Thursday, November 29, 2007

1 Month Post-Op!

Today marks 30 days, a whole month since I walked into the OR. It feels like longer than that and I wish I could speed things up even more but I think I'm doing pretty well at this point all considered. I think one of my main obstacles is to get out a little bit more to prove to myself that I can do it and slowly integrate myself back into regular life. Slowly is the key word. For example I desperately need a hair cut!

I'm happy with how things look so far, I've come a long way. What's not apparent in the photos however is how numb my face still is, especially my chin and lower lip; that I can only open my mouth a little more than the width of one finger, and that my energy while greatly improved is still on the low side.

I left my elastics off for 4 hours last night and during that time my right lateral seemed to be knocking into my lower right incisor and eye tooth which hurts. The elastic also feels like it's pulling my lower right eye tooth too hard. I see Dr W for a cranial treatment tonight so I will mention it to him.

With the holidays coming up I am a little bit worried about what state I'll be in. I'm not sure I'll be ready for an adjustment before I leave Toronto for two weeks on the 16th. I just don't want to be stuck wearing these damn boxed elastics for longer than six weeks if I don't have to. Plus I really hope nothing dumb happens while I'm away, I definitely don't want to have to come back here and interrupt my vacation. But I'll try not to worry.

Does anyone want to do my Christmas shopping for me? ;o)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Post-op visit #3

Today was post-op visit number three. My aunt was kind enough to drive down and give me a ride to Dr T's office. I'm thinking that I feel strong enough to attempt walking there now, so perhaps I'll do a trial walk on the weekend. I'll take it slow but I think I'll make it.

My appointment was at 11:55am but I didn't actually see him until 12:35pm, seems the whole office was running behind today, but thankfully the waiting room wasn't jam packed. So after all that waiting he looked at me for maybe 4 minutes and said my bite looks great. I told him that I was experiencing more pain towards the end of each day and he just said to take Advil, which I have been doing, but he also offered me some more codeine so I accepted that. I'm only taking 2.5ml at a time but it seems to help and I can always take a little more if I need it. The prescribed amount is 5-10ml every 3-4 hours as needed, so that tells you what my level of pain is. It's more an annoyance than pain. I go back again in two weeks on December 4th. After that I think I don't see him for a month! I'll have to remember to ask him about being able to open wider and if I should be doing any stretching exercises.

I'm feeling pretty good today. Having an extra protein shake before I left might have helped. I didn't want to be feeling hungry while I was out. I tried eating a scoop of sweet potatoes last night too. It was messy but it felt a bit easier than trying to eat apple sauce last week, so that's encouraging. I think I'll try some oatmeal soon. Still have to use a baby spoon; whatever works!

The right side of my face is perhaps a tiny bit less numb except for the right side of my nose which feels about the same. My chin still has that throbbing numbness off and on several times per day. I can't feel much of my chin or lower lip yet. I also cannot feel my teeth or gums when I brush and the lower part of the insides of my cheeks feel like I have a wad of gum or something in there.

Someone left a comment asking what all I had done: my maxilla was moved forward and widened at the back left molar area as well as reduced vertically for less of a gummy smile, my mandible was made shorter and bone from that was grafted to my maxilla to help fill in the gap left from moving it forward. I also had genioplasty to re-contour my chin and move it slightly forward to maintain overall facial balance. I meant to ask him what the measurements were, but I know that my OD recommended moving my maxilla forward about 6-8mm.

I posted week 3 photos yesterday so check them out if you haven't already. The front view shows a decent reduction in swelling compared with week two. I hope that repeats again next week!

Thanks again to everyone for your support!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Splint is out!

Hey, I'm a class I now!! Go check out the photos I just added, especially my new occlusion.

So yesterday (day 15) was splint removal day. It was painless except for one particular snip which was loud and startled me. There sure were a lot of wires holding that bugger in there and it feels much better not only with the splint out but the wires as well. Dr T said everything looks perfect! It was very surreal to look in the mirror and see my top teeth overlap my bottom teeth for the first time in my life. I could look in the mirror for hours but it still hurts to smile very wide.

As soon as I got home I called my girlfriend at work and gave her a nice little surprise. "Hey baby, how you doin'?" ...she was definitely taken aback to hear my voice after so long. Talking makes my lower lip insanely numb, and today the muscles in my face feel pretty sore but Motrin seems to be helping somewhat. I'm not saying too much today.

I finally got brave enough (or fed up perhaps?) and took my elastics off last night. Gotta learn to replace them sometime! I tried using the little plastic hook tool Dr W gave me (thanks for the head's up Kelsie!!) and found that it helps for getting them off but only partially for putting them on before I just use my fingers. I have too pull my cheek back so far to get to the first molar, ouch! I think I have myself a little system now and it seems to work reasonably well without taking too long to do.

It took a while but I managed to eat a cup of apple sauce with a baby spoon. What a chore. I could feel myself wanting to open wider but the pain said, "think again buddy!". So I've graduated to a cup with a straw for now (without having to take my elastics off), and even that is a bit awkward. I find I need to bite the straw a little to reduce the flow, but it works. I also seem to be sensitive to cold so I'm letting things warm up a little. I realize I'm going to have to teach myself how to eat again.

Dr T said for me to practice smiling wide and puckering my lips to get the swelling out and help the animation return. He didn't mention trying to stretch my jaw yet.

So, the journey continues. Lots of swelling to get rid of, animation to return, numbness to subside, and food to eat. Onwards!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Post-op appointment #1

Today was post-op appointment #1. I was pretty leary about leaving the house as I knew it would take a lot of my energy to do it. Thankfully my aunt came down and drove my mom and I to the office. I was defintely shaky and took the panorex sitting on a small stool. You can see all the plates and screws that entail my new oral decore. The vertical alignment of my molars clearly shows the improvement.

Dr T used some mouthwash goo to clean my mouth and then have a look around. He said everything looks great. Then to my dismay, as if I didn't know it was coming, he set me up with the latest fad in elastic technology and promptly boxed me back in. So I now have an elastic on both sides in a box shape across two hooks on top and two on the bottom. I am allowed to take them off for eating but that's it. I haven't tried to do that yet but from what I've read from many of you it is definitely at least a 20 minute ordeal to get those buggers on. Of course Dr T has a nice little tool to make it easy for him but sadly I do not. I must rely on old world technology, fingers and possibly a rubber tip.

I have what feels like a hard lump under my chin and on my left lower side. Dr T said it was just dried blood or a hematoma and would go away. Applying heat should help speed it along.

So I am back to being a mute for another week. We'll see how things go next Tuesday when hopefully my swelling is low enough that he can remove the splint.

Monday, November 05, 2007

One week post-op

Well here I am, one week post-op. I must say that the first week was pretty brutal, largely due to the fact that breathing was so hard to do. We called the OS on day 5 and he thankfully allowed us to cut the front elastics to allow more air in. That made a huge difference and I was feeling markedly better by the end of the day.

Sleeping is still a work in progress. I wake up probably once an hour and can count the number of times I've had REM on one hand. I find that I am tired early in the day and then my energy increases later on.

I am still somewhat unsteady on my feet. The swelling has a lot to do with that and also the horrible posture I've been forced into with all the pillows behind my neck. Even just sitting here at the computer feels like exercise. But I remember I had a similar thing after SARPE, so I am hopeful things will improve soon.

As far as pain, the genioplasty seems to be the most irritating part. My lower lip and chin are excruciatingly numb, and yesterday I think talking too much did me in. So I think I will try to use small amounts of codeine or Motrin over the next few days and see how that goes.

I've been steady eating True-Mass and PC Meal Replacement shakes. The True-Mass has lots of protein and other good stuff, but I am looking forward to more variety soon. Janna is keen to make me a pina colada protein shake, but we may have to strain the pulp out. I tried some blended pears and even that was enough to almost choke on a tiny unblended piece.

Tomorrow is post-op appointment numero uno. With any luck he'll take the splint out but I'm pretty sure he'll leave it in for another week.

I was looking in the mirror at my teeth today and noticed that my midlines seem to be aligned! So exciting!! Now if I could just get in there and clean would be a godsend.

Thanks so much for your comments everyone, I really appreciate them and they have helped me keep things in perspective.

Anyway, not like I need to say it but do check out the new photos I posted!