Thursday, March 29, 2007

Post-op oral surgeon visit #2

I travel 40 minutes each way for 5 minutes with Dr. C. I just love him that much. Ha.

This morning's visit was short but sweet. All Dr. C wanted to do was check my "wounds" (as he called them). Everything is healing nicely. Then of course he asks, always with a hint of a playful, mocking smile, "How's the diet going?" like he KNOWS that's my biggest challenge. I told him, "Good, now that I can actually eat." Then he laughed. He felt around my chin and told me to move my lower jaw side to side, and then proclaimed everything to be perfect. He said, "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it because everything looks great."

I'm not sure if recovery is supposed to be this easy or if I'm just a good patient or if his other patients have problems or are complaining all the time, but I'm just glad it's going so well for me.

I also asked him when I can expect to stop feeling like I have false teeth on top, and he said it just takes time, possibly months, and some people never get feeling back all the way there. I did know this, but I just thought I'd bring it up.

On the way home, we drove by McDonalds and got hamburger Happy Meals for me and my 5 year old. Yes, I can eat hamburgers now, but ONLY McDonalds ones because they are so flat. I flatten them even more with my palm, then cut them into four sections. As for the fries, I can only eat the soggy ones. It's so much easier to eat now than it was two weeks ago. But then again, I've had tons of practice because I never STOP eating these days. I don't overdo and I try to take it easy on my jaws, and slow down when they start aching. They don't ache often though.

In other news, I have more feeling in my left nostril now, and it's slowly coming back in my chin area too. Whenever I wash my face or put on my foundation, I get a pins-and-needles feeling there. My face is still really stiff under and around my nose. I can't twitch my nose or pucker my lips, and smiling is still a chore.

Tomorrow it will be 4 weeks since I had surgery. On Monday it will be exactly one month. I can hardly believe it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

3 weeks post-op

As you can see in these pics, I still have swelling on my upper lip area, the space between my nose and upper lip, and in my sinus area. Yet 99% of the swelling has gone down in my lower face. These two things together are why the upper part of my face seems to come out more in the profile pic, and why my nose looks so far out and turned up. Dr. J says when that goes down my lips will fit together even better. I didn't give you a full smile because it still looks so freaking goofy at this point.

I'm feeling great. Wonderful. Last night my sinuses were bugging me but they drained pretty effectively overnight. Yesterday I started getting feeling back on the left side of my chin. I got pins and needles there when I was washing my face. Woo hoo! Left nostril is slowly coming back as well.

I'm a little concerned about my smile. As I said, it looks so weird and goofy. When I smile my nose does this strange stretching thing. I'm afraid it might always look that way. Then again, my upper lip area is still swollen, which I'm sure is contributing to the goofiness.

Waiting for the last of the swelling to go down is a big test in patience, I'll tell ya.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Weirdness...and more on my favorite topic: food

Today was the first day I left my bands off for 10 hours and I have to say, my jaws were all confused. They have no sense of direction, my jaws. Quite dumb, they are. I was kind of biting like I used to, which doesn't work anymore. I almost gave myself a headache. My teeth don't fit together yet and I have to be patient. I know this. My bottom teeth hurt today. My top teeth probably hurt too but I can't feel it.

Now that the vast majority of swelling has gone down in my chin area, my jawline has become sharper, less rounded. I'll put up pics tomorrow for my 3 week post.

Food. Oh lovely food. I've been eating SO MUCH in the past week. My personal favorites include:

Jello chocolate/vanilla pudding (the kind you refrigerate)
Mott's strawberry applesauce (SO good)
PB&J (smashed down, with extra PB)
Grilled cheese (good ole comfort food)
Kraft Easy Mac
Thick soups
Canned ravioli
Quaker maple and brown sugar oatmeal
Baked potatoes smothered in Becel, salt, pepper and bacon bits (I can swallow dem suckers whole)
Broccoli steamed very soft
Captain Highliner haddock fish sticks (they are super soft), dipped in tartar sauce
Scrambled eggs, soft-boiled eggs, poached eggs (um, I love eggs)
Toast with butter
Soft french fries
Soft hamburger patty cut into tiny pieces
Spaghetti with meat sauce
Frozen Eggo waffles and French Toaster Sticks with margerine and syrup
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (cut into pieces) for a treat

I've found I can open wide enough to actually bite into things now, like a single slice of bread. It's much easier to open my mouth now than it was a few days ago.

I've gained back most of my weight, as you can well imagine with those foods. I miss crunchy things (like potato chips) and thick things (like subs), but I could live off soft-chew diet for a long time. But in 3 more weeks I can resume my normal diet.

How did it happen so fast??

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

First post-op orthodontist visit

Please excuse the bad picture. I took it myself in the mirror in the bathroom and the lighting is horrible in there.

I took two Advil before I left for Dr. J's office, anticipating pain, but as it turned out it wasn't bad at all. I got a new wire on my top teeth and power chains to close all the gaps. Dr. J's assistant was very gentle and when I told her my genio stitches still ached a bit, she left my bottom teeth alone for now. She did put new hooks on top and bottom. She put three tighter bands in different spots. Two triangles on the sides, except they are not coming off my back molars now. I don't have an overbite or underbite so they are basically just there to keep my jaws still to heal. The best part is, Dr. J said I only had to wear them for 14 hours a day! So if I put them on at 6pm I'd wear them until morning and the rest of the day I am band-free. Woo hoo!

The lady who does the x-rays and pictures told me I looked "so different". I said "Really?" because for the most part I think I look like myself, only with a chin. She said I looked "supercute" which coming from someone as gorgeous as this woman is a nice compliment.

While I was waiting for Dr. J, I peeked in my folder (Are you allowed to do that? No one stopped me.) I saw the letter from Dr. C stating what he had done to me. It said my upper jaw was moved up 4mm, cut in four segments (yikes!) and stabalized with internal rigid fixation and mandi-something fixation. Which means I have plates, screws, AND little wires holding my jaws together. It also said there was some bone grafting done, which surprised me. Bone from where? I wondered. I have to remember to ask him next time I see him.

As for the genio, my chin was moved ahead 6mm and up 4mm. Also held together with plates, screws, and little wires.

Dr. J's new receptionist had the same surgery as me and she told me that at 3 weeks she was a lot more bruised and swollen than I am. She looks great, but I didn't get to see her beforehand. Half the staff in Dr. J's office has had orthognathic surgery...maybe it's a job requirement.

So that is that. I'm glad it didn't hurt. I figure since my top gums and teeth are completely numb I won't feel any soreness from the adjustment. Ya think?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The joys of soft-chew diet

Grilled cheese sandwiches, peanut butter sandwiches, toast, eggs, tender pieces of chicken breast, fettucine alfredo, apple sauce, oatmeal, pudding, macaroni and cheese, cupcakes...

That's some of what I have eaten in the past two days. I could eat like this forever. *happy sigh*

I'm full all the time now. I eat four times a day, just little meals, and then brush. It's getting easier to "chew" (I put that in quotes because I never really chew, just sort of mush the food around against my teeth and the roof of my mouth and swallow). It takes me about 1/2 hour to eat each time but that's fine by me. I think I've gained about two pounds already. I've only lost about five so it won't be hard to bulk up again.

I think I've figured out partly why I was so cranky and freaking crazy with hunger last week. I'll give you a hint: it starts with "P" and ends with "MS". In any case, I'm not insanely hungry at all anymore.

Yesterday we went to the brand new, huge Wal-Mart and shopped for over an hour. I did get quite tired by the end of it, but shopping at Wal-Mart on a Saturday always makes me tired. I was hoping to run into someone I know who didn't know about the surgery so I could see if they recognized me, but it didn't happen. No one stared at me, even though--as my hubby told me--I look pissed off all the time. Ha ha. I really do. I can't smile comfortably and my face is stiff. Then again, shopping at Wal-Mart on a Saturday always makes me look pissed off.

My teeth look messed up. My top archwire was cut during surgery so my teeth are moving to places they aren't supposed to be. My overbite seems to be back, and I have these huge gaps. I can't wait to go see Dr. J this week and get back on track again. I'm kind of scared of getting an adjustment though because there's so much pushing and yanking involved. That can't be good on a recently broken jaw. Hope they are gentle with me.

Now a shout-out to all my family members who read my blog. I appreciate your support and compliments. Thank you!

Friday, March 16, 2007

2 weeks post-op--I'm free!

Well, for a couple of hours a day anyway.

My two week pictures: you can see that my nose is still crooked but it's getting better. And I thought I'd throw in a pic of my extremely awkward smile. It makes me laugh. It's my "bring on the food" smile.

I was so excited to see Dr. C today! When I got there he was right in the middle of a wisdom teeth removal or something because he came in the room wearing his scrubs. He looked in my mouth and complimented me on how clean my teeth were. I was like, what? My teeth feel disgusting! But I guess he sees worse. He asked me how my diet was going and I said, "I'm HUNGRY!". He laughed. Then I asked him with desperation in my eyes, "I'll be able to move on to soft foods after today, right?" He said yes. I started breathing again. He said he'd give me looser elastics and I can take them off to eat and brush. BINGO. Applause. So I now have three bands instead of five, and he taught me how to take them on and off with this little pink hooky doohicky. He said it will take practice and I concur. Since I got home, within an hour I've shot one elastic across the room, whipped my lip, and almost swallowed one. Jeez.

My first bands-off meal? A very flat, very soft grilled cheese cut in tiny pieces. It was soooo yummy and filling. I could almost hear my tummy yelling "What the hell?" Let me tell you, chewing is WEIRD. It's like trying to chew with those plastic false teeth in. It's tiring. And just plain strange. I can't open all the way yet and my bite feels off, like there are teeth in weird places. Being clenched for so long has tilted my bottom molars a bit.

Dr. C said that Dr. J has a lot of orthodontic work to do on my teeth before my bite will feel right for me. I knew this. He also said I'd have to wear these elastics for 2-3 months! Is it me, or is this longer than normal? I don't know. Oh well, I don't really mind. He said my bite had to be retrained and I understand that. I have to see him again in two weeks for another follow-up.

I also saw my x-rays. So cool. My little chin bone sticking out looked funny. I could see all the hardware in my upper jaw. Dr. C's assistant told me twice that I looked good. I told her I was extremely pleased and she said, "You should be. He did an excellent job...again!" Way to toot your boss's horn.

Brushing my teeth was lovely. I had so much gunk in there. But again, it was so weird. My top gums are almost totally numb and it felt like I was brushing the table. I can't believe I'm typing this but it almost felt good to put the bands back on. My bite felt way unstable with them off. It was like I didn't know where to put my teeth.

So, I am happy. I feel full. Life is good.

These are great pages for soft food ideas!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Rules of Syringement

One more sleep.

I'm so excited!

Fear cluthched my heart when I saw a Winter Storm Warning for tomorrow. What's weird is there was also a warning the day before my surgery, two weeks ago. Maybe Mother Nature is trying to mess with me. Luckily the snow isn't supposed to start until late in the day and my appointment is early.

My last syringe supper was potatoes and gravy. I think I will never eat that again. Ever. Soup either. I may have an egg for breakfast tomorrow and that should be the LAST TIME I have to eat that way. Soft-chew diet, how I love you.

Eating through a syringe takes effort. It can be time-consuming, lonely, messy, frustrating, and unappetizing. There are times when the substance you want to suck up gets plugged and you want to throw the syringe across the room. There are times when your food squirts out too fast and it goes all over your face. There are times when blended food just does not taste as good as it smells. A huge part of the enjoyment of eating is the appearance of the food. Blended chicken and broccoli does not look good.

Some positive things have come out of my liquid/semi-mushed diet these past two weeks, such as:

1. I discovered that I actually like Carnation Instant Breakfast and will probably continue to drink them.
2. I have more energy because almost everything I take in has tons of nutrients.
3. I successfully battled my Pepsi addiction.
4. I probably won't eat as much junk food as I did before.
5. I lost a whole lot of cellulite.
6. This was a huge test in patience and strength, and even though I complained a lot, at least I didn't go stark-raving mad (yet).
7. It made me appreciate eating, talking, yawning and brushing my teeth SOOOO much.
8. I sleep better because I take in virtually no caffeine.
9. Not being able to talk so much or do too much gave me a lot of time to think, read, and watch TV, even though I watched so much Friends, Seinfeld and True Hollywood Story that I could recite the dialogues of every episode.
10. My creativity flourished and grew. Who knew you could eat salsa and cheese chicken through a tiny little hole?

So. I'm not sure if tomorrow I will toss my syringes in the garbage, or keep them to remember this time of my life. My new chin serves as a good enough reminder, so maybe I will toss 'em.

I literally feel like I could eat a steak right now if my bands were off. My jaws feel strong, but at this point very tired from being clenched for so long. I can't wait to start my jaw exercises. Open...insert food....close. Open...insert food...close.

Titanium Twins

I just realized last night that both my husband and I have titanium in our bodies. How many couples can say that? He has a vasectomy and I have my bone plates and screws.

Good thing titanium is not...uh...magnetic.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'm such a freak

You guys can laugh at me if you want, it's okay. I will understand.

This has to be be THE longest week of my life. I still can't talk beyond ventriloquism so I haven't been too keen (keen is such an underused word these days) on being around people or going anywhere. The kids are on spring break and up until today the weather has been good and they've been going out, but today it rained and tomorrow it will rain and they are bored now. So I've been trying to find things for them to do, even letting them play with their messy stuff that I have to clean up for days afterward (like that frickin' horrible Moon Sand).

I am SO hungry 99% of the time that I can barely think beyond food. So as I've said already, I'm looking forward to seeing my OS on Friday. Very much forward. So forward that I've even been inventing these weird scenarios as to why I might NOT be able to see him (and thus be stuck in these bands for another week or whatever). What if his office cancels? What if the car doesn't start? What if we get a huge storm? What if Dr. C gets called away on an emergency? What if Dr. C gets sick or, even worse, gets in an accident? Yes, I seriously pondered this possibility.

I made my husband call Dr. C's office and confirm for Friday, to make absolute sure my appointment is when it is.

I am a freak.

I sit here thinking about all the things I can eat once I have looser bands and/or I can take them off to eat. Tiny bits of grilled cheese. Scrambled eggs. Soup mushy with crackers. Pasta of all kinds. Toast. Cheerios. And on and on and ONNNNNN. I try to think of what my kids ate at a year old and figure I'll be able to partake in the same foods. Right now I'm still at the infant stage of drinking my meals. It really is like being a baby again, isn't it?

I also dream about brushing my teeth properly. The backs of my teeth feel so disgusting. I think about how that first good brush will feel, the taste of the toothpaste, everything. I even miss flossing and can't wait to do it again.

I am a freak.

Two more sleeps.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Know what I just had for a snack? A poached egg. Unblended, no-base-added, unadulterated poached egg. I cooked it up, mashed it up, and sucked that baby into my syringe. I got most of it too, though it was mostly yolk. But I did not care. I tasted real egg for the first time in two weeks. It's the little things, isn't it?

It's funny. If someone asked me two weeks ago if I'd eat an egg through a syringe post-op, I'd have laughed at them. I mean, ew. But do not underestimate the power of hunger. I had a love affair with all things food long before this surgery. Eating has always been my favorite thing to do and I knew beforehand that being banded tight for two weeks would be the toughest part of this whole thing. And it has been.

I'm so glad I have rigid fixation and I'm not wired or even splinted. Because in...oh...three days? I get to eat.

Bring. It. On.


This morning I was thinking back to about two years ago, when I started truly realizing how weird my face looked and how much I hated my profile and my teeth and my smile. I always have, but it was just two years ago that my looks really started bothering me. I got kind of obsessed with looking at older pictures of myself to see if my chin had receded even more since, say, my wedding photos in 1999. I'd watch TV and study people's chins and smiles, comparing. I remember going online to look into a chin implant. I even emailed a plastic surgeon asking how much one would cost (they emailed back saying they'd have to see me first). I recall thinking that we would never be able to afford plastic surgery and braces and I was stuck hating my looks forever.

Now, two years later, after braces and surgery and a new chin under my belt (or under my lips), I can sort of understand those people on talk shows who lose a ton of weight and feel like they can do anything. They can wear anything. They can pull anything off. They get new haircuts and new clothes and new jewelry. Anything is possible.

That's how I feel now.

I realize now that I've always compensated. Makeup always on. Hair always long and never, ever pulled back off my face. Clothes that emphasized the fact that I at least had a nice figure. I'd rather have died than gone out the door less than perfect. In public without makeup and hair fixed, in sweat pants? Never. I cared so much about how I looked. In some people that's called vanity and being self-absorbed. But not for me and people like me. It's pure self-consciousness. Trying to make up for what is lacking. Thinking that if you look good in every other way, people may not notice your facial deformity. That you may even be able to forget about it.

Then there's the personality. If I'm funny and witty enough they may not see that I'm also unattractive. If I'm talented at something (in my case, it's always been writing), maybe they'll overlook the fact that my facial features are curiously similar to that of a horse. It's all about the compensation.

I've always wanted to be pretty, but I would have settled for just average. Normal. A chin and bite like everyone else would be nice, I often thought. Not that I haven't gotten my fair share of compliments over the years, but some people seemed to think "Hey, I think you're attractive and that should be enough for you." But it never was enough for me. Why should it be? I never saw myself as others saw me. I felt no one ever told me the truth. It wasn't until Dr. J laid out the truth for me last year that I really felt the first flicker of validation. My face wasn't normal. I had a deformity. Ugly, maybe not, but it had the potential to be so much better. And that's what Dr. J and Dr. C gave me. Potential. So much better. Normalcy. No more need for compensation. The permission to go out without makeup, wear my hair however I please, and let my hidden wit and warped sense of humor that not many people know about finally shine through. People can look at me now.

Today in the mirror I see the me that I always thought I should look like. Pretty? Maybe someday, when all the swelling is gone. But average at least. Balanced, normal, and acceptable. I'll be able to smile with confidence and without self-consciousness, which is all I've ever wanted. I don't even know how confidence feels, but I'm sure I will learn it over time. Hopefully it will become as familiar to me as shyness has been to me my whole life.

I can look in the mirror and not hate what I see. That's what made this whole entire thing worth it, and also the best thing I've ever done for myself. When people tell me I look good now, I believe them.

Finally, it's enough for me.

Monday, March 12, 2007

And the countdown begins

Four more days. Four more days and I'll be able to open my mouth, brush the backs of my teeth, and just quite possibly chew soft foods. It's like being 6 years old and waiting for Christmas.

A tsunami could not keep me from going to my oral surgeon's office on Friday. Friday, March 16 at 12:45 pm AST. Aw yeah.

All things considered, lack of solid food and fuzzy backs of teeth are my only real complaints. I feel really good. Maybe because I'm eating healthy ALL THE TIME for the first time in my entire life. I have energy. My skin cleared up (though it's still super oily from the steriods and swelling). I'm sleeping pretty good. No more pain killers at all. I actually like my Carnation Instant Breakfast drinks and shakes. I have two a day, mid-morning and before bed, to make sure I get all my nutrients.

Last night hubby made me that Italian veggie soup, which was spicy and hot and delicious. It was hard on my stomach after days and days of blandness, but so worth it.

If it would only warm up, I could get out for a nice walk. My kids are on Spring Break and we're all going a little bit nutty. Oh well, I got plently of exercise today just sweeping and mopping my floors and doing laundry.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Day 10

"Your jaw is weakest on Day 10"

Uh oh. I'd better not move too much.

Still dealing with the swelling on the left nostril and crooked noseness, which I'm still hoping resolves itself. I think my lower jaw and chin looks great. Minimal swelling there but you can see what it will look like a few weeks from now.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Oh what a feeling

Wasn't that a song in the 70s? Hmmm.

Anyway, the spot between my chin and my bottom lip is regaining feeling today. It hurts! My stitches down there ache too. A piece of my stitch fell off already, by the way. Ew. My face wakes up more everyday. My only numb spots are the left side of my chin and my left nostril.

I'm not feeling sick anymore. No idea what's going on there.

Right now I feel as close to full as I have in 9 days. My loving husband cooked me up some mashed potato with garlic, some broccoli, and baked chicken breast, and blended it with chicken stock. YUMMY. I ate (syringed though a gap in my teeth) a whole bowl of it. I keep blowing out syringes. They break from the pressure and fall into my bowl of goop and make a mess. I've found the ones with less of a rubber/plastic seal work better. Luckily I have a few from past child antibiotic rounds. I'm getting "syringe" finger. Seriously, I've got a callous on my thumb.

I'll celebrate the day I can sit down at the table without my freaking syringe and a freaking hand mirror.

A little sick

What I thought was the normal gunkiness from surgery has turned into sicky gunkiness. I can tell the difference. I have a good old fashioned virus or something. My ears feel plugged, my nose is running, my throat feels inflamed, I have a cough that is producing some phlegm (sorry), and a very, very low-grade temp (99.6 last time I checked). I don't feel bad, just a little yucky. Don't worry, I WILL get my butt to the doctor if it even gets a little bit worse. Pneumonia wouldn't be fun at this point. I can just imagine that scene at the walk-in clinic, with hubby translating for me and the doctor realizing that no, he can't even check my throat because I can't open my mouth. Hehe. My husband is sick too. What a pair we are.

Other than that, I'm doing well. I took one of my bedtime pillows away so I am now laying (lying?) flatter. It's nice. Might have to go back to three pillows now that I'm sick though.

This morning for breakfast I had scrambled eggs and toast blended with milk. Um...yeah. Not that great, but it filled me up a little.

My favorite blended shake so far? This:

Chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast
2 tbsp smooth Jif peanut butter
2 tbsp vanilla yogurt
1 cup whole milk

Oh. My. God. Yum.

My second fave:

Strawberry Carnation Instant Breakfast
1 banana
2 tbsp raspberry yogurt
squirt of honey
1 cup whole milk

Yum again.

This week, hubby is making me some Italian vegetable soup. I'm dying for flavor. Can't wait.

No pictures today. I'm going to stop doing the dailies and start posting them every few days so the difference will be more dramatic. :)

Friday, March 09, 2007

No dice

Hubby has been to every drugstore in town, by the way, and cannot find the syringe adaptor. I plan to ask Dr. C about it next week, but by then I should have looser elastics and can shove food in between the bigger space.

There is also apparently no such thing as liquid Advil here. I can take the children Motrin if I want (like 30 ml!). Oh well.

1 week ago today...

...I was just getting out of surgery. What a week it has been. It has gotten better by the day.

I'm getting a teeny tiny bit worried about my nose. As you can see from the pics, it's crooked. I do have more swelling on one side of my face, and my nose is numb on one side, so obviously it's stretching a little toward the left, but I'm wondering if my nose will ever be straight again. Still, even if it's not, I won't mind so much. Why? Because I LOVE my new jawline. I am so thrilled with my chin that I can't help but smile (awkwardly and numbly) when I study it in the mirror. I'm so glad I had this surgery and I'm even more glad that it's behind me. Surprisingly, I never once had a fleeting thought of "What have I done?" like a lot of people do. I have yet to "hit the wall" (though day 5 was pretty bad). I feel grateful for this.

I'm not sure if I have a little cold or if it's just from the gunk still running down the back of my nose, but my throat feels swollen and scratchy. I can't really cough either. I drank some Pepsi last night to see if the bubbles would work away some of the filmy feeling, but it didn't work. Maybe tea with lemon? Any suggestions?

Other than that, I'm feeling great. Still hungry, yes. But great. I realized I'm more relaxed now than I have been in months. It's been such a crazy few months with all the worrying and anticipation over my surgery and now it's OVER and I can focus on recovery. I'd love to go out for a walk but it's -13C and I don't think my new face would take well to frostbite. Can't wait for Spring.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Day 7

Guess what I had for lunch just now? A soft boiled egg! With salt and pepper! And taste! I blended it with some water and sucked it down with my syringe. I'm now setting my little syringe against the one gap in my teeth. Anything that will fit in that syringe I will eat (in 5 ml swallows). I'm going to get my hubby to hunt down a syringe adaptor for me like Steph used, so I can stick that sucker right back by my molars.

Swelling is gone down on the left side of my chin, but under the nose and my left cheek is still puffy. I can now literally touch and feel my new chin bones. Quite frankly it's freaking me out how much I look like my brother, who always had a rounder jaw line than I did. He thinks it's weird too.

I just want you all to know that in the pictures I have posted I look like crap because a) I just had surgery a week ago, give me a break and b) I'm always right out of the shower with wet hair and no makeup. I can't wait until the swelling goes down and I can get all dolled up (I LOVE makeup and wear it often) and see what I really CAN look like.

Feeling better and better each day. More energy. I didn't have a great sleep last night, but I was up this morning doing laundry and cleaning up around the house. Go me!

My mom called the oral surgeon on call for me and asked if I can stop with the Tylenol/Codeine and start on regular old Advil. I bet the liquid form tastes horrible. But I don't want to be on the codeine anymore and I'm not in enough pain to warrant it.

My stitches ache periodically, and I can see them in there. Ew. I clean my mouth several times a day with salt water, brush several times a day (what I can), and swish twice a day with minty Peridex, but my mouth still feels like...well...ass. I'm wondering if I will be able to brush when Dr. C takes my bands off. Ahhhhh. Heaven.

My teeth are also starting to get sensitive to cold. Good sign, yes? I'm quite numb in my chin area and on the left side of my nose, but other than that I can feel everything. My nose is running constantly now, and I can't blow. My face feels very hot a few times a day too, which I guess is the swelling. I feel like I'm blushing sometimes.

I don't think I've lost as much weight as I thought I would have. I plan to eat, eat eat and gain it all back when I can. Man, it must be awesome to eat solid food after all this.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Day 6

Feeling good today. Last night I actually slept for about 6 hours straight. I even slept a little on my side! Still congested, mostly at night before I take my dose of Afrin.

I'm still bruisy, as you can see. I have a lot of swelling still on my left side and under my nose. My nose is pretty much numb too...again, mostly on the left side.

My skin started peeling yesterday. Want a really good exfoliation? I recommend jaw surgery!

I'm starting to really wonder now what I am going to look like when the swelling goes. My chin feels so strange. It's so much higher! I think I'm going to look different but not as different as I thought around day 2.

I miss food. I miss hamburgers, potato chips, bacon, grilled cheese, fries, chicken, and all my favorites. I cannot WAIT to do to Dr. C next week to get looser bands. I'd give anything for solid food.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I miss sleeping on my side

I absolutely loathe trying to sleep propped up on my back. I long to turn over and bury my face in my pillow again. *sigh*

When I lie down just a little bit, I feel a pulling and tugging sensation in my upper jaw. I assume this is normal. I feel best straight upright, but of course I can't sleep that way.

Also, my left ear tube is sore when I swallow. I guess it's the swelling, which is more prominent on my left side and pressing against my eustation tube.

Spit up a little watery blood this afternoon. Gunk is running down the back of my nose. I also noticed my top arch wire on my braces are cut on each side, which explains the poking. Ouch! I guess Dr. C had to cut them during the surgery.

My, aren't I the ball of sunshine today?

Day 5

Brandy, you're right...I had a 3 piece Lefort 1. I keep thinking that a three piece means a Lefort 3. Makes too much sense. LOL

Anyway, today, I have the Green Neck. Yay! And the swelling is going down. Check out my eyes. I did not sleep well last night. Then there's the fact that my face is crooked. I hope that works itself out. In fact, today I'm feeling yucky. (Get ready for the complaining now).

I have a lot of pressure on my upper jaw and nose, I'm getting shooting pains, I'm gassy, I'm starving, my muscles and nerves are jumping, my teeth feel like crap, my mouth tastes like crap, and my braces are digging into my lip.

These are the things I am sick of:

1. Carnation Instant Breakfast
2. Juice
3. Soup
4. Spitting
5. Not being able to talk
6. Not being able to clean my house
7. Being fidgety and not being able to concentrate
8. Gas pains
9. Not being able to kiss my kids
10. Looking like this
11. Not being able to open my teeth
12. My 45 min bedtime routine
13. Cherry Tylenol
14. Not being able to laugh (I did that last night and it hurt!)
15. Feeling like a big ole burden lump

Under my chin swelling (recovery from the genio has been a BREEZE, by the way, compared to the upper jaw recovery) I can feel my new chin there. It's so weird to have an actual chin there!

I can see my gums and they are whitish (and numb). Is this normal? White gums?

Oh and I got the "rice in a sock" idea from Steph's blog and that works great and feels so nice!

Okay, I'm done now. Needed to get all that complaining out. UGH! I'd scream if I could open my mouth.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Day 4

I'm bruised up a little today. The left side of my face is more swollen than the right. My upper lip swelled up. Feeling MUCH better today. Didn't need any pain med when I woke up. Congestion is a lot better, but not without some really disgusting, gross, uh...nose-picking by me (sorry, it had to be done, you just wouldn't believe what was in there). Nose was running really badly and I tried so hard not to sneeze. I have to spit up excess saliva a lot.

I brushed my teeth with my baby toothbrush this morning. Very carefully. Didn't do much, my teeth still feel wretched. I love my minty Peridex rinse.

Got a shower this morning, which felt good. I don't have to use my ice much anymore, just when my face feels hot. Too much information again, but I'm VERY gassy. Ugh. Had more Carnation Instant Breakfast and tomato soup, my favorites. Hubby made me some apple juice/apple sauce drink. Yummy. They keep making good-smelling stuff like popcorn though, which makes me drool. ARGGH!!!!! I'm sick of liquid food already and it's only day 4.

Took 10ml (half dose) of Tylenol at 11am and slept 2 hours. Nice.

Okay, I am all caught up now! Yay!

Day 3

Still not feeling so great. Sinus congestion is HORRIBLE. I asked for the trusty Tylenol a lot. The nurses think I can be released today but I have to see the doctor first of course.

I did manage to get a shower, which was awesome. I felt so grungy.

Lunch was Carnation Istant Breakfast (strawberry) and tomato soup and it was GOOD. I'm not wired shut, just banded, and while I can't chew, I can drink from a cup and my lips are not numb. My teeth feel severely clenched all the time, though I can open them about a milimeter.

I see Dr. C's assosiate, Dr. S, another oral surgeon, and he says I can go. After lunch I am free!

The fresh air felt good outside. People stared at me but I didn't care. I felt proud of my swelling. I'd been through one hell of a lot.

At home I got another bath to wash off the hospital germs, then crawled into bed with my bedside pharmacy. My kids came in to see me. They both acted a little shy, especially my 5 year old son. My 9 year old daughter coped by drawing funny portraits of me and my blowfish face.

I took some pain meds and had a little rest. The sinus and nasal congestion were still unberable at this point. I was taking Afrin twice a day, and Nasonex once, which helped. I went downstairs to the computer and almost passed out going back up. I couldn't get in enough air.

I watched The Amazing race, Desperate Housewives and took some more Tylenol before bed. I also had to eat (drink), rinse with my Peridex, Afrin my nose, wash up, put some lip stuff on, pee, and get my ice packs ready. It took me about 45 mins just to get ready for bed. I had a good night though. Slept on and off, had weird dreams, but wasn't in much pain.

THANK THE GODS for my Vicks humidifer. That thing ROCKS.

Day 2

I slept a lot that day. And drank lots of water and juice. Used my humidifier mask and ice packs a lot too. I was horribly congested in my sinus area and I had a headache. Dr. C came to see me and told me everything went well. By this day I was starting to feel really gross and stinky. I still had bloody vomit in my hair, even though the nurses had tried to clean me. I felt the worst in the afternoon, and had a 3 hour nap. I think that was about when they gave me my first Tylenol with codeine. My hubby took some pictures. When I saw the profile one, something unexpected happened. I FREAKED OUT. Started saying "Oh my God", "Is that really me?" and bawling. Even through the swelling I could tell I had a profile and a CHIN! A chin!!!! After I calmed down I wrote some letters to my kids and my mom, then went back to sleep.

My IV came out at around 4pm. I was free!

I still needed my humidifier mask a lot. By evening I felt good enough to get up and around a little, and read some chapters in my book. I had a good night that night.

Surgery Day--Day 1

Okay, I'm going to be quite slow typing out the last 4 days.

I got up at 5am and showered. The first time the nerves ever hit me was on the drive to the hospital. When we got there I checked in (after a little wait) and a nurse took me to get my lovely, attractive gown and slippers on. Then I sat on a bed and another nurse spoke to me and filled out all my forms. On the computer I noticed I was put down for a Lefort 3. Wow. Anyway, filling out the forms took forever, They were most interested in getting all my meds allergies down (can't take any of the 'cillin drugs, which is what they usually give).

Then Dr. C came in to see me. He told me what to expect in the OR. He said it looked just like Grey's Anatomy, which got a smile out of me. He said it should take about 2 hours. My hubby seemed more scared that I was so they talked mostly to him. Haha. After Dr. C left, the anesthesiologist came and asked me questions. He was very nice. After all these visits, another nurse came to get me. We were going to walk into the OR. I gave my glasses to my hubby, which turns out was a good thing because I couldn't see any shiny instruments or saws in the OR when I walked in. They gave me a warm blanket and told me to climb up on the warm bed. There were lots of doctors and nurses with masks on, and this cheerful nurse said "I know what Rebecca will be doing this weekend! Recouperating." Yeah, no duh.

I climbed up onto the table and they attached those little sticky things to my chest. The anesthesiologist was at my left side and was sticking me with my IV before I could even think about what was happening. He said something like, "Now I'm going to give you some of the feel good stuff". The last thing I remember is someone asking me how old my kids were, and by the time I said "9 and 5", I was out. The next thing I knew, nurses were shaking me awake, saying my name. It all happened very fast. Right away I was iced up with a humidifer mask on. Someone rubbed something on my lips. Then the next thing I knew my husband was there, holding my hand. I gave him the thumbs up. Surprisingly, I could breathe very clearly through my nose and I felt good, just a little nauseous.

Then they were rolling me to my room after about an hour or so in recovery. There was a guy there helping the nurses to push my bed into the elavator, and they almost forgot to tell my hubby we were going. I kept hearing this one nurse say how sweet my husband is (I so agree!). So there we were in my room and I tried to communicate with my hubby a little bit, writing notes to him, asking how I looked, how things were at home, etc.

The next thing I remember is throwing up. I had tons of blood in my stomach and I can't tolerate that (I did the same thing after my wisdom teeth). I had a suction catheter wand thingie at my bedside and I used that a lot. I just felt really nauseous. I was on strong antibiotics and there was still blood in my tummy. I threw up one more time that night. The poor nurses.

My roomate was an elderly British woman who'd had hip surgery. All she did was burp, fart, moan and groan. But that's another story. LOL

With the IV pumping fluids into me, I needed to pee. A LOT. I was up to the bathroom every hour or so. A doctor came by to look at me during this time, listened to my chest. They kept checking my vitals every two hours. The nurses were VERY nice and helpful.

I don't remember sleeping much that night. I did get a shot or two of Gravol and morphine, so I was pretty dopey.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I'm home!

I look and feel like a truck hit me, but I am home. Just wanted to let you guys know everything went well and I'm okay. I'll post pics and stuff later. Thanks for all your support!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Night Before

I ate Subway, cuddled with my babies, watched Survivor and American Idol, and now I'm going to bed. Have to be up at 5:00am tomorrow to shower.

I haven't even taken my before pics yet, so it's going to have to wait. I'll take them in a few minutes and post them in a few days.

See you guys on the flip side. :)

The Day Before

When something big is happening and I get overwhelmed, I like to write. Yep, I just shut down, not talk much, and write it all out. So expect a lot of bloggin' today and throughout my entire recouperation.

I can't believe it's here already. After almost a year of anticipation, anxiousness, nervousness, and pain, it's here. I'm still a little sick with a tickly throat, but I can breathe through my nose and have no chest congestion, so I think it will be okay.

This year has been an amazing experience for me. I loved the challenge of it all, adjusting to living with braces and learning about my surgery. Every day I have felt so grateful to have this opportunity. I'm glad I wasn't born with a balanced face and good bite because it's been an interesting ride and it will make it all the more special to have a "normal" face in the end. I'll never take it for granted, that's for sure. And it'll be a good story to tell, how once I got my jaws sawed apart. I've learned so much, and made a few new friends in this orthognathic surgery blogging circle. The Yahoo group, and all your blogs, have been invaluable to me. Seriously. If it weren't for you all, I'd be a wreck right now. The support has been amazing.

My surgery will be around 7:30 EST tomorrow morning. I'll be in the hospital until Sunday at least, but as soon as I get home and can sit up at the computer, I will update.

Today, I will make lists, clean, eat a ton, and kiss my hubby and kids a lot. I also expect I will be looking at my face often, as this is the last time I will ever see it like this.