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.

Friday, August 31, 2007

3 1/2 weeks Post Op

Alrighty is three and half weeks since I had my surgery. Not much has changed since last week, numbness is still about the same. Improving but slowly. Chewing is still annoying...that hasn't changed and it doesn't seem to be getting much better. I'm sure it is just slow like the rest of this journey.

As you can see my tan is quickly sad :( That is about the only thing that has really changed this week!

I see the ortho on Tuesday for x-rays and hopefully a debracing date. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but must say that I really really want these babies off now! What is frustrating is that as much as I want them off, and things look good, they still do not look as perfect to me as I wish they were. Can that be fixed? I suppose only the ortho can answer this question. I'm going to ask him this on Tuesday. Also if we can speed things along and fast track me to getting them removed. No more of this 8 weeks between visits, I want them OFF, like yesterday, BUT! I want my teeth to be perfect too! Anyway...for the most part things look pretty good, nothing a power chain probably can't fix.
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Friday, August 24, 2007

3 Months and 1 Week Post Op

I didn't post a pic on the blog today as basically I look the same as this last one. I put one on the day by day pics though.

Overall this week has been pretty eventful in terms of healing. My lower lip has gone from being freezing cold to burning hot now. It feels like it has cinnamon oil on it or something. Anyway, it also feels pretty puffy and swollen (even though it's not.) So with that being said feeling has been really returning to my lower right chin quadrant and my lower lip. Even the area to the left of my lower lip that was virtually dead feeling is hot and gaining feeling back now. My husband said he could tell that something had changed when he kissed me the other day. He said it felt like I was really kissing him and that it was better. I told him that was because I could now FEEL his lips instead of pretending I was feeling them. I can now feel the right side of my chin completely, not just on the surface. At this point I have really no areas that are completely void of feeling. Everything seems to be coming back, and pretty rapidly. My tongue is still a bit tingly on the tip and the upper and lower gums are still numb, but I really don't notice them at all now. I do have feeling back in all of my teeth now though, and my sinuses are nice and clear with no issues.

So...thats my update for this week, I will keep you posted on any new changes.

Friday, August 17, 2007

3 Months Post Op

Well today is officially 12 weeks since I was sliced and diced. Things continue to change weekly, however, it is definitely slow going these days. My tongue is still numb in the same place and my lower lip has been more numb than usual this week for some strange reason. It feels more tingly though, like novocaine wearing off, so I take that to be a good sign that feeling is coming back. I think previously it was numb, but I just couldn't really feel it cause it was well.....NUMB! LOL, but now it feels puffy, but like pokey, and itchy, and tingly all at the same time. My chin has been itching a lot too! So maybe in another few months I will be able to feel my lower lip again!

My voice no longer sounds so weird. For awhile it was very nasally sounding like I had a bad cold, or was deaf. But recently I have noticed that the swelling in my soft palate has come down a lot and now I sound pretty normal (or at least I think so.) My sinuses are also very clear now. Breathing is really clear and effortless.

Eating is getting much better, although still a bit trying at times. I can pretty much chew most things now. Lets see, I had a bagel today, some licorice, a pork chop the other night, some stir fried beef, a cheesesteak sandwich, Chinese orange chicken, and some celery (not all today.) About the only thing I have found that is really hard to eat is raw carrots, BUT, I can eat those too! Just requires a bit of shredding, instead of biting straight down on them. Biting into things with my front teeth is still a bit challenging, but I have been doing it. It doesn't hurt, just feels wierd since everything is still pretty numb. Eating though, is far less enjoyable now though since it requires so much work. So even though I CAN eat, I'm not doing as much of it since it takes so long, and is effort. I'm sure this will improve over time though. I can say I will be thrilled when I finally get my implant completed next year so I can chew on both sides instead of just one.

Last night I slept so well! So much so I almost slept through my alarm this morning! It was crazy! That has never happened to me. I was dreaming really hard when I heard the alarm. I thought it was my husband's clock and just continued to try and sleep, until I realized it was mine and woke up enough to shut it of. Even though I was still tired and didn't really want to get up, I was also slightly euphoric at the same time. relishing the fact that I was having such a deep, colorful, glorious dream! Even though I dream regularly now, I will soooo never take them for granted ever again!

With that being said, today was a much better day at work. I had quite a bit of energy and got a lot done. I was tired at the end of the day, but it was not a debiliating exhaustion as it was in the past. I was actually pleasantly weary, but still had energy to do other things once I got home. I never felt that way last year! By three o clock I was usually dead, and couldn't wait to get home so I could do nothing. So many changes from this surgery! All positive ones though!

Most of the swelling has come down in my face so I thought I would post some updated profile pics for those of you that care. That is about it for this week. Will post any new changes next week.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

First Day Back At Work

Man I'm tired! Today was my first day back at work since surgery. Tomorrow will be 3 months post op, so I have had lots of time to recover, but I must admit that I'm wiped! Now today was a busy day, probably the busiest I've had since going under the knife. I had to change classrooms this year, so my morning was spent removing what was left of my stuff from my previous room. Then I spent the rest of the day trying to set up the new one. Needless to say I'm nowhere near finished, but I did make a dent in it. Now mind you, I didn't get to sleep until almost 2:00am last night, and got up at 6:30am which I'm sure didn't help with my stamina today. Tomorrow will probably be a better gauge of my energy level as I will hopefully get a bit more sleep tonight.

Ughhh....I still have so much to do... and I'm really not looking forward to it!
:( I hate this part of the year!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Allergies Identified

So today I went and had a full allergy screening done to see what exactly I'm allergic to. Found out after lots of tiny little pokes that I'm allergic to lots of grasses, birch, and two different types of Alder (which are all very common here), as well as cats, dogs, house dust, and dust mites. Now mind you most of the time I'm not really bothered by all these allergies, but I'm glad I now know officially what it is that I'm allergic to. I take Zyrtec in the spring, and anytime we go on vacation as it seems something always bothers me when I least expect it. Never realized that it was so expensive to have these screenings done. I mean others had told me it was but I just didn't realize how much. $979.00 just for my screening! Thank goodness that I've reached my yearly max and my insurance will be paying for it 100%. That is crazy!

I can't believe how allergic I am to dog. They gave me an increased dose that was injected under my skin like a tb test. It swelled up immediately and has only gotten bigger since leaving the clinic. It's now about the size of a quarter and is warm to the touch. Everything else has bacially gone down to just the red dot from the needle pic, but not the dog one. I always knew I was allergic to them as anytime I got to someone's house who has a dog I have to take my allergy medicine or I get really stuffed up and miserable. I'm allergic to horses that way too.

Both my son and husband have really bad allergies in the spring so they are going in for a full workup next week. In hopes of starting allergy shots to hopefully (after a 3-5 year committment) eliminate or significantly reduce their symptoms. Figure this is as good a time as any to just get it over with for all of us.

My lower lip feels really puffy today, I wonder if it can be from all this allergen exposure?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Check out my screw!

I was looking at this yesterday and thought it was kindof cool so here are the pics. This is inside my mouth where the bone graft was done. It is the screw that was put in the graft to hold it, and my skin has now healed over the screw. When my oral surgeon puts the implant post in come October, he will be making a small incision and gently lifting the flap of skin to remove that screw. I just think it is amazing how my skin can heal right over a screw. I mean I know it is doing it all over in my jaw, but that is way underneath the skin, this is much closer to the surface. Anyway...just thought I would share the pics.
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Friday, August 10, 2007

It was an absolutely gorgeous day here today. My darling husband, my mom, and I went for an after dinner hike up Flattop mountain. It was a great workout and fun since I haven't hiked that trail in a couple of years. It was rough on my knee though and I had to wear my brace the whole way. I included this pic that my mom took cause you can see some of the mountains behind us and I thought it was a fairly decent pic of us.

Here is a new face pic less puffy since last week as my sinuses are starting to deflate from my sinus infection now. Thank goodness for antibiotics! Check out my teeth! I'm so happy with how they are coming along! Please, Please, Please, let those braces be ready to come off next time!

I've been getting a lot of nerve sensations in my chin this week. It gets really itchy, and at first I couldn't feel myself scratching...sorta like an itch you can't really get to. Anyway in the last few days that has changed. I now have more sensation in my chin and even though it still feels a bit thick underneath I can feel sensation on the surface now. So...I'm pretty sure that means I will eventually get full feeling back which I think is pretty exciting.
My lower lip continues to improve, not fast enough though! It is a funny deal with my lower lip. It gets soo cold at times during the day. It can be 70 degrees out and my lip will be freezing. What's even funnier is that it actually turns blue, like it does when you get really cold! I have found that chapstick works like a blanket for it. As long as I have chapstick on things are fine, but as soon as it wears off, my lip gets very dry and cold. I put it back on, and things are all good again. It is so a funny sort of way. I swear I have become like a chapstick junkie. I MUST have chapstick with me at ALL times. If I don't, its like....omg, we gotta go somewhere so I can buy some chapstick. It's in my purse, in every pocket, in my gym bag (cause I even have to put it on during my workout.) Hopefully this will get better with time as it really is a bit stressful trying to make sure I'm armed with an unending supply of the greasy stuff!

Something that also happens to my lip is that it goes like completely numb when I work out. After I'm finished, it takes like 10 minutes to sorta be able to talk normal again, as my lip is like numb, frozen, and hard to manuever. I'm sure it has to do with the blood flow being focused on my muscles instead of my lip area, but it really is weird to finish working out and have to suck on my lower lip to wake it up.

My tongues is still numb on the left front quadrant. I ate a McDonalds soft serve ice cream tonight, and it was the weirdest thing licking a cone when your tongue is partly numb. I was encouraged though, because even though I couldn't really taste the ice cream in the numb spot, I could feel (muted feeling) that it was cold. Perhaps that means that feeling and maybe taste will eventually come back in that area too. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Now mind you this probably all sounds really bad, but its really not. I mean it really is amazing how our bodies adapt. Most of the time I don't really even notice to much that all of this is going on. I mean I'm just used to it. I do what I need to do and just carry on without really skipping a beat. I figure for the sake of reporting though, I need to be honest and tell y'all about it. Who knows, maybe someone else is experiencing some of these things too and it might help them.

So..I've typed a mini novel now, but that is my update for this week. Next week I will be 3 months post op! YEah! Supposedly my bones will be fully refused by then. I can't wait to see my new xrays!
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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Root Canal Reprieve/ More Adventurous Eating

So I didn't get a root canal. The nice endodontist says he can't find anything wrong with the roots and the tooth looks good, so he doesn't want to drill into it until we are positive that there isn't something else going on.

So now, I have seen an ENT, 2 different dentists, my OS, and now the endodontist, all who don't know what is wrong with the tooth, and why it is hurting. I suspect that I will not get anymore answers until these blasted braces come off. The endo did say that it could be the band itself that is irritating my gums and causing sensitivity. I do know that all of this tooth stuff started after my palate expansion. Right about the time my palate expander came out and the new bands were placed. The band itself is pretty close up to the gums so maybe that is what the problem is. He did say that a sinus infection could put pressure on the roots and aggravate the tooth, but he didn't see any issues in there. So...I guess I should be happy. Saved myself $900.00 on the root canal, and the doctor didn't even charge me the $65.00 for the consult. It was all free! (See I told you he was nice)

I will just have to continue waiting to figure out what the issue is. Maybe after the braces come off it will resolve itself! That is my hope anyway! For now, I will just take my antibiotics and hope things clear up quickly, and cross my fingers that the ortho says we are ready to deband me at my next appointment. :)

I decided today that I can't keep pretending this chewing stuff is going to get easier if I don't do it. I can only chew on the right side of my mouth, with the right side of my tongue having full feeling. The left side of my tongue is still numb as is the lower left half of my bottom lip. With that being said maneuvering stuff around my mouth is very challenging. I feel like I don't have control over the food, partly because I can only feel it when it is on the right side of my tongue, and partly because I have so much space in my mouth that I'm not used to. Chewing is no longer painful even with meat, but I find I tend to just sorta gently bite it till I break it down rather then really try and chomp down and cut through it.

Tonight I decided to force myself to work. I made a sandwich our of deli turkey, and ham, baby swiss, lettuce, tomatoe, onion, and 2 pieces of very soft french bread. I wanted to see if I would be able to bite into it, plus I have just been really wanting a sandwich. Well actually I did quite well. I WAS able to bite into it and tear it off. I had to chew it which was rather challenging, messy, and I'm sure very unattractive to watch, but I did it, AND it tasted good! Nice to have something with a little substance and texture rather then the normal soft stuff. I'm going to try and do a bit more "real" eating this next week and see if I can develop some kind of skill, or technique that is a bit more socially acceptable. I'm going to have to force myself to do this (even though I don't enjoy it at all) otherwise I'm never going to learn how to eat again.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Root Canal Anticipation...:(

So, I now have my second sinus infection since my surgery was done 10 weeks ago, AND the upper molar (the one on the left with the band on it) that has been bugging me for like a year now is hurting again. Enough so that I can feel it in my numb mouth! So, two dentists have looked at it, my oral surgeon has scoped the area and ruled out an "oral antral fistula" so now....tomorrow, I have an appointment with the endo guy again. Thankfully I can open my mouth to about 36mm now so he should be able to get in there. The plan is for him to check it out, AND, if it needs a root canal (which I'm sure it will) since everything else has been exhausted. He will perform the root canal.

Now I'm very excited about this, as I'm convinced this tooth is what has been causing me all of these sinus infections (even before I had surgery) so I'm happy that it is finally going to get fixed. Now with that being said, I HATE ROOT CANALS! Mind you I really like my endo, he is very nice and has a great chairside manner, and he is quick (thank god), and really nice (did I say that already) but man I hate those rubber dams, and I don't want to be numb again, and the sound of the drill just makes me a little crazy....ok, it makes me A LOT crazy. I have to do some serious self talk while all that noise is going on so that I dont' freak out and go whacko. I mean that would be really embarrasing, I'm supposed to be an adult, and given everything else that has been done to my mouth this is really nothing. BUT it is the part I'm dreading the most! If you can believe that! I didn't have much time to prepare for this, I called today thinking they would schedule a consult, then we would do the root canal at a later date. Instead I called and they said "how about we do the consult at 4:10 tomorrow, and then if you need treatment he will do it immediately following, if thats ok? I go back to work next Thursday so I need to get it done ASAP, but a little prep time would've been nice. I find the more this journey goes on, the longer I need to psych myself up for these procedures LOL... The next torture will hopefully be the removal of my braces!

Anyway..I will post tomorrow after the torture is over...wish me luck.

Friday, August 03, 2007

10 Weeks Post Op

So here is a new 10 week post op pic. I got sick of looking at the same old same old so I had my son Michael shoot a pic outside from my front porch today. I feel like I say the same thing each week, but things are definitely improving, just at a bit slower rate. I'm getting more feeling in my chin area and lower lip, but the left side of my lower lip is still almost completely numb. There really is no tingling or anything in that area, which has me a bit worried as I'm hoping to get full feeling back. I know it is still pretty early though so I'm not going to get too worried about it just yet. My tongue is also still numb and if it is improving is doing so at a snails paste. It is a bit discouraging as it makes eating far less enjoyable since the taste buds in the numb area are also dead. As for swelling, mostly I think it comes down during the day, but when I wake in the morning and for about 3 - 4 hours my face looks puffy and fat. The it will go away and my face will look mostly normal. I think it will take a few months for that to fully go away. At least I don't FEEl so swollen when I awake now even if I still look puffy.

Chewing is improving slightly, but is still very annoying. Mostly because it is hard to feel the food between numb teeth and manuevering it around with a half numb tongue is not easy. I still prefer to drink a smoothie for breakfast and honestly it has become a sort of comfort food for me. I use vanilla soy milk, berries, a scoop of yogurt or slow churned dreyers, and a couple packs of splenda. It is pretty good and the protein from the soy milk stays with me quite awhile. Since I no longer drink coffee or caffienated beverages it has become a staple for me in the morning. I also love that I can zap it in my magic bullet and be heading out the door with my breakfast drink in less then two minutes.
This pic I included cause I thought it had a really good view of how my teeth are looking. The rubberbands are still not great, but I suppose I'm used to them now so they do not annoy me as much as they were before. Other then that....things are just coming along.
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