Monday, January 07, 2008

Update circa week 9

Happy 2008 y'all! I hope everyone had a great holiday and at least some of you were able to actually eat and enjoy something yummy in a non-post-op, traditional manner. Christmas eve dinner was a milestone of sorts for me in that it was my first meal without any kind of protein powder or blenderized fare (although I am still supplementing with it). I did have to relegate myself to mostly non-chew things like mashed potatoes and stuffing, and despite being the last one to clear my plate I was happy to have made it that far, and so were the others at the table with me.

Let's see, I was out of town for 3 weeks over the holidays and thankfully was able to get a visit in to both of my docs just before leaving. Dr W just had a brief look around and then did a tiny bit of cranial therapy on me. He said all looked good and that my face was melting under his fingers, a good sign. The next day I saw Dr T and after a lengthy wait due to other wisdom teeth surgeries he was doing I was finally called in. He said I look better each time he sees me and that he was happy with how things were progressing. He gave me permission to start wearing elastics at night only starting on Christmas eve, which was day 56 for me, and to continue at night only until I see Dr W again at which point Dr W can do whatever he pleases. I wore them every night until Friday night last week when I caught a miserable cold and hence decided I preferred breathing to wearing elastics. My cold is waning but I now only have 4 elastics left anyhow so I've decided to throw in the towel and go naked until my appointment on the 14th. I highly doubt 2 nights less will make much difference.

That said, I do have a big concern with my front incisors. The right one seems to have decided to droop down notably lower than the left, and they aren't aligned vertically anymore from a z-axis perspective. Dr W did warn me that things would likely be out of whack after surgery and not to freak out, so hopefully this can all be easily fixed. I remember him saying he wanted to do more expansion too and I can see how that definitely is needed because one of my left pre-molars needs to swing out more. I'm dreading the word "button", and those of you ahead of me know what I'm talking about.

My face is coming along. I am still slightly swollen in my cheeks and under my chin, and after having this cold I think the swelling got a bit worse. I tried as much as I could not to blow my nose so hopefully that helped. The animation in my lips is probably about 85% now, most of the twisting when I press them together is gone. The numbest part of my face is the left side of my chin, and somewhat along the jaw line. Shaving is no fun - the numbness quickly radiates into pain which is felt right in my teeth at the moment. I've had a few really strong zingers, but I take those with pride knowing that it means things are healing up in there. I can also feel the gaps in my lower jaw where the grafts were taken from. I think I read somewhere that it takes 6 months for those to fill in, and that won't come a minute too soon.

Some people have noticed a change in my voice and I have to agree. I think I sound more nasal now, but not annoyingly so. I think now that the bones have had a chance to solidify, the new configuration produces a different resonance in my skull which makes me sound different.

Overall my holiday was pretty unremarkable from a post-op perspective and I really hope that continues. I think I need to dive into more solid foods now to help keep my energy up, hopefully the adjustment on Monday will assist in that endeavor. I must say that I am really amazed at the simplest things I can do now like bite into a piece of toast and tear it off without knocking my teeth together in a traumatic clash. I am also amazed at how efficient my premolars are at chewing food since I've never really been able to use them before! I'm used to just chewing with my back molars, like feeding an olive to a dog!

I'll try to post some pics later this week.


At 8:14 PM, Blogger Chris K said...

Hey bud,
Thanks for the well wishes. And I'm glad things are coming along for you. Happy Holidays to you and yours :)


At 3:56 AM, Blogger Kristen said...

Hi Graham - wow a slightly different voice! That's unexpected.... but sounds like fun. :) Yes I'm just as amazed by the simple things, like biting into a piece of toast with my premolars and not having to rely on the back molars for EVERYTHING like I did before. The surgery was totally worth it!

I hope you continue to recover quickly and get more feelings back in your face! Keep us posted.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger bridget said...

Graham, we should start a left-side-of-the-chin numbness club. I admire your fortitude when it comes to the protein drinks and blender diet! As soon as I got unwired I gave it up. I'm afraid I might have blender aversion now, because I've been meaning to start using it again but have managed to avoid it for the past few weeks. I just take a REALLY long time to eat all my meals.

At 12:17 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Glad to hear the update and all is well. I have to say, Ive never fed an olive to a dog so I can't visualize that one! Happy New Year!

At 5:26 AM, Blogger Mary said...

Hey Graham, sounds like things are right on schedule with you! Before you know it, you will be eating steak! I'm having a bit of nolstagia reading your post. Happy New Year. Mary

At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Graham,

I just wanted you to know that you're looking good. I'm at week 3 post op(Lefort 1). I want to thank you for your blog website, its been inspiring. They didn't wire my jaws, but instead I have elastics on. Our blender at home is getting a real workout. I want to thank Bridget for answering my question about the swelling. She suggested heat,because I'm so ignorant I was still using ice packs. I had my Surgery done March 10th, 2008 and I have my first doctor's appt. tomorrow. I'm a little nervous about the appt. because if he takes out the splint (my splint is screwed in, I think with two screws) isn't that going to be painful? Anyway thanks again for setting up this website, it gives me hope.


P.S. I'm not to savy on the computer and I'm not sure what URL stands for so I'm posing it as anonymous even though I do sign my name Barb.

At 7:54 PM, Blogger Graham said...

Don't worry, getting the splint out is easy, and I'd bet dollars to donuts that it's not actually screwed in, just tied in with wires that your OS will snip.

Good luck!

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Graham,

My doctor didn't take the splint out last week, so I'm hoping he takes it out this week. When I got back from my doctor appt., I decided to see what was poking me way up under my lip at the base of my nose and I saw the scary screws protruding out. I called the doctors office immediately and told them what I saw and I could feel them poking me and I asked if they could at least file them down so they are not as sharp and they said there is nothing they can do. The doctor's assistant said they are screwed into my sinus bone, that did not make me feel any better. I did ask them when they do take them out to give me laughing gas or something to kill the pain and I will pay extra for it. I'll keep you posted. I think they call this method of installing the splint a MMF.



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