March 26, 2014

Day 44: Something Worse Than Double Jaw Surgery!

Just for the record, today is 6 weeks and 2 days post-op! Woohoo!

This morning I had an appointment with my surgeon. This is what the title of the post is referring to. You know those two hooks I had sticking out of my gums that were attached to my skull? He removed them today.

Holy smokes did it hurt.

First he injected the local anesthetic. The bottom one was first, I didn't feel the needle but I did feel him pinch my lip with the tweezers. My bottom lip still doesn't have 100% feeling but it does have super sensitivity which means it REALLY hurts when he pinches it with his tweezers. He then injected the top one, and I DID feel this needle.... my eyes actually watered. He then left for a few minutes, came back, cut part of the wire, and then pulled them each out of my skull. Not the most pleasant of experiences, I must say.

Now it is evening and the local has worn off, I am feeling a lot better. I am enjoying my lips not snagging on the metal hooks. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better, right?

Anyway... onto the good stuff.

He doesn't need to see me again for another month. He's happy with how everything is looking, and he is okay with me changing my bands (though I've been doing this already as they are beginning to wear down faster).

Also.... I can open my mouth a grand length of 31mm! That's 10mm more than my last visit 3 weeks ago! WOOO!

Here are some photos I took yesterday:

And I got some from a side angle for a change too!

Aaaaaaahhhhhhh I can't believe it!

So I don't know if you remember from about the million times I mentioned it but at the 6 week mark I was allowed to start chewing again.....

Here is a picture of my first chewing meal:

Macaroni cheese with cauliflower! It was delicious. Though not entirely easy, chewing is hard when you haven't done it in 6 weeks because you've had your jaws cut up and moved around. This was expected though so no big deal. I rang the dental assistant J. on Monday to get some guidelines, and she said anything that is soft enough to mash with a fork. So I'm going wild..... jokes. I'm playing it safe. Noodles for dinner tonight!

It's also really difficult eating with all the bands in my mouth, especially the crossed ones... so I made sure I asked about this today at my ortho appointment. He said I should take them out to eat and then put fresh bands in when I'm finished. Yay! I'm hoping this makes it easier.

I also asked about if I should be using my front teeth yet, but he said not for another few weeks while the bone is still healing.

An appointment was also made for the surgical gunk to come off and my normal braces be fixed up again.... I was hoping this would be around the 8-9 week mark, but it's actually on May 14th which is around the 13 week mark....

Oh well, this gives me more time to heal. It's only about 7 weeks away......

And now for some comparisons!!!!!!

As for everything else.....

Pain: I haven't had to take any painkillers in the last week.

Swelling: Keeps slowly going down... still a little bit of residual. I have a bump on my chin where the wire was removed today.

Numbness: I think feeling is slowly creeping across my chin.... My tongue is still really sensitive and weird. I think the roof of my mouth is back. Top gums still numb, some sections of my lower gums have feeling. Lower lip still numb on the sides.

Motion: Getting better, muscles feeling less and less stiff every day, and am learning to move my face normally again.

Hip: I haven't mentioned this in a while but it's been getting loads better! I started running again on the weekend and it's been fine. I can still feel it but I don't think I've had any pain in it for at least a week. The scar has become less lumpy too.

Activity/Energy: I've struggled with energy levels, especially with having to go to uni... but I feel I am slowly getting back to normal. I am probably at about 80-90% at the moment. I will probably start strength training again this weekend, hopefully this combined with running will help. I have to remember that I am still recovering so I shouldn't be beating myself up for feeling tired and not wanting to do anything. It's hard when you feel guilty and especially when you're used to being busy.

I am pretty happy with how everything is going though, life is beginning to get back to normal!

I hope all is well out there in the jaw surgery blog world :-)

March 19, 2014

Day 36: Five weeks and 1 day

Time seems to be flying by, I can't believe I made it to 5 weeks already! Less than a week and I can start chewing!

I changed my bands a few days ago, and while I had them off I took some photos:

Look at that perfect bite!

I will only be able to chew really soft things initially but I already have a list of foods to try. I know it probably won't be easy, it seems most people have trouble learning to chew again after jaw surgery. Seeing as your teeth are in a whole new position it's kind of understandable....

The past week has been the first time I have really missed chewing food. I'm feeling a lot less 'delicate' and fragile now, and I actually feel like I could chew again - when food moves down between my back teeth I have to try not to chew it because chewing feels like what I should be doing. Does that make sense?

My jawline doesn't feel so bruised anymore, I wouldn't want to knock it or anything but I no longer feel so scared when hugging people! The rest of my face is feeling a lot less fragile too, and I am getting some more motion back. My mum said last time she saw me she noticed my top lip was moving a lot more. Talking is still quite hard but it doesn't sound nearly as bad as it was! It comes and goes though, sometimes I sounds completely normal and other times I'm slurring words and lisping.

I think I still have some residual swelling but most of the swelling is gone which is great! I no longer feel like I had too much botox. It feels good to scrunch up my face and try and move the muscles around by making weird faces, it's almost like my muscles feel itchy haha.

It's AMAZING being able to eat some normal food again. I have graduated to a fork now! I've been eating a lot more normal food, as long as it's chopped up small enough and not too dry then I can eat it. I had my first roast meal a few days ago! Lamb shanks.... SO GOOD. I haven't tried chicken yet. I've managed to go out to dinner a few times, the first time I got falafel and yoghurt and just mashed it up and spooned it in. I also had the most amazing baked cheesecake afterwards.... Cheesecake is still my favourite food at the moment haha. Another meal I had was a lamb curry. Yesterday morning we went out for breakfast and I managed pancakes with banana, berry coulis, and maple syrup. Unfortunately bacon is still too difficult for me to eat so my boyfriend got to eat most of mine... I don't think he minded though! :)

My numbness has been getting a lot better this week! I FINALLY got my other cheek back.... a whole month after the left one! I think there is still a little bit above my lip but I remember this taking a bit longer to come back on the left side as well so I'm not too worried. I still have no feeling in my chin and limited feeling in my bottom lip but they don't feel as dead as they were before so I hope this a good sign. I'm still having some sensitivity problems with my tongue though it seems to be getting better slowly, and my gums are still mostly numb.

Pain hasn't been too bad, though I've had to take a dose of ibuprofen every few days when it gets a bit achy. I think this is mainly my teeth though. I'm slowly getting used to the feeling of having all of my teeth touch! So weird!

My next surgeons and ortho appointments are on the 26th march which is just over a week away.

March 10, 2014

Day 28: Otherwise known as 4 weeks..

Where did the time go?

Today also marks 1 month since surgery. Thanks February for being a short month!

Here are some update photos:

I had my surgeons visit last week, all went well and he said I don't need to go back for another three weeks. My next appointment is scheduled for a couple of days after the 6 week mark :-)

The numbness is pretty much the same... though my cheek is feeling a lot less dead and so I am hoping feeling will come back soon. My chin also feels less dead and I am getting lots of prickles, pins and needles, and shooting pains through it. My lips are getting easier to use though they still feel kind of papery, especially in the morning. My top lip still feels kind of rubbery and full, like I've had botox. My face mobility still isn't completely back, I am still very stiff especially in the nose and upper lip region, but talking is getting A LOT better and easier! My tongue is still very sensitive but I think full feeling is slowly coming back. Everything is slow so there isn't much to report. Haha. I'll do another update in a weeks time!


March 5, 2014

Day 23: After X-Rays

This afternoon was my ortho appointment. Dr. P. is really happy with how my bite is looking! He will start orthodontic work again at the 8 week mark, so everything will stay as it is for now. Unless my surgeon moves any rubber bands or whatever. This means the resin and everything will stay on as well. This stuff is quite bulky, I never thought I would be so excited to go back to having normal braces again!

Woahhhhh look at all that metal!

And compared to before:

I was totally gobsmacked when Dr. P. was looking up the x-rays in the office today. The difference is huge!!! It's shots like these that make it all worth it. Look how straight my teeth are!!!!!!!!!

I told him today how I've noticed I can breathe a lot easier through my nose. I haven't noticed a difference through my mouth yet but you can see on the x-ray how my airway has opened up. I don't feel so self-conscious about breathing loudly anymore! I'm pretty sure I don't snore anymore either.

On my incision line along the bottom I have a lumpy patch:

Dr. P. said this is normal, it is just scar tissue and it should eventually disappear. It's a bit tender so I have to be careful while I'm brushing. I asked if I can go back to my normal toothbrush but he said the baby one should be fine for now. I can reach almost all my teeth, it's just the very back molars that I can't at the moment.

Yesterday when I was brushing one of the rubber bands at the front came loose so I decided to take the other one off until I'd finished brushing. When I looked in the mirror my mouth looked so different so I decided to take some photos! You can actually see my smile properly and I got super excited!

I find these pictures so exciting to look at.

One thing I'm dealing with at the moment is disgustingly bad breath. I'm brushing twice a day and rinsing with mint mouthwash every time I eat but my breath STILL stinks ALL THE TIME. I can't wait to clean my mouth properly! I have noticed a thick white coating on my tongue and I am worried but when I rang my surgeons office last week he didn't seem concerned. I'm seeing him again in a few days so I'll get him to check it then. Maybe this is why my breath smells so bad.

My skin has started to get really pimply in the last few days, hopefully it's nothing to do with the surgery......

Numbness is not much change... I got a patch back yesterday above my lip on the left, so apart from my lips and chin the whole left side of my face is back. In a rough diagram, this is what numbness I still have:

And of course, inside my mouth. I hope my tongue comes back soon, I miss it very much.

Last night I ate cheesecake! And it was delicious! I have also managed to eat lasagne that WASN'T BLENDED. It took about half an hour, and my braces had mince and vegetables all through them, but it was worth it. Being on a liquid diet makes you realise how important the texture of food is. I tried blending up a donut a few days ago with a bit of milk.... not quite the same. Luckily it was still delicious.

Other things I have eaten include chocolate mousse, icecream (I am over the sugar-free diet as you can tell), more soup, pureed mince and vegetables, and mashed potatoes (or parsnips) and gravy.

Only 2 weeks and 5 days until I can start trying to chew again! The countdown is on....


March 3, 2014

Day 21: Three Weeks

Wooooooooo three weeks!! Let's start off with some photos:

Swelling has gone down heeeeeaps in the last week. My top lip no longer looks so huge! The only swelling I can see now is down the sides of my nose (and probably under my nose too), and my jawline. I look pretty much human again now though!

Smiling is still a bit weird but getting easier! My facial muscles are really stiff so it's still hard to make expressions and talk properly but it's getting easier slowly. I had my first day at uni today and I actually managed to talk to people so it was okay! Sometimes I have to repeat things.

Numbness is still very much the same, I'm still tingly as well.... I think I got some feeling back on my top lip on the left today. I've noticed I can feel the corners of my mouth as well, I'm not sure if it's always been like that.... And there is still no feeling on my right side.

The stitches started to come out this week. The incision lines are still very sensitive though, I have to be careful when I'm brushing. I'm still using a baby toothbrush....

Eating has been interesting! Today I pureed up some parsnip and poured gravy on it, it was DELICIOUS. Tonight I am making lasagne and am gonna puree that baby up.

This is what happens when you eat oats and don't blend them first:

Even though you can use a spoon, it doesn't mean you can get all the food in your mouth. Remember this.


March 2, 2014

Day 20: Spooning

I've cheated a little bit and started eating with a spoon BEFORE the three week mark... Oh my gosh!

After my appointment with my surgeon I figured nothing would be changing between then and the three week mark (which is tomorrow! woo!) so I may as well start now.

It went pretty well! I blended up a canned stew that would have been too thick to suck through a straw. I didn't make too much of a mess... I've realised I will generally still need to blend up food before eating it with a spoon, it's just now I can eat food that is a bit thicker.

It is definitely not easy and I often get food all over my face, I still have no feeling in my bottom lip and my tongue is still weird so it makes the motion of eating quite difficult. Sometimes I kind of have to inhale the food haha. I'm just glad to eat real food again!

So far I have managed to eat:

Thick soup/stew (blended)
Dahl (lentil stew) and rice - not blended! Though it got stuck in my braces..
Frozen yoghurt
Blended up broccoli (YAY FIBRE)
Scrambled eggs (YAY REAL PROTEIN) - this also made a mess in my braces, but so worth it.

More tomorrow!