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maryjo's jaw surgery journey

Personal Experience of Double Jaw Surgery/Recovery

April 15th/17- 2 MONTHS post-op

Part of me can’t believe that it has been 8 weeks already, while the another part of me feels that it must be longer. I am doing fantastic, and so far, I could not be happier with how things are going. I seen my surgeon earlier in the week, but didn’t have time to post an update because I was swamped in end-of-semester schoolwork. BUT, the semester is now over and I’m free until September! So here’s an update of life lately:

EATING AND DIET

I am shocked at how quickly eating is returning to normal. I am so lucky. I’ve been cleared to chew anything at all by my surgeon. I am eating anything I can chew without serious pain, and anything I can fit into my mouth. Some hard and chewy foods do cause some discomfort, but I try to power through them; the quicker I get my jaw and facial muscles used to woking hard again, the better. I had my first ¬†burger AND first steak this week- I did not think I would be eating these things at 8 weeks! Also, biting into food feels AMAZING. I never realized how much my bite was messing up how I eat- it is so much easier biting into things now!!

I still have my surgical hooks on the bottom, so eating is still annoying because a lot of food gets stuck in those little bastards, but overall, I’m just happy to be chewing.

I’m still tracking the food that I am eating because it can be challenging to get enough food/nutrients in to keep adding weight/muscle back on while my body is healing. However, my weight is pretty much back to normal ūüôā

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

I am still working at getting my full strength back but it’s coming along pretty well. I definitely feel as good (or better) as I did before surgery! I would say within the next couple months I will be back to normal.

SWELLING, NUMBNESS, ETC

Swelling is barely noticeable but I would say there is about 5-10% left in my cheeks. They still feel a tad bit puffy at times but nothing serious. I expect it will be completely gone by 6 months.

The incision sites are fairly gross to look at because I can tell how wide open they had me cut, but those have been healed for quite a while now.

Numbness in my face is completely gone and has been for a week or two. There is a tiny bit of reduced sensation in the left corner of my lip and in the centre of my chin. My gums still have fairly reduced sensation but it really doesn’t bother me.

My lips still feel a bit tight at times but smiling is getting easier by the day! My lips have been going into rest position without being forced for about 3 weeks now.

CONTINUING ORTHODONTICS

I have not seen my ortho yet for my second apt, but it is scheduled to be in about 2 weeks. I am expected to get my bottom surgical hooks removed, new wires, and chains to close the gaps.

The work that was done at 4-weeks has been successful and my open-bite on both sides of my mouth is completely gone.

I wear elastics 24/7, expect eating and brushing! These don’t bother me at all- I actually prefer having them in. As far as I am aware, braces are scheduled to come off anywhere between August 2017 and February 2018 but I am really not in any rush- I’ve put 5 years into braces already, so there’s no point in rushing the process now. I want my orthodontist to do the best work he possibly can.

That is really all I have for now! Below is a photo of my side profile. Before (left) and after (right). I’ll post another update again next time something significant happens!

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March 26/17- One month & 12 days post-op

Wow is it ever hard to believe that surgery was almost 6 weeks ago! The human body is absolutely amazing in its ability to heal. At this point, I am so glad I went through with this. The first week was incredibly difficult, and the second week not much better, but things improved so quickly from then on. So, I don’t update often, but plan to whenever significant things occur.

DIET

I have been eating for almost 2 weeks now. The first 2-3 days of chewing were tricky but I caught on fairly quick. It has gotten to be a less ¬†tedious task, and although still requires my full attention, I’m pretty confident in my eating abilities.

My diet these days includes foods such as:

  • Pasta
  • Fish (salmon, haddock, scallops, etc)
  • Rice
  • Stir fry
  • Pancakes
  • Omelettes
  • Well-done vegetables (peas, baby carrots, spinach, broccoli, peppers)
  • Soft fruits (bananas, pears, blueberries)
  • Slow-cooked ribs
  • Potatoes
  • Soft foods for on-the-go like pudding, yogurt, protein shakes, etc

I seen my surgeon today for a quick follow-up and he told me things look fantastic and that I am healing faster than the average patient (teehee yay). He said I am good to start eating whatever I want, excluding a few things like almonds, apples, etc, and no big bites out of anything that isn’t soft (so no biting into a big sandwich like a normal human quite yet). Otherwise, unless eating a particular food causes me pain, I am to power through the somewhat uncomfortable feeling and chew it up. Sometimes people at this point get frustrated with how difficult chewing can be, but to me that is useless. The only way my body will learn how to chew again is by practicing, so practice I will!

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY/WEIGHT

I’m back to the world of working out YAY. It feels so great! I had lost somewhere between 15-20lbs, and most of that was muscle mass.

I’ve been to the gym about 5 times since he ok’d me 12 days ago. Two of those trips included full-body circuits to get my body used to moving again, one of those was a leg day, one a glute day, and today I managed to do back. I am still restricted from lifting very heavy weight, but I’m doing great considering what I went through not even 6 weeks ago. I credit this to my diet and keeping my calories/macronutrients on point since going back to soft foods. I have been tracking my diet with my phone to ensure I am getting plenty of intake each day, and although it’s difficult at times, I make it happen. Lots of fruits, veggies, protein, and supplemental shakes. Food is fuel, and I feel awesome! Time to bring the muscle back.

SWELLING, NUMBNESS, AND OTHER ANNOYING STUFF

Numbness is gone but the innermost part of my chin and left corner of my lip are tingly and quite annoying. My gums are about 50% back, I would say, but honestly it’s hard to tell. Swelling is mostly gone, although some persists in my cheeks. All is well though, and I’m excited see what my face looks like a few months from now when the swelling is gone! My TMJ (left) has been giving me hell since my feeling came back. I expected this, as I have always had issues with it. The hope is that this will improve, even slightly, with time now that my bite is corrected.

OTHER NOTES

  • My final measurements from surgery: Lower jaw advanced slightly over 9mm, upper jaw moved to the right slightly over 2mm, chin 4mm. That’s crazy to me.
  • I am totally in love with my new profile so far- no regret in that aspect.
  • I have been doing jaw exercises for about 2 weeks now- open wide, move side-to-side, and slide forward. I will do these until told otherwise. Continuing with my lip exercises (pucker and smile)
  • Smiling is getting easier although still looks forced
  • My energy is back at about 95%. Still some issues focussing some days.
  • No pain, but some discomfort. This is due to the elastics shifting things around, new wires, I clench my jaw, etc. Not surgery related.
  • Talking still sounds a bit funny but has improved sooooo much.
  • I see my ortho at the end of April and my surgeon in 2 weeks.

Photos: My first day back to the gym, a side-by-side of swelling at day 9 vs day 38, my go-to breakfast of scrambled eggs with bell peppers, spinach, onion, cheese, fruit, and coffee.

Until next time, folks!

 

March 16th, 2016- ONE MONTH & 1 day post-op

The majority of my blog readers come from my personal Facebook account, and since I spent so much time driving yesterday it was quicker to post my big update on Facebook than to write a post! But better late than never, so:

I seen my surgeon yesterday afternoon! I was sooooo nervous because I really didn’t know what to expect. They took me in right on time, and the first words from my surgeon: “This thing is coming out today”

This thing is the splint.

IT IS GONE. OH HAPPY DAY. What a glorious feeling it was.

Taking the splint out was completely painless however I had to open my mouth for the first time without elastics in order for it to be removed so that was slightly challenging. 100% worth it though. After it was removed, I was able to brush/rinse for a few minutes while the surgeon was out of the room. He came back in, put some new elastics on and showed me how to take them off/put them on, and then got into the good business… “so for your diet”

SOFT FOOD. I CAN CHEW.

He said I am not really restricted as to what I can eat… obviously no biting into raw carrots or full apples, but he wants me to be chewing and increasing the bite sizes and thickness of the food relatively quickly. I started off with mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, and cake. All bad for you, but oh so delicious. It is difficult-ish to chew but that’s normal considering my jaw/face was moved around/beat to hell only four weeks ago. On the bright side, my jaw didn’t hurt after trying to chew, nor was it tired. I was very surprised by this. Today I had a muffin, some rice with chicken, and some noodles with vegetables and beef. Chewing isn’t the easiest thing I have done, but I was so mentally prepared for this part that I don’t find it super challenging either.

As far as my bite goes, I can now feel how small my overbite is… it’s so weird. My front teeth touch one another!! One downside, however, is that I now have a fairly open bite but this is very normal post-op and can easily be fixed with orthodontics/elastics.

Some other things discussed were:

  • I can blow my nose again
  • I can begin working out again
  • I am to begin jaw exercises each day
  • Elastics can come out to eat/clean mouth

I seen my orthodontist this morning. He says everything looks great and my braces should be off within 12 months *insert happy dance*. Today he changed my top wire and put a step down to start fixing the open bite. He also changed how I am to wear my elastics, but it is very similar to what the surgeon requested- the only reason he changed this is because he wanted to take my surgical hooks off the top. I have some gaps he needs to close, but he will do this at my next appointment- he didn’t want to today because it would be too much pain this soon post-op. So, in about 5 weeks I am getting both wires changed, and chains on top to start really closing the gaps!

Overall, the first four weeks did fly by as fast as everyone said they would. I am so happy to be back to feelings more like myself!! The splint was sooooo uncomfortable. Cannot wait to eat a piece of pizza.

Below are photos of my first two meals, minus the glorious Mccain cake. Probably does not look appealing but to me it is gold. Pure gold. Also, a photo of my face after getting my splint removed. Facial muscles are still wonky, but I was smiling as big as I could!!

 

March 11/16 3 weeks 3 days post-op

Hello all!

Not a whole lot has changed since my last update.

I’ve been trying to keep busy with schoolwork as there is no shortage of that for me to do lol. I’m starting to really get my energy back, and until I am able to head back to the gym, I’ve been keeping busy with simple things like walking, cleaning, window shopping, etc. I really hope I get the go-ahead to slowly start back at the gym at my upcoming appointment, which is¬†this Wednesday the 15th. I have no expectations for the appointment but I think my healing seems to be going along well, and really hope I get the splint out and am put on a soft food diet. The weather for the week sounds terrible (snow storm) but I am scheduled to see my orthodontist the day after my surgeon, but he is 4 hours away so if it snows I doubt I will make it. I hope this won’t affect what the surgeon plans on doing.

My diet has not changed much since the last update, but here is what I have been eating (drinking) this past week:

  • smoothies
  • ¬†milk and chocolate milk
  • blended chunky soups
  • blended stews
  • OhYeah nutritional drinks
  • GNC nutritional drinks
  • thinned baby food
  • blended seafood chowder
  • coffee, frappuccinos, lattes, etc
  • milkshakes
  • AND THIS WEEK I BLENDED A VERY EXPENSIVE PIECE OF CHEESECAKE WITH A BIT OF MILK AND I ALMOST DIED BECAUSE IT WAS SO GOOD

Getting pretty bored with the liquids and finding it very difficult to get full/keep enough food in me. I have officially lost 15 pounds and 11% of my body weight. It is likely mostly muscle mass, which frustrates me BUT looking forward to putting that muscle back on ASAP. I really can’t wait to expand my food horizons because 15lbs is more than I thought I would lose.

The swelling almost appears to be at a standstill right now- I feel as if during these next few months it is going to go down very slowly, and someday 6 months from now I will suddenly realize it is gone. Who knows haha.

The numbness continues to improve, although very slowly. This week I have noticed that my upper lip is improving as well as my left cheek! Chin remains the most numb.

I will update after I meet with my surgeon and hopefully my orthodontist!

Below are some pictures relevant to jaw surgery recovery: my beautiful almost daily green smoothie (banana, orange juice, spinach, milk, arbonne daily greens, arbonne fibre boost, arbonne vanilla protein mix, ice), blended vanilla fudge cheesecake with about 1/3 cup milk, my face at 21 days (smiling is getting easier every day!), and my pre-surgery weight vs my current weight.

March 6th/16. 2 weeks 5 days post-op

I have definitely been busy since my last update!!

I returned to school and work, both of which are fine. I do very short shifts at work, and as it turns out, the kids are more amazed at my terribly muffled talking than they are scared. They kept staring at me trying to understand the situation that landed me in this mess, but it was above most of their heads. The parents were definitely sympathetic. Regardless, it was nice to be surrounded by some bubbly and carefree little personalities for a few hours.

School is… busy. I didn’t really get my mental energy back until almost 2 weeks so very little schoolwork was done for that period. Being a Masters student and doing almost no work or reading for 2 weeks is… well, it’s stupid.I have spent the last 4 days working my ass off. I literally have not packed away all the things I took back from my parents when I came back over… it is all still waiting on the floor for me to finish up assignments. However, in 4 days I managed to complete the 4 papers that needed to be done, and I’m pretty sure they are well done. My brain is still a bit foggy, so I’m sure I have done better work but I’m happy with them.

This week should keep me busy too, which is good, because it really helps the time pass. Today, I plan to get out for a little walk, even if it is just down the road to grab a coffee or for no real purpose at all. It’s supposed to be a beautiful winter day today. The rest of the day will be spent finally putting away all the stuff I haven’t packed away yet, and then cleaning, doing laundry, etc which I’m sure will make me very tired by the end of the day WHICH I NEED. Which leads me to my updates on the regular jaw stuff:

Sleep

WHAT SLEEP? I am not in pain by any means I just can’t sleep. The other night I even took my prescription pain killer to see if it would lead me to lala land aaaand nothing. I’ve been falling asleep around 2-4am and awake and laying in bed staring at the ceiling by 8am. Hopefully that is because of stress and now that I’m caught up on schoolwork I can get at least 6 hours straight. Lord knows I could use it

Numbness, swelling, etc 

I am not completely numb anywhere and I consider myself very lucky for that.

I have about 95% numbness in my chin- typically the most numb and last to return.

70% numbness in my left upper lip, bottom left half of my nose, and under the corner of my eye down into the inside of my cheek. It comes back a bit more each day and I am optimistic that I will recover well from the nerve damage.

The swelling is as expected. Going down slowly, but still there. I would say about 75% is gone, but there is still quite a bit to leave my cheek area.

Eating/splint

The splint is hands down the worst part of this entire experience. No new news there.

Here is what my diet consists of these days, still liquid only. Able to drink most of these things from their can/bottle or in a cup:

  • smoothies- thin, no seeds. favourites are:
    • citrus made with OJ, creamsicle sherbet, milk, and vanilla with fibre boost
    • 1 banana, spinach, frozen peach/mango, milk, OJ, 1 scoop arbonne greens, 1 scoop arbonne fibre boost, 1 scoop arbonne vanilla protein mix
  • OhYeah nutritional shakes
  • GNC lean shakes
  • chocolate milk
  • blended soups
  • blended chunky soups
  • blended stews (see a pattern yet?)
  • blended chowders, seafood is a favourite
  • melted ice cream
  • milkshakes
  • coffee, frappes, lattes, etc
  • juices
  • thinned baby food

May expand my options a bit in the future, but I’m trying to save softer foods that could potentially be blended (like spaghetti, mashed potatoes, chicken pot pie, etc) for the soft food or soft food/no chew diet so that I have lots of new things to try then. I am unsure when I will be switched and what I will be switched to. Speaking of which….

I called the surgeon today because I have been clenching my jaw and was worried it could affect my healing. I have always done this so it is nothing new and did not come as a surprise to me when the numbness went away enough for me to notice it. Fret not, they said, as any damage that could have been done was not done early and therefore my plates will heal perfectly fine. Other issues associated with clenching will be dealt with through the rest of my orthodontic treatment, as I expected. BUT the nurse on the phone said there is a chance I will get this freaking splint out at my 4 week appointment! I really hope she’s right. Please be right. Buuuuuut if she’s wrong it should only be an extra 10 days until it comes off. Earlier the better, however.

I have made some small jaw surgery recovery milestones that have me quite happy:

  • I have had my first coughs, sneezes, and yawns. Coughs are fine, sneezes are fine as long as you remember to keep your mouth open (yuck), and yawns are good if you make an effort to not open wide- if you do the elastics will surely stop you and that will not tickle. I have not had that experience yet.
  • I have had my first experiences talking to people at gas stations, grocery stores, etc. They mostly look at me as if I am a freak of nature and wonder what in the hell is wrong but hey, whatever. I’m doin it.
  • I successfully placed 2 separate orders at the Starbucks drive thru
  • I successfully placed an order for soup over the phone. The guy was definitely thrown off buuuuut I did it.

It’s the simple things lol. Excited for the day I can order a freakin burger or something instead of soup and open my mouth wide enough to eat it. *drools*

A lot of people have asked what the first week is like and to be honest the first week is typically shit for people, although there are exceptions. The hospital stay is less than optimal, your face hurts, your ears hurt, your skin sucks, you get a balloon head, you struggle to breath, your bleed, you get tired from simply existing, you can’t talk, you don’t want to eat but you have to, you feel sick, you feel frustrated, and you may even wonder what in the heck made you do this to yourself. But then, you wake up around the end of week 1 and all of a sudden it’s not so bad. The human body is absolutely amazing in its ability to heal and I am so thankful for that. I can’t believe how quickly my body is healing 7 broken spots in my face. It’s crazy!

That’s really the only way I can explain it, though. It’s strange to think back to a bit less than 2 weeks ago, and how uncomfortable I was. Now, despite being on liquids and the splint, I feel pretty normal and can’t complain. I know in a few months I will look back and say “wow! that flew by!”.

That’s about all I have to say for now, when there is more, I will post!

Below is a collage of what some of my journey looks like:

Hospital day 1, my syringes (which I rarely use now) filled with thinned baby food and water, cute balloons and flowers and cards and teddy bears from family, COFFEE, my bruising (very minor compared to many), blended seafood chowder, front profile at about day 6, and side profile around 2 weeks.

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March 2/2016- 2 weeks 1 day post-op

I made it past the two week mark!! I think & hope that means 2 weeks and 1 day until I am allowed soft foods. But they may also get me to wait 3 1/2 more weeks. Regardless, that day is getting closer, and I am PUMPED.

I seen my orthodontist at the beginning of the week. My elastics have loosened but they haven’t snapped so he didn’t change them. He’s letting me enjoy a few mm’s of freedom. God bless.

He says at my next appointment with him (26 days away) there is a good chance he will remove the splint and start a new set of wires. For those of you not well-versed in the beautiful world that is orthodontics, that means I start braces treatment again!! THAT MEANS THEY ARE ONE APPOINTMENT CLOSER TO COMING OFF!

I go back to work and school today… nothing like really getting in there haha. I only have one class today (three hours) and my shift is very short (also three hours). I do work with children so it should be interesting; however, I have a volunteer with me during my entire shift who I am sure will help me speak to the kids if they stare at me like I am a monster. I hope I don’t make any of them cry.

Sleeping & Pain

Sleeping is slowly getting better. I have yet to go any longer than 4 hours without waking, but I am able to comfortably be in bed trying to sleep for a full night, and I rarely need medication through the night. I find my face is sore before bed and in the morning. Some nights (probably about half) I take advil/tylenol a couple hours before bed to make the aching disappear. I really hate the taste and thickness of children’s medication, though, so if I can get by without it, I try to. I have not taken my prescription pain medication since day 5 or 6. I don’t remember which one because they all blur together.

My sinuses no longer bother me at night which makes me very happy. My nose does get stuffy through the day but it is 100000x easier to clean than it was the first week, and it doesn’t affect my breathing.

Eating/splint

This splint, man. It’s not cool. That is all.

I am now drinking most of my meals through a cup. I can open my mouth a few millimetres and suck very thin stuff through my front teeth. I don’t need to open at all to fit water/ensure and other liquids of similar thickness. I still use a syringe when I need to! I hate the damn things though. My diet now consists mostly of:

  • Meal supplements/protein drinks. Favourites: GNC lean shake (as a snack, not high in calories at all) and Oh Yeah Nutrition in Cookies n Creme and Chocolate. Ensure is still included but I really don’t care for it.
  • Liquid yogurt
  • Juices
  • Blended/thinned/strained soups (Steak & Potato, Vegetable Beef, Chicken)
  • Chicken Pot Pie, thinned, blended & strained
  • Corn & Potato chowder, thinned, blended & strained
  • SEAFOOD CHOWDER (favourite thing to date) thinned, blended, and strained.
  • Milk and chocolate milk
  • Coffee
  • Fibre-boosted water
  • Smoothies
  • Milkshakes

I purchased a ninja blender last week. I already had a blender, but it was not capable of blending things like chunks of meat. The ninja is great, although I may toss it after the liquid diet… I never want to drink anything again after this. Ever.

Numbness & Swelling 

I am not 100% numb anywhere, but I certainly have almost no sensation in a few places. It’s weird. I have full feeling on the entire right side of my face, except my chin; my chin and the left side of my lip are the most numb. The left side of my nose, upper lip, inner cheek, and under my eye are still almost numb. It is coming back in lots of places though, slowly but surely.

I started experiencing muscle spasms in my lower jaw the other day. Those suck! It feels like people said it would- like your muscles are trying to pull back into their old position. They are short-lived though, and usually stop a month or two in, apparently.

Swelling is still there, of course, and will be for many months to come. I look “normal” to the untrained eye, though, and I can already tell that my new profile will be greatly improved, so I’m happy!

One thing that no one told me about this surgery, and that I didn’t read about anywhere until recently is how MESSED UP your skin can be after jaw surgery. It’s due to the anesthesia, swelling, and prep they do to your face, apparently. The first week my face felt terrible. When I washed it, it was as if I wasn’t washing my skin, but was washing some weird layer of leather that someone placed over my face. That feeling started to go away slowly, and it was then that I realized I had a layer of dead skin peeling off my face! It was gross, and peeling like it was from a sunburn. That feeling has improved a lot, but my skin is still dry and peeling (especially around my nose and lips) BUT it is also suuuuuper oily. Oh the joys.

Below is a picture of what my front profile looked like then vs now. Notice the crooked facial features in the before picture!! Happy with what I am seeing so far. Looking forward to seeing how things look post-swelling in about 6 months time.

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February 25th- Post op day 10

Inconvenience: 6/10

Pain: 0/10 (except some minor “tired soreness” after talking or sleeping)

Nausea has been gone for a number of days now.

Swelling and bruising

The bruising has pretty much cleared up except for a few yellow spots on my neck. The swelling has gown down A LOT and although it’s still there and somewhat annoying/quite noticeable to me, I don’t think people would really look twice at me out in public if they didn’t know me/about the procedure. I am looking forward for the 6 month waiting period (they say the results you have 6 months after surgery are your lifetime results) being over so I can see what my jawline actually looks like.

NASAL CONGESTION IS PRETTY WELL GONE.

I get a bit stuffy during the day but it has now been two days since either nostril has been completely plugged. It is basically non-existent compared to what it was. YAY for breathing!!

Eating/splint

The splint could go to hell and I would be perfectly okay with that. What a little b*tch to have in your mouth. Cleaning it is just the worst. Also, it completely muffles my talking. But hey I suppose it has a job to do so I will keep it there until someone with many degrees takes it out.

Eating still sucks as expected. It has turned into something I did to nourish my body/enjoy to something that is like a part-time job. My diet so far consists of:

  • Chocolate ensure
  • Baby food (just the yummy-ish kinds for now)
  • Milkshakes
  • Campbell’s vegetable beef broth
  • Campbell’s chunky steak and potato soup blended up/strained
  • Campbell’s chunky chicken vegetable pot pie blended up/strained
  • Liquified yogurt
  • Fibre-boosted water
  • Multi-vitamins absorbed into water

Today an elastic let go (i think). I was syringing some apple-blueberry baby food diluted with cranberry juice and when I went to tip my head back up my mouth felt different. I had my Dad call the emergency/after hours number provided to us and the resident said that it most likely was an elastic that snapped and nothing too serious. It’s a Saturday, and we are about 4 1/2 hours from the hospital where my surgery was and about 1 1/2 hours from my ortho so we will be calling the orthodontist first thing Monday morning to see if they can throw all new elastics on, which was scheduled to be done at my appointment on Wednesday I do believe. Hopefully that’s all it is and it can be fixed on Monday!

Besides the relatively small inconveniences of eating/the splint and trying to talk, life has pretty well resumed to normal besides physical activity. I’m still under orders to lift nothing more than 20 pounds and to engage in no physical activity besides light cardio, which I expect to last until about 4-6 weeks post-op. I do miss it, but I know even if I was allowed to that I would be out of the gym right now because I am so easily tired- I’m seriously struggling to get enough nutritious¬†calories and what I do take in needs to go to recovering and healing right now, not to activity. I go back to school and work on Thursday if life keeps going as it is, which will be very tiring but nice.

In preparation of getting back into my normal schedule, I’ve started leaving the house as much as I feel I can. A couple days ago I went to grab some groceries and to visit my grandparents, and yesterday I spent the entire afternoon and evening out with my family. I even visited my boyfriend for the night. Today, I went to my brothers hockey game to cheer him on (silently).

Hard to believe surgery is now in my past and soon enough recovery will be too!

Attached are two photos- one is from yesterday, front on and the other is a profile comparison thus far- it will continue to change as swelling decreases and I continue with orthodontics.

Stay tuned to see what the orthodontist has to say next week!

 

February 21/2016- Day 6

Inconvenience: 9/10

Nausea: 0/10

Pain: 2/10

I’m trying very¬†hard to not hit a mental wall but I think I will soon hit a mental wall… for 2 reasons:

  1. Sweet lord almighty I miss food so much already. Being in a house with people and smelling delicious meals (as much as one can smell with plugged sinuses) isn’t exactly helping but I suppose I can’t put my family on a syringe-only diet with me, darnit.
  2. I miss my energy levels. I am getting extremely frustrated over the fact that I can’t do much more than get up and around to shower, brush my teeth (which is a joke with a splint), play with my cat, etc. I literally get winded going up the stairs… wtf?

Hopefully if I do hit a mental wall, I get past it rather quickly. I don’t wanna be sad or frustrated! I just want to get through recovery and move on with my life. Here’s my progress in the last couple days:

Eating/Splint

There’s only so many things you can put through a syringe. My diet is mostly fibre-boosted water, apple juice, baby strawberries diluted with water, broth, and chocolate ensure. Looking to add liquified yogurt later tonight. Unfortunately for me, I am very sensitive to textures. This is especially true when I can’t chew and I’m just shooting food into the sides of my mouth with a syringe. So, I can’t see myself blending up “real” food and putting that into a syringe, but time will tell. I am not “wired” shut, but my mouth is closed (tightly, as in I cannot breathe through my mouth) with elastics. I also have a large, intrusive splint in my mouth- this is going to be the thing that drives me the most batty. Even with loosened elastics in the future, it’s going to make talking, eating, etc difficult. I see my surgeon in a week and a half and I am praying that my diet can expand by then.

It’s sad, but I am already planning my list of places to go/things to eat once I can chew again. It will start with the entire BK menu, lo mein, king wok (fav chinese place) and chicken wings. *cries*

I miss talking. I can “talk” but it sounds more like muffled noises from a 6 month old child. I want to socialize with friends, but at this point I think I would just get frustrated. I will give that another few days and see where I am.

Swelling/Bruising

The swelling has gone down significantly, although I still feel (and look) like a chipmunk. The left side of my face is more swollen than the right, though I am not sure why. I also have multiple chins due to swelling.. I am looking forward to going back to one chin. Apparently by two weeks post-op my swelling will be greatly reduced, although it can take about 6 months for the last 5-10% to go away- this is why its recommended I do not judge my new profile for a while yet (but it does look good so far)

I am bruised below my chin and down my neck. It is now a disgusting shade of yellow but my chins are so fat I don’t really notice it…. pro?

Numbness/Tingling

Numbness is annoying, as expected. I have regained a little bit of feeling in the upper part of my face, and like the swelling, I am more numb on the left side. I am numb in my chin, lower gums, and upper lip on both sides. On the left side, I am numb from about the middle of my nose to the middle of my face. On the right side, it’s just the lower part of my nose. I’m expecting the numbness in my chin and lips to last the longest, but time will tell! I get the odd tingling/sensitivity feeling/spasm in my face/jaw, which I would assume is feeling coming back. Yippee.

Congestion

It’s honestly driving me NUTS. Especially because it is okay-ish through the day and then gets worse at night when I’m trying to sleep. Trying to sleep when you cannot breathe is, well.. impossible. It’s impossible. Slowly, though, it is improving. I am hoping in the next couple days it clears up. For those wondering why I do not just blow my nose, it is because you cannot blow your nose following upper jaw surgery.

Tis it for now! Just gotta keep on keepin’ on. It will get better.

 

 

 

February 19th/2016, Day 4 (First full day at home)

Inconvenience: 10/10

Nausea: 1/10

Pain: 4/10

Yesterday was the first full day I spent at home. It was pretty much the same as all the other days but instead of being in a hospital bed, I flipped between my bed and the couch!

We left the hospital Friday afternoon. Getting home took quite a while by the time my surgeon seen me and we stopped to grab my things. The narcotic they prescribed me tends to make me feel sick to my stomach so I was very slow getting my stuff. Once we did get on the road, I needed to stop a few times; once halfway home to pick up my prescriptions (couldn’t wait any longer) and a few more times to syringe some water into my mouth to help settle my stomach. The most annoying part of this situation is trying to “eat”- getting liquids/medication into your body with a giant syringe whenever you can’t feel the entire bottom half of your face is not the easiest task haha. It drives me nuts whenever it drips back down onto my face… hoping I can soon improve on my syringing abilities.

The scariest part of this entire experience is trying to breathe. My nose is very congested and I can’t blow it, and of course my mouth is closed with elastics. If need be, I am able to open my mouth wide enough to breathe but I don’t like to. They did send me home with one prescription nasal spray, and advised we pick up a saline nasal spray as well (which we did). An additional purchase I ended up making is a nebulizer. Filling it with saline and breathing that in really seems to help with my congestion and also with keeping my lips moist. I hope the congestion starts improving in the next couple days.

Sleep has not been coming very easily. It’s getting easier as the time goes on, but it still takes me a while to fall asleep and the most I can get at one time is between 2-3 hours.

I’m still very swollen although I do believe it’s starting to go down a little bit. I’m looking forward to having that decrease and to getting some of the feeling back around my face.

My family (especially my parents) have been so great to take care of me. I’m trying to do some things on my own but it really is not easy. They’re doing amazing and have no idea how much i appreciate it!

Also, my lovely family members have been spoiling me! My brother bought me a beautiful Toronto Maple Leafs jersey of my favourite player (Morgan Rielly), my grandparents dropped off a card and a gift, and my aunt, uncle & cousins brought flowers. I thought I would have been able to do this without coming home, but I was wrong. This would be next to impossible for me to do without some help.

My face looks about the same as day 2 so I don’t have any new photos, but here is one of my before/after surgery X-ray! The Before is on the bottom and the after is on the top.

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-12-44-41-pm

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