Saturday, August 25, 2012

5 months or 155 days

It's been 155 days since they sawed my face apart.  Although I expected to be much more recovered at this point, the last few weeks have shown drastic improvement.  A quick run-down of key jaw surgery talking points for you:

SOOOO much better the past 2 weeks.  I thought it may never let up.  I'm able to be more
active without paying for it the next day.  I even managed yard work in the heat last weekend without my face getting sore.  I actually climbed up on a ladder and trimmed trees!  Go me.  It's still a bit sore and tender to touch on either side of the bridge of my nose, sort of on the front of my cheeks.  Also, the spot on my left mandible (where I was afraid a pin was loose) is still sore to press on or lay on.  My TMJ pain is significantly better the past 2-3 weeks.  All in all, I'm fairly pain free.

My cheeks are still puffyish, but it is slowly melting away.  I've always had kind of chubby cheeks though, so I don't know if it will get much better at this point.  I think the puffiness is just slightly relocated from where it used to be.  I know my joint swelling is still decreasing though because things are lining up with my bite and the pressure feels a lot less in the joint. I'm still taking Ibuprofen twice daily (doctor's orders) and if I miss a dose, I start to feel it.
                         "Seriously? With the cheeks? Still?!"                                  

I still have two spots of tingly numbness on either side of the bottom of my chin.  It feels really strange to touch it there.  My lips are maybe 20% numb now, but I don't notice it much.  My top 4 teeth and the roof of my mouth directly behind the teeth is all still fairly numb but it doesn't bother me a bit.  If my numbness didn't improve beyond this point, I could live with it and not be very bothered.  At the end of the day, I still have a bit of that mask-like feeling of my cheeks and lips where it all feels tight and weird.  But it's not a big deal.

My bite is finally starting to feel comfortable.  I don't have to think about lining up my jaw when closing my teeth together.  Most of the time, it just goes where it should.  My four back molars still don't touch but the OD took the brackets off those teeth with hopes they will come down and eventually make contact.  My midlines are lining up better and I haven't needed to wear my guiding elastic in over 2 weeks.  Yay!  The gaps to either side of my top 4 teeth (where they segmented my jaw) are almost completely closed now.  So it's looking slightly less wonky.  The gaps in my lower teeth (that I have always had) are closing up nicely also, thanks to the closed link power-chain from hell.  Ouchie.

I am at one with the lettuce!  I can now manage to eat a salad without incident, talk while eating without spitting, and have a proper social lunch with friends.  I've conquered steak and potato chips lately also, without pain.  I've come to conclusion that black beans and rice are the anti-braces meal for a proper social lunch with friends.  Regardless of how easy they are to eat, and regardless of how yummy they may be, trust me my friends, you do NOT want to attempt this meal in public.  Unless, of course, you would like to make a true spectacle of yourself while flashing a grill FULL of black and white lumps.  That, and cooked spinach.  For goodness sakes, avoid the spinach!

No real problems with my speech now.  I've learned to say my S's and T's without biting my tongue.  Very happy about this accomplishment.  My lisp (pre-surgery) is mostly gone now that I have top teeth over bottom teeth.  I do whistle accidentally through my teeth once in a while (like granny's ill-fitting denture whistle) but I cannot manage to whistle on purpose.  Go figure!

Hope you all are doing well either in your recovery or in your pre-op preparations.  And if any of my posts worry you, just remember that I was a more complicated case than many, and most people will recover more quickly than I have.  Despite this long road, I'm fairly certain I will have no regrets in the long run.  Smiles!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Almost 5 months post op

Time is really buzzing by these days.  Over the last two weeks I've seen the OS and the OD.  The surgeon is really happy with how everything looks.  I was worried about a pain I've been having on my left mandible.  Around where the hardware is, when I rub it too hard, like when washing my face or applying sunscreen, I get this sharp pinch in my skin like something is cutting me.  I was concerned a pin may be coming loose.  But they took an xray and said it looks fine.  He said the area of pain is where the ligament connects to bone and it's probably just sore still.  I'm also worried about my abilities; the heat is hard on me.  When I get overheated more than one day in a row, I get lots of swelling and pain.  I'm also still not able to bend over for long without a lot of pressure and aching in my face.  I told the OS, "I still can't scrub my floors."   His response was, "well, you shouldn't be doing that yet, tell your husband to do it."   HAHAHAHAHAHA, yeah, sure doc.  He's a good guy and all, but not exactly a scrubbing the floors kinda guy.  He said, "you tell him I said it's doctors orders."  I love my surgeon :)   He told me not to worry and just take it easy.  And that total recovery for this surgery is 6 to 12 months.  I know he said this prior to surgery, I just didn't believe him I guess.

The OD has fit me in a couple extra times to make adjustments to my wires.  I've had problems lately with a couple teeth on the front left hitting first and throwing off my bite.  It then flairs up my ongoing right joint pain and is truely a bother.  He's getting it sorted out though and things are feeling a bit better.  Eating is getting easier, but I have to back off because I've put on a few pounds lately (sigh).  But I'm working on that now.  Last night I had my first salad.  I've missed my salads, it's the one thing I really can't eat well.  But, after 50 min, I consumed and entire Insalata Mista with grilled chicken from Bravos and it was delicious! 

I go back to the OS and the OD in about 4 weeks.  I'll update then with pics.  Hope you all are feeling well and enjoying this beautiful summer!