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.

Monday, December 31, 2007

5 Days Post Sinus Surgery

So today is Monday and things are going well. My nose is kindof stuffy, I think my allergy shots are causing me to get really congested. I'm not supposed to blow my nose, but I can't stand it so I have been blowing very gently. Just enough to get the stuff out.....I tried snarfing it down my throat like the doctor told me to do, but it just doesn't work. It just stays there and I feel all plugged up and congested.

I go in Thursday to have this gel insert thing taken out, so I will let you know how things are after that! Otherwise everything is good, OH and my laptop is up and running again so that is a plus also!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Packing Removed, Breathing like a Champ now!

Got my nasal packing removed at 10:30 this morning after another rough, sleepless, night. Thankfully it is all good now! The packing came right out (I was going to take a picture, but figured that I would spare you all, as it was pretty discusting) I had no recidual bleeding when the Dr. took them out, even though he was all prepared to take care of that should I have happen to have any. He told me to use ocean spray 3-5 times a day, and to put an antibiotic ointment in the inside of my nostrils for the next few days to keep things healing well. Oh...and no heavy lifting or exercise for the next week or he said the little blood vessels could rupture and I could get a really, seriously, bad, nose bleed (which would not be good.)

Overall I'm breathing really well, and I can actually taste food again. No wonder I haven't been interested in eating...nothing has had any taste! When I ate today it was actually enjoyable, I could smell my food, and really savor the flavor of it. My sinuses feel clear and unplugged. I'm sure it will take another couple of days to recover from the lack of sleep etc, but overall it seems like this sinus surgery was a good idea. I'm glad I was able to get it done as planned.

About the only thing bugging me is I keep coughing. I'm assuming it is due to the after effects of the anethesia, but if I could get rid of that I could almost forget I even had surgery. Short of a little burning when I woke up in recovery, I have not had any pain at all! What a relief that was!

I will keep you all posted on how things progress, but for now it looks as if I have made it through yet another surgery relatively unscathed, I'm so relieved! I do have to say I was so much calmer having this surgery done though. When they took my blood pressure at the pre-op it was 99/73 I was not even stressing! It is amazing how much easier it is once you know what to expect and aren't so afraid of the "unknowns"

Well you all have a Very Happy, Joyous, Wonderful, truly Amazing New year! and I will post again soon!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What a Difference a Day Makes!

So my surgery yesterday went off without a hitch and was pretty much the same as my jaw surgery, in terms of prep. I got to the lab and had blood drawn (it was late due to the holiday) so the put a stat order on it to get it to the doctor. I arrived at the surgery center, changed into the fancy hospital gown, slippers, and hair bonnet. The nurse then got my I.V going (which only took two tries this time)apparently I have very rolly veins but I expected that. She had me take to big swigs of Afrin in both nostril and then they had me walk to the surgery room, which was freezing! and climb onto the bed. The nurse got a nice warm blanket for me and after getting my I'V situated, and a blood pressure cuff on the other arm, she wrapped me up tight like a little burrito. I felt like a baby being swaddled in a blanket. Next the anethesiologist put something in the I.V and I could feel my eyes getting heavy. The nurse then said "ok Brandy I'm going to put a mask on your face for few second breathe deeply" I took a couple breaths and I was out, until they woke me up in the recovery room.

I remember feeling pretty groggy upon waking and my sinuses were really burny. The nurse gave me some morphine (I think) and after a minute things were fine. It took about 1 hour to fully awake, at which point I got dressed, and they wheeled me out to the car. That was about it. I came home, got something to drink, and just sorta vegetated around the house for the rest of the day.

Ok so here I am in all my post surgery glory AGAIN! (please ignore the popcorn stuck in my teeth..oops)Day two is so much better, and this surgery is certainly no comparison to the jaw surgery at all. As you can see I have no bruising or real swelling to speak of. I feel like a surgery veteran now, as the only really bad thing about this so far is the not being able to breath out of my nose. I can tell you though, even with my nose all packed up and stuffy I can actually taste food again! It's pretty crazy!  

As you can see from this pic I have two pieces of packing stuffed up my nose that are connected together with a string (I tried to make this pic small so you could see the string, but not have to look right up my nostrils...gross) Anyway...most of the bleeding has stopped today, and what is leaking out I think is coming from the packing. The nasal tampons get taken out tomorrow but already feel like if I gently tugged the string they would come right out. Sleeping last night was rough, I was awake about every 1/2 hour or 15 minutes having to drink water due to my throat getting so dry. Breathing through only your mouth sucks and gave me new found appreciation for my jaw surgery friends that must deal with that! I did manage to get about 8-10 hours of broken sleep though and short of being stuffed up today feel pretty normal. No pain at all! I even went and did some shopping today!

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sinus Surgery Finished

Here are a couple of pics post surgery. things went well I guess (the doctor never talked to me or my husband afterwards) but the nurse said things went well. I'm pretty pooped...after effects of the anethesia. Mostly I'm stressing though because my laptop is having issues. I'm going to have to take it in as it has all of my pictures on it and I can't seem to repair it. Seems one of the Windows files is missing or corrupt and I can't even get Windows to boot up or go into Safe mode! I have all my pics on Picasa and have not backed them up recently so I'm really stressed, and pissed that it is not working. I came with Windows XP professional installed so no windows start up disc came with it. Only 2 recovery discs that will totally wipe all my files if I use it. I tell you what....computers just suck sometimes!

Did I mention how sick of recovering from stuff I am? WEll....I am! is me now (on top) and here I am fresh out of surgery. I can't seem to get my nose to stop bleeding, and sleeping is hard as I have a bunch of nasty tasting stuff going down my throat, and it gets so dry I feel like I haven't had water in a year! Hopefully this will start to improve by tomorrow. I'm off to go ice again! I will post more tomorrow!
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Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year - 7 months Post Op

As this year comes to a close I cant' help but marvel at all that has taken place. It has been a very full year for me, and many of you too! It is Christmas Eve and officially 7 months post op for me. Healing continues.....its a long road, but worth the journey.

I can't believe that if all goes well I will be closing out the year with sinus surgery. Looking back it has certainly been bittersweet, but my memories are mostly sweet. Sure it had it moments but honestly it has been pretty positive and not has horrible as I had thought it would be. I'm now sleeping like a baby, and have a million dollar smile to go with it. Short of my recent bought with sinus infections I really don't have much to complain about, and a lot to be truly grateful for.

I wanted to take this time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I hope that the upcoming year will be full of joy and fruitful outcomes to all you soon to be surgery folks. Hopefully you will have as much to celebrate next year as I do this year!
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Trying to get better by Wednesday!

So the doctor wanted me to start taking the antibiotics he gave me early in hopes we can head off whatever I have. I have to be at the lab at 7:30am on Wednesday to do blood work. They are going to put a stat order on it so the doctor will have my results by 9:30 am went I get to the surgery center. Then he is going to do a check up on me and make sure I'm ok for surgery. He says if my sinus infection IS back then it is probably best that we just proceed with the surgery and hopefully things will get better. The big thing is keeping it from moving into my chest. If there is issues with breathing then there could be issues with the anethesia which they do not like to deal with. So for now, I'm taking Sudafed, Mucinex, Emergen C, lots of fluids, vitamins, Zi-cam, and Augmentin 875mg.

Hopefully by tomorrow I will start to feel better!

I'm also doing allergy shots these days. I kindof wonder since all of this started on Saturday, if it could be a reaction to my Thursday shot. I've never had one before, but my son had several hay fever reactions at the beginning of his shots, so maybe that is what I'm having. It is either that, or the return of my sinus infection. Either way....keep your fingers crossed that it goes away and I can proceed as planned on Wednesday. I so want to get this surgery over with!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Two Days before Surgery and I'm Sick AGAIN! Will it NEVER END???

Not sure what's going to happen now. Not sure what I have. I'm thinking that my sinus infection has returned. That is what if feels like. My sinuses are stuffy, my throat is really sore, and yesterday my sinuses were draining like crazy! Today I just feel run down, have a headache, and feel yucky. Mostly I'm praying for a miracle that it goes away before Wednesday.

I'm going to call my ENT tomorrow and see what he thinks. I have a perscription for 10 more days of the Augmentin 875mg. I was supposed to take it after the surgery so that I don't get any infections. Maybe he will want me to start it early and see what happens between now and Wednesday. I'm so frustrated, this is the only time that works for me to have this surgery until I get out of school for the summer. In the summer we have a lot of travel plans so it will really suck to have to have this done then, plus, it means I will have to pay 1,000 instead of having it done for free! At the moment I'm taking Zicam, vitamin C, muti-vitamins, and drinking lots of fluids and chicken broth. Keep your fingers crossed that it passes!


Friday, December 21, 2007

Second Surgery Pre-op / 7 months Post Op (first surgery)

Tomorrow will be 7 months post op from my jaw surgeries. Hard to believe its already been that long! My sinus surgery will be two days short of 7 months exactly, and all I know is that it is entirely too close to my other one!

Today I had my pre-op appointment for my sinus surgery. Can I say having gone through all of this a few months back, I was a little disappointed with the way things were run at my ENT's office. First I thought my pre-op was going to be with my actual ENT, instead it was with his LNP and a nurse. Things just felt sorta rushed, and not very organized. Basically it was the same drill as before. They needed a copy of my EKG, I have to have blood work done on Monday to be sure I'm not pregnant. My surgery is at 9:30am and the whole thing, from the time I get there til I go home is supposed to take about 3-4 hours. He said the whole surgical procedure for the doctor will probably take about 30 minutes, but the rest of the time will involve being knocked out, and then the waking up in recovery part. Can you say YUCK!

So here is the plan....the doctor will be super cleaning my right maxillary sinus, then increasing the width of the drainage hole. In order to prevent the hole from healing over they will insert something called a gel sheet or something like that that will hold things open long enough for the skin to heal around it and not close up the hole. Then they will move onto my turbinates. They will be doing the procedure I mentioned before where they will be going in from behind the turbinate and sucking stuff out, then pressing it down to flatten it out. He said I will basically be wearing small tampons in my nose for 2 days and that people pretty much hate it. Also that I will not be able to breath out of my nose for those two days....swell! I go back in on Friday the 28th to have the packing taken out, and then go back 7 days later to have the gel sheet removed. Hopefully after this my sinuses will be amazingly transformed and much much better.

Now...I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking. Perhaps I was just in denial about all of this, as going into surgery again so soon after the last one is so not what I really want to be doing, especially the day after Xmas. Anyway....I know the doctor told me I would be under anesthesia but it didn't really sink in until today. As he explained that I would be knocked out, with a breathing tube down my throat, and an I.V in my arm again I just felt sick. I think I thought this whole thing was going to be done with like I.V sedation, just a quick 2 hour thing, like my SARPE. In and out! So suffice it to say that I'm not looking forward to this, and I'm feeling a little down about it all. I mean I want it done, but DONE is the key word here. I know it is a much less invasive and minor surgery but it just feels like major surgery if I have to have anesthesia! My throat hurt so bad from that stupid breathing tube after my jaw surgery that I'm feeling really bummed about that aspect of it. I know the whole surgery will be short and over soon, but right now I'm just experiencing the normal pre-surgical nervousness and apprehension.

I will keep you all posted on how things progress! Have a Merry Xmas All!

Here is a pic with my favorite guy (my darling husband)
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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Xmas Party's with Retainers

So I had two Xmas parties this weekend. One Friday and one Saturday. I have been wearing my retainers religiously so I decided to leave them out for the parties so I could eat freely and not have to worry about getting them in and out. Things went fine at both parties. My teeth did not move at all and the retainers snapped right back on easily when I got home. It was so nice to not have to worry about them, and to be able to eat without any hassles. Also to not have to worry that my teeth are going to shift if hte retainers are out for a few hours. I can say that I actually prefer to have my retainers in though, as my teeth just feel more secure. When they are out they just feel sortof unstable.

I have noticed an interesting turn of events lately also. Not sure if this is due to my sinus issues, or what, but I have been noticing that food just doesn't taste as good. Even things that are pretty spicy seem rather bland to me. Also, we have a fresh cut xmas tree this year and I cannot smell it. I know that smell is directly tied into taste so perhaps that is why but it is really weird. I wonder if antibiotics can mess up your sense of smell and taste?

Other then that......things are just plugging along closer to my upcoming sinus surgery. It's hard to get excited about Xmas when you have to go in for surgery the following morning! Not looking too forward to that.

I will post more Friday after I see the ENT for the pre-surgical visit.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

T minus 14 days until Sinus Surgery!

I have made up my mind and decided to go through with the sinus surgery. I have my pre-op consultation on the 21st at 2:00, and the actual surgery is on the 26th. They will let me know 24 hours ahead of time (on Xmas day apparently) what time my surgery will be.

I'm trying to do a bunch of research. A guy on one of the sleep apnea boards I'm on, told me about a rather new procedure for turbinate reduction. Its called Inferior Turbinoplasty. When I watched the video of it, it reminds me of like liposuction of the turbinate. They go in from the back of the turbinate and use a special tool to remove some of it. It like sorta sucks it out. It is supposed to be better because it reduces the size of the turbinates but does not remove the surface of the turbinate which has little hairs on it and special cells that aid in sinus function. So I want to ask about that and see if that is something my surgeon does. I also want to know if any of this is going to affect the appearance or shape of my nose. Call me vain, but dang, I've had enough appearance changes with the SARPE and surgery, and I rather like my nose just the way it is. I don't want anymore changes!

So.....with that being said, I sit here purusing websites, collecting information, and mentally trying to prepare for a third surgery. One I hope will truly be useful and end my chronic sinus infections.

As for my newly debraced smile. The retainers have become much easier to get in and out. I still wish I didn't have to wear them, and my lower teeth are still very sensitive to movement, but other then that its all good.

Feeling continues to improve in my lower lip and chin area. At this point I can now feel my whole chin. It is still a bit numb under the surface on the left side but getting better daily. My lower lip continues to be tingly and get better. While it is still sortof numb below the surface on the left side, I can now lick my lower lip and feel the whole thing. So things are getting much better as a whole. I've been so busy with work and the holidays that I have sortof lost track of time. I'm at 6 months 3 weeks and 4 days now. I suppose that is a good thing, as it means that things are just sortof plugging along.

So....I will keep you all posted as things continue. I finished my last Augmentin tablet today....25 days later. I will be curious to see if my sinus infection is really gone or not. I'm thinking not since I'm still experiencing pain and pressure in my teeth, and when I bend down. But I'm being optimistic and hoping for a miracle, cross your fingers it works!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Endoscopic Middle Meatal Endteroscopy - Is that a mouthful or what!

Endoscopic Middle Meatal Endteroscopy, along with turbinate reduction on both sides and possible Septoplasty is what the ENT wants to do. OH MY! So.....I have til tomorrow to decide if I'm going to let him do that or not and get this, if I do do it, my surgery will be on December 26th. Does that suck or what Merry Xmas to me!

I'm at 100% so my insurance would cover the cost of it completely (no $1,000 out of pocket) so I supposed I should be happy that they could get me in before the end of the year. However, my doctor is more then willing to continue treating my sinus issues with antibiotics and nasal spray. The final decision is up to me, and I have a very short time to ponder the choice!

While I'm so not wanting surgery again, the doc says this will be much much less then what I just went through (day surgery 2 hours or less) and if I do it, short of following up with my allergy shots there is little more theY can do for my poor sinuses. He says approximately 80% of people experience long term improvement (these are people who just have sinus issues though, not ones that have them exacerbated by MMA surgery, so he says I'm a unique case and he really doesn't know what the efficacy would be in my situation.) If I don't do it, I face continuing issues with my sinuses as well as more sinus infections. Plus it will cost me money next time! What to do???? Pretty much seems like a given doesn't it? Man.......why can't it ever be easy! I"M SO NOT JAZZED ABOUT MORE SURGERY!!!!! UGHHHH!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sinus concerns! - UGHHH!

Today I had my CT scan done at my ENT's office. He has a new machine so it was pretty sweet and easy. I got there at 11:30 and was done by 11:40. The whole CT scan took exactly 40 seconds. Your supposed to try to not blink and not swallow during that time. I tried really hard not to, but towards the end I just couldn't control myself and HAD to swallow. I told the nurse who was taking my Xray, incase I messed anything up. So before I left she had us go through the images (they are digital and automatically loaded to the computer) it was pretty cool and they are going to give me a copy of the Xray on CD. My swallowing didn't seem to affect the results so that was a plus! That, however.......was the good news.

The doctor got caught up in surgery so he was unable to go over my results with me. I knew this might happen so I wasn't surprised. The nurse, however, did talk to me a bit and showed me some stuff. She said that my right maxillary sinus looks kindof messed up. She didn't get specific but traced the area that was in question. This is probably why I have to pull my face to the right to blow my nose, or why it took 35 days of antibiotics to clear my sinus infection. She also said that my septum is very crooked. She proceeded to show me a pic where one side of my sinus looked like a roller coaster. Needless to say, I'm pretty bummed about it! I'm trying not to freak out until I talk to my doctor next week, however, I've had 3 CT scans over the last three years, so I pretty much know what my sinuses used to look like when they were in excellent condition. Now I can definitely see a huge difference in how they look and it is not a good difference!

Looks like I could be blogging more surgery in my future! and let me say for the record how much I'm not looking forward to that!

I'll post more Monday when I hear back from the doctor.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Matching Smiles! LIke Mother Like Son

I'm sure you are all getting sick of my picture, but I had to post a few more of my new smile, with my son. Since we started this together it seemed only appropriate to include a final pic of the end results.

This pic was taken March 13th 2006 the day my son was braced (I was braced the week earlier)

This was taken yesterday (December 5, 2007) Can you believe how much he has grown in just a year and a half!

Here are our matching smiles! I can't believe he smiled sortof normally!

This is what I get most of the time, he is such a nut!
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Retainers Improving!

Well, last night was my first real challenge with the retainers. We had a semi formal xmas party to attend. Actually it was more of a cocktail party with "heavy Hors d'oeuvres" so it was next to impossible to wear my retainers, and be able to eat. Plus I was really dressed up, with very red lipstick on so it wasn't like I could run to the bathroom and take them out either. For the first time since getting them I went a full 2 hours without them. I wax pretty nervous about it, but things seem like they are really settling down in my mouth now and not moving around so much, so I figured it would be ok.

It was....I could feel things starting to migrate ever so slightly by about the end of the party, but before I left I ran to the restroom and quickly popped my retainers back in with no difficulty. I can see how people don't wear their retainers, I mean after going an hour or more, it gets easier and easier to go longer and just leave them out. It really is nice to just have your teeth be themselves without restriction, however, I'm also super paranoid about losing this amazing smile I have endured so much for, so I'm pretty careful about making sure they are on. One thing I have noticed, and I'm not sure if it is just with the Essix retainers, but my teeth feel like they get dirtier, especially behind my teeth. I brush after every meal or snack I eat as I worry about trapping food between my teeth and the retainer. Even still though I just notice that I can feel more plague or junk on them.

Anyway...I wanted to let those of you know who will be heading into retainers that the first few days are the worst, by one week things are feeling pretty good. My bite feels perfectly on when they are out, and my lower incisors are no longer sore or wiggly. Everything feels like it is settling into place. Getting the retainers in and out has become much easier and is no longer painful. They are snug, but not super tight (which is good.) Overall at this point, I'm very happy with my results and comfortable with my retainers! I rather like the Essix retainer now.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Surgery Cancelled Til January!

Just when I think things can't get any worse they do! It is so crazy! So my mom wakes up this morning sick, with the flu I think. Now frankly I'm amazed that she didn't get it sooner, as we have all been dying for the past two months with it, passing it around, but can her luck get any worse? The day before surgery for goodness sakes! they can't get her in to even see the doctor til January 4th, and surgery probably won't be scheduled until around the 20th of January! Can you believe that? That means that she is stuck eating pureed foods for another 6-8 weeks! After the 10-12 she has already done! I feel so bad for her, I know she is getting depressed, frustrated, and exasperated. Plus we have a trip planned to Maui on February 29th and she wanted to be well enough to go and enjoy it. The last trip we planned she got pneumonia and had to cancel. She is only 65 but her health is so fragile....she is always getting something! Anyway...that is where we are at with that.

Also this morning I took my son and I to the allergist to get our allergy shots (dh and I have a xmas party this evening so I didn't want to have to run him in afterschool and then be rushing around trying to get ready for the party.) Wouldn't you know that as soon as I drop him off at school he breaks out in hives! So the nurse is currently giving him benedryl and I'm going to check in on him in an hour to see how he is doing! Talk about stress! Combined with all the holiday hoopla I'm wiped out!

I guess when it rains it pours huh?

On a happier note! I think (knock on wood) that my sinus infection is finally gone! 25 days of Augmentin later! But hey that is something to celebrate amongst all this other gloom and doom don'tcha think?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Visit with the ENT / Mom's upcoming Surgery

Today I finally got to see my ENT. Long and short of it...he wants me to continue taking the antibiotics I have (Augmentin 875mg) for the next 5 days until it is gone. He said from his view of my sinuses the right one is a bit bent (probably around 50%) He asked me if surgery was a consideration for me, and I said, if there is a problem then YES, I want it fixed. So, we are doing a CT scan on Friday at 11:30 and then we will go over the results. In the meantime he wants me to continue using my Veramyst for the next few months, and to continue with my allergy shots which can take up to 6 months to start seeing results. So...that is where we are at with the sinus infection stuff. I will post more when I find out more.

My mom goes in for surgery on her large intestines Thursday morning at 7:30am. This is to hopefully fix the problems and pain she has been having with diverticulitus. If you remember could you send some well wishes, prayers, or happy thoughts her way on Thursday morning? I'm sure she could use all the prayers she can get. I will post from the hospital since I will be doing a lot of hanging out there.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Day 4 In Retainerville!

And you thought it was all over! LOL... Figured that since I have now entered a new phase of my oral drama that I should keep all you soon to be debraced people informed.

So here it goes....I have decided that retainers are a love hate relationship. On the one hand, you love them because they are keeping your teeth in their post braces, perfect position, or moving them back to that spot should they drift, however the actual wearing of them is not really pleasant, and rather annoying.

My teeth were super sore, and have been until today. For some reason my lower incisors were screaming, and I couldn't even touch them with the toothbrush! Getting Essix retainers off is no small feat the first few days. They are tight, and require rather strong fingernails to break the suction and get them to release. Putting them on is easier, albeit rather painful the first couple of days as, like with an adjustment your teeth aren't used to being in those exact spots so they are tender and sore from movement.

Overall things are going well though, the retainers have begun to loosen up. I took them off and put them on 3 times today to eat, and didn't have any issues. It is annoying to have to think about eating everytime though and to be sure and take them off first. It's a good diet plan though, really cuts down on snacking I tell you! Other then this there is not much else to report today. I will let you know how things are going as we get closer to the end of the week.