Monday, 14 November 2011

Update Video, Elastics, again - Day 190 (Nov 14)

Basically another ortho appointment update.

My teeth are all straight, but the general orientation of my jaw still has to change, and it is the reason for having braces so much later past my surgery. This past Friday my ortho had me back on elastics to pull my lower jaw back to create an overbite(sorry I had originally said underbite). Why he is doing this just now is kind of frustrating in my opinion. I'm supposed to wear them whenever I can, and take them off to brush and eat. One thing about wearing these elastics is that they are super loose. The ortho assistant suggested that I twist them to put more tension in. I think it's a great idea and am going to tighten these pretty well. Lastly I just made a quick update video to show where I am at.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Chapstick Test - Day 160 (Oct 15)

This surgery makes you notice the weirdest things. For example,  if you haven't heard of Epic Meal Time, take a look at their videos.

All I can think of is, "How dangerous is it to have your jaw open that wide?"  Is that weird? I'm still fairly conscious when I eat to not open too wide and put pressure down. My bone is probably fully healed for the most part too. It's going to take some time to unlearn that feeling.

Surgeon/Ortho update

I also am worrying in the back of my mind about my numbness. It's about 5 months and I'm still really numb on my left side. My surgeon used this little tool and tapped my left side of my lips and I felt very little sensation, and then when he tapped my right side I got a crazy poking pain. Big difference on one side than the other, and he just assured me that it's going to take time. Okay. I saw my ortho and just got different wires again. My top row teeth are starting to open up a little bit, so the wires are going to fix that.

I've also noticed my top teeth and bottom teeth don't exactly line up nicely. OP told me that perhaps there's this issue where the size of my teeth are pretty big and therefore it creates a different orientation for my teeth. Something to live with.

I notice the feeling come back to me randomly at times when I'm walking to class. It's best described as: Walking into a spider web and it landing on your chin. It's there and annoying, but you just touch it and realize there is no spider web, just your dumb chin.

Lastly, I put on chapstick for the first time today(I usually just use hand cream) and whoa, it feels really weird. I recommend trying it and seeing what spots on your lips you can feel. This is probably my new way of checking where I'm at and keeping the lips not dry haha. Try the Chapstick Test!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Waiting Game - October 5 (Day 150)

School is in full swing right now and things have been pretty hectic. Here are some updates at day 150(yeah, day freaking 150.)

Status of the jaw itself
- Still numb in places. My left side of my chin(where more asymmetry was fixed) definitely still has a deadness to it compared to my right. Good news is that when I touch it at different angles, the sensation is indescribable, I'd say it's most compared to knocking your funny bone on the elbow.
- Other parts that are numb include both sides on the cheeks under the eyes, compared to my left chin it's nothing
- My upper lip/middle part of the nose(the part that splits your 2 nose holes, I have no idea what that's called) tingles when touched.
- In summary, this has been my numbing situation for quite a while and it seems like it will take some time go away.
- Eating has been excellent, my stomach is still quite shrunken and is taking some time to increase. I can chew pretty much everything, but I am always really conscious when I bite into crunchier things. No, eating is not perfect yet and I'm roughly 5 months in.

The Orthodontist trip 

Now I went to the orthodontist a while back(2 weeks ago) and was basically given bad news. My teeth are perfectly straight. However, there is still some alignment to do. I popped the question. "How much longer do I need braces for?" The answer - "Until summer."      ****!

They say that they can only move my teeth at a certain speed so that the bones can calcify accordingly. I don't really have an opinion on that, but I know that every time I get a new wire I don't get any soreness or barely any indication that much more movement is needed. So, it's basically a waiting game. It also sucks that I'm in 4th year university rocking braces but it could be worse. Keep calm and carry on. Right? Right?

Meeting old friends

It's been, just, weird. I get weird looks almost everyone that I reintroduce myself to. I didn't think I'd have to refer to my jaw surgery so many times but usually that's been the case. It's either: new braces? new haircut? skinnier? taller? younger? Why are you different? They've all been weird. People I've met this year obviously don't have that and therefore it has been somewhat refreshing. I feel like this whole journey has started a new chapter in my life. Coming out of surgery I've lost a lot of my cockiness and have been somewhat humbled. Warning: Lots of time to self-reflect when sitting in a reclining chair may do that to you. I feel like a new person. Much more laid back than I was before. Weird.

Anyhow here's a picture. I plan on doing a video at the 6 month mark.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Surgeon appt update - Day 120 (Sept 5)

I feel terrible because I haven't really kept up with the blog, and I'm posting to show that yes I am still alive. I'm an RA in residence this year so the past 2 weeks I've been at Uni prepping and it's been tiresome.

My latest focus has been my weight rather than recovery at this stage. It's been good and bad.

1. I pulled out my scale that I used pre-surgery when I was at uni. I had last registered at 14% body fat. (It shows the last measurement history)
2. I used it a week ago and found I was down to 9-10% body fat. I have found that I have looked really toned. However, I realize I have barely gained any weight since I lost the 20+ pounds! So it is a good thing that my body fat is really down, but it's going to take some time to get the weight back.
3. I saw a friend from last year and he noted that I was visually much skinnier. I appreciate the honest feedback and plan on getting it back asap. My pants also need belts! I'm mostly upset about that.

I saw my surgeon a few days before so I got some more info from getting some answers.

Elastics - after 3 months+ I don't need them anymore at night!
Jaw widening - when my top jaw is widened, the cut is made from when it is taken out, and filled in with bone, not with putty which I was stupidly thinking. There is bone added to the top part of the top jaw, so you can't see it(just your gums, palate), that's how the gap is filled in.
Contact - I should be able to take small blows for the most part to my jaw. I'm not planning on testing it out, but I can.
Numbness - The time frame is usually 1 year to get feeling back. Nothing I didn't already know, but I couldn't remember if I had asked him about it or not before.

For now I am still seeing my orthodontist monthly for new wires. I saw one of my orthos in traffic the other day and beeped to her and talked for a few brief seconds and I said, "Looking forward to my new wire." Gosh, the weird things I do now.

Quick pic.


Saturday, 6 August 2011

3 months have finally past, and 2 knuckles are in with ease! - Day 90 (August 6)

The crazy 3 month mark has been hit. For such a huge process like a jaw surgery, getting here is quite bittersweet.  Why? Because I found it difficult to believe I would get here during my first week of recovery, but now that I'm here it's really hard to take it all in and enjoy it like I had envisioned.

I apologize for posting less and less during these times. If anything, many readers should realize that by this point, life is back to normal! As therapeutic as blogging has been for me, I found that it's easier to do when you have the time. Now that I'm fully functional, blogging has sadly taken the backseat. Life. Is. Back. To. Normal.

Eating - You name it, I've eaten it. Except steak(Saving it for some glorious occasion in the future, tbd). We went to the Keg for my mom's surprise dinner and I had a prime rib, tiger shrimp, and double baked bacon potato; it was effortless to chow down. Eating for the past few weeks has not been an obstacle. And guess what? The food stays in my mouth, sans drooling, and goes down perfectly chewed. The art of eating is now thought free. Huzzah.

Here's a few quick pictures of where I am, the webcam I use is terrible and makes my skin look like I'm sunburned but you can see where my bite is at.

So what does this mean now?

In terms of recovery there are 3 things left:

Range of motion - I can fit 2 knuckles into my mouth with ease, there's no more need to slice bananas into my mouth anymore. My range still needs to improve because I can't fit a subway sub into my mouth, so that's my next landmark for motion.

Swelling - my nose is going down, not as pig like and popped up as it used to be.

Bite - My right side of my top teeth is directly on top of my bottom and it's very uncomfortable at times. I went to my ortho yesterday and he said that through using a stronger archwire, the arch of my top teeth should open up and then go over the bottom teeth better. That means I just have to wait for the newer stronger wires to push that row of teeth out. Once that's done, and the roots set,  I can get my braces off :)

Haven't been this ready to shed the braces for some time, what a feeling.

I'll keep on posting whenever I get the chance.


Friday, 22 July 2011

3rd Last Trip to the OS, and I get the go ahead! - Day 75 (July 22)

 10 Week Post op Pictures.

Saw my surgeon yesterday and got to clear some thing up in our usual 5 minute check up.

Chewing - I don't have to chew up and down anymore, I can basically move my jaw freely(as free as it goes) and therefore grind side to side.
Bands - I don't really have any sort of elastic arrangement anymore. I told him I wear them at night to make sure things move straight and he says that's best.
Exercises - 2 new exercises to work on, now that I'm past 9 weeks +post op

Exercise 1: Isometric: Basically put your fist under your bottom jaw and push your bottom jaw down. You keep your mouth closed so while your jaw is trying to open, your fist keeps it in place.

Exercise 2: Force: From one hand, use your index finger and thumb, force your mouth open, putting some resistance on the joint.

My jaw is still quite sore when I open and close it frequently, so I'll give these some time. Range of motion is coming back, but every week it has improved.

Lastly, I asked him the big question: Can I play soccer?

... he said yes! Knowing Tocchio he's very liberal and has been with my surgery, so he advised with a grain of salt not to go full out. I'm playing soccer this Saturday, I can't wait.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Hey wake up! - Day 68(July 15)

Quick update here.

My lips tingle constantly when they are touched, sending a nerve throughout my chin. In my spare time I will be repeatedly tapping my lips with my index and middle finger. It's completely odd looking in public. I don't know if that speeds it up but it's a developed habit.

When I eat, I get full now, thank goodness. I also didn't overgorge myself like I thought I would because my stomach has been growing slowly. It makes me a slow eater too and when you eat slowly your brain processes the eating and regulates your pace. The good thing is that weight is coming back because my diet is improving, although very slowly. There is a lot less lip biting, however it's been a conscious effort when eating to stop sticking my bottom lip on top of my incisor(I used to pull my lips back with my underbite when eating) which is my sharpest tooth. The damage done to my lip is going to take a while to recover.

Also, when I eat food and it runs down my chin, it's hard to notice. Expect to wipe your chin frequently just anticipating drool and crumbs to be dangling.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Satisfied/4 things from perfect recovery bliss - Day 62 (July 9)

I think it was a day or 2 ago but I am beginning to really warm up to my new profile and the way my smile is turning out. I don't know what helped me turn the psychological corner, but after several times of checking yourself in the mirror after surgery, this one time I thought, "Hey. I like this new look now."

This may sound silly, but I found it helped to not accept the way I looked the first few days after surgery. I just accepted that my face was my face, and to take the puffy look with a grain of salt. Could it have been the swelling going down? The less drool running down my chin? I have just recently taken a shining to its new luster.

However, there are 4 things that are keeping me from feeling tip top about all of this:

1. Braces - Since my smile has been nailed down, I really want to see my teeth in all of its glory. Strangely braces have been part of my life the last year and I didn't feel a need to part with them. With my new smile, I do now. I've been told my teeth look really white under the brackets too. However, this is the one thing I feel can come last.

2. Range of motion in my mouth - Everyday I'm not practicing how many fingers I can fit into my mouth. I'm getting 3 in really tight. I remember when it was just the pinky, then the index finger, then my thumb, then 2 index fingers... Maybe I should have measured this before the surgery? I never would have thought.

3.Numbness - My chin and certain parts of my face are still tingling and not back. Although you don't use your face nerves very often, when you do, you count on them.

4. Playing contact sports - I want to get hit in the jaw again! I was at my ortho on thursday(he finally replaced the wire on the top of my teeth and they are straight again) and when I asked him about soccer/basketball he said that he personally wouldn't risk it and sit out 6 months to a year since the bone is still calcified. This may be the first thing I might break, (the ruling not my jaw) and start playing at least soccer again after the 3 month mark.  I will ask the surgeon next time I see him because I feel so flipping ready to go already.

If these 4 things were taken care of, I'd be back to myself, as if jaw surgery never happened. Then again, these are fairly tall orders and perhaps I am a bit optimistic nearly 9 weeks in. The problem is that at this point I'm doing everything nearly like I could before. My energy levels are up, daily activities are being completed, and I can keep pace with other people at the dinner table now!

I've also realized that my blogging is starting to slow down, so I will get back on it pronto.

I'm putting up this 8 week profile update in the before and after photos.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

"You look different" - Day 59 (July 6)

 "You look different." The words that I hear now that I'm starting to meet some old friends.  My count on people that I have talked to/said hi to/had a small conversation with that ended up facebooking me later that day asking if that was me is at 4. They try and pass it off as me getting a new haircut(I did have a mohawk last year), and even suggest braces, at least they try. Actually I have a picture that I took pre-braces as a nice little surprise. I'm jutting my jaw out on purpose clearly aware of my underbite.

Eating - It is great, I'm eating anything now as long as it fits in my mouth. The more you work your jaw, the more it opens. I just had perogies, sausage, and vegetables for dinner and it went down easily. The weight is coming back and I feel great.

Lip biting - I keep doing it and it irritates me to no end! My lip is starting to get cut up on my left side because it will get in the way of my teeth and I unknowingly chow down thinking it's food.

Numbness - My left part of my chin is still numb, and my upper lip as well as that area to the side of my nose still tingles if I gently rub my finger beside it.

Also, I don't want to scare anyone about jaw surgery, but I saw this video and what happened really had me thinking. This boy Justin was to have jaw surgery on June 23/2011. However, based on what somebody posted on his youtube page, he passed away due to medical complications. We do not know what these 'medical complications' are, but they must be definitely very atypical and rare because this was the first time I had heard/read about anything like this. May Justin rest in peace.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

"Wait so which brother of Gordon are you?"/Psychological Support - Day 55(July 2)

I've heard that 3 times over my recovery stage so far. Whenever you've forgotten that your face has changed, someone holds a conversation with you for a few minutes and then they ask who you are, and the thought comes back to you. "Oh yeah, I had jaw surgery just recently" and you point to your jaw, it's still me. At the same time, it's fun when your friends don't recognize you, but if it's someone that you see maybe once or twice a year, it's sort of inconvenient to tell them because now you're keeping mental tabs on who's seen the new you and who hasn't. I don't have that brain capacity.

Happy Canada Day on July 1 to all of my Canadian readers. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and I'm sure everyone had a good time in the sun and letting gluttony take over, because I sure did. I thought barbeque would be a challenge, and it didn't faze me too much. Hot dogs for lunch were tackled one bite at a time, the sausage then the bun, and repeat. Dinner was cut up macaroni and cheese with cut up ribs. It was excellent. Cake is also a very easy eat at this point, as things are pretty much normal. I bit my tongue several times, but it was worth it. I think my weight is coming back, I weighed myself and I've gained 4 lbs from my lowest. Calorie surplus is fantastic.

I read a post by a poster:"Apple_F" on Jaw Surgery Blog Forums who posted asking for psychological support. They made an excellent post describing the feelings of someone 5 days post op just looking for a little up. She posts what I feel everyone goes through at one point and I thought I should share it.

"27, female , Cyprus, 2011
Today I had a breakdown just after I woke up. face disfigured. It is traumatising. It is day 5. I have had an orthognathic surgery last Tuesday on both my upper and lower jaw. It was 6.30 in the morning. my face is still completely swollen i cant move any parts of my face other than my eyes. You might know the deal. Uncontrollable drooling, pain and stretched skin everywhere, sore gigantic lips, and bruises. The tingling sensation around your face, blocked nose, tongue trapped in the black hole that is your jaw area. The double-triple chin tops everything nicely along with the torn red occasionally bleeding skin at you mouth edges.
Sounds familiar?
The breakdown spark wasn’t just this image for breakfast, but also the feeling of paralysis, the forcing down of medicine and the inability to express yourself. Crying was a very bad idea. Stretching your face even more caused more pain and filling your nasal passages with tears is not going to help. Lips cracked again. This will never go away. Could this be the punishment for wanting change? If I could have music it would be that of a desperate violin.
Can’t speak- cant smile-cant eat- cant feel.
If only the list included “cant see”. Face is disfigured; there is nothing other than greasy hair to remind you of what was there and you can’t help but think…what have I done! I was fine the way I was.
Overall this doent look like what you signed up for. And it’s been 5 days and all the blogs you have seen seem to have recovered infinitely better. 5 days. That means many many hours, or thinking…”this cant be normal”. My surgeon says yes it, what does he know.(?!?) His face is still on.
Other than the very severe cases of TJM most of us see it as an improvement that will make us feel, chew, smile or look better. Coming to accept, admit and shout to the world that “hey I think there is something wrong with my face/me and I am OK with fixing it” is in itself it quite major achievement.
I had previously very loudly spoken against cosmetic operations and was very aware that this could be considered as one. This is why it took me a long to do it .I am now 27. I felt a bit two faced. Like a quad-hiring cyclist or a volunteer asking for a pay rise… It took me a long time to come to terms with it and to accept it as something important and worthy of respect and not just another vain narcissistic seek for perfection.
Seriously, it is really no comfort that before we get to the good stuff , we must step into darkness, that is the scary zone of recovery. Why make it sound better than it is.
“Would the sewage by any other name not smell as rancid?”
It is still this morning so I cant say I am over it. this is my attempt to feel less “special” or to help perhaps someone else experiencing the same emotions. Also I would like to see if all you guys who have had the operation already and have recovered recognise this “state”, have overcome it and are now laughing at me?"

I feel like many of us sort of hit a critical point where we ask ourselves why we did this surgery, and the regret train chugs on. My reply to this was as follows:

That's probably one of the most well-written accounts of a day 5 post op I have ever read. The imagery is precisely what I remembered it to be, and despite being nearly 8 weeks post op, it's fresh in my mind like yesterday.
It's good that you take it for what it is, not a change for the vain, but a change for the pragmatic. I am happy for you building up the courage to have the surgery done, because I am aware that many out there don't have it done because of fear. 27 is not old. Far from it.
Things to help you through this:
- You sometimes need to take a few steps back to leap forward. Yes, you were fine before, but you will definitely be better afterwards. Cosmetically the changes will benefit and the feeling of a new bite should only please.
- Surgery is over, you made it through, there are always risks and you passed the hardest part.
- Swelling peaks at 4 days, you're going downhill from now.
- You can always help yourself recover; drink plenty of fluids despite your swollen throat giving you pain. Drinking liquids is better than not doing it, no matter how much is coughed up. There is so much you can work on to improve your state.
- Walk around, don't let the chair get the better of you. Take a few strides around the house and your body will thank you for it.
Personally I found the strength and a smile to get through this but I know sometimes we mentally falter. It's important to just find the sense to pull you through the hard parts, or if not, there's always that great episode of How I Met Your Mother to keep your mind off things."

The greatest thing about this surgery is that everyone is so supportive of others and offer excellent advice. I completely recommend anyone recovering to read these forums as it has helped me get through all of my issues and hardships, big or small.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Post Op Video #2 - Day 53(June 30)

So I had the time to make a quick video. Even though I'm 53 days in I round up to 8 weeks. I probably should have made a video at earlier points of recovery like a week, 2 weeks, or a month but I slacked.

Also saw the OS today and had a 5-10 min quick session with him. I tried to get an idea of the measurements. What I remember is that the top jaw was expanded 6 mm, the top jaw went up 5mm, and the bottom jaw went back 4 mm. There were a ton of numbers that I couldn't remember, but these ones I did. I'll try again later and see if I can get the details.

So far I've just been taking summer school so I have been a bit occupied. Basically I'm trying to integrate myself back into the normal routine. Some things I've noticed:

Opening - I can open my mouth to get a knuckle in, it's been increasing with more and more talking/eating.

Eating -  Can eat tougher foods, having bbq sausage, chicken when cut into pieces that fit into the mouth.

Mouth orientation - I've been biting my lip and tongue a few times when I eat, it's been really annoying, my new placement of my mouth has been playing tricks on my mind.

Numbness - still remains on my chin. Also a little bit on the upper lip, but not as noticeable as my chin numbing.

Exercise - I went to the gym and found myself getting light headed really quickly. Breathing was sort of thrown off, and finding the right breathing pattern was tricky. Working out at the same level I was pre op definitely takes a while. When I ran there, I found that my jaw joint on my left and moved out of place and then pressure built up on my left side. Throughout the whole workout my left side couldn't hear since it was stuffed with pressure. It went away 2 hours after when I moved my jaw around from eating.

If you guys have any questions, keep sending them.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

DOMS/Rebracketed - Day 46 (June 23)

6 Weeks post op picture are now in before and after photos.

DOMS -  For those of you who have never heard of it, DOMS means Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It usually happens when your muscles are trying to recover from a totally new exercise that has torn the muscle in a way you haven't been used to. It's a good soreness, and it peaks 2 days after a workout. I can barely move my upper body. Be prepared for it after your first workout. Oh, and there's no proven cure to speed it up.

I went to the ortho today and had the bracket on my front tooth put back on. We didn't know if the archwire should be changed since it has the hooks. The hooks are for the elastics and we did not know from the surgeon if I still need to wear the elastics. I see my surgeon next week so we will wait until then(and I will keep on wearing them.) In the meantime I just have a small wire attaching the new bracket to the brackets around them. I can't wait to have my top teeth straightened. It's crazy how teeth will move apart in a short amount of time.

Speaking - I realize my f's w's and v's aren't being well ennunciated because my chin muscle has to pull up to say it and it's still quite numb. Until then.

Jaw joint cracks? - Yawning happens a lot. It just so happens that when I yawn it forces my mouth open farther than it is ready for, so I repress it. A few hours ago I let one loose and felt a crack or snap by my jaw joint. No idea what it was. It was on my right side which pops a lot. I can voluntarily pop my ear on that side, and it's getting a lot of work done throughout this recovery.

Mouth - I can open far enough to fit one knuckle in my mouth. 

Eating - I tackled 2 filet o fish today from Mickey Ds. Not only am I happy I got a quick 800 calories down but it went down really fast. I couldn't fit the whole thing in, so I would rotate biting the top part, then the bottom part. It is fairly easy to chew this late in the game. I'm also noticing that my appetite is coming back slowly. My jaw joint is going to be in a bit of pain for a while but I hope it heals quickly. I find that it gets sore when I open all the way, and then when I close I can feel a small sting of pain. We'll see how it goes.

I'm also planning to make another video soon. I did a pre op and intend on making a post op around week 8 if summer school doesn't get busy.

The Train track is fixed! (Sort of)

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Finally back to the gym - Day 44(June 21)

Yesterday was the first day of summer school so I'm going to be living on campus for half of the week. The change of scenery is quite refreshing from living at home for so long.  Class is forcing me to focus for extended periods of time and I am able to keep up. I remember the first 2 weeks I was mentally exhausted at watching a show for less than 5 minutes. It's good to be back in this state. Since I'm living off campus without a magic bullet, grocery shopping came down to these soft foods:

Bananas(can't blend, so sliced into the mouth)
Pancakes(eggo ones that you microwave)
michelinas frozen entrees(meatloaf, macaroni, alfredo)
Canned flaked tuna(eaten with crackers)

I have to say I am decently stocked for food despite my eating disability of a weak jaw and jaw opening of a finger.

Since I'm back at uni with a gym I decided to get a workout in for the first time. I had been anticipating my first trip back to the gym for a very long time. First of all, I got noticeably skinnier and really want to change that back. How did I find it? Mentally I found myself challenged to keep up with my usual reps and sets but I stayed with it. Physically, my body should have coped better. I found that I had lost a lot of strength, dropping down from the weights I used before. It was still a great feeling to know I could take part. One concern I had was clenching my jaw when facing strain. It never happened once. I found that if you keep relaxed and just focus on breathing your facial muscles should not be working hard and therefore my teeth did not touch when I worked out.

Now after workout the most important thing is to make up for the calories burned. Over the past month I have noticed that my stomach is much smaller than pre op. I've found constant eating and eating more times a day helps expand your food tolerance. I was able to put down a michelinas dinner, can of tuna, and 2 glasses of milk. It felt good to eat the normal quantity again. Cheers to bigger meals.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Sunburned - Day 42 (June 19)

Yesterday I had the chance to do some mother - son golf bonding in a company tournament. It was a great time for golf followed by a banquet. Being outside for 5 hours however does not bode well after being inside for so long after these 6 weeks. Wear sunscreen when you start getting outdoors. As much as I've been outside, I've never been out for that long in 30 C weather. I'm now fully cooked on my arms and face, and it looks like I took a trip to Cancun. After golf, the banquet dinner was, interesting.

Salad: I couldn't chew lettuce leafs, they were far too chewy and thin to be ground up. Bread rolls? Politely declined.

Main Course: consisted of a thigh of chicken, steak, baked potato, assorted vegetables. Of the vegetables, a soft baked zucchini and tomato were both consumed with ease. I was also able to eat the chicken in finely cut pieces. The baked potato was the best part, when combined with the chicken and some sour cream it made my day, not the incredible 15 foot putt.

Swelling - hasn't changed much at all, I believe this to be about 90% of what I'm going to look like from now on. My chin feels like it has the most residual swelling at this point.

From my experience, I believe the face goes through a few phases before it heals:

1. Tenderness/bloating - your phase is fresh from surgery and it feels very tender when you touch it. It's also as puffy as your skin is willing to stretch.

2. Swelling goes down - your face still hurts when you touch it, but it doesn't feel like it is exploding out of your face.

3. Numbness/Itchy/Sharp - your face goes through this sort of weird sensation stage where you get these odd itchy feelings under the skin and it alternates with these pins and needles sensations, and in addition a numbing feeling the rest of the time. This is probably the majority of the recovery.

4. Another swelling going down phase.

5. You can now poke yourself in the face and it doesn't hurt. If you press with enough pressure it does, but you can now feel your face without feeling any pain.

6. The area feels completely normal, feeling and everything. I feel like my cheeks are hitting this step.

All in all the chin and the areas directly to the right and left of my nose are the only spots bugging me. My chin especially feels nothing still, and I don't notice any food there at all, which can be embarrassing. I also think my nose isn't as pointy anymore with my upper lip swelling going down.

Muscles - I can move all of my facial muscles very well. However, the fine motor muscles of my lips are still not there. For example I can't buzz my lips like a horse does. I think my smiling is pretty normal at this point.

Speech - I can't enunciate f's, v's, and w's without using a lot of effort. The upper jaw expansion is certainly noticed by my tongue, and it feels a lot bigger.  Talking can sometimes be a lot of effort, even after 6 weeks.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Eating like a Uni student at home - Day 40 (June 17)

 I added a page dedicated to recovery tips. It's pretty much just straight pointers to recovery and things that may help someone adjust themselves for the better. It's very much an ongoing work in progress.

I have very few regrets about this surgery. One of them however is that the chances of me sampling one of the world's greatest foods are at peril. I don't know if I will be fully healed to eat it in time. I am, referring to the limited time only:

2 pieces of breaded chicken over bacon and cheese. Kentucky Fried Chicken has for once in its lifetime served a higher purpose. It's here for a little while longer, I just hope my jaw is fully healed in time to open my mouth wide enough to fit this in. (No, cutting it into tiny pieces is unacceptable.) My recovery is going very well and day to day activities are probably the same to what they were before surgery. The only problem is that my mouth still isn't opening very far and it's still difficult to close down on food. If I try and chew too hard, my ear has a small popping sound in it. My guess is that the joint is not yet adjusted to the new position of the jaw and moves when I chew on something creating any pressure. Here's a picture of my current progress.

As you can see I can just get one finger into the side of my mouth. While there are many foods which can fit into that space, the soft foods are still what I prefer because it's easier on the jaw.  The two foods that I have recently been going consistently with are: Kraft Dinner, and Mr. Noodles. I thought it was a phase during University but it has returned. The benefits of these foods are just unbelievable. The most obvious is that they are soft enough to fit into my mouth when I am starved. The noodles consistently work its way into your mouth when you are in an unsatiated swallowing frenzy of food. In addition to what seems like an endless supply of starch, it's tasty, cheap, easy to make, and easy to modify. That's a bunch of pros. I also haven't gotten sick of it because I've learned adding an egg to mr. noodles near the end of boiling can add a yolk sac to the noodles which makes it really tasty for actual beneficial nutrition. I've also pulled out my old tricks from 2nd year uni and add various seasonings to my kraft dinner like: Montreal steak spice, Roasted Garlic and Peppers, and the taste never disappoints. I guess I will never evade these foods.

Also, if anyone has seen that Adam Sandler movies " Just Go With It" there's a scene where Adam is at a party and talks to Kevin Nealon who's gotten plenty of botox done to his face. He said he can't feel anything from his eyes down and I suddenly realized how familiar that sounded. When he started laughing it sounded like he was making this retarded cat like noise, and when he drank water it ran right down his face. I couldn't breathe after that scene, would totally recommend watching it.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Tossing the syringe/Chocolate Blended Chocolate - Day 37 (June 14)

 The syringes were taking up space in the kitchen, and since I've been drinking from a cup for a while now, I frankly don't want to see another syringe for a while. These are the things one will bond with post surgery.  On the left, the facial ice pack which was filled with ice cubes I don't know how many times.  The syringes. There were 4 of them. 1 was used for the codeine(the one thing I am keeping out of this picture) which I used maybe once or twice after the surgery. 1 was used for the antibiotics. The other 2 were 60mL syringes for the food, liquids. I don't know how many times I pumped those things, but at 2L+ of fluids 60mL at a time, do the math. The measuring print is completely rubbed off of the syringe from overuse. I surely will not miss this. A pack of gauze which found it's moments to catch drool was invaluable, and I'm happy I somehow snagged that from the hospital. Besides the big bottle of codeine is the myostatin cream which is applied to the lips post surgery to avoid infection, and beside that is the Otrivine spray which helps the nose constrict and narrow the blood vessels within, reducing blood flow, swelling, and feelings of congestion.

I digress a bit but I was so stoked, I got my tony the tiger shirt in the mail today! Kellogs cereal was giving out these t-shirts in the mail and I finally got mine!

Since the smoothie taste was getting stale I decided this morning that I would blend the ultimate chocolate smoothie.


half a banana
1 teaspoon nutella
1 teaspoon peanut butter
1 scoop chocolate whey protein
1 double chocolate chip muffin(was made at home the day before)
1 scoop cookies and cream ice cream(I didn't have anything more chocolate around)
Topped with chocolate milk

It was disgusting. I don't even like chocolate that much.

Monday, 13 June 2011

My Preo Op Video - Day 36 (June 13)

I was going through my laptop and found a video I had made Pre Op for myself for future records of what I looked/sounded like . I'm sure I've blogged about everything in this video before, but it's a lot easier to watch than to read. Finding this video felt like a blast from the past, despite only being nearly 2 months ago. I thought what the heck, why not upload it.

I'm starting to see the difference now.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Barbeque - Day 34 (June 11)

My day started off really slow as I slept for 12 and a half hours. It was really relaxing and I hadn't slept that well for a long time. I went to the OS yesterday and cleared some things up:

  • I had a Lefort 1 osteotomy, meaning the upper jaw was cut at the mouth area. Here's a picture of the different types of osteotomies. I believe the majority of upper jaw surgeries are Lefort 1.

  • I can now blow my nose! This also means that I can also use my neti pot. For those who don't know, it's this tea pot shaped thing you can get from any drugstore that runs saline water from one nostril to the other. It cleans out the insides pretty well. 
  • I shouldn't worry about how far I am opening my mouth. currently I can get 2 fingers in, but Tocchio said wait until the next appointment in 3 weeks(8 weeks post op) and then he will show me some resistance exercises and other techniques I can use to get my jaw open farther.

We had a barbeque today and I wasn't as left out as I anticipated. I was able to eat grilled salmon mashed into little pieces, mini potatoes mashed into little pieces with butter, and fresh bread with butter and without the crust. Cake is also quite edible as thin slices slide right in. I'm pretty happy this all went down so easily and feel like it only will take a little while longer before I can eat like normal. It was a great day, however the more you sleep, the less day is left, so it felt really short.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Gymnasium Blues/Facial Deception! - Day 33 (June 10)

 Added new Post Op Week 4 photos.

I'm a gym addict. During the year I was hitting the weights 4 times a week before classes really hard. I think I had acquired exercise dependence because I felt sluggish when I missed the gym for a week. I'm now on a month hiatus and yearn to get back there. Perhaps more than food? *Gasp* yeah I said it. En lieu of this, I've been trying to add some exercises into my daily trudging around the house. I set the chin up bar above my door and do 2 pull ups every time I walk by. I also ran a 5.5 km run last night and although it felt nice to run about 18 lbs lighter, a 22 minute run took me 29 minutes. When running I was constantly thinking, "Please screws don't fall out, please don't fall out" as the up and down impact had me paranoid of something rattling loose. That's a first while exercising!

 Pain with this whole jaw surgery remains minimal. The first question people ask is, "Does it hurt?" but in reality if you stay on top of recovery with nutritious foods and liquids with plenty of rest, there is tiny pain, if so none at all! I notice that my face is a tad sensitive in the areas to the right and left of my nose, but otherwise I can move my lips around just fine, and the other areas I could put mild pressure on. I remember only 4 weeks ago I could barely touch my cheeks as they were too tender and painful to even just put your finger on. I also notice that my neck muscles are somewhat sore when I look to the right and left, the same feeling you get when you work a muscle for too long. This surely must mean it is coming back. Lastly, if I use my lower jaw and pull my chin up and flex my chin muscles that area is still hurting a bit, but only when I flex it. If I'm just sitting there's no pain at all.

I upgraded to meat pasta last night! I cooked a batch of white pasta(whole wheat would probably be a bit tougher) with ground beef and pasta sauce. It was nice to have real food. It was really important to get the beef into real small chunks beforehand(either when you are cooking it or when you are eating it), as my jaw really couldn't handle the bigger chunks, but the smaller ones broke down and tasted quite nice. Chewing remains up and down, and therefore time consuming. I ate a small bowl and it made me really full really fast. I guess I'm going to have to build up a food tolerance. I noticed that the taste of this more natural pasta tastes way better than the canned stuff. Maybe it's just me but the canned pasta uses sauces that taste way too sugary, or like they used V8 tomato juice as the sauce, I'm not a fan.

I saw some people from my high school that knew I was getting the surgery the other day, and everyone just seemed sort of shocked. Different opinions ranged from: the nose has changed, my face looks broader and less long, my jaw is more defined. Some suggestions including getting my student ID and drivers license taken all over again because no one's going to believe me. The best moment of the day happened when my friend decided to try out the new look on my friend Matt, who was the last person to say hi to me. "Hey Matt, come over here I want you to meet someone."  Matt came over and I quickly blurted hi to him.  "I'd like you to meet my friend Jordan(close enough but not) he also goes to school in Guelph."  We then waited for his response to see if we duped him or not... "Oh hi Jordan, you look familiar, did I meet you at David's party?"  Incredible. We just laughed for a solid minute while he just looked at us. He said that he didn't recognize me because I looked skinnier. Fair enough, it was worth the laugh. I now know that I can pretend to be someone else, or people will think a doppleganger has replaced me.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Late Night Show - Day 30 (June 7)

I'm posting at 2 in the morning because my sleep schedule is off, and my mind is in full gear at the moment. I had to register for courses online this morning and it took 3 hours for me to just get on the site to pick the courses I wanted. McMaster does not have a very good system in place, since it's essentially a black friday rush to get in. I'm also making this habit of watching movies at night around this time. I tell myself I'm going to watch a bit of the movie so I can fall asleep within reasonable hours, but just get hooked and the 2 hour film conquers me.

Swelling seems to have hit a sort of plateau. I don't seem to be going down much at all anymore, so I'm going to assume the rest of whatever's left will go down in due time. Taking daily pictures seems sort of silly as nothing changes. I will update my before and after photos with a 4 week shot, and then a 6 and 8 week post op shot. My facial muscles are also starting to come back. This really helps with my around the mouth and cheek muscles which felt generally very tight. I never noticed but it's now much easier to get to the back of my mouth to brush, as before when I reached back there with a toothbrush it would be really tender. I can now stretch my mouth out, and it helps a lot. I hope my lips heal next, as they had a childbirth like stretching in surgery that will only happen once in my life.

I'm starting to go out more and I get the "Wow, you look different" opinion a lot. Not better or worse, just different. I've personally also gotten the "You look younger" comment here and there, thanks as if I didn't look young enough. I hope the youthful 'Disney child star look' is in this year. Apparently the only thing that has stayed constant is my eyes. Note this is from people who I did not tell about the surgery. The social repercussions of this whole surgery is going to be really interesting. For the people that I have told about the surgery, I haven't seen many in person yet. I am curious as to what they will say, but it's not critical for me to get the feedback that makes me feel good. The point of this surgery personally was to get my bite back, and when my braces are off and I can bite into a steak burger with onion rings on the side, I will feel better than any compliment can make me feel. That's my sort of inner rant on this whole surgery, it's functional not cosmetic.

I can open my mouth to fit my index finger in, that is all. I don't know if that's a good thing or not, but it's enough to slide food in. The foods that I eat are essentially so soft that they break when I close my mouth. I've done some macaroni, vienna sausages, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, lemon meringue, imitation lobster, bread to date. I'm also beginning to think my stomach is shrinking a bit, with this lack of eating a lot of food. I have a feeling my gluttonous assault on food won't be what I predict once I can chomp again, but I guess I can live. This came to me this morning when I made an incredible 4 egg scrambled egg mix with 2 slices of kraft single cheese and montreal steak seasoning. It was delicious. I ate half. I was confused. Leftover food and me don't meet eyes often but today it stared me down and I lost. I'm going to make up for this by making softly cooked pasta tomorrow with ground up beef sauce. I hope it turns out well, as I would prefer to get my protein in food rather than a powder via shake.

Here's a quick picture of my grill. As you can see my teeth are a lot more lined up than my before (I will put the bite changes in before and after later). I'm also missing a top bracket for my braces. It popped off during the expansion of my top jaw, since the wire couldn't handle the pressure. I went to the ortho and he said that it's best not to replace it as the pressure might be too much for my jaw. I'll just keep the unfinished train track look for now. It's unique.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Blog Commenting Fixed! - Day 28 (June 5)

Just came in to say I believe I fixed the commenting situation. When trying to reply it has never worked for me. Comments now come in a pop up window and work. If someone is trying to post and it doesn't work, let me know!

Also the other day we cracked over 1,000 views. Pretty cool, this was just a small thing on the side and I'm happy it's gotten plenty of exposure. I hope others out there in recovery can empathize and hopefully it helps them in their situation.

Just happy to have hit the 4 week mark and I'm slowly becoming more and more adventurous with the soft foods I try. Yesterday was lemon meringue pie and soft pieces of lobster. The world is slowly opening up. This is just a quick update as I have to do my course selection for my upcoming year 4 of university, I'll post week 4 post op pictures later!


Saturday, 4 June 2011

The Sneeze - Day 27 (June 4)

Today I sneezed.  It all happened so fast, and after that I was just amazed it happened for a solid minute. For the record, no sneezing has been done since May 9. What this means in terms of progress, I don't know, but for this whole time that need to sneeze has been suppressed during recovery. I was actually stunned after it happened because it hasn't happened for so long. Weird.

Apparently, I look like a totally different person. It hasn't sunk in yet, but when I had a discussion with someone I hadn't seen for a year, he thought I was one of my brothers that he hadn't met yet. When I said it was me and he finally believed me, he was in belief that it was cosmetic, which I had to convince him otherwise. I'm actually curious who's going to recognize me when I go back to school in September. I just don't want to do this dance with every friend I meet again and again. I'm sure that once I see more people that I know they will give me better affirmation of how drastic this little change is. The current sample size I have used is too small, to be fair.

I'm now adding chicken vienna sausages to my diet. They filled my meat craving pretty well today. The good thing is that if you boil them, these can be really soft and when cut in half fit right between my teeth. I've also come to the conclusion that my stomach has shrunk a little bit with this surgery. I barely finished the can(well after some oatmeal)

Also, remember to take a multivitamin and any other supplements you choose to on the side. Getting the right nutrition, even if pill form helps speed up the recovery. I feel like it's really helping me get back to my normal self quicker. Mucho recommended.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Chef Boyardee - Day 26 (June 3)

It's another beautiful day and I am going to bike outside fo sho. This weather is finally starting to look like summer up in the northern hemisphere. I saw my surgeon this morning and he changed up the orientation of my elastics. The bite is looking straight, however the top of one side of my teeth has to come over the bottom. He reminded me that I should start some soft foods to get the calories. 

I tore into some bread today. One piece which would take me 10 seconds to carnage was 20 minutes. What. The. Heck. I went back to my blended stuff. I will however take a can of Chef Boyardee and pulverize it into an edible porridge. That actually helps me get the calories, and the slop goes down easy.

Oh yeah, 400 calories. Still not enough. Once upon a time I would eat at least 8 of these in equivalent food a day.

My face I think has sort of slowed down in terms of swelling. It's really not that bad, my left is definitely bigger than my right still but I can deal. There are other things going on in this world. Like a little Toronto girl nearly won the Scripps spelling bee yesterday.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Slowly but Surely - Day 25 (June 2)

I've posted 3 week post op pictures in the "before and after" page on the right side of this page. 

First of all, this silly Blogger doesn't let you post comments(at least for me) on other people's blogs. It basically just refreshes the page and deletes everything I typed! I hope people aren't having the same issue. 

I'm now 25 days in and I think I've gotten an idea of what my new look is like. I think it may be okay to frequent public a little more without feeling self conscious since it doesn't look too bad. It does however feel strange knowing that several days ago your face was exploding out of your skin. I still hope that the puffy michelin man looking me goes down in some areas, but the gist of it is here.

I'm also healing quite well. No bruising or anything left. Oh, and did I say that I teethe like a baby now? It drives me batty.

If anyone has ever seen man vs. food on the outdoor network, you get hungry. Personally I find new things to get angry at. How about a Man vs. Smoothie?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Day 24 - First Orthodontist Visit (June 1)

It's the first day of June, and the weather here in Toronto is starting to make up for what seems like a month full of rain. It's 25 degrees Celsius, feeling a bit hotter with humidity.  I'm actually penciled in to referee soccer (doing linesman, so speaking is not necessary) tonight, meaning I will be running up and down the lines. This is something I easily can do, and thankful that at after the 3rd week I am capable of doing. 

I had my first orthodontist visit yesterday. The secretary, a few staff, and the orthodontist saw me and said, "Wow, I didn't recognize you, you look so much better!" Maybe I can't take a compliment, but I didn't reciprocate the enthusiasm as I had liked because I was tired when I got there, and two, I was sort of conflicted on their opinion. Since they have both seen their fair share of jaw surgery patients they would be very qualified to recognize a difference, but at the same time, they've always been very nice to me and supportive, so I was taking it with a grain of salt, whereas I probably should have gone with the flow better. I feel guilty somehow about not being as excited as they were. I'm playing mind tricks on myself over nothing. Basically, the ortho trip was about getting my teeth looked at and how they were aligning with the elastics. Everything seemed fine, and what I was told was that my back teeth are touching more than my front teeth, so in a way I have a minor minor open bite. However, the benefits of braces and elastics is that it can manipulate the jaw in the finer movements, where the jaw surgery was meant to move the jaw over a larger area. That was pretty much why I needed the surgery and braces were not going to move my jaw as drastically as surgery could. A bracket had also came off my top teeth since my top jaw was expanded so much it must have snapped off. The ortho said that for now, they did not want to risk putting it on, since my jaw is still very fragile and still needs to grow back. The verdict was to come back in a month, and then put that bracket back on. Fair enough, I just have to wait.

I also made an attempt at some pre-made macaroni and cheese salad. I ate probably about 3 tablespoons worth the entire day and it took me like 45 minutes. Every noodle was eaten individually, and boy it's not as fun as I thought. As much as I look forward to food again, that experience was really just a reassurance that I will someday chew again. Until then.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Rubber Duck like - Day 22 (May 30)

Just a quick update. By this mark, most of your energy should be returning to you, and you can do most things by now. The one thing I am going to put off is working out for another month so I can live the live as an underactive sedentary person and let the bone heal. Apparently in Toronto it is bike month, from may 30 to june 30, so I feel like I should make the commitment to make some bike rides around the neighbourhood.

My lips feel like rubber! Most of my nerves have come back in my cheeks, but my nose/cheek area and chin area are seemed to have gotten tougher and feel like rubber. I'm going to assume it's a good thing. I can still pucker my lips and everything, but it's my other facial muscles doing the work. Crazy.

For those looking for soup ideas, here are the ingredients to my soup mush that has been a staple in my diet.

Chicken(or ham, any meat, just make sure all of the bones are removed)
Carrots and Peas(easiest when frozen)
Salt and Pepper

Simply boil the potato, meat in hot water and when it starts bubbling, let it simmer for an hour. Then add a large amount of carrots and peas, half an onion, some garlic, the salt and pepper and let it simmer for another hour. Everything should be soft enough to blend. Blend it until you get the desired consistency of a green mush and you're ready to go! It's a soup replete with fiber and taste, and it goes down easy. It tastes better than it looks.

Daily picture.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

3 weeks post op! - day 21 (May 29)

 I've now hit the 3 week mark! I'd have to say that when I was on day 1 this seemed like a time far, far away, but I'm here. The worst was definitely my first 5-6 days, but now that I can really sleep for 8-10 hours without waking up for antibiotics, and breathe like I should again, I feel like the days aren't dragging on. What a relief.

Talking about breathing, it just so happens that when you have an upper jaw surgery and your palate is moved around, it affects your nose. When your top jaw is brought forward your nose will likely stick up a bit, and when it is expanded it will widen your nose, which is what the surgeon told me. My nostrils feel like they are bigger, and because of that, more air. I'm slowly converting from a mouth breather to a nose breather, such a cool process, and it feels more natural.

My stitches are also starting to come out. I had one outside of my teeth on the bottom and top lip inside my mouth. The top one fell out, and my surgeon cut the bottom one so that the little string part isn't hanging out. Nice.

I'm back to brushing my teeth again twice a day. I can stick my index finger into my mouth, but that's not enough to get my toothbrush all the way in. I can brush the outsides of my teeth and the middle?(part that makes contact with food) but not the inside of my teeth. I can use regular listerine now so it's a pretty thorough brushing. My breath smells minty fresh now on the reg.

If I haven't said it before. This is the best weight loss program ever invented. Thankfully I have hit a plateau and am not losing anymore weight. I've lost 17 pounds since day 8. Ever since then I've managed to stay at this low weight. Haven't went up, haven't went down, and I'm drinking 2 ice cream smoothies a day and a chicken soup with enough peas and carrots to feed an army.  Atkins has nothing on me. Do I crave food? Yes, but liquids in the interim keep me full. I've decided to not attribute negatives to my favourite foods, because when I get out of here, I want to really enjoy my first bite of a Burger King/McDonalds/5 guys/Harveys/Wendys I haven't decided yet Burger. If I train my mind to hate these things, I might not like them(such a flawed logic but I've thought about this a lot). I'd rather just stay positive and love my banana nutella smoothies and keep my mind on these foods.Needless to say, I am light as a feather, I can see my 6 pack, and am pretty well toned. I've also managed to swallow my multivitamins today! Butter me, I'm on a roll.(And wouldn't mind eating one)

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Pizza Torture - Day 20 (May 28)

Now that my splint off, I have a pretty good idea of what my new smile is going to look like with my teeth finally lined up and my top teeth touching the bottom ones. I'm just sort of amazed, I haven't really taken it all in yet.  I'm also paranoid that my teeth are not lined up, even though my teeth probably are. For those reasons combined, I will catch myself looking in the mirror and doing a close up my teeth often. Quite frequently actually, as if I'm that vain, haha.

I'm also trying to come to grips on why I'm not really eating food like I used to, since heck, nothing is really stopping me since there's no hardware in my mouth preventing me anymore. I used to blame the splint, but now, it's just my teeth vs. the food, and I still can't really attack soft foods yet. I've realized it's because my jaw joints are still weak, I have to chew up and down(the bones aren't settled), and my top lip muscles are still really quite swollen and moving them is still quite the challenge. They are so numbed, I can only imagine botox to be something similar. I tried a mini french cruller donut yesterday and it was basically me smiling and moving my teeth up and down, and I made a mess. Try chewing only up and down, not side to side, it's impossible!

Now, today my grandpa wanted pizza and so my brother called it in. It just so happened my brother had to leave right then, and everyone else in my family was out of the house. I realized the hole I dug here. I had to pick up the pizza. So I drove to Metro's to pick it up. When I got to the front for pick up, I must have said my name 4 times before the lady put the name to the pizza waiting there. I got it, I'm still hard to understand. She then asked me if I had air miles, but I couldn't understand her for 3 tries(she had an accent, my ears are fine) so I guess we're even. The worst part was the smell. I am a pizza fiend. I drove back home basking in scent of freshly baked meat pizza knowing fully well I can't destroy it with my teeth. You know when you pick up food and the drive home makes you crazy? Well continue that feeling to now where I bring it home and can't eat it. The feeling lasts forever.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Arrivederci Splint! - Day 19 (May 27)

Saw the surgeon this morning and he was kind enough to take out my splint. The inside of my mouth feels huge now. My speech has also improved and my tongue is free to roam my mouth as it pleases. The plan is to start making some pasta with ground up meat sauce.

Here's a picture of me smiling now. My front bracket on my brace broke off, that's because my top jaw was widened and it put a lot of pressure on that brace so it has been broken for some time. My smile still makes me look like a monkey - my surgeon said I'm still quite puffy in the chin and under the eye area, so it's good to hear I have a ways to go.

Here's a view of my splint from the bottom. You can see the little indents of where my bottom teeth would fit flush into.

Here's a view of my splint from the top. The holes are for the wires to run through and around the brackets of braces.  There are also some seeds from strawberries in there if you have a good eye. And some peanut butter. It was hard to clean.

I'm now down to just my braces and elastics. Unbelievable, 19 days post op and I'm here.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Time to cut the couch potato - Day 17 (May 25)

At this point of recovery, I've sat in the reclining chair and watched enough tv that I've caught up on all the shows I watch. Although it's good to be caught up, it also means you've killed a lot of free time. My new plan of recourse is to do some sort of exercise. With a jaw that's still growing into place, it's important to avoid contact sports and any sort of resistance exercises that make you strain your jaw. I'm going to do some biking/running for at least 20-30 minutes daily from now on. I've also put in my contacts, something I haven't done for 18 days. What this also means is that I need to up my caloric intake, because it's already low as I drink 2 smoothies and a high energy soup everyday. I'm taking in over 2L of fluids a day, but my calories are maybe just over 1000kcal if I had to estimate. Far from enough.

Can't wait to see the surgeon this friday, when I get my splint off, hopefully I will be able to down some kraft dinner. We will see. Here's to hoping! Lighting is bad in all of my photos, but I usually just take the first shot regardless.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The epiphany - Day 16 (May 24)

I never had thought about it, but putting a banana bread into a smoothie makes the texture just absolutely perfect. Tiny tiny chunks give it just above a liquid feeling and it's almost like eating real food - or what I remember. I've also come to a revelation. As a guy who used to go to Burger King and knock down a 2500kcal meal in one sitting, I'm going to go overboard the instant I can renew my membership there. So much that I actually may fear clogged arteries at the age of 20. Haha... Ha?

I like keeping these blogs brief. Life is great right now, besides insane puffiness in my nose, upper lip and under the eye areas, there is really no difficulty with this recovery. The pain has been virtually non-existent this whole time and I plan on keeping it that way. The goal for me is to be able to go back out and referee soccer next week. I'll be doing lines so I don't have to talk. Oh yeah, and I still sound like mumbling to my family. They always acknowledge me when I talk to them, but I'm sure they are faking it. 

Anyhow I did my 2 week mark photos today. Yes, it's 2 days off but close enough.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Slowly Moving away from the dreaded Syringe - Day 15 (May 23)

Today is the day that I plan on not using my 60ml syringe to feed myself. I have recently developed the skill of putting a cup to my mouth, tipping it back, and trying to gulp what I can, and let me say, I have taken drinking from a cup my whole life for granted. Now for one, I do not use a straw because they saw sucking from a straw can affect incisions in the mouth. I don't know when that rule ends but I am still following it.

Drinking is challenging for several reasons:

- My lips have very little feeling, especially my bottom lip.
- My lips are in a much new orientation that feels so different, being my top lip is now the first thing to touch the cup! If you see in my before op photos my bottom lip used to stick out, and therefore I could just stick my jaw out and drink, now it's weird when your top lip is out first. I finally understand a milk mustache! It happens everytime, even with soup. Riveting.
- I never know where I am pouring, I have poured milk straight onto my chin once and didn't feel it - until it hit my shirt!

All in all, it's a slow process once again, but I'm happy to be getting close to normal. This is what my meal table used to look like for the first 2 weeks:

Over the bathroom sink I would syringe from my apple juice, some boost, some water, and then from a cup to rinse out my syringe. Yuck. That was my daily feast. I am happy to now just drink over the sink with a magic bullet smoothie cup and hope it goes down smoothly. It's challenging but so much more normal looking.

I just want my calories back!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

2 week Anniversary! - Day 14 (May 22)

I've finally hit the 2 mark and I would like to thank everyone who has taken a read of this blog! Really thanks a lot, if it was just looking at the pictures, reading an entry, or reading the entire thing I appreciate it! The cool thing about blogspot is that it lets you see which countries have been reading the blog. Although most of my views are Canadian, I'm getting plenty of views from the US, UK, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany and France just to name a few! Thanks to all of you!

I'm now 2 weeks in and everything is getting better. Sleep is now extending past 8 hours+, there was no huge rapture yesterday, smoothies aren't tasting so bad, and I went out for a half an hour bike ride yesterday around the neighbourhood.

For the 2 week mark I managed to go through the camera and find my pre operation pictures as well as the 1 week post op photos.I hope you all can tell the difference between the befores and afters. My swelling has gone down much since week 1 thankfully.


 After 1 week: