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.