Friday, June 15, 2018

Gum Graft Recovery

I ended up using the naproxen for the first, second, and the morning of the third day in a preventative manner, but I personally probably didn't need to evidenced by the fact that I still have no feeling on my palate or bottom lip area from jaw surgery in 2015. This would be a lot more uncomfortable if you could feel everything, I'd imagine.

Upon further examination of my mouth, the top part, the donor site, feels like raw meat and it turned a bit black, but now, a week later, one side is more pinkish/yellowish and the other side still has some black streaks. It's gross. The gum graft area on my six front bottom teeth looks good. I'm pretty sure my doctor put this white dissolvable bandaid on the area and it's slowly dissolving – either that or it's dead gum tissue. I'm not allowed to pull my lip down to check since I'd probably rip the stitches. It's way down at the bottom though which is why I'm not concerned.

All in all, this was just a gross surgery and I don't recommend it unless it's necessary – i.e. your teeth are going to fall out. But I say the same thing about jaw surgery too. It's not worth it unless it's worth it. One post-op checkup to go and I should be done.
No pictures of my mouth so here's a picture of my basset.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Gum Graft Day

So I got my gum graft done. All they did was numb the roof of my mouth and my bottom lip area and then they did the graft. I was told it would take between 1.5 - 2 hours, but I was done within an hour and that was with 6 teeth being grafted, soooo maybe my doctor is really good, or more likely I'm just an excellent patient.

I wasn't knocked out or given any sedatives or anything – only localized anesthesia and I felt nothing. I was awake and aware, but I didn't look in the direction of my mouth, at what they were doing, because I didn't want to see any blood. My doctor offered me earbuds and I just listened to CCR in one ear and kept the other ear open in case anything happened ("whoops!"). It was like those scenes you see on TV with doctors operating over the camera – that's the POV.

After the graft was done they put this little retainer thing on the roof of my mouth which is essentially a hard bandaid to keep my tongue from messing with whatever they did to my palate. I don't have to wear it, but it's supposed to stop the bleeding and keep the swelling down. And then my doctor slapped an icepack on my chin, told me I could eat whatever felt comfortable (though ideally stick to soft foods for the first couple days), advised me to drink ice-water to reduce swelling, gave me my prescriptions for amoxicillin, naproxen, and a mouth rinse, and sent me on my way. 

I could have driven myself back, but it was easier to have someone else drive me. Also, funny story – we stopped to get milkshakes on the way back. I briefly questioned whether I should drink from a straw, proceeded to drink from the straw anyway, got home, read my after-care instructions where it was expressly stated to not drink from a straw... I think everything's okay though. I feel like the paper guide is more of a safety-valve/covering-all-the-bases type of thing. If not using a straw were really important, I'm sure my doctor would have mentioned it explicitly. Yep.

Anyhoo, my chin and the suture site is the only area that is a little sore. But I've kept ice on it for mostly the whole day, and I'm not that swollen. Just my chin and the area of my cheeks above the donor site. So far so good. Although my voice does sound funny because of the retainer.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Gum Surgery?

I'm done with the jaw, but turns out my teeth might fall out due to what has been referred to as "paper thin gums" or alternatively, gum recession. So I've scheduled a little procedure for 6 of my bottom teeth where a gum doctor is going to do a gum graft as a way to ensure my teeth don't fall out. Wouldn't want that to happen after everything that's been done! I don't think it'll be too intense – I won't even be knocked out, just numbed up a bit. So on a scale from wisdom teeth to double jaw surgery, it seems like it will be even less intrusive than the former. It just sounds terrible.

What I've been told is that they're going to remove some gum tissue from the roof of my mouth and then stitch it where it needs to go. And that's it.

The interesting thing is that the roof of my mouth and half of my bottom gums/lip are still numb from jaw surgery (3 years later and I'm beginning to think this numbness may be permanent) so I'm curious about how that will affect my recovery.

06/11/15 - Day 7 where Sam got a bit too close

receding gums 😐

Throwback to my original bite circa 2009

Friday, November 18, 2016

Final Pictures!

Stolen from my orthodontist: The first picture is just to show off the screws in my face - no braces now though! Then right side is before, left side is after, and I'm afraid you'll just have to guess for the teeth.

Monday, November 14, 2016

17 Month Update/ Day 530: UNFETTERED!

12/18/10 - I'm the one with the teeth
Even though this picture is from 2010, it's one of the better ones that showcases what my bite was like before surgery. That's me actually biting down or trying to at least. Also, it's sepia because it's so olde.

I kind of miss my open bite in a weird way because it was like my fun fact. It wasn't inconvenient, it wasn't painful - doctors just told me that if I didn't fix it, it would be the biggest regret of my life, etc. etc.

I don't know if they would have been right, but I mean, why risk a life of pain and discomfort? And even if they were wrong, it sure is a lot easier to eat a slice or three of pizza now. And it's just very satisfying to be able to completely bite through something as opposed to biting and tearing - fruit being the main example, but sandwiches and cheesesticks come to mind as well.

11/14/2016 - Brace free!
So now my braces are off. After 3+ years, I'm so happy. I literally went home and ate an apple without slicing it and I almost cried it was just so beautiful.

Despite my joy, I'm also having a bit of an identity crisis, like, whose teeth are these? Because I've never seen them naked with my bite fixed, it's just startling whenever I look in the mirror.

I do have a retainer for the top and bottom of my teeth. It's basically Invisalign. I have it on in the picture and I don't think you can really tell. They told me to wear it full time for four months and then just at night for the rest of my life or else my teeth will revert. Eh. We'll see.

So, I guess that's it. I'm done!😂😋🙌

Oh, before I go: I never regained full feeling on the right side of my chin, the right side of my lower lip is still partially numb, and the roof of my mouth right behind my front teeth is still completely numb. But honestly, it's not a big deal. I've adjusted and they'll probably be my new fun facts. Cheerio!


Thursday, September 29, 2016

1.3 Year Update - in which I complain about braces

Because The Walking Dead is coming back on soon, I'm just really relating to this right now. It's a fear, maybe not an entirely realistic one, but definitely not impossible. Going on 3+ years of braces now,  I just feel like with every passing day I'm one step closer to an apocalypse in which I'll be stuck with braces.

BUT there is some good news! Because I'm moving, and therefore won't be around my orthodontist ever again, I'm pretty sure they will be off by the end of November - they have to be :)

My next ortho appointment is in two weeks, and so by then hopefully my teeth will have officially "stabilized." They'll probably need to keep stabilizing until the end of November though, considering all the time they've taken to stabilize thus far. And to be honest, my bite is still not perfect. It's never going to be. But my teeth touch and I was happy with that a long time ago. So what I'm trying to say is it just seems kind of superfluous to aim for this unattainable degree of perfection.

I'm cynical and I'm bitter. And I'm also 70% confident that my braces will be off by the end of November!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

One Year Update

I still have braces.

I honestly thought they'd be off at this point, just based off of everything that I read. It just goes to show that everyone is different and that some midlines are more easily aligned than others.

But I soldier on. It wouldn't be so frustrating if my orthodontists wouldn't keep telling me "Oh, definitely next time," and then next time rolls around and it turns into "You're not quite there yet. See you back in 4 more weeks." Not to be melodramatic, but I think I may have braces forever.

I was looking back at photos from this time last year, and this would've been day 4 post-op and boy was that a rough time.

Currently, half of my bottom lip and half of my chin remains numb, as does the part of my palate right behind my upper front teeth. But I don't notice the numbness much and nobody can tell because it's not like I drool or can't drink from a glass. It's just annoying when you're putting on chapstick and the like. I do still get sharp shooting pains on the left side of my jaw, but that's only when I wear rubber bands for a prolonged period of time. Another frustration with braces.

Well, the next time I update will be to either confirm my fear of lifelong braces OR to celebrate my newly naked teeth, hopefully around June 27th. Fingers crossed for the latter!!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Six Month Update

Well, I still have braces because although my front teeth are good, there's still a bit of space in the back, which is apparently common when you start with an open-bite like I had and then close it. But my retainer was taken out! (only because it broke when I was eating an apple.) It's nice to be able to feel the roof of my mouth again, but I noticed that behind my front teeth is still completely numb. With the retainer in I didn't notice that, so I didn't know to ask my doctor about it. 

I did ask him about the numbness in my bottom lip, which I am happy to say has full partial feeling! It's very minimal on my right side, but I can still feel pressure. I couldn't tell direction or feel hot/cold when he tested that area though. It was just a tingling sensation that something was there. Which is fine with me. It's possible that more feeling could come back in the next six months since there is feeling there now, so I'll remain cautiously optimistic for now.

I had been having some popping/cracking/discomfort on the left side of my jaw whenever I was eating, and that's apparently just due to getting used to the new alignment of my teeth/pressure from the rubber-bands, so I was prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug, which has worked. 

Also, my hair is back to normal. The telogen effluvium literally lasted a month, so not too big a deal.

Anyways, that's it for now. I'll update again when I get my braces off. 

Day 1
Month 6

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Day 135 (month 4)

Still a normal amount of hair
Fun fact! I recently celebrated my two-year anniversary of having braces. I can't believe that I've had them for this long. My poor teeth. And what's ridiculous is that I'll probably have a retainer for the rest of my life. (But who actually wears their retainer, right?)

Anyhoo, the prognosis continues to be 4-6 more months of braces. I feel like it's going to be 6 months because I've been hearing this 4-6 month range since August and I know that my bite is not great. My teeth can close, but they're not lined up right. It's just a tedious waiting game now. I'm crossing my fingers for anytime earlier than April.

Moving on, I recently became aware that I was experiencing an unfortunate side-effect from surgery, which I didn't realize could be related to surgery. The more you know!

Here's the story: in September I got my hair cut. That was around 3 months post-op. And so after that haircut I noticed I was losing more hair than normal. I thought it was some combination of body stress from waking up unnaturally early everyday for my job in addition to some nutritional deficit.

But this "hair loss" eventually got to such an unusual level for me that I googled "why am I losing so much hair?" I really wasn't too concerned, especially considering it took me about a month to google the issue. I have pretty thick hair and it was just that more hair was coming off my head than I'd ever experienced before on a continual, almost daily, basis.

Let me try to put this in perspective. To a casual observer, to my friends, to my family, to me, my hair looks the same. It's not like I have bald spots or anything.

So, I googled reasons for hair loss and I found something totally unexpected but which actually made complete sense: Telogen Effluvium

Basically the surgery shocked my system and my hair stopped growing, but they've been jolted back to life and now I'm stuck in this awkward phase of hair loss as new hairs grow out or something like that. It usually happens about 3-5 months post-physiological-stress-inducing-event and resolves itself in about 6 months. Another waiting game.

Considering jaw surgery is a pretty violent and stressful surgery, it fits. 

So now I'm just sitting here, wondering if there are any other fun surprises I'm not aware of.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Day 93 (possibly?) AKA 3 months later

So, I think I said this before, but the doctor's word is in and technically my jaw is fully healed! That's not to say that I'm back to functioning normally though. I'm still not able to feel the right side of my lower lip, mid chin, and gum/palate areas inside my mouth, while on the left side I have feeling, but it's super sensitive and tingly. Dr. Stark told me that 3 months was too soon to tell if feeling will completely come back or not. He said to wait another 3 months before coming to any definite conclusions so I suppose I won't lose hope just yet.

I'm not sure if I still have swelling
or if this is just my new face shape

This numbness though. I think it makes it difficult to chew. Maybe it's just me, but I've almost choked twice now so there's a danger there. Maybe I just can't handle my new bite. My doctors told me that being able to bite down with my front teeth would make a noticeable difference, but I haven't noticed anything beneficial. If anything it's more difficult for me to eat now because I can't feel anything on the right side. Perhaps when I regain full strength and mobility I'll notice a difference, but right now? Eh. I feel like my braces could also be playing a role because they're just cumbersome in general.

Teeth touching!

My treatment now is simply heavy duty orthodontics because although my bite is now closed, front teeth touching and all that, my bite still needs some work - at least six more months of braces. This October will be my two-year anniversary with braces, so another 6-8 months won't kill me. It's just going to be irksome, more so than before though because I can no longer feel when food is stuck in my teeth and so that makes for some awkward situations. I've just adopted the mindset that there's always something stuck in my teeth. Also, I have rubber bands right now and those are never fun. It'd be cool if they had them in colors, but no. They're either the color of flesh or drool.

As an aside, the only food I've had real trouble biting into has been carrots.

It's definitely  a much  s l o w e r  process from this point on.

exasperation manifest

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Day 48

So almost 7 weeks post-op and I've been given the OK to go back to an unrestricted diet. YAY! It'll take a bit of practice before I'm able to eat foods like almonds again, but I'm excited regardless.

07/22/2015                      02/12/2015
When I got home the first thing I did was try to eat this crunchy chocolate graham cracker cookie and it felt like I was biting hard, but it was really difficult to bite a piece off. I still haven't gotten used to biting into things  with my front teeth. It just feels wrong, but at the same time it's a lot more convenient than biting sideways.

My doctor said that at this point the osteotomy has healed and it should take 6 to 9 more months of braces to finish this whole process.

Overall I still think I'm a bit swollen, looking at pre-surgery pictures of myself, but it's hard to tell because I've gotten used to looking this way. My mouth is still numb, but there has been a slight improvement with my chin, though not so much with my lower lip. De-numbing is a slow process.

From the surgery itself I have two scars, kind of. They're just little red marks on the sides of my cheeks from where they put screws in. They're not that noticeable and I don't mind them.

I'm actually really excited right now. I think I'll make some popcorn and watch a movie. And I'll cut up an apple. The possibilities!!!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Day 41

So, with the removal of my splint last week, it took me a while to realize that the whole roof of my mouth is completely numb. I literally poked around some more and discovered that the entire inside of my mouth (except for my tongue) is numb. I feel like this is normal though...

I think this is actually a really cool thing because I can't feel hot or cold, so theoretically, I can never burn myself on hot drinks again! More or less. Maybe. The point is that the numbness inside my mouth is less noticeable/uncomfortable than the numbness of my lower lip. It also makes my braces more bearable for sure, what with not noticing any sharp wire ends and such.

Let's see... Today I went to the orthodontist and got a wire thing put in the roof of my mouth to keep it from shifting. I asked how long it would be in and they said for the remainder of my treatment!? I hope that's not true because I can tell that it's going to be a pain to keep clean and it makes it difficult to speak. It gives me a slight lisp, but I'll probably learn how to talk around it at some point.

My diet now is basically normal, except that I don't eat things like apples, celery, or corn-on-the-cob. Anything soft or thin or semi-soft I eat or attempt to eat.

Activity wise I feel like I'm back to normal with exercising and sports. It probably wouldn't be good if I were to get hit in the face with a volleyball or something, but barring that from happening, I'm back to my old self.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Day 34

07/08/2015 - Splintless!

My splint was removed today!! I can talk normally again!! Woooo!!!

 It was a painless process, just a bit uncomfortable because it felt like my mouth was being stretched too far. But now the splint is out and surprisingly, my teeth are pretty clean. I do have rubber-bands again though.

I'd like to thank my waterpik (which I started to use again about two weeks ago) for the condition of my teeth -- It's really difficult for me to tell when I have food stuck anywhere because I still don't have feeling around certain places on the inside of my mouth, but the waterpik just blasts it all out. I definitely recommend one.

So for the first time I can actually see my teeth touching! It's wild to see and so weird to feel the sensation. I haven't gotten used to it yet. The only reservation I have is that it seems like I'm more likely to bite my tongue now. I never had to really worry about that happening before because of my open-bite. It just seems like a dangerous way to live, having your mouth be able to close completely...

I asked my doctor about numbness because my chin and lower lip are still pretty numb and he said that it can take up to 6 months for full sensation to return. So there's that, but one good thing is that since my bottom lip is still pretty numb, I don't feel the braces and hooks cutting into my lip anymore. Up top it's a different story which requires a lot of wax.

Face-wise I definitely have more jaw definition now that the swelling has mostly gone down, but I have a kind of jowl thing happening due to that liquid diet I was on. My jaw muscles atrophied a bit and now I'm in the process of rebuilding them so in the future my cheeks won't be as droopy.

I also went to see my orthodontist today and that was one of the more painful experiences I've had mostly because that was the widest my jaw has been opened post-surgery. They took all the surgical hooks off and put in new wires and spacers. They also took an impression so I'll go back next week to get the wire thing for the roof of my mouth put in.

Yay progress!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Day 20 - Week 3 recap

Went to my 3rd doctor visit today and I can now eat soft foods!!!

So when I got home I cut up a banana to eat. It was strange, because I wasn't sure if I was actually chewing. I didn't choke though so I guess I was doing something right. The only problem I could see myself having apart from choking is food getting stuck in my splint. But that's more like gross discomfort rather than anything problematic.

As I was eating my banana, I noticed a box of muffins on the counter and you know, muffins are a pretty soft food. I ate a muffin and a half, though I felt kind of sick after, so I guess I should pace myself in the future. But it was so good. And thinking about it, 20 days isn't really that long, but that's complete hindsight.

Dr. Stark also said that I only need rubber bands on for 1 more week!!! And then my splint comes off in two weeks so I'm really looking forward to that because no splint hopefully means that I will be able to talk normally and basically be back to normal apart from my semi-restricted diet.

So many exclamation marks but it was such an exciting day!

Let's see... I can smile pretty normally now. My face is definitely more expressive with all of this regained mobility, though still a bit swollen. The extra stitches were taken out. I was given some jaw exercises to do and I was given the OK to blow my nose if needed, though lightly. My lips still don't close normally, but I can close them without it being too forced.

The last bit of exciting news is that I felt a light cold sensation on my bottom lip! Not much because it's kind of layered, but there was a definite sensation!

Today has probably been one of the more exciting days -- right up there with when I regained the ability to drink from a cup and use a spoon. Every day is progress.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Day 14 - #tbt

A throwback to that time I had jaw surgery June 4, 2015

And then to about a week ago:

And today:


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Day 13 / Week 2 in Review

So I visited my doctor today and he said everything is looking spiffy! I asked about the stitches that are on the inside center of my upper lip because I didn't expect to see any stitches there. He said that because they expanded my upper jaw, they also had to lengthen my upper lip and that I shouldn't worry if they randomly fall out when I brush my teeth. He's going to remove them next week if they're not all out by then anyways.

Week two - I definitely started this week more swollen than I am now and like I said before - if you didn't know me, I look pretty normal now apart from the open mouth thing.

My head still feels really heavy when I wake up, but it's just a bit uncomfortable. It goes away when I start walking around. Then again, I could just hate waking up.

I really think that all of the walking has helped. It makes me feel healthier at least more than if I were just sitting on the couch all day. I think it's an important point to remember that I had surgery, I'm not sick, so it's a good thing to be active to get back to my old routine.

Food is okay. I've been eating a lot of applesauce. There's different flavors. I also like clam chowder. And then the other day I was really desperate for peanut butter, so I mixed some in my Cream of Wheat and it actually tasted really good! Still desperate for more peanut butter, I melted some in the microwave, added milk and it turned out surprisingly decent. Also, any fruit + vanilla ice cream + milk + ice makes a good milkshake. I had a nectarine milkshake the other day, but again it's all in moderation because I get sick of the same foods really easily.

My lower lip and my upper chin are still completely numb, though they are tingling. Other parts of my face like my nose and the area next to it are semi-numb, meaning I can feel if something is hot or cold, but I can't really feel it directly if that makes any sense. It's layered.

Overall I feel pretty good right now and I've been told it only gets better from here!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Day 10

Time is flyinggg. I can't believe it's already day 10!

And it's my dog's birthday! He's two. Sadly, no cake for him or me though.

Today one of my rubber bands broke, but it was pretty easy to put another one on. Tweezers were helpful, but you could probably do it without them.

My nose still randomly itches and it is driving me crazy, but other than this new, annoying itching sensation, I haven't had any improvement in my numbness. Just pins and needles.

Also, I think that if you didn't know me, I *almost* look normal. But I still can't close my lips comfortably and my lips and cheeks are still swollen. The bruising has disappeared though.

I can also say "Hello" normally, but that's the only word. I regress from there.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Day 9

Longer walk today
I'm not going to go into details, but you can't be afraid of your nose. You just have to accept all the nastiness and use your saline spray. And q-tips. Those are important.

What was annoying today though was that my nose actually started to itch, but the sad thing is that I still can't completely feel the sides of my nose and so I couldn't get rid of the itch! And now thinking about not being able to itch my nose has made it all itchy again!

I still can't feel my chin, but when I tap on it it tingles. No feeling at all in my bottom lip yet. But that's normal and I remember when I got my wisdom teeth out it took a while for sensation to come back then too. So I'm not worried. It's just inconvenient when I'm trying to eat.

Speaking of eating, I just bought this Broccoli Cheddar soup from Wegmans and it was delicious. It was savory and that's something that I don't really get a lot of with all the fruity drinks. There were broccoli chunks in it, but I just put it in the Vitamix and voilà: slurpable!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Day 8

The grass needs to be cut, but I feel like the vibrations from the lawn mower may be too much for my face/jaw right now. Maybe next week.

Apart from the first four days, I've been able to sleep through the night, although I was waking up earlier than usual, meaning 6 or 7AM, and that's with going to bed around 10 or 11PM. Now I'm pretty much back to my regular sleep schedule and since the anesthesia has worn off (around day 4 post-op) I haven't needed any naps.

The liquid diet is the worst. I mean, I guess it could be worse, but I just went to the grocery store and there was so much food... My mom bought all of these blueberry muffins for my brother to eat :(
Still can't close my lips,
but I can semi-smile!
I love muffins. I really miss pizza and cheeseburgers and peppers and bagels and whole fruit. I just really want to crunch into something.

When I first came back from the hospital, my throat was so sore and what felt good for me were hot/warm liquids as opposed to cold ones. In general and moving forward, I think it's good to have a balance, that way you don't get too sick of anything. For example, I'm already sick of chocolatey drinks. Too many in too few days.

I've been eating a bunch of different soups, fruit/veggie smoothies, V8, various juices. Occasionally I have a milkshake. And then Cream of Wheat with maple syrup and extra milk to make it more liquidy is really good. I'm going to try a cheesy grits recipe for dinner tonight, so we'll see how that turns out!

PSA - A mirror really does help. Just picture this like one of those weight loss commercials : At first I was super sloppy, letting food drop all over me, but now with my mirror I'm able to see when I'm about to drip and I'm proud to say that my shirts have never been cleaner!

Dr. Stark told me to start brushing with a toothbrush, so I have this Dora the Explorer child's toothbrush that I'm using. It's difficult because my gums are numb, so I'm not sure if I'm being too gentle. And then the splint makes it weird because it goes over half of my front teeth and then I'm not sure how much it is covering my other teeth because I can't really open my mouth, so brushing is guesswork. I just used a flashlight to look around in there and that actually helped me see spots on exposed teeth that I was missing with my toothbrush.

Think I'll go take the dogs on a walk now.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Week 1 - Contemplated

To think, this time last week I was under the knife.


The first three days after surgery were the worst because of the insane pressure from the swelling and that just causes general discomfort because nobody's face is supposed to be that size. But it has started to go down, although I think I'm plateauing at the moment.

For me, waking up is the worst because I just feel all of this pressure building back up and it's so uncomfortable. But once I'm up and moving, I feel pretty normal for a person who just had their jaw surgically reconstructed.

Talking has been difficult because I have a splint, which is confining my tongue to the back of my mouth. Also my mouth is rubberbanded, but my doctor just put on looser ones so now I can use a spoon! And I finally learned how to drink from a glass without coughing everything up from choking: you just have to let it go down. Don't be afraid of drowning or choking. You just gotta tip your head back and chug.

Also, I think I wasn't drooling before because the sheer size of my lips was containing everything, but now it all depends on posture. If I'm not sitting or standing straight or backwards a little - let's just say I feel like the little teapot in the "tip me over and pour me out" aspect.

My nose is still semi-clogged. No real progress there.

Overall, I haven't really had any pain, just discomfort. I've only been using my antibiotics and mouth rinse for medicine and haven't needed the painkillers. I think I either have a really high pain tolerance or I'm just so numb I feel nothing. Probably some combination of the two. Smiling is the only painful thing though because I think that's stretching the incision areas. I was trying to watch Jimmy Fallon and he just cracks me up so I had to pause the show just to reset my face. So my advice is when you laugh, make sure that you're able to control yourself because it hurts! But I think it helps to laugh. You know what they say, laughter is the best medicine!

bite before
bite after

chin before
chin after

Day 4

I think the effects of the anesthesia are finally gone because I can finally concentrate, which I wasn't able to do the first couple of days. So now I can start reading/watching Netflix/Interneting whichever.

Note the roll of paper towels:
They are essential
My swelling has definitely gone down, but I honestly still feel really compressed and now there's bruising that's showing up and my neck is kind of stiff, so I guess it's a compromise. Those are my only complaints though. I haven't needed any pain medication yet, which I am happy about because that Lortab is nasty stuff. It's like cinnamon cherry flavored in the worst way. I guess when I become less numb I'll probably need something. Feeling is slowly returning: I can feel my top lip and half of my nose, but it's layered if that makes any sense. Like sensation hasn't returned completely, but everything is tingly.

I walked my dogs today, which was only a struggle because they started pulling in the end and I don't think it would be good for me to jog. Don't want to jostle anything around, though like I said, I feel pretty compressed.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Day 3

My ears and throat probably are what hurt the most right now, discounting my overall general discomfort due to the unnatural size of my face. I think I look a bit like a gourd, actually. I like the compression thing though just because it feels like it's holding my head together.

Eating has been a bit of a struggle. It's probably just me, but I feel like whenever I drink too much milk it gets harder to swallow and everything in my mouth gets super thick - gross, right - so I kind of just want to avoid milk products. I've been eating chicken soup my mom made and blended in the Vitamix which actually tastes really good. I really haven't been all that hungry though, unless you count this craving for pizza.

My lips started peeling, not that I can feel it so I've been q-tipping them and using this medicated ointment I bought and that seems to be helping. My parents say they looked painfully chapped after surgery, so I guess it's to be expected.

I have a follow-up doctor appointment on Wednesday that I'm looking forward too, hopefully because by that point my swelling will have started to go down and then also maybe I'll be able to open my mouth a bit more? 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Day 2

My dad said I looked rounder this morning.

Let's see, I got up at 4AM because I was in some pain/discomfort, not really sure what is what and so I decided to mix some of this awful painkiller medicine, Lortab Elixir, with prune juice. Oh my god. I don't know if it's just me, but I cannot cannot cannot stomach this medicine. It burns my throat and then leaves it itching and it's just nauseating. The smell alone makes me gag. That's been my biggest struggle.

I haven't been drooling really, and I use a saline spray for my nose, but it was never really stuffed up thanks to that oxygen mask. The main thing is getting used to all of the saliva on the inside of my splint because it feels like I'm drowning. Also I don't like that my tongue is trapped. But I am able to open and close my mouth a little bit despite the rubber bands and I can drink from those paper dixie cups that are kind of moldable.

My swelling has definitely increased today. I went from looking like a pear to a pineapple and I still feel all of this pressure. Maybe it's the little Lortab that I've managed to swallow, but I've been trying to picture my head like one of the Patriot's footballs in deflategate and just trying to imagine my head deflating a bit, you know, imagery as a recovery technique. They gave me this compression head wrap thing at the hospital with instructions to keep it on for three or so days to help reduce swelling...

Definite increase in swelling

It's honestly such a weird feeling. My body, my arms, legs, etc. feel completely fine and normal but from my nose to my neck, there is all of this pressure. Deflate deflate deflate.

I walked outside today, but there were a bit too many gnats and I didn't want any to fly into my mouth so I went back inside, which was sad because it was a nice day and my dog was having fun fetching. Which reminds me! When I came home from the hospital he was really worried. He actually jumped up on me, which was a bit scary because you know, just had jaw surgery, and he kept barking in a high-pitched worried bark tone. He slept next to me for a while. So it's nice to know that my dog cares and realizes that something has happened to me.

I feel like this has all been a bit scattered, but it's difficult to really think straight. Maybe it's the pressure, maybe it's the Lortab I managed to choke down, I'm not sure. They say swelling peaks at seventy-two hours, but I've lost track of time and don't really want to know if it's possible for me to swell any more. I feel like I might burst.

Day 1

Half of my day 1 was spent in the hospital. I was visited by my surgery team (the residents) minus the main surgeons and they proceeded to shine a bunch of penlights in my face poke around my mouth and band it shut with rubber bands to get the bite set. Breakfast was brought, but I wasn't hungry at all. I made myself keep syringing some water into my mouth though because they said I wouldn't be able to be discharged if I was too dehydrated. I was wheeled downstairs to the oral maxillofacial wing of the hospital where I waited for some x-rays to be taken. I can't believe my bite is actually together! Though my doctor says I'll need at least another year of braces to make it align properly, but that's fine because the hard part is in the process of being put behind me.

Missing that oxygen mask

I had an oxygen mask which was really nice because it dried me out and made it easier to breath. I wish I had one of those at home.

 My parents came back at around 11:30ish. They talked to me and told me what I didn't remember about my surgery  - namely that it took 5 hours with the most time spent on my upper jaw where three surgeons worked to make everything align. I don't even want to imagine what that would look like. I'm glad I was knocked out so fast.

They say I have more of a chin, but I feel too swollen to even process that idea. I mean, the size of my lips (#kyliejennerchallengewinner)!

Two of my doctors came to make sure everything looked good and see if we had any questions and then they said they'd fill out the paperwork for discharge!

My sister face timed me and we were able to communicate pretty well even though I was basically grunting.  My dad showed her around the room. Finally I was discharged and wheeled out to the parking lot. I managed to tell my dad to not brake suddenly as he had when we were driving to the hospital the other day. I fell asleep in the car a bit and then we were home and I was excited to try all of the liquids I had gotten. I liked the V8 and the chicken broth the best. My main concern is just staying hydrated right now.

Day 0

June 3 was all about my last foods. I had a muffin for breakfast, pizza for lunch, and then for my final dinner I went to Uncle Julio's a Mexican chain restaurant where I gorged myself on tortilla chips, guacamole, black bean salsa, and nachos. My surgery was scheduled for June 4th at 1 PM, which disappointed me because June 5 was national doughnut day and I wasn't able to partake in getting my free doughnut. I actually did manage to sleep because the idea of surgery remained super abstract to me and it didn't start to get real until I was asked to strip and put on the hospital gowns and socks. I was a bit confused about the socks because I remember this one episode of House where a woman left her socks on and ended up dying because House never checked her feet, but I suppose that's an extreme example and it's not like my foot was broken with bone marrow leaking into my blood stream.

On the way to the hospital
Last pre-swollen selfie

We checked in around 11AM or so and then I was just waiting for however long in a room that had a window and I saw a squirrel tap on the glass and then eat a wood chip. And then one of the nurses came in and introduced herself and then began to ask questions.

So the process is endless questions of what's your birthday, who's your doctor, what procedure are you having done, etc. and I didn't mind at all because I'd rather minimize all possibility of being confused with someone else.

I was introduced to the anesthesiologist and then one of the residents came in and wrapped my hair up and then one of the anesthesiologists gave me an anti-anxiety drug through my IV. It probably helped that I didn't have my glasses or contacts with me and was blind to everyone I passed by and what was in the OR. I remember lifting myself from my wheelable bed to the operating bed and then nothing.

awkward hair wrap 
The surgery, so they tell me took 5 hours. In the anesthesia recovery room, there was apparently a mishap with my oxygen only being at 70 and red and beeping and they had to call in the anesthesiologist who stopped the pain medication and shook my foot and shoulder telling me to breathe. What I remember is just coughing and hacking up blood all night in a half conscious state. Sometime around 11PM they took me to another room to spend the night.

But the surgical part is done and now it's just a process of moving forward, one day at a time.