 40 somethings in the pool, drinking like fish, smoking like chimmneys, talking about Marijuana, and parties like they are 21 years olds.

Now mind you we are staying in one of the more expensive hotels. It is off the strip and only been open a few months. I guess I thought we would be among a little bit higher caliber of people. Guess that is what I get for thinking though!

All in all we have been enjoying ourselves. My mouth is feeling so much better. The swelling is really coming down. So much so that I can smile almost normally without that tight feeling on my left side. I DO have a sinus infection though. Since starting the antibiotics things have improved tremendously with the swelling and sinus issues, but I think all the dry air here is bothering me a bit too. I have been sneezing (through my mouth only) like crazy, and at night my sinuses are really stuffy like I have a cold. Then everything clears up and is fine. Maybe its allergies or something. My teeth are fitting together great, and I don't have to strain against the swelling to close my mouth now, which is really cool! The swelling in my bottom lip is really coming down too! So all in all things are looking and feeling pretty good. Eating has been a bit challenging but I will go into that later in the week.

We are going to the strip tonight and plan to do a little bit of gambling. I mean were in Vegas, we have to play a little right?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Wafting Food Scents.....Subtle Torture!

Ok..still in the Airport here, but my gate is right across from Burger King and Cinnabon! All I can smell is onion rings! I know Burger King food is so gross, but at this moment! OMG does it smell good! I think I would give my eye teeth for something with some texture right now, might even kill for an onion ring! Ok, probably not, but man, the liquid, soft food stuff is starting to wear on me for sure.

I'm starving! I have baby food in my bag, but I'm too embarrased to take it out and eat it! LOL.. Maybe I will try and fork smash a Cinnabon....that sounds soo good! Dare I risk the public humiliation though, I tell you eating in public with a partially numb lower lip, is a special skill set all in itself.

1 Month Post Op

So today I'm officially 1 month post op. I can't believe I have lived through a whole month already. Thank goodness time flies when it comes to surgery LOL!

Had my post op visit with the OS today. He said that everything is looking great and that my bite could not look better. I would have to agree. Short of a little rotation on my left canine that needs to be taken care of, everything is fitting together wonderfully. I mean my midlines are even perfectly lined up, which is something I never thought would happen.
I can open my jaw to 25mm now, and the doctor removed the rest of my stitches that were hanging on and didn't want to dissolve. I was feeling pretty puffy yesterday, and even moreso today. We talked about how long it takes for the lymphatic drainage to sorta get back on board, and decided that with all the sneezing I have been doing lately, my increased fatigue, my stuffy nose, and the return of the puffiness in my sinus area that I most likely have a sinus infection. He had already given me a perscription so I started taking them today and already this evening I'm feeling a bit better. Not so much pressure in my head. I'm typing this as I wait for my flight to Vegas, so it is important that I start feeing better fast as I want to have a good time on my trip and not be all wiped out.

Lets see....the doctor asked me about my tongue, and the numbness in my lip. I explained to him that there are days when things actually feel almost close to normal, and then out of the blue I will get all numb, and tingly again. He said that was pretty normal and that most likely it is from overuse. That when the muscles get tired of competing with the scar tissue, fluids, and just working too hard etc that they just shut down, and that is when I will feel the most numbness.

He told me I was almost there and that in 2 more weeks I can start to begin trying out my new bite. He told me to go easy, to not try and bite into a bagel or anything, but that I could start chewing soft foods gently. He said that my upper teeth were going to feel pretty weird for quite awhile, but that I will get all the feeling back eventually (I know this from going through my SARPE before) He also said that he will be really surprised if the other numbness I have doesn't go away. He said he expects me to get full feeling back everywhere.
He asked if I was still sleeping with the rubberbands and I told him that the ortho has me in this HORRIBLE rubberband configuration where I'm basically banded shut at night. He said "Only at night?" I told him that I'm supposed to wear them as much as I can stand them but that wearing them to bed is as much as I can stand. That I'm averaging about 10-11 hours a night so I think that is pretty good. I also asked him about why, when I take off my rubberbands in the morning I can really feel it in my maxilla. Particularly in the area where the plates and screws are. He said that during the night unbeknownst to me that I'm sorta moving my jaw around and fighting against the rubberbands. He said even your facial muscles are working while I'm asleep and that when I awake and take the bands off, it is the face relaxing from the strain and fatigue. I told him that when I put the rubberbands on at night that my jaw has like these involuntary spasms a few times before it settles down. He also said that was very normal and not to worry about it. I only have to wear them for 1.5 more weeks so I guess everything is a sfine as it can be.

I will post a new pic tomorrow sometime, my face looks puffy today and not like it normally does. Besides, I'm too tired tonight and don't feel like messing with it at the airport!
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Day 27- MLD Massage

Today I started my day with an MLD massage. I will have to say that the jury is still out on this one. MLD is a very very light massage that is designed to help in the reduction of fluid through the lymph nodes. The massage therapist I saw has been trained at the Vodder clinic, which is the leader in MLD massage. It almost seems like it would do nothing because it is so gentle, but she explained to me that the fluid is right below the skin and it does not take much pressure to move it around. She explained a bunch of other stuff to me, but I was tired and not really paying attention. It did feel very relaxing though, however, I cannot see a difference yet. I felt very puffy all day today though and according to the massage therapist it can take a day or two to really release the fluids. She said each person is different and sometimes it can take a couple treatments so if things have not changed or improved by next week, I will go for another appointment after my Vegas trip.

Tomorrow is 4 weeks post surgery and I will be seeing my OS in the morning for my 1 month follow up. I'm going to ask him if I can use my sonic care, and will be interested to see what my range of motion is....if it has increased any. I was at 24mm two weeks ago. Hopefully these blasted rubberband have not made it worse.

The swelling and numbness seems to come and go. One day it will be really good and go down, the next it will be puffy and numb again! It's weird I can't seem to find any rhyme or reason to it.

I will post a 4 week pic tomorrow, I personally don't think much has changed but I will leave that up to you folks. I'm going to bed!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Day 26, Tired jaws and Sensitive Sniffer

Ok, didn't post anything new yesterday as there was nothing really remarkable to post. Things gradually improving day by day but nothing clearly significant to warrant a full post yesterday.

Today a friend of mine came to visit and we talked for about 2.5 hours straight. It is the most exercise my jaw has gotten since surgery. All in all (at the moment) it feels ok, I can tell I over worked it a bit as the numbness on my tongue dies down during the day, but when it gets strained it starts to come back again, as does the tingly feeling in my cheeks and I'm feeling that now.

Last night I slept well again, and actually had a dream that I was chewing some gum. I was chewing thinking it tasted good, when my jaw started hurting and I was like OMG I'm not supposed to be chewing anything and rapidly spit it out. Of course I was then paranoid that I had done some major damage, and the stress of it all woke me up! LOL...

Something I have noticed lately, and I'm not sure if it is due to the surgery or what is that I'm like super sensitive to smells now. Not sure if it is because my sinuses are more open now and I can smell stuff I normally couldn't or what, but its like everything smells so strongly now. I find myself repulsed by stuff that never used to bother me. An after affect of the anethesia possibly? Whatever it is its sortof driving me nuts.

The numbness in my left side and lower lip continues to diminish. With it the numbness in my mouth and tongue is gradually getting less and less. Today I noticed that my lower li is getting tingly all over and Im' starting to get more feeling back in it. If things continue as they have been I may not have any residual numbness at all, which would be phenomenal! I even have feeling in my chin now. Its not completely back but enough so at this point that I can feel if anything is running down my chin, or on it so that is a plus.

I'm still sleeping with the rubberbands at night, but they have become a bit more tolerable. At least for 7-8 hours of sleep. Then I just yank them off and go back to sleep for a few more without them. My teeth are looking really good though, and my bite is fitting together so well. It feels so weird to have a bite that is lined up like it is supposed to be as I have never had that. Here is a new pic of my teeth.
  I must admit as the swelling is getting less and less I'm starting to feel happier and happier with my results. I love my new chin, I love my new aligned smile, I like my new nose shape, I love my profile, and that I don't look like I have a double chin anymore, and I especially love my new lip shape. After the SARPE my top lip seem to flatten out and when I would smile it would appear as if I had no top lip, and when relaxed things never seem to fit just right. Now when I put lipstick on, my top lip has a contour to it, and looks so much more fuller then it used to. That is pretty cool! I love that I can sleep now, and breathe better, and DREAM! I mean pretty much I love everything about my results. I honestly can't find anything that I think was not improved with this surgery. At 26 days post op, I can honestly say that I would so do it all again in a heartbeat!
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Monday, June 18, 2007

Day 25 Post Op - Turned the Corner Today! Woo Hoo!

So today was finally my day. No pain relievers, no real pain to speak of, reducing numbness in my lower lip, and most of all decreasing numbness in my tongue! I'm so excited about that as I have been so worried about my tongue, now I feel pretty confident that as the swelling continues to decrease so will the numbness in my tongue. YEA!!!

Feeling continues to return in my palate, and is now coming back in my lower teeth. I can feel my lower left molars, as well as my lower front four. Sleeping with the rubberbands was better last night and I actually got some half way decent rest. I did wake up and take the rubberbands off at about 8:30 this morning, but did manage to get through about 8 hours of sleeping with them, as well as 3 hours of wearing them prior to going to bed. I think 11 hours total a day is pretty good.

I have an appointment for an MLD massage on Thursday at 12:00, I will be curious to see how that goes.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Day 24 Post Op - New Profile Pictures (Big Changes!)

Kristen asked me to post some before and after profile pics for comparison, so here they are. The pics are the right side before and after, and left side before and after.


I hadn't really realized just how much change has taken place until I looked at these comparisons. YOu can really see how my nose has changed in the second picture as well as the contour of my lips. You can also see my swelling a bit better. I really love my new profile though, and my new chin. I can't believe how much my face has changed, but not so much that I don't look like me anymore, just improved.

My right side is doing pretty well, but my left side is still pretty puffy, it is the side of my profile that I hate! LOL...It is also the side that has all the swelling going on inside my mouth.

Eating is getting better, mostly cause I'm just getting better at swallowing stuff whole. I have been eating a lot of Pho noodles lately. I love those things and since I make them at home, I'm able to grind up some beef and add it to the noodles. That way I can get some protein into me without chewing. When the rice noodles are all cut up it is very easy to swallow, and some how makes me feel better everytime I eat it.

Sleeping is still very frustrating. I can't seem to sleep with my rubberbands on as they make my jaw muscles hurt, yet I can't sleep without them or I wake with my jaw muscles hurting also. Last night I had a very disturbing, murderous dream (which I never have) and woke up several times drooling profusely. Yes....its totally gross I know, but hey, I'm hear to state the facts, and that is what is happening. I guess I"m going to try sleeping with the rubberbands again. At least I don't drool all over the place when my mouth is locked shut. I'm so tired today that I will probably just pass out for at least a few hours. Then I will be up, microwaving my rice bags so that I can go back to sleep for hopefully a few more hours. I will be so happy when the joints become stronger and I can actually comfortably hold my mouth shut without having to work at it.
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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Day 23 - Swelling Coming Down Some

Last night was another uncomfortable night. Seems my jaw joints cannot get used to these rubberbands. They were aching all night last night. I got up at 4:30 to heat up my heat packs (which I swear are attached to my face 24/7 these days) I feel back asleep until finally at 8:00 this morning I just ripped the stupid rubberbands off so I could get some sleep. Then of course I went back to sleep but my mouth fell open, and in addition to waking in a pool of drool (so gross) my jaw joints were killing me again. I swear it is a no win situation. Beneath the stars told me that chewing would really do a lot to strengthen my jaw muscles, however, seeing that I won't be chewing anything for at least 8 more weeks, I have started doing opening and closing exercises during the day. I just pretend I'm chewing without really biting down and just open and close my mouth a bunch. I don't know if its helping or not, but I suppose I will know soon enough.

The swelling in my bottom lip area is a bit less today. It still is numb and puffy feeling but not as bad. I feel like I have more mobility in that area today. My lower teeth are very achey today though. Not sure if it is from the rubberbands or just feeling coming back in them (I think it is feeling though as it is the whole lower front quadrant not just the teeth being used to anchor the rubberbands.)
Things inside my mouth are still very swollen though, and comfortably closing it is not easy. I'm hoping that will change in the next few weeks.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Day 22 Post Op

Today has been kindof rough. I feel like I'm very puffy today, especially around my lower lip, and things have just been sorta burny and aggravating all day. I know this is a good sign, but it is just hard to live with sometimes. I'm not sure if I'm unique here, but short of like knocking yourself out with morphine. there are really no over the counter pain relievers that really even touch nerve pain. I mean you just have to live with it. Lately (as in the last day or two) I keep getting these little pain spasms that sorta shoot through my lower jaw muscles real quick like. It is not super painful, just more startling then anything else. I mean they just come out of nowhere! I look really pale today also. I'm pretty sure this has little to do with my healing and a lot to do with the monthly calendar, but either way I'm looking a little bit scary today! LOL...

I had to post this pic of my teeth! Things have really been moving with the nightly rubberband torture, and I think my teeth have finally adjusted to lockdown status during the sleeping hours. My midlines are almost perfectly aligned now, and last night I slept really well. On my side even like I used to do pre surgery. It was such a relief to get some good sleep and not be relegated to sleeping on my back!
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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Three Weeks Post Op -

Wooo Hooo! I've made it to three weeks post op. The more things change the more they stay the same. Last night was a bad night. Sleeping sucked and my jaws hurt again from that rubberband jail my teeth must stay in.   Not much to report today, things are improving much more slowly now so there is nothing new really happening, everything is the same pretty much.

Today I fertilized our lawn, and hand watered it. Then I dug up a bunch of dandelions that managed to take root in my yard and sprayed them with some weed killer to make sure they don't come back. Then I made dinner. Wooo....can it get anymore exciting here folks!

Honestly, I'm really sick of looking at my face everyday so I'm not going to post any new pics until next Friday (4 weeks post op.) The changes that are happening right now are really inperceptable at this point. I will continue to post any significant things that take place in the next few days though.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Day 20 - Wow! Rubberbands definitely do their job!

So here is my post surgery face at day 20. For the last couple of days things have not been very good. My face has felt really puffy and swollen and really uncomfortable. I realized that I stopped taking my Bromelain then, so I went to the
"Natural Pantry" and bought another bottle. Took two as directed and things are starting to feel much better. I swear that stuff really makes a huge difference in my swelling and puffiness. 
I slept last night with the rubberbands pretty comfortably. No more aching like before, and while it is a bit odd to wake up and not be able to open my mouth, it was not painful and I think I'm getting used to it now. Since surgery I have been sleeping a lot! About 10-11 hours a night. I figure 11 hours of wearing my rubberbands should be plenty, seeing that I have 4 weeks to work on it. Pretty much just the same old stuff going on in my mouth now. No major changes to speak of yet.

Here is my new profile without so much swelling. It seems so weird to see myself with a real chin. I like it, but its just looks strange to me still. 

Look at how much my bite has changed in just two nights with those blasted rubberbands!  
This is pre - rubberbands.

This one is today. Crazy huh?

This is a view from the side. 

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Day 19 - Rubberband prison

So today is day 19. Hard to believe that it has almost been 3 weeks already. Guess that saying "time flies when your having fun" is true huh? LOL... Well ok, maybe not so true, but time has gone buy pretty quicky nonetheless.  
Last night was my first night in the orthodontic elastics hell. Actually it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, probably mostl because I'm still numb. I slept sorta on and off, waking a few times due to achy jaws, but toughed it out and went back to sleep. I managed to keep them on from midnight til 10:00am this morning so for a first time I think I did ok. I took them off for about 4 hours upon waking to give my joints a rest, and then put them back on at 2:00pm.
My plan is to try and wear them from 2-6 each day and then like 10-7 whle I sleep. I think that should be sufficient and still give me a little time during the day to talk and eat. Even just wearing them last night I could feel a change in my bite this morning. I'm not going to follow this schedule when I go to Las Vegas next week though, as I'm not going to be locked shut all day long. I'm going to have a little fun for goodness sakes, I feel like I sorta deserve it after all of this.

As for everything else my bottom lip is cold today, but seems to be improving daily. My tongue seems to have good days and bad days and today is a bad day. It feels cold, and very numb on the left hand side. I wish that my tongue would just get better, out of all this, it is the one thing that I find most irritating and is the hardest to be patient with.
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Monday, June 11, 2007

Day 18 Post Op - Best Day Since Surgery!

So today is the best day I have had since having my surgery done 18 days ago. I have not had to take any pain relievers at all today, and not because I'm fighting the pain, but because I don't have any! Wooo hooo! Numbness in my lip is getting better and my tongues seems to be improving too. Now mind you this is quite amazing since I had my first ortho appointment since surgery today. Instead of being banded shut like many of you folks, I feel like we are doing things in reverse! I had no wires or bands post surgery, that, however, has changed and not for the good!

I went to the ortho, he took out my top archwire...see!

He was very pleased with the oral surgeons placement of my teeth and said that they looked great. This was a big relief for me, as I felt like things weren't really done until I got approval from both of the doctors. They all couldn't believe how little swelling I had and how great I looked. He said he had to check my chart again as he could not believe I was only 18 days post op. I told him, believe me, I had the surgery. Here are the X-rays with all my new nuts and bolts to prove it. He said I had great range of motion for so soon post op, and talked to me about this 6 week period after surgery where your teeth move twice as fast (my OS had mentioned this too saying it was ok to start my ortho work as soon as I felt comfortable and that the sooner the better as then we could take advantage of this 6 week window and probably cut down my treatment time.) The ortho wants to pull my teeth down so they fit (hug) each other a little better, and thats when things got bad.

Here is what I have to live with (as much as possible) for the next 4 weeks. It's not pretty I tell you! Not pretty at all! Thank goodness my teeth are mostly numb, otherwise I think it could be much much worse. I also thing that eating may have just gotten much worse for me, as taking these suckers off and putting them back on is not an easy task! 

My son Michael got his braces removed today! (lucky him!) His teeth look great! He got an essix retainer that he has to wear on top everyday for the next month. After one month he can go down to wearing it just at night. On the bottom they put a bonded retainer.

Here he is in the orthodontists chair right after getting them removed. 

Here he is at home...chillin with the new retainer!

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Day 17 - Still Starving!

 Thanks to everyone who posted your food ideas. Many I had not thought of to try and plan to make them in the next few days. The trouble I'm having is that my mouth gets so tired. If I eat too much, which seriously is more then about 1/4 of a cup of anything. My tongue gets really tired from manuevering stuff around and becomes more numb as does my lower lip. I'm really struggling with getting food into myself as it is just sooo much work! Today I had a bowl of rice krispies for breakfast. About 1/4 cup of salmon quesidilla filling (which was salmon, onions, and a bit of cheese)and for dinner I had about 7 big grilled scallops which I cut into small pieces and pretty much swallowed whole, and 2 bites of steamed zucchini before I was done. I had a 1/2 of cup of tapioca pudding with whipped cream too. Oh, and I drank chocolate soy protein drink from Odwalla too. That was it. Maybe 800 calories if that. I'm really trying but between having to drink everything at room temp, and the exhaustion in my mouth it is really hard. Here is my best fresh from the shower "starving face" LOL I mean, seriously, one has to just laugh about all this.
I'm not telling anyone this, to scare them, I mean I am getting food into myself, it just continues at this point to be difficult. My doctor did tell me that if you are 16-25 years old that within about 2 weeks you are feeling pretty good. For us old people it takes about a full month so I'm hoping soon that all of this starts to improve soon. At almost three weeks post op, I can say that I'm starting to miss real food at this point.
Here is a more current profile shot taken today, you can see my chin a lot better in this one I think, and the swelling in my cheeks appears to have come down some.
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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Thank you ALEVE!

Today I took two Aleve (as directed on the bottle) and have felt so much better. It was a much needed break from the constant low grade pain, and it seems to have lasted much longer also.

Feeling is coming back in my lower lip and chin more and more each day. My tongue is still irritatingly numb in spots. Swelling is coming down a bit more in my cheeks, or at least it feels that way. When I smile now it doesn't feel quite so tight, however, part of that may be because I have been doing lots of facial exercises. Scrunching, smiling, puckering my lips, pretty much anything that stretches my face and makes it feel more normal. I try and do it as much as I can throughout the day, and it does seem to be helping with my range of movement.

Sleep is getting better too. Last night I slept from about midnight til 10:00am. I woke up every few hours but not in pain, just to sorta reposition myself. I decided to just sleep on my regular pillow without elevating my head. That was a mistake! At about 6:00am I woke up. My left nostril was completely blocked and that side of my face felt totally puffy. I pressed on it to check and could hear the fluid squishing about underneath my skin. I decided to go back to sleep but elevate my head in hopes the fluid would clear out (which it eventually did.) It was a good indicator to me that clearly my swelling is still there, even if it is not as noticeable as others.

Day 16 - Diet Woes....

So I'm just past 2 weeeks post op and I can tell you that I think this diet is going to kill me by 6 weeks. I know I have it better than most as I have been cleared for fork smash foods. The trouble is that even though I can have this stuff I can't eat very much of it as my mouth gets really sore, as does my throat, and rear palate. So I'm really not getting much into myself before I'm worn out. I think I must be really weird but I have serious feeling coming back in my palate. It is very sensitive to cold now! Drinking smoothies, or milkshakes is just about unbearable lately, so half of the stuff I was living on is now off limits due to the pain threshold! LOL...

Today I managed to get two Eggo waffles smoothered in syrup with the edges cut off into me for breakfast. I had some (about 1/2 cup) of cream of wheat for Lunch, and for dinner I had half a hotdog blended up in to mincemeat with about 1/4 a cup mashed potatoes and gravy, and a few bites of some Wendy's chili that I blended up. It sounds like a lot, but really is not. I'm still starving but can't handle the discomfort of eating more so I'm not going to. I have not officially weighed myself, but I did after 7 days and I had lost 14 pounds. I know I have lost more since then. Not good....I feel like I'm on the "Survivor" diet.

I'm so sick of blended soup I could barf, and since I can't do anything frozen the powdered protein powder I have is not getting much use. I'm sick of cream of wheat, but I eat it cause it fills me up. I try to get protein into me everyday by blending up meat in my magic bullet. It works wonderfully and I usually try and add it to stuff I'm already eating, like scrambled eggs, or mashed potoates, or soup, however, it just seems to get harder each day trying to find stuff to eat that doesn't make me want to hurl. Stuff that is filling but also good tasting.

Here are some of the foods I've tried. They are all organic and (all blended) unless they already come pureed.

Cream of wheat
Baby Food Fruits (organic pears, peaches, pears & pineapple)
Blended hotdog
Blended deli ham (great for mixing in eggs)
Cottage cheese
Beef stew meat and vegetables
Tomatoe soup
Split Pea soup
Chicken noodle soup
Butternut squash soup
Mashed potatoes w/gravy
Smashed carrots
Blended hamburger
Spaghetti w/sauce and blended italian sausage
Penne w/pesto sauce
Blended Tilapia
Eggo waffles

Thats all I can think at the moment. I didn't include smoothie stuff as I'm not drinking them lately.
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Friday, June 08, 2007

Day 15 - Forced Smiles

Ok, these pics are mostly for Mary, because she is soooo...demanding! ;) The reason I have not been posting pics of me smiling is that its hard! Half of my lower lip is numb, and only in the last two days has it even begun to feel like I have control over it. There is still a lot of swelling in my mouth, and when I try and smile, the swelling in my cheeks feels so much more noticeable and tight, like I'm forcing them to be all scrunched up! The first pic is one I had my mom take this morning, you can really see how puffy my cheeks are! The other two are just close up smiles.  
I saw the OS again today as I feel like I might be starting with a sinus infection. He again said I looked fantastic. He told me when I go to see the ortho on Monday to get all dolled up, and that he will be "floored by how great I look" LOL....I'm sure he says that to all his patients. I told him thank you, but that I still feel like I look really fat and puffy. He told me that he understood, but that the swelling could and probably would stick around for a few months. :(
I talked to him about my lack of sleep, and that it is really hard for me to sleep on my side (since its not comfortable.) I told him that when I sleep on my back though that my mouth falls open and then I wake up in the middle of the night with really sore aching muscles. So we are going to try using some rubberbands at night for sleeping. He wants me to run them at and angle from top to bottom and see if it helps.

In addition to this he took out my stitches on the bottom, which I didn't feel thankfully. He then took a flashlight and showed me the screw that was just below the gum surface on my bone graft/implant site. That was pretty cool to see! He measured the distance I can open my mouth which is now 24mm instead of 23, and said that honestly, given the fact that I'm over age 30 that I can pretty much count on about a month of feeling pretty punk. He said that it takes the body awhile to recover from the blood loss, and regain its energy level. He said that I'm actually way ahead of schedule due in part to my small blood loss and that he is very pleased with my progress. My next appointment is June 22 and also the day I leave to Las Vegas for a week. Hopefully I will be feeling considerably stronger and sleeping better by then. A lot can happen in two weeks, and I think Vegas will be good for me as I will be busy and have less time to focus on the daily irritations. I see the ortho for my first post surgery visit Monday, and my son gets his braces removed then! Yeah for him!
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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Two Weeks Post MMA

 So today marks the two week point since my face was reconstructed. Things are progressing well I think. I have good days and bad days, like most people who have had surgery I suppose. My tongue is still very tingly and numb on the tip, and around the left hand side, and my lower lip is still pretty numb on the left side, and feels puffy. These two things are really driving me nuts. I know I have to be patient but it really is hard. My tongue just sorta burns and tingles all the time. I can't taste anything with those parts of it that are numb, nor am I able to really feel anything in my mouth with it. My bottom lip constantly feels like it is freezing. I have developed this little habit of sucking on it, to help make it feel warmer, otherwise it just feels like ice. I'm thinking I'm at that point where I just wish I were back to normal, know what I mean? I keep reminding myself that my surgery was pretty major and recovery is going to take awhile, but it is hard to not want to be back to my normal energetic self.

Today I feel sorta blah....I seriously think I might be getting a sinus infection. I have started sneezing a lot lately (through my mouth only of course) and I feel very tired and cranky today. My sinuses feel like they have a lot of pressure in them and are not as clear as they normally are. My ears also feel a bit blocked. I called the OS and he wants me to come in tomorrow to see him instead of next Wednesday. So....we shall see what happens

Sleeping has improved tremendously. I have no more jaw pain and aside from the morning sinus headaches and pressure from swelling things are pretty ok. I'm sleeping about 5 hours straight, waking, then going back to sleep for about another 5 hours. I don't remember my dreams but I know I have been having them.

I will keep you posted on what the doctor says tomorrow.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Day 13 Post Op....Still the same

Everything still looks the same to me. I'm going to post until day 14, then stop until day 21 and 30. The changes are too small now to really see any appreciable difference

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Today I had my first public eating experience. I had some Vietnemese Pho Noodle soup with chicken. I cut the noodles into very small pieces and smashed the very tender over cooked chicken. Then was able to eat it by the small spoonful (mostly swallowing the broth and rice noodles whole) but it was good! AND I managed not to get any on my chin, or look like I was eating challenged while doing it. It was soooo good!

Almost 2 weeks.....things I have learned.

Well I feel so proud of myself that I have almost made it through the first two weeks. It has definitely had it's moments (and still does) but it has not been as bad as I ancticipated, thanks in large part to all the vitamin/supplement prep I did ahead of time.

I will hit some of the more difficult areas. Eating is quite challenging, and honestly I think I have had it better then most, since my mouth was not banded shut, and because I had most of the feeling in my lips. I have been able to eat from spoon since day 2, and while I'm still mostly on liquids or purreed foods, I am able to eat some very soft things like pudding, potatoes, etc without too much trouble. I haven't had a huge issues with dribbling food down my face, but it does happen. Mostly I only have one spot that is numb so as long as I avoid that spot, dribbing is kept to a minimum. I mean I have even eat in public with relatively no issues. I have feeling on the outside of my lip and chin so if stuff does start to run down my face, I can definitely feel it!

Sleeping has become much easier in the last day or so. I no longer have the aching in my jaw muscles and an relax and fall asleep. How I sleep affects where my swelling will be the next day. Sometimes I awake and it is mostly in my left sinus area, then the next day it will shift and be on the right side, or in my lower lip. It totally moves around, and while I have't been able to feel any plates or screws yet, I can tell you that I definitely know that my Maxilla is not completely attached. I don't know how to really explain it, but it just FEELS disconnected. I also have a low grade headache most of the time. I had this also with my SARPE, but I just assumed it was from the expansion process (which partly it may have been) but I'm thinking it is mostly coming from the swelling and pressure in my sinuses.

Talking was rough for the first few days, due to muscle exhaustion, tongue numbness, and the fact that the breathing tube I think disrupted my vocal cords a bit. I was very horse sounding, and sounded sorta like a kid with "downs syndrome" as my tongue was swollen, and not very manueverable. That has gotten much better but I still have numbness in the tip of my tongue and intermitantly on the left hand side. When I close my mouth I have to be very careful so I do not bite my numb lip, tongue, or cheek. It is not just a natural process yet.

Brushing your teeth is difficult, especially the first few days when you are trying to avoid stitches and your mouth feels like it doesn't even belong to you. I tried a baby toothbrush but found it to be too soft and pretty much worthless. What I used that worked best was my sonicare toothbrush. Mind you I did not turn it on, but it has a very small head on it, and the handle is long and skinny. It made it easy to get to my rear teeth, and I could just lift my lip up and see where I was brushing. Plus the brush is a bit firmer then a baby toothbrush and got things much cleaner.
A tongues scraper is a must for sure. Even if you get your teeth clean, your tongue will feel gross, and brushing it is next to impossible when you can't open your mouth enough to get the toothbrush in, or you can't stick your tongue out due to swelling etc. I found a tongue brush at Walmart that has worked amazingly well. Trust me you will definitely want one of these babys.

Flossing is a bit more challenging but certainly do-able with a mirror. Just be gentle on your numb gums so you don't slice them up.

Exercise! Some people are probably not going to want to hear this but I think exercise is hugely important in healing. For one thing, exercise releases endorphins, which are the bodies feel good chemicals. They help get rid of pain naturally, and I think you will find that nothing touches your pain like endorphins do. I can take a 15 minute walk and be pain free for over an hour, with no side effects. Through this whole journey I honestly felt better anytime I was moving. Even rocking back and forth in my chair felt better then just sitting still. Within a few days, try and get some movement, and get outside a bit. The fresh air will do you wonders also.

Loose fitting clothing for bumming around the house are good for the first few days. I also took a lot of hot baths. They helped relax me and the water splashed on my face, or a warm washclothe held on it, did wonders to relax tight muscles and reduce facial tension. If you are weak or dizzy then be sure and have someone present with you so that you don't get hurt. Hot baths can make you rather weak and faint when your body is working so hard to heal.

AS for foods to eat, I'm going to do a separate page for those as they have been many and quite varied.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Day 12 - Things starting to improve

Things seem like they are getting a bit better now. I'm hoping that things are starting to all go down hill from here. Feeling is gradually coming back in my lower lip. I actually burned the numb part on a hot spoon yesterday and could feel the burn, so that tells me that the nerves are working there and that feeling is coming back. My lip is feeling less puffy and thick with each passing day. My new chin and the area surrounding it are getting more and more feeling back. Right now they are super sensitive, and any little thing touching it is just irritating. Lower teeth are achey with feeling coming back, as is my upper and palate area. Other then that, I'm doing marvelous!

Here is a different view of my new face. I still have some moderate swelling through like my cheekbone area, and jaw joints. It's slowly but surely starting to come down though.

Last night I went for another walk, and for over 2 hours I was pain free. Seems like the endorphins are definitely the way to being pain free for me. The more I'm moving around the better I seem to feel. Last night after being exhausted all day yesterday I decided to take a Vicoden. That was the best decision I have made all week. I slept for 6 straight, glorious painfree hours, woke up and took 3 advil, then fell back to sleep for 6 more. I'm still a bit run down but compared to yesterday I feel phenomenal. Sleep is so important, and I know from my past experience with SARPE, that suffering through the pain can actually be counterproductive to healing. So...I gave in, and it was definitely worth it. Listening to your body through this whole ordeal is very important. You will get into trouble if you don't listen well and stay on top of the nutrition and pain.
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Monday, June 04, 2007

Day 11 Post Op -

Here is my Day 11 mug. Not much new to report today. Muscle pain is still very aggravating. I have a call into the OS to see what we can do. I'm getting some feeling back in my lower teeth so they are a bit achey today, and my chin is super sensitive to touch right now. The numbness in my bottom lip is gradually getting better, and the swelling inside my mouth has come down a lot. I'm now able to close my mouth without any pressure or feeling like I'm forcing it. My bite is looking and feeling better now too. Other then that things are progressing along nicely. I'm still not getting much sleep, but hopefully that will start to improve in the next day or so. At this moment, I'm very happy with my results, even if the achiness is a bit irritating.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Day 10 Post Op Images

So today is Day 10, wow, it feels like it has been much longer! LOL! Things are ok, during the day is much better then the evening and night. Even still progress is being made. My chin is gaining a lot of feeling back now and is very sensitive to touch. My lower lip, while still feeling pretty thick is getting less so, and less numb. The only part of my tongue that is numb now is just the tip, which is tingly/burny but not totally numb anymore. My bite feels sortof off, but then that is probably because I have never had one that actually fit together. My OS says my bite is "perfect" so I guess I will have to trust him.

Barely Smiling 

Trying to Smile 

My New Occulsion 

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