Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 127 - Its still there

Oh..... and there's still smoothie on my ceiling.  My ceiling has never been painted so if you take a wet rag to wipe off the smoothie, the drywall stuff comes off with it.  No one has had the time to repaint the ceiling since then....so I get to regularly enjoy a nice little reminder of those dark fun days.  :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 121??? - an explanation

I had another ortho appointment yesterday and they gave me an explanation for the rubberband issue that i discussed in my last post. Apparently after surgery your jaw muscles really really want to go back to their old position so they pull on your bones to go back the way things were before. So it wasn't the rubberbands fault that my teeth were clashing... it just that they weren't strong enough to hold everything in place as my jaw muscles were fighting to return to their old position (they got pretty used to the way things were before after 18 years). I'm glad to say that those painful rubberbands i got last month did pull everything back into the correct position now and my jaw muscles are learning to face the fact that this is the way things are gonna be from now on. I think its pretty cool though how your muscles want to go back to the way they were... What if i didn't have jaw surgery, but rather was punched in the face by some unsavory individual and my face was messed up?  My awesome jaw muscles would be working hard to put everything back together! Anyway. I'm really hoping everything will stabilize soon because i want these braces OFF!  So far no idea when the estimated removal day is going to be.....  And for those just dying to know the condition of the nerves in the left side of my chin and lower lip - no improvements recently.  I have slight feeling but its incredibly annoying.If i touch my chin, I know I'm touching it - but i get a very tingly sensation.  If water is dripping down my chin i definitely don't feel it at all.  If my sheets rub against my face while i'm in bed i feel like sand paper is scraping across my face.  Its quite horrible.  Occasionally, I get random tingles in my chin, and sometimes some pain shoots through - luckily this is rare though.  I sometimes get pain along my jaw line... but according to my orthodontist all of this is to be expected up to a year after surgery as the nerves are healing and reconnecting.  Fun stuff.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 93 - Three Month Anniversary!

THREE MONTHS! all right! =D     I'm not quite sure what to say...Things aren't really much different than at the two month point.  As of the last 2 or 3 days I can feel a little bit of feeling coming back [finally!] in the left side of my chin. Or its thinking about coming back... I'm not really sure.  Its still a little weird and tingly but I'm sensing improvement... I can still poke myself with a needle in some spots though and not feel it.  Very annoying.  But anyway... I think the swelling is down all the way now.  I can finally see my cheek bones again instead of just round cheeks. Thats a good thing I think. =P  I'm still wearing really annoying rubberbands from the orthodontist. blechhhh  I'm actually a little confused on their current procedures.  When they took my surgical wires off they had me wear these rubberbands that pulled my top jaw back a little...Not sure why they'd do that since I just went through *ahem* jaw surgery to bring it forward. So that really messed things up and my top and bottom front teeth were clashing together....not ideal.  So now they have me wearing rubberbands that pulled my top jaw back forward to exactly the way things were right after surgery.  Now, I don't have a degree in orthodontics or dentistry or anything, so if anyone who does would like to explain all of this to me, I'm all ears.  [see new info in dec 2nd post] These rubberbands hurt! Sheesh. I enjoy seeing all the different animals on my little rubberbands baggies though.. Each size and strength of rubberbands has a different animal... So far I've had tortoises,  sea lions and rams.  Who knows what I'll get this month!!


 








Anyway....  I've finally reached a point where I can definitely say it was all worth it.  Yes, it was the most miserable experience of my entire life... But I love my new smile!  And i can chew normally! Yep. Life is good and I wouldn't change a thing.  Have pre-jaw surgery questions?  Or maybe you just had surgery and you have recovery questions? Ask away! - I consider myself an expert at this point. =]

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 62 - TWO Month Anniversary!

Hello! Its been a while since I've updated you all!  Miss me?  Of course you did. :)   Anyway, I suppose the reason for not updating everyday is because there just isn't much to tell....and for those of you still in your first few weeks, I know that's a wonderful thing to hear. There is light at the end of the tunnel!  Life really has gone completely back to normal.  There are things that I notice are different or strange because of my surgery, but they don't affect my everyday things anymore.  When I went to Mayo for my 6 week follow-up appointment I had a blood test, and the results said my hemoglobin was a little low, so that explained my tiredness...But that was a few weeks ago now, and already I'm feeling better.  My hemoglobin was reaaallly low right after surgery, which was one of the reasons why walking up a set of stairs was an impossible thing...But blood is an amazing thing and now its back to normal.  All I have to say here is we have an amazing God who knew what He was doing when He designed the human body.  Everything works together to completely perfectly!  The healing process is one of the most incredible things you'll ever see....don't even try to tell me its the result of random chance, unless its part of some sort of comedy routine or something.  :)  Anyway.... I'm pretty much eating everything now.  I haven't bit into an apple or anything yet....But you're not supposed to do that with braces on anyway.  I did chew my first piece of gum a few days ago, though.  I was so proud of myself.  It was a little awkward though.  Chewing is a kind of weird thing right now and I'm going through a re-learning process.  Who'd have thought at 18 years old I'd be learning how to chew? Crazy! =P  As far as numbness goes......the left half of my chin & lower lip are still 100% numb with absolutely no apparent signs of up and coming life. I'm not sure at what point I should start worrying about it.  The right half feels a little weird, but feeling has been back a couple weeks...Whats going on with the left? hmm?  I still get those annoying tingles every now and then too.....And you can't scratch them because you have no feeling! Torture!  But anyway.  Thats life.   95% normal, 5% weird.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 52 - Atkins? South Beach? Jaw Surgery?

A lot of people ask if I lost a lot of weight the first month when my diet was slightly drastically limited.  Before the surgery lots of people like my grandmothers were insisting that I over eat and gain lots of weight so I would come out in the end okay.  Actually, now that I think about it, my Greek grandmother/yaya has always been a big food pusher...so not too much of a change there.  However, its really not healthy for your weight to drastically fluctuate so I chose not to go down that road and instead go with the maintenance thing.  And, believe it or not, I didn't lose very much weight at all - only 5 pounds.  I've lost just as much weight with having the stomach flu for a few days... So considering I barely ate for a month, I think I did pretty well.  I've read a lot of jaw surgery blogs though, I don't think most people lose much more than 5 pounds either unless they had some extra weight already.  One guy said he lost 30 pounds and I thought, "oh my goodness! I'm already pretty slim.. I'll die if I lose 30 pounds!", but I read further and discovered that he had intentionally gained the weight pre-surgery and at the end came out around 5 pounds less than he was originally.  The trick to maintaining your weight while recovering from jaw surgery is very simple.  Its the same secret that applies to your weight at any other point in your life.  Ready?  All you have to do is.....make sure you're getting good nutrition and count your calories!  It can be tricky to get enough calories in, but its not impossible.  I recommend investing in a good protein powder and adding it to your shakes and smoothies. (trust me, you'll be drinking a lot of these).  I used vanilla Muscle Milk.  It has tons of vitamins in it, even more calories, and you don't taste it when mixed in your smoothie.

So while we're on the topic, I'll give you a good smoothie recipe.  This is the smoothie that kept me alive. I had it almost every single day and I think its safe to say I'm a little sick of it now...but it was good for the first couple weeks..

The 500 Calorie Smoothie

1/2 cup frozen strawberries - 50 calories
1/2 frozen banana (slice it up, then freeze) - 50 calories
1/2 cup whole milk - 75 calories
1/2 cup GREEK GODS plain yogurt - 130 calories
1 Tbs - strawberry jam - 100 calories
3 Tbs - MUSCLE MILK (vanilla) protein powder - 100 calories
_____________________________________
One really good smoothie   - 505 calories

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 49 - Goodbye Surgical Wires

I had an orthodontist appointment today.  It involved a handful of people looking and poking at my mouth.  Pretty fun.  Actually, I was scared that after everything my poor mouth went through during that appointment that I was going to have to undergo a 2nd jaw surgery.  Thats kind of the way most orthodontist appointments go I guess.  I always walk in feeling great and excited to be getting one step closer to having my braces removed, but I'm grabbing for my ibuprofen as I walk out the door wondering, "Is this really necessary?".  At least everyone at the office is very friendly and nice.  I wish they were mean horrible people, though, because then I could hate them for hurting my teeth. But no, we're good friends.  I've been going there for 10 years so they've pretty much watched me grow up and that office is my home away from home.  Anyway...enough rambling. The most important thing about today is that my surgical wires have been removed. Hallelujah!!!  No more poking! No more food getting stuck in them!  No more looking like I don't have teeth, only gobs of metal! If only the would have taken off the braces with the hooks...then I would have been reaaally happy.  But this will do for now, I suppose.  Those surgical hooks didn't come off without a fight though.  I recall them being extremely painful going in too...Is that normal?  But yeah, they're out and a normal wire has replaced them along with one of those fancy little rubberband chains across my top teeth.  Luckily that rubberband chain is CLEAR instead of some obnoxious color.  Why call anymore attention to your braces than the braces themselves already do?  Thank goodness for clear. As far as the other rubberbands that are attached to both the top and bottom jaws go.... I enjoyed 4 short days of freedom, and now my orthodontist has mandated that the wearing of them be reinstated. Wonderful.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 46 - 6 week appointment with my surgeon!

No posts the last few days because I've been busy driving back and forth to Rochester, Minnesota.  We spent 12 1/2 hours driving up on Thursday, and spent 11 1/2 hours returning on Friday. Thats a lot of driving. The focus here, though, is on the few hours I spent in between all of that driving at the Mayo Clinic meeting with my surgeon.  Because Mayo is so far away, I've had two follow up appointments with my orthodontist instead of my surgeon and since everything has been going smoothly that's worked out well.  However, we made the journey to see him for my 6 week followup.  Just as I thought, everything is looking great and my bones are healing very well.  No issues whatsoever! Here are some questions I asked:

How is the numbness progressing? .......As to be expected. It takes about 3 months to get most feeling back, but it won't be 100% until the 1 year point.  It could potentially not come back 100%, but whatever I have at one year is probably what I'll have for the rest of my life.  As for now, the right half of my chin is healing far faster than the left.  There is a line directly down the middle of my lower lip and chin that divides zero feeling, and a lot of feeling. Its kind of weird but kind of cool.  The feeling isn't quite normal though, but kind of tingly. I'll take it over zero feeling though!

How much longer do I need to wear rubberbands for? ........Completely up to the orthodontist.  From a surgical standpoint, they are no longer necessary but if they are necessary for orthodontic purposes, I'll continue to wear them as my orthodontists instructs.  I've taken full advantage of this and haven't worn them since yesterday morning after my appointment.  =D ....This also applies to the surgical wires.  The orthodontist is free to take them out whenever they wish.  I'm hoping this is on Tuesday.

Is my energy coming back normally?  ....Pretty much.  Jaw surgery is major, you lose blood during surgery, your body spends a lot of energy on healing, and your diet isn't normal so you don't receive the nutrition you're used to so it takes a while to be 100% again.  But because my parents were concerned, I had some blood drawn to see whats going on...just in case.  Most likely my blood just is a little low on iron and this can be fixed with a better diet or iron supplements.  No big deal.  I'm not expecting anything too noteworthy to come back with the blood test.

When can I chew normally again?   ....Now. I'm now allowed to eat anything I want without risk of damaging anything.  However, the jaw muscles are super weak so just because I'm allowed to eat anything, doesn't mean I'm capable of it.  For instance, I'm pretty sure if I tried to chew an almond that it wouldn't work.  But say, chicken - that's something I can manage easily.   Now that I've been given the go-ahead, I'll be giving that jaw lots of big work outs!   


And that basically sums everything up.  I had some x-rays and photos taken.... so be watching for before and afters!!!

My fantastic surgeon, Dr. Rieck and me!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 42 - 6 weeks! picture!


Six Weeks! woohoo! I have posted a picture to celebrate this wonderful day because everyone knows that blogs with pictures are more interesting.  Really, anything with pictures is more interesting, and if you're me, pictures of food are particularly appealing.  Thats why I view my Nom List daily.  I love looking at it.  But anyway, as of Sunday night I'm finally back home from our family vacation and am adjusting back to normal life very well.  I worked my first full shift yesterday, which involves 6 hours of solid talking on the phone and I accomplished this without any jaw pain or anything! I don't even think my jaw was that tired.  Definitely a good sign! Being able to work my full regular shift is a major step of improvement for me; it makes me feel a little more normal again. =)  I'm also a sophomore in college this fall and  really enjoying getting back into my classes.  I love being busy... and after a month of recovering and doing absolutely nothing, functioning normally and being busy again is WONDERFUL.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 40 - Snap

Today i snapped a rubberband for the very first time.  It felt weird, but I enjoyed the freedom its absence gave me.  I've come a long way since the old rubberband days. A very long way.  The rubberband snapping is kind of exciting though, because this means that my jaw is gaining more mobility and is able to open wider than I could before.  Progress!!!  I can't wait to stretch my jaw open super wide again and for yawning to be more comfortable.  I really dislike not feeling normal.  After 40 days though, not feeling normal has almost become normal.  *40 Days*  That seems like so long... It certainly feels like forever.  What a journey... Anyway, I'm not sure if this is really related to jaw surgery, but I certainly feel that I've relapsed a little in regards to my energy.  Yesterday my family went on a bike ride that began in going up a pretty steep hill.  I've gone up that hill hundreds of times and it's always been a drag.  Its pretty much impossible to ride your bike up it, although a few years ago I was able to.  I felt like i should have made it into the world record book or something.  But anyway, after going up this hill I felt like i was going to die. I was breathing hard and nauseous and about ready to collapse.  I was obligated to continue on the bike ride for another 2 hours, though.  It was a very exhausting experience and upon returning back to the condo, I slept for about 4 hours until dinner.  I really feel like I should have regained more of my energy back by now... My mother thinks I don't have enough iron in my blood and wants me to have a blood test when I go to Mayo for my 6 week appointment later this week.  We'll find out what's going on then I suppose... Maybe I'm just really lazy and have let myself go this summer, though.  I can see my blood test coming back with results that say something like "You're perfectly healthy and normal.....for a lazy couch potato who hasn't walked across the room in 6 months".  I think I like blaming it on the jaw surgery better.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 38 - Tasty

I know it sounds crazy, but ever since my surgery my sense of taste has been heightened.  The flavors in whatever I eat are definitely more intense than they were before.  Some things that I used to enjoy are now too spicy.. I don't like spicy. Even aspirin tastes really bad now!  I didn't even know aspirin had a taste.   I was sure that my tongue was going to die after all of that liquid vicodin but I guess not... The only possible explanation that I've been able to come up with is that my nose was straightened out along with my upper jaw so that my airways/sense of smell are in better condition now.... And everyone knows that your nose affects your sense of taste.  Maybe its all in my head though.  Actually, it technically is all in my head. haha bad joke. Anyway... I guess this situation, like any other, has pros and cons.  The cons being that some things taste funny or bad now.... and the pros are that tasty things are infinitely tastier! mmmmm I think I'm going to go drool over my Nom List now.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 36 - The Nom List

I'm really starting to crave foods other than scrambled eggs and smoothies.  Sure, I've eaten a few other random soft foods too, even cheesecake made the list.  But while the cheesecake was quite delicious,  there's just been a big gaping hole in my life ever since I haven't been able to open up the pantry and eat whatever I wanted.   I've felt empty inside.....literally.

Of course, my family keeps the Food Network on the tv every waking hour so I get a lot of opportunities to think about the foods I miss.  In honor of these foods, I have assembled "The Nom List".  It includes the foods I have especially missed and am looking forward to eating again someday. 


Strawberries in general would be fabulous...but since we're using our imaginations, lets cover them in chocolate.

Roasted chicken, strawberries, pineapples, mandarin oranges, almonds...mmmmm. i get this at Big Apple Bagel. its the best.


america's favorite cookie


Who doesn't love steak?


I enjoy cheesy broccoli with my steak


Chicken fajitas are deeeeelicious!


I always had issues biting into gyros pre-jaw surgery... I'm hoping that these issues have been dealt with.


i love grapes.


i don't eat s'mores regularly, but i don't appreciate not being able to in case i was in the mood for one...


love.

apples with peanut butter! so good!

chocolate covered espresso beans are little pieces of heaven

I definitely miss my Yaya's baklava


I don't need fancy food... a simple ham sandwich would be nice


my favorite cereal....very crunchy.


classic.


i can eat ice cream...but not the cones... =(


I'm a big fan of healthy food.


yummmmm


i like to eat them dry with raisins.


Its very possible that i will fall in love with whoever sends me a box of chocolates in the next month.


All right...thats about all the food I can take for now.  Any suggestions of things i should add to the list?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 34 - Yawning is Contagious

Have you ever noticed how you always seem to yawn whenever you see someone else yawn?  Or when someone talks about yawning?  Or when you read about yawning?  Did you just yawn? I did.  I've been yawning all day long and its driving me crazy.  Believe it or not, yawning is quite uncomfortable after jaw surgery.  I'm not exactly sure why or how everything in my mouth works, but for some reason after jaw surgery you can't open your mouth as wide as you could before, but these yawns are really pushing the limits.  I'm impressed with these rubberbands the orthodontist gave me for not snapping after being stretched so much.  Anyway, yawning kind of hurts and the only solution I've been able to come up with is just to sleep all the time.  Only problem with that solution is it doesn't work... So now the question is, when will I be able to yawn again without enduring such anguish?  Sneezing is another thing I'm wondering about.  It doesn't hurt to sneeze most of the time, but it sure feels strange.  According to a bunch of random websites I just found on Google, a sneeze travels at around 100mph and, I don't know about you, but to me, that seems like an awful lot of force to be blowing through such a compromised location as a broken jaw.  Of course, if you watched that video I posted, you'll know that my jaws are very securely bolted in place with some pretty serious screws.  At $104 a screw, they'd better hold my mouth together. Anyway, let me know if you know any cures for yawning.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 32 - My One Month Anniversary! - Photos!

One month of jaw surgery recovery down!  It feels good to say I have the first month behind me.  I'm now a third of the way through the recovery process, as its supposed to take about 90 days.  I think that the first month is the toughest though, so I'm planning on relatively smooth sailing from here.  When I had reached the one week point I felt that I had come a long way, but the one month point is an even longer way.  Life is so much more normal at this point than its been the last few weeks.  Its still crazy to say I haven't chewed food in an entire month though.  I challenge all of my non-jaw surgery readers to do that!  I'd like to see you make it a week. =P  I'm kind of wondering how much longer I have to go without chewing though... 

Strength:

Today I kind of tried to gently chew a noodle, just to see what happened, and I found myself unable to.  My poor, feeble jaw simply lacked the strength to penetrate a noodle.  That might be even more ridiculous than my inability to bike for an hour.  On a side note, I paid the price for that biking today. My jaw was quite sore for the first time in about a week and I had to take some Tylenol 3.  Anyway,  I still have a long way to go in regaining strength in my jaw.  I can't imagine what would happen if I tried to chew a steak if a noodle is too much for me. Overall energy...I'll put it around 80%.  I'm pretty much back to normal unless I do anything that resembles exercise.

Swelling:

The swelling has mostly subsided, most people probably wouldn't even notice it.  I don't even think about it that much anymore because I'm just used to looking at my face everyday, but my cheeks definitely haven't gone back to normal size yet.  The other day, one of my coworkers who hadn't seen me in a while or know that I had jaw surgery asked if I had been stung by a bee on the right side of my face.  Now, my mother has been stung by bees on her face recently and my face is no where near as swollen as hers was, but I guess mine are still kind of puffy if you look close enough.  I definitely feel puffy when I first wake up in the morning.  My face is kind of stiff and its a little harder to talk, but the swelling goes down by the afternoon.  I've been told to expect slight swelling for the first 2-3 months.

Feeling:

Is my chin still numb? Yup.  I'm pretty sure the feeling on the far right side of my chin is thinking about coming back soon though.  If I touch it, I don't feel anything, but when I tap it, I know that my chin is being tapped and thats more than I can say for the rest of my chin.  The feeling in my in my palate is about 90% at this point.  Once it started coming back, it came back in chunks each day.  I'm hoping my chin will do the same thing..But I'm not exactly sure what to expect.

Rubberbands:

I'm not sure if the rubberbands deserve their own section, but I am still wearing them.  They really don't bother me that much.  I've only worn two this entire time, so really not that bad.  My surgeon told me that I was allowed to take them off during the day for a couple hours if I wanted, but I've been wearing them 24/7 anyway.  I just haven't felt very adventurous.  I'm no longer scared of brushing my teeth though! I take the rubberbands off without suffering from any emotional trauma and I can open wide enough to get my tooth brush in my mouth.  This is wonderful for hygiene purposes.  As far as speech goes,  I think I'm 90% back to normal.  My S's might sssssound a little like that ssssnake in Jungle Book, except not that bad.


Pictures:

here are some photos of my wonderful new smile!  A little cheesy perhaps...but with these nasty surgical wires on my braces, I either have to smile really big or barely at all.   I'll vote for big and cheesy every time.



well..thats not really a smile... but you can see my underbite is no longer!


grrrrrr! fear my teeth!




no more underbite!!!!

(click any photo to view a larger version)

I'm excited for month #2!  I have my 6 week follow up appointment with my surgeon coming up on the 17th, and then my surgical wires will be removed by my orthodontist on the 21st... So I have some things to look forward to!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 31 - not ready for marathon biking yet

My family is currently on our 11th annual vacation to Mackinac Island and I've been once again reminded that my energy has yet to be completely restored.  We arrived here yesterday during a torrential downpour and were forced to ride our bikes (no cars on the island...) to the condo we're staying at.  To say we were all soaked and chilled to the bone would be an understatement. To say that I was hungry would be another, since there's not much here to eat if you can't chew.  I'm really not sure its completely fair to go on vacation when one member of the family can't enjoy going out to eat, but no one consulted me, so here we are.  Today it continued to rain quite hard, which was unfortunate considering it was Rachel's birthday. We did manage to go on a bike ride though, but it was 8 miles long...and this was when I quickly became aware of my lack of stamina.  We had barely reached 4 miles before I was winded and feeling a little sick.  I've never really been the kind of person who exercises regularly, but I found it rather ridiculous how quickly I became tired.  In my defense, I will note that it was extremely windy and it took great strength to ride against it.   By the time we got back to the condo, my legs felt like jello and I may or may not have shut myself in my room for a couple hours to lay down.  It was not long before my mom called me for dinner, though.  I wasn't quite sure how that was going to work out... but I joined my family in walking downtown to some random restaurant anyway.  It of course began pouring shortly after we left the house and we found ourselves soaked again.  Nothing like sitting in a restaurant with wet jeans plastered to you and your hair dripping onto your shoulders.  And in regards to how the food worked out...it didn't really.  The menu was very unobliging to those recovering from jaw surgery.  All I was able to eat was a small serving of mashed potatoes that came as a side with my mom's dinner.  When we got back I was able to eat some scrambled eggs though, so don't worry, I'm not going to die of starvation......yet.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 30 - Jaw Surgery Blogs - lots of them!

hello hello. We're at day 30! Pretty exciting! This is kind of like the one month point... but since my surgery was on August 4, I'm going to be celebrating my one month anniversary on September 4.  I thought it made sense. So be waiting for pictures on Saturday! =D

Updates as of today...hmm....Well, i can definitely sense more feeling come back in my palate.  yay!   Chin and lower lip (and gums) are STILL 100% numb though!  sheesh! I touch my chin no less than 10,000 times a day to test it for any returned feeling, but no luck. :(  I haven't had any tingly feelings in my chin recently though, so I thought that maybe those were over with.... But no, they came back in full swing today causing me much grief. *sigh* Lets pray that this is but a temporary relapse.

So, I know that a few if my friends have been following my blog (thanks guys!),  but yesterday, thanks to the new blogger stat feature, I learned that I actually have quite a few other readers from all over the world. I thought that was pretty neat.  For a while I wasn't even sure if anyone was reading except my best friend or if i was just sitting here rambling away to no one.  Even if no one read, that'd be okay with me just because I really enjoy writing and journaling.. But either way, its cool to know people are reading and I really appreciate the support I've gotten from my friends.  Recovering from jaw surgery is almost more of a mind game sometimes than actual physical recovery, so its really nice to have friends encouraging you.  Just like anything though, trying to relate what you're going through to someone who's never experience it before can be kind of tough sometimes.  This is where all of the other jaw surgery bloggers come in...and if you google "jaw surgery blogs" you'll find an abundance of them.  Its really cool to read other people's blogs and see how their recovery compares to yours and check out their milestones to give you an idea what to expect yourself.  Very helpful!  Two of my favorites are.... Double Jaw Surgery,  and Makay's Jaw Journey,  and, just 2 days ago, i found a cool jaw surgery messageboard!  I know that must sound so lame to anyone who hasn't had jaw surgery..But its neat for the rest of us who have!  Also, I'd like to mention that the mentioned messageboard had a contest/drawing going on during August where people uploaded their before and after pictures and one lucky person would be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon.com giftcard. ...I entered on the very last day, and somehow won! woot woot!  Life is great. :)     But anyway, thanks to everyone who's been reading! ..And thank you, blogger stats, for letting me know you exist. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 29 - $$The Cost of Jaw Surgery$$

An itemized bill came in the mail today covering my surgery and hospital stay. Literally everything that happened in the hospital down to each individual shot of vicodin and each individual screw in my face.  All of these fills up about 4 pages and while I'm not going to copy the whole thing down for you, because that would be ridiculous, I will highlight some of the bill for you.

1 Jaw Surgery - $13,589

4 Plates - $1,020

22 Screws - $2,294.50

Miscellaneous Surgical Supplies - $2,567.50

Anesthesia Supplies - $517

3 Nights in Private Room  - $4,590

The below are some drugs i was given, I'm not going to count how many shots of what i was given, so i've just listed how much 1 unit of something cost.

1mg Morphine - $71.50 

8mg Dexamethasone (steroid to minimize inflammation) - $127

1 gm Cefazolin (antibiotic) - $63.60

15 mg Ketoralic (anti-inflammatory, like motrin) - $127.20

15 ml Vicodin - $44.60


Okay...so obviously i was given several other drugs, and there are various other charges on the bill...like i said, the list fills up 4 pages.  But i think its interesting how much things actually cost. Imagine if every time a nurse came into your room and said "Okay, here's your pain killer, that'll be $71.50 please".  Maybe you'd think twice about that shot of morphine?  Depends on how much pain you're in I guess... =P But no, the nurses just come in every 4 or 6 hours and pump your IV with all sorts of stuff and you just see it on the bill later.  And did you see the screws? They averaged at $104 per screw!  I think Home Depot may have better prices.....  Interested in what the total charge for everything is?

$30, 646.75 (see edit below...totally was actually about double this number)

read that again.  thirty thousand six hundred forty-six dollars and seventy-five cents.  Thats what jaw surgery costs (at the Mayo Clinic anyway). 10 years ago when the orthodontist told us I would need the surgery, not a penny of it was covered by any insurance plan because they considered it cosmetic.  Things have thankfully changed now with insurance companies because the surgery is definitely NOT cosmetic, but has an actual medical purpose. i mean...i looked pretty good before the surgery right? I would not have gone through all this unless i really, really had to.  So, thanks to our wonderful insurance company, out of that $30,646.75, we only had to pay $180 for the $60/night upgrade to a private room instead of sharing with someone else.  I'd say we got out pretty easy.

Edit:  We got another bill a few weeks later for another 20 or 30k... i gotta pull out the bill to give you an exact number but yeah, pretty much double the amount i previously gave. 


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 28 - VIDEO: Jaw Surgery Explained

There are really no changes today in anything....no improvements, except maybe a little bit more feeling has been gained in the roof of my mouth...and definitely no interesting stories to tell.   My life is now revolving more and more around normal things and less and less around my jaw so I don't have as much to talk about on here anymore.  This is a good thing!  As my friend Roey knows though, I'm really good at filling up a page when I have nothing to say, so no worries about my blog yet.  However,  I will take this opportunity to post a rather interesting video I happened to find.  My bite was slightly different than the one in the video, but the procedure is identical and the before and afters very similar.  So basically the video quickly shows the purpose of the braces and how the surgery is done...all using very cool animation so you will not see anything that would disturb the faint of heart. :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 27 - work is getting easier!

Today I went to work... and, when I left, my mouth was actually not that sore! happy day!  I think I could have worked more than 4 hours, but that might have caused the soreness to return so maybe its for the best I still have short shifts.  I felt so good when I got there though! I made tons of calls and talked to tons of customers and no one said "sorry, can you repeat that?"  thrilling!!! I would like to note though, that my very first day back to work, one of the first customers I spoke with made a point to tell me that I had a very lovely voice.   This wasn't someone who knew I had jaw surgery trying to comfort me...this was a totally random guy out of the blue who goes "wow, you have a really lovely voice!" yep. Made my day.  ....of course, he may just have been trying to get in good with his mortgage company.....

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 26 - Feeling Normal Again?

 I woke up today with feeling back in a small patch of the roof of my mouth. Its just a patch..but hey, its a patch! Now if only my chin would catch on....

I'm happy to say that I'm really starting to finally feel like myself again. I'm over the post-op blues and all that, thank goodness, and I'm excited to start classes on Tuesday!  Finally I'm able to get by with little or no painkillers, my talking is tons better (though i still kind of have a slight lisp if you listen.grrr), and my energy is starting to really come back. I don't think I'm up for anything too crazy yet..But I just feel a lot better.   But, unfortunately, even though I'm feeling better,  I know I'm really not better yet.  When bones are just broken, they take around 6 weeks to heal and I'm not even at 4 weeks yet.  But jaw surgery is a lot more than just breaking a bone, there are gaps in some places where new bone has fill in, and that takes a lot longer than 6 weeks.  -- Thats why chewing isn't allowed, I still have to wear rubberbands to keep everything in place, why talking for extended periods of time is exhausting, and my mouth just feels uncomfortable most of the time + my chin & lip being numb drives me crazy.  I said i was STARTING to feel like myself...I didn't say i was completely there yet, but its definitely encouraging to feel some improvement.

Day 25 - If I can't chew it, I'll swallow it whole

Hello... Today I attended a scholarship award luncheon.  Now, I've really tried to avoid events that involved food the last few weeks.  I haven't been 100% successful, but I've put in a good effort.  However, since I was one of the scholarship recipients, I was obliged to attend.  I've never won a scholarship before so really the whole thing was pretty neat.  It was a very nice event....friendly people, nice hall, pretty tables, great lemonade and of course... delicious food. *sigh*  One person can withstand only so much temptation.  Everyone has limits and can be pushed over the edge. So....I went through the buffet line and got some food. I of course avoided things like salad or the stiff green beans and anything else that was hard...But i did get some mashed potatoes and pasta (this is now allowed, like the scrambled eggs), and...... some chicken & beef. I was starving! I couldn't help myself!  Its not like I chewed them or anything though because, #1 I don't think I'm capable of making chewing motions and #2 if i tried to chew anything I would probably re-break bones in addition to breaking some that were never even broken - definitely not a road I want to go down.  So what I did is cut the meat into suuuuuuper tiny pieces, like maybe the size of a cheerio or two, and just swallow these pieces whole.  Honestly, food isn't that satisfying when you can't chew it, though.  You just don't taste it as much as you would normally.  It just sort of passes by your tongue and then its gone.  No enjoyment at all. But at least I wasn't hungry. :)  In the whole scheme of things, I'm not really sure i broke any rules anyway.  I didn't chew anything, and the pieces were so little they were practically blended, so I think I'm good.  Gosh i really just want to eat a normal dinner  again!  When this is all over, I will never again take chewing for granted!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 24 - my tongue shrunk

One thing I've been noticing the last few days is that my tongue has shrunk.   It definitely does not stick out as far as it used to.  This isn't really an issue since I don't make a habit out of sticking my tongue out or anything like that....but you know how sometimes you sort of lick your teeth to make sure there's no food or anything stuck in them?  Well, my tongue doesn't reach my top teeth anymore to do this.  I guess, technically, my tongue didn't actually shrink... that's not actually possible, is it?  I'm thinking the issue is more that my top jaw is just farther away than it used to be since they did move it forward.  I dunno...I'm hoping this isn't a permanent condition.

oh and on the motrin - I made it a whole day without taking any! its not like my mouth felt good or anything... but it didn't really hurt so thats a happy thing.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 23 - still numb

So, I've noticed that my lower lip has been catching on my braces a lot.  It never really used to before.  Perhaps the surgical hooks have something to do with that?  Either way, the inside of my lip is quite torn up and blistered and nasty.  It looks quite painful, but I wouldn't know since I don't have any feeling back yet.  Its weird because i never even know when my lip is caught, unless i happen to catch it in a mirror or something.  hmmmmm I'm not sure if I'm ever going to get used to all this numbness.
I've decided its time to start tapering off the ibuprofen now.  Even though its pretty harmless, after taking it so regularly for a long time it is possible to slightly damage your liver I guess (thats what my mom told me anyway).  I'm pretty sure that I haven't reached that point yet...But if i can get through a day without the motrin, why not?  So i already took some today at 10:00am and 2:00pm..but, no more after that.  Its almost 1:00am now (yes yes, i'm going to bed in just a minute) and I'm doing fine...So we'll see how much of tomorrow i can get through without it.  I will be working for a few hours, which involves a lot of talking and I'm not opposed to taking some in the event of severe, moderate any pain though at whatever cost to my liver...but we'll see how I do. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 22 - orange creme freeze ♥

I wasn't sure what to title this post.... so I titled it my favorite drink from beaners.  Perhaps its not the most creative title ever....or maybe its just so incredibly creative that no one understands.  Or maybe I just drank one so they were on my mind.   Yep.  Actually, that orange creme freeze is slightly noteworthy because it marks the first time I've been able to successfully drink from a straw.  Its possible that I may have been able to a few days ago... But i just didn't have the opportunity.  As of day 15, however, I was definitely unable to. So there's some progress for you! yes! So yeah.  thats about it for today.  There are  lots of normal life things going on... but not really at all relevant to a jaw surgery blog so I will spare you.   yep.. ooh, so my mouth didn't hurt very much today! that's something worth mentioning!! life is good.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 21 - three weeks!

Three weeks! woohoooo.  I don't think there's been any major steps in recovery in the last week.  Every day I make slight improvements with talking and control over my face and with regaining energy...But  no improvements in regards to getting feeling back in my chin, lower lip and the roof of my mouth.  Thankfully, the tingles aren't as bad as they used to be.  They're still there occasionally though... it kind of feels sometimes like my hair is brushing up against my chin or something is tickling it, but when I try to rub  it away, nothing is there and i don't feel the rubbing - just the tickling still. Very weird.  As far as pain goes, its still there as much as before.  I still take motrin every 4 hours, but that doesn't usually eliminate the pain completely.  I usually end up taking a tylenol 3 sometime in the afternoon and a vicodin in the late evening when the pain is the worst after a whole day of talking.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again, though... I really don't like tylenol 3 and especially not vicodin,  I, personally, prefer to be as awake and alert as possible during the day, so drugs just don't work for me.  I always end up putting off taking them for so long that my mouth hurts pretty bad by the time I finally give in.  Today, I went on the phones at work for 4 hours.  I was really glad to be on the phone, but the talking ended up being more than I expected.  My mouth was pretty sore and i was pretty tired.  Maybe I'm not quite ready for it yet... but i'm doing 4 hours again on Thursday.  I figure it'll get a little easier every time I go to work.  Thats what I'm hoping anyway.  I am assuming that my mouth isn't going to hurt forever.... Just not sure when it stops.

k....now, just because i'm in a pretty awesome mood right now, I'm going to tell you one of my absolute favorite jokes ever.

Why did the bubblegum cross the road?

Cause it was stuck to the chicken's feet!

hahahahahahahahahaha

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 20 - Life is what you make it

Orthodontist appointment today. I saw another girl there and i overheard that she was having jaw surgery in 6 months.  She looked so excited.  I felt sorry for her.  I wanted to go over and burst her bubble, but I didn't.  I just felt bad knowing that someone else was being tricked into jaw surgery without knowing what it was like.  The assistant who was with her made it sound so great.  I remember hearing that wonderful little 'jaw surgery is fabulous" speech.  pffft. If that girl knew what it was like, she wouldn't have been so happy.  She's thinking "ohh boy my jaw is gonna be fixed and the world is going to be a wonderful place!" no. its not like that.  yes, your jaw will be fixed, yes, you will be able to eat properly, yes, your smile may not look a little off anymore.  but no, the world will not be a wonderful place.  Not for a long time anyway.  No one told me that before my surgery.   Actually, my mom may have told me.  But she told me while she was completely freaking out, so I didn't really listen.  I chose to listen to everyone who was really positive about the surgery instead.  I came into it with the "i can do anything and get through anything" attitude and figured i'd recover 5 times faster than anyone else ever had from sheer willpower.  I was definitely tricked.  I guess its not all horrible, though...Life is what you make it, mostly.  If you have a good attitude you can get through pretty much anything... But it would be kind of dishonest to say I've had a fabulous attitude every day since my surgery.  Sometimes when your mouth hurts cause you have 7 broken bones, and you've had a headache every day for almost 3 weeks and you're hungry and tired, you just want to sit and complain a little bit.  Thats partly what my blog is for.  It lets me vent a little bit so i can get it out of my system and go back to being in a good mood again. Writing is therapeutic.  But really, in the whole scheme of things, my life is pretty darn amazing and I feel kind of lame for complaining at all.  I suppose absolutely anyone at any point in life could sit and complain about any number of things at any time.   Everyone should just get a blog.

 ANYWAY  Back to my orthodontist appointment.  The assistant didn't say anything to me.  I think she may have been a mute.  Either that or she just wasn't very friendly.  Maybe she was having a bad day.  I'm not sure.  It was kind of weird though. The doctor did talk to me though, and thats what we pay for. He said I did a great job keeping my teeth clean.  I feel like I should have gotten a star sticker or something...but no.  I was hoping to get some looser wires today, but they just gave me more tight ones.. boooo.  But, the doctor decided that October 19 was too far away to go without another appointment (and i agreed), so now I have one on September 20.  That means only 1 more month of surgical wires! Which means only one more month of rubberbands! (i think...) Still kind of long... But not as long as October 19 would have been, so that made me happy.  Of course, I still have an appointment at the Mayo Clinic with my surgeon before the one with the ortho.  I'm so excited to make the long trek back to Minnesota for the fourth time this year! haha. not.  There actually is a certain McDonalds somewhere in Wisconsin that I'm kind of looking forward to stopping at, though.  Its soooo fancy!  Really fancy! It doesn't feel like a McDonalds at all, except it smells like french fries - that's not a bad thing though.  Earlier this month when i stopped there though i got some lemon gelato and it was absolutely delicious.  Definitely looking forward to that again....and its something that someone who's had jaw surgery can eat! yay!  Yep.  Anywayssss....after my ortho appointment, i came home, had a strawberry shake (because thats what i eat everyday) and went to work again, just for a few hours though.  I was really excited though because I got to go back on the phones!  It was a little tiring to talk so much, but i loved it! I love my job. :)  I'm really excited to get to a point where i can work my whole regular shift without getting tired.  That will be absolutely wonderful.  Yep.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 19 - bored

I'm running out of things to say.  Nothing new has really happened in the last few days. The old things, however, are getting really old.  I'm getting really impatient with the recovery process.  I feel like I've wasted the entire last month of summer.  I haven't been able to do ANYTHING.  I've had to cancel events and just stay home cause I just don't have the energy.  Its sad.  I should have done this in the middle of February so I wouldn't miss summer, but then i would have missed school so that wouldn't really work either.  Sometimes in life, you just can't win.  I definitely feel like there's no way to win with jaw surgery.  The end result is supposed to be worth it, though.  I'm crossing my fingers on that one.  I was pretty happy with the way I looked before, so now looking different is just weird and I'm not sure I like it.  Its just not normal to wake up one day with a different face.  The surgical wires on my braces right now aren't helping either cause they're more...well, there's just more metal in my mouth than usual. The difference between surgical wires and regular wires is.... a regular wire is just a wire...and surgical wires have a million little hooks attached to them so that rubberbands can be hooked on to them.  So now its like I don't have teeth, just gobs of metal pretending to be teeth.  I'm not going for it.  Anyway... so thats about it.  There are no new developments in my recovery.  I'm just getting reaaaaaaally bored and kind of frustrated.  I really just want to be better and function normally again.  That's not too much to ask, is it?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 18 - :(

I'm hungry.

Day 17 - rubberbands again

I went to work today for the first time since my surgery.  I was only there a few hours...but it was good to be back.  Even though my shift was really short and kinda wimpy... i was tired when i got home and had to take a nap.  blahhh  Also i didnt take any painkillers since i wanted my mind to be all there, so my mouth got a little sore.... I really like my job and my coworkers so it was nice seeing them again though.  I didn't really get to do my regular job though.  Generally, I talk on the phone to customers my entire shift, however, considering the current condition of my mouth, I instead worked on some "projects".  Projects are very exciting things. I'm not even going to go into how exciting they are on this blog because then you would lose interest in everything else.  haha. not. Anyway.  Even though projects aren't that fun are super fun, I am really looking forward to getting back on the phone.  I have an orthodontist appointment on Monday at which I'm hoping to get some new rubberbands that are looser... or at least attached differently so I can talk better.  We talked to my surgeon today on the phone and asked how long I'd have to wear the rubberbands.... He said until the  6 week point at least, maybe a little longer but I'd know that for sure when i go for my 6 week appointment with him.  He said my orthodontist may choose to give me different rubberbands to adjust the position of my jaw depending on how things were going.... They may be more loose...But its all up to them and their judgement.  However, even if they do choose to have me wear different rubberbands, Dr. Riek wants me to continue using the tight ones he sent me home with at night.  fun fun.  So tonight I finally gained enough courage to take off the rubberbands again for hygienic purposes.  If you happened to have read my last post about rubberbands, you'll know what a terrifying experience this is.  It wasn't as bad this time because I knew what to expect, but I certainly did not enjoy it. Even with the rubberbands off, I still can't open very wide.  Currently, I'm using a little tiny toddler toothbrush because a regular sized one doesn't really work....and even as tiny and pathetic as it is, i still have a really hard time getting it in my mouth to brush the insides of my teeth.  My jaw is just stuck.... I have to really force it to get that toothbrush in....and thats when things get uncomfortable and scary.  Since when is brushing your teeth a scary thing anyway?   Anyway, when i took out the rubberbands, I noticed that they had stretched out a little and were considerably larger than the un-used bands.  So, for the sake of my jaw, I sacrificed what little improvements I'd made in my speech and switched to the tiny ones.  Definitely more restricting than I've been used to the last few days.  I really hope that wearing the stretchier rubberbands wasn't detrimental to my mouth... hmmm I think i'm probably okay...I wish people could recover from jaw surgery faster.  This is just taking too long.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 16 - steak dinner????? PHOTO

Dear Family,

As you may already be aware, I've recently had jaw surgery.  This procedure was quite major and two weeks later I have not yet recovered.  Even though I'm doing a lot better, I still get tired quite easily.  For example, two days ago I decided to see a movie and shop a little bit with a friend.  I had a great time, but even though the visit was pretty short, I was exhausted and still haven't been quite right since then.  Thats okay though... the only things that I've had to do are try to rush through entire seasons of tv shows before the library expected them to be returned.  My main complaint is the current food situation.  I've been on a liquid diet for the last 2 weeks and I'm getting sick of smoothies and cream of chicken soup.  Only within the last couple days have I been able to eat small amounts of things like scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes.  These soft foods have been a wonderful improvement, but it takes an incredible amount of time and effort to consume them and they still really aren't that satisfying.  Now, I know that the diet isn't your fault...  Its just the unfortunate consequence of jaw surgery.  However, during this period of time while I recover..... Is it really necessary that you enjoy all of my favorite meals?  Just tonight you had a steak dinner.  We almost never have steak dinners!  Are you trying to make this more difficult for me?  From this point forward, I am requesting that the entire family eat only smoothies, soup, applesauce, scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes.  I believe that in order to be more close as a family, we should not isolate any one person and that's exactly what's been going on here with the meals.  I may be forced to take drastic measures if I see anymore of my favorite meals on the table over the next few weeks.  Thank you.

-Rebecca


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 15 - smiling!

Today has been one of the more painful days for some reason.  The last couple days I've been able to get by with only 2 motrin every 4 hours.... But today i had to take tylenol 3 a few times in addition to the motrin, and i still didn't get the pain under control.  I could have taken a vicodin, but it makes me so sleepy that i wanted to avoid it at all costs.  The most likely reason i can think of for my mouth hurting is that some of the nerves are finally waking up.  Like I've said before, i've had zero feeling in my chin, lower lip, nose, my gums, and the entire roof of my mouth.  Because of the numbness, I pretty much haven't been able to open my mouth at all...only slightly.  I can't describe how weird it is to have no control over parts of your face.  Imagine tapping your chin and not feeling anything.  Imagine trying to make a smile that shows your teeth and being unable to. Its very strange.  However, today I've begun to have more control over my face.  Its still numb to the touch and I cant, for example, rub my lips together when i put on lip balm, but I can definitely sense some improvements.  I think I can talk a little better, I can now make a kissy face (because thats exactly what I've been waiting to do for 2 weeks....) and I can (my personal favorite) make a smile that shows my teeth. Its an awkward smile... but a smile nonetheless!  So even though today I've had to deal with a lot of pain, I'm smiling!!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 14 - the two week point - PHOTOS

You might be able to argue that tomorrow is actually the 2 week point, since my surgery was on a wednesday and today is tuesday... But you can also argue that its day 14 so thats what i'm going with.  So, in honor of this 2 week point, I'm posting some photos.



I do look a little different....but there is still some swelling to account for, even though it has gone down drastically. I think also part of the looking different is that because of the numbness I cant make the expressions that i normally make.  I've been told not to make any judgements on my appearance until the 5 week mark at least.



no changes to my  weird  fun personality of course. :)


Over the last 2 weeks I've covered a lot of ground.  I've gone from looking like an orangutan (really, thats not a joke...) to a pretty normal looking person again.  I've gone from only being capable of consuming liquid meds to taking pills. (score!) I've gone from needing vicodin every 6 hours, to barely once a day.  I've gone from being too weak to stand up myself and only being able to stand for 5-10 minutes at a time and needing to sleep every 2 hours, to now finally being able to get through a whole day and walk around as much as i need to.  I've gone from waking up every few hours during the night, to now being able to sleep a whole night normally.  I can also now talk pretty well, drink out of a cup and kind of use a tiny spoon.  Also, just today i decided that some scrambled eggs would be okay...so i broke them into extremely TINY pieces so i could #1, get them into my mouth which still can't open very wide and #2 swallow without chewing. It felt SO good to eat something other than soup or a smoothie, even if i couldn't chew it. We're making progress!

Still though..
  • no feeling in my lower lip, chin, the roof of my mouth and parts of my nose
  • annoying tingly feelings in my chin...they're definitely worse at night when i'm trying to sleep
  • headaches almost all the time
  • i said i could talk pretty well....but its really not 100% there
  • Just like the talking, my energy is almost all back, but still not 100%
  • i can't make a smile that shows my teeth
  • jaws still rubberbanded shut   -see last post....
  • And the worst....I still can't chew

I've come a long way... But I still have a long way to go... Thank you so much to everyone who's sent gifts and cards by the way!  Nothin' like love to make you feel better. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 13 - Rubberbands

Today I tried to eat soup with a spoon.  I started with a small spoon, but it was too big so I switched to a baby spoon.  That still didn't really work. I mean, it kind of did... But with these rubberbands in, I just can't open my mouth very wide... and definitely not wide enough to get a spoon in.  It took me over half an hour to eat 1 can of soup. Kind of ridiculous.  So after this experience, I decided it would be okay to take off the rubberbands just for a few minutes so I could brush my teeth better.   This ended up being one of the scariest few moments of my entire life.  At first when I removed the bands I thought "hey look! i can talk a lot better!"  then i thought "OHMYGOSH MY LOWER JAW IS GOING TO FALL OFF!!!!!" because thats what it felt like.  Both of my jaws felt very loose and insecure..like they weren't really attached to my head.  I know that they're actually screwed into place... but it still felt pretty shaky to me.  I could still barely open wide enough to get the tooth brush in, but, with my mom standing by for emotional support, my teeth were successfully brushed.  I am very nervous to repeat this experience, though.  The last 2 weeks i've been itching to take these rubberbands off thinking that everything would be fine and dandy if only i could throw them away... I was wrong. Very wrong.  I love my rubberbands now.  I now know the important work they do.  They're keeping my jaws attached to my head.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 12 - Why is there smoothie on the ceiling?

Today began like any normal day.  I woke up, took some painkillers and began to eat my breakfast smoothie.  Strawberries, bananas, Greek yogurt, milk, honey, & some protein powder are the main ingredients I believe. Now, while i can drink regular liquids like water or orange juice out of a cup normally, I can't drink anything thats thick like soup or a smoothie so I was using one of my syringes.  Let me first mention that those syringes are often a lot of work to use.  First you have to use a lot of strength to pull the smoothie into the syringe, then you have to again use some strength to push the smoothie (or whatever) back out.  Sometimes during this process things go wrong.  Like the other day during a syringe malfunction I punched myself in the nose.   Today...


[click photos to enlarge]






While i was squeezing smoothie out of the syringe and into my mouth, there was apparently more pressure than the straw could handle.....The straw was pushed off the syringe and well...the smoothie went with it. I'm really amazed that there was enough forced to get the smoothie all the way up to the ceiling!  Everything happened pretty fast.. But I know i saw that smoothie fly through the air and it was pretty crazy. 



This is the culprit!!!


Most of my life is really pretty boring... These weird things just keep happening to keep things interesting I guess.

Day 11 - I drank out of a cup!

Today, I took a major step.  I graduated from drinking from a syringe to drinking out of a cup.  Yes, a cup. I was very proud of myself.  My lower lip is still totally numb so I can't feel the cup at all...so a lot of concentration is required to make sure I don't spill all over the place.  My wonderful, supportive brother Stephen informed me that drinking out of a cup is a skill most people have already acquired by the age of two.  However, he has not had jaw surgery and doesn't understand the challenges that come with it.  I still can't eat from a fork, but I'll be working on that shortly.  Well..its not really necessary until I can eat solid foods I guess.  Still on that fabulous liquid only diet.

Friday, August 13, 2010

day 10 - tingling! gahh! - PHOTO

I'm glad to say that I had another pretty good day.  I've been taking a lot less vicoden and i think that really helps.  The vicoden really drains my energy and my mood along with it.  Unfortunately though, even though I am feeling better, there are still 7 broken bones in my face and vicoden is still a necessary evil for the time being.... just not every 4 hours like last week.  I'm more at every 8 hours right now.. Sometimes longer - with motrin every 6 hours of course.  I'm very glad to say that I am 100% through with all liquid meds though. I've finally gotten a new prescription for vicoden pills so i'm pretty happy.  Not only is liquid vicoden the most disgusting thing you have ever smelled or tasted in your entire life, it also burns my throat.  Nothing like the element of pain to distract you from a nasty taste.  But thats all done with now. :D   Now, my most urgent complaint is regarding the tingles in my chin!!!  They are horrible! they kept me awake until 2am last night!!  Up until now, they have been little tingles - kind of funny feeling but not horrible.  Now they are getting to be more than I can take.  Take your cell phone, make it vibrate, and hold it to your chin.  Imagine feeling that vibrating constantly all. day. long.  That is essentially what I've been dealing with. blah.


I've started to see people today though.  Thats pretty cool.  I went over to my grandparents house in the afternoon for a short visit....then later my aunt and cousin came by - thank you for the orange creme freeze! mmmmm.  It was really good to finally see and talk to people instead of just laying around watching tv all day.  Any one else is welcome to visit me, too! Please do! :)


here's what i looked like today.  still kind of weird.  my upper lip is especially swollen..far more so than my lower lip. kind of odd.

And this is the lovely bruise on my left wrist.  There was apparently some sort of tube shoved into my artery to keep track of my blood pressure during surgery.  I would like to point out that this is a week and a few days after my surgery and the bruise is still this ugly....it was much uglier before. MUCH uglier. Note:if you look at your computer screen straight on, you don't get the full idea of how dark it is. tilt your screen back if you can to see its true ugliness. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

day 9 - photo!

Hello. I remain committed to telling only the facts on this blog. I may attempt mix in some thematic elements, of course, but the facts of surviving jaw surgery will always be told.  Yesterday those facts included some complaining.  Actually the last week has included a lot of complaining.  Thats okay though, because today - no complaints! I had a very good day.  =)  I woke up at 7, took a wonderful shower,  then I did my hair and put on some makeup for the first time since before surgery. (the hair and makeup were for the 1st time...I assure you I've taken plenty of showers the last week).  I also then proceeded to put on jeans and a regular shirt.  So for the first time since before my surgery i looked kinda nice instead of a frizzy-haired orangutan in pajamas. My swelling has also gone down a lot so that I no longer, i repeat, NO LONGER look like an orangutan.   I am now enjoying *full* cheeks and Angelina Jolie lips.  Yes. I look like a movie star.  i bet you wish you had jaw surgery.


Okay... so maybe i don't look like a movie star. ....Actually, this picture was taken with Henk (my best friend's husband) in mind.  He called me a dork last time i did the thumbs up...pshhhh I'm not a dork! I'm just enjoying life! 

But anyway.  I had my first post-surgery follow up appointment today at my orthodontist.  Because my surgeon is 9 hours away in Minnesota, the majority of my follow-ups will be here in town.   So my ortho and her assistant (i never know what to call all those girls at the orthodontist... they're not nurses...they just do most of the work...anyway..)...said i looked great.  The assistant thought it was actually 2 weeks out of surgery instead of only 1 week because the swelling is so under control. Two other "assistants" also made a point to see me before i left so see how I was doing.  Having jaw surgery makes you popular at the orthodontists office i guess.  But yeah, they were all impressed with my recovery. Thats good i think. Its been an insanely rough week, but if I'm a week ahead of the game I'm happy!  Yep. After my appointment, i went to the library. My first public appearance!!  I picked up some dvds...came home... had a yummy smoothie that contained no less than 500 calories (haven't lost any weight so far) and by 11:00 i was totally exhausted so i slept for a while.  The rest of the day has included watching The Office and chilling and more sleeping and more smoothies...all of which i consider elements of a satisfying summer day.  

day 8 - i swallowed a pill! whoah!

Hello. day 8 wasn't very fun. I barely slept at all the entire day so i got to savor every wonderful moment. That sounds kind of cynical and depressing. I'm really actually quite up-beat and chipper (just had my vicoden so i might be a little slap happy too).  But....complaining on here is a little therapeutic.   It is my jaw surgery blog after all so i do have the right to moan the agonies and woes i suffer.  In fact, not only is my right, it's my duty.  Some other poor, unsuspecting individual could somehow stumble across this blog looking for insight into the jaw surgery experience before he makes the decision to undergo it.  Now, I could never forgive myself if i were to give that poor, unsuspecting individual the wrong impression that could lead him to making the wrong decision, and that wrong decision would impact his very life.  Yes...I must continue to complain. Lives depend on it.  SO that being said... uhmmm.. today sucked. I am getting better, which is a good thing, but each day I'm learning more and more that the better i get, the worse i feel.   Sure my face isn't swollen 5 times its normal size any more, I can stand up by myself now and I have some feeling back in my face.  I'm more awake and able to function more...But I'm not awake and functioning enough to be satisfying. Its only tempting me.   Now I can smell the dinner my mom is cooking for the family...and unlike before, I'm actually kind of hungry now.  Do you know what its like to walk downstairs, see your family eating chicken and broccoli and corn on the cob and it smells sooooo delicious, and then your mother hands you your dinner - a cup of cream of chicken soup. Its kind of disheartening.  And the aforementioned family doesn't even appreciate what they've got!  Half of them probably didn't even eat all the chicken on their plate.  What a messed up world. So yeah.  That was a tough moment today.  Then i choked on my vicoden, motrin, and water no less than 5 times.  Coughing is similar to laughing. (see last post)   BUT, I've made progress! real progress! i swallowed a pill today! two pills! amazing!!!!  It was really hard but I did it. I can't wait until I'm completely proficient in this whole pill taking thing so I can completely abolish the use of liquid meds.   The reason pills are tricky is because #1, I can't open my mouth very far to put the pill in, and #2, once its in its hard to get it to the back of my mouth and swallow cause,  like i said, i can't open my mouth and the roof of my mouth is mostly numb. Its easy to lose a tiny pill in your mouth when you can't feel it.  I know dozens of people who are perfectly normal and can't swallow pills... So in my condition, I consider swallowing pills an accomplishment. yup. Okay... my vicoden is really setting in now so I'm going to sleep. goodnight.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 7 - I punched myself in the nose. oops.

I've hit the one week point. yay. The first week is supposed to be the worst so I'm glad to be through it.  I'm not gonna lie, it was pretty miserable.  Especially the first few days, if you had asked me, I would have told you that I was tricked into this surgery and would never have done it if I had known what to expect.  Glad to be through those days.  Recovery still really stinks though.  I'm sick of liquid meds a million times a day, I'm sick of sleeping all the time because of the meds, and I miss popcorn!!! The absolute worst thing though, is that I can't laugh.  I really like laughing...it always makes you feel good. If you ask my brother, he'll tell you I'm always sitting by myself laughing at nothing.  He used to accuse me of chatting online with people in the middle of the night because there was no way someone could laugh that much by themselves.  But yeah.. no chatting. Maybe I'm just crazy....But I have a lot of funny thoughts! But now I can't laugh.. It has happened a few times, but it hurts SO BAD. oh.my.gosh.  Every bone in my face aches and I can feel the stitches tearing against my braces.  Its horrible.  So every time i've laughed so far, I end up crying too, from the pain.  Its driving me nuts! Earlier today one of those laughing/crying moments took place.  I was trying to suck some cream of potato soup into my syringe and it just wasn't working.  Something must have gotten stuck in the straw part because no soup was going in or out.   I was pulling and pulling and pulling with no success at all when  the syringe finally broke.  All of the force from my hand pulling the syringe was released and it flew back, hitting myself quite hard in the nose...Just like in tug-of-war when the other team decides to let go of their end of the rope so you fly backwards with your end.  Ouch. my nose hurt so bad! Its been pretty numb all this time, but some of those nerves woke up then. Honestly, I thought I had broken something or messed up part of the surgery.  Evidently I'm okay... but you never know! Of course the whole situation was so ridiculous, I ended up laughing...which caused even more pain in addition to my poor nose.  Do these kinds of things happen to other people too?