Monday, July 28, 2014

28/07/2014 One month Post-Op

Not much news now! I now only need to wear my elastics at night, which is so amazing. I 'think' I can eat almost everything but then and again, I ruin myself by taking on a bit of crusty bread that's too chewy and hard and end up with a sore jaw. I don't have to see my oral surgeon anymore but my next ortho visit is in just under a month's time.

Monday, July 14, 2014

15/07/2014 2.5 weeks post op

I was planning to update at 2 weeks post op but I didn't get around to it for one main reason: I'm almost fully-functioning again, so I've been too busy just enjoying life.

Practically all the swelling is down. I think (hope) that there is still a tiny bit of swelling in my lower cheek and neck. I say 'hope' because if it isn't, it just means my cheeks are fat. Only time will tell, I guess.

My facial profile has improved heaps although the upper lip looks quite big? Maybe that's just from my braces though, and the fact I've never had an overbite before. I'm worried that bringing my lower jaw back has made my neck look droopier??? But common sense tells me that if I start falling into the trap of focusing on every flaw, I'll end up Miss Plastic.

I can eat most things as long as they're not too hard or chewy or require large mouth opening. This is good in a way but bad in that I planned to lose a lot of weight these four weeks and now it looks like that's not going to happen!

I saw my orthodontist again today and he's concerned about posterior cross-bite on one side, which we'll focus on correcting after I finish wearing my surgical elastics. There will be another 2 weeks of those.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

4/07/2014 - One week post-op

This time last week I was getting ready to check into the hospital!

They say the first week is the worst so I'm glad that's now behind me.

To be honest, it wasn't all that bad. I haven't really experienced much in the way of pain from the jaw itself. The worst pain I had was teeth pain from the elastics but that has (thank goodness) gotten better in the last few days.

Swelling was the primary feature in the first few days after surgery but it's reducing slowly. Every morning when I wake up, I check my face. It's always slightly improved but not as much as I'd like it to be!

I think I now just look like a too-chubby version of myself rather than a face-morphed sumo monster.

Today, the thing annoying me the most is that my fat cheeks have been chutting into my braces (or should that be the other way around) so they're a bit sore on the inside. I plan to buy some ortho wax today and seal it all up. I'm also lisping a bit, I guess because of my increased overbite due to elastics. That doesn't bother me too much since I can't talk anyway.

My appetite is still meh. I haven't had anything substantial for breakfast and the thought of eggs just turns my tummy. I swear something happened to me during my hospital stay wherein I went in as someone who ate eggs and came out as someone who can't stand the thought of them.

You might be able to see in my picture but I've got a weird green neck bruise that extends down from my chin to chest. I would say that's just from the drains and it doesn't bother me at all.

My right jaw, down near my neck, feels a bit weird sometimes. When I yawn it almost feels like the muscle is twinging. Anyway, again, it's not a big issue.

I'm functioning like a regular human being again. Yesterday was my first day of just walking around and doing regular-person stuff like blogging, watching tv, painting and reading. Last night I had a proper sleep from start to finish, not interrupted by waking up to take painkillers.

Overall, it's all looking good.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

2/07/2014 Those BLOODY BANDS

Here I was thinking I could cruise through recovery with barely more discomfort than swelling to content with. Up till now, I didn't know what pain truly was. In fact, it's still not the pain of my actual jaw, ie where the bone was broken and replated, that actually hurts. It's my TEETH. My teeth are so, so, so sore and they have been since those cursed elastics got put on yesterday.

I previously described the feeling as like a really strong orthodontic adjustment x many. It is like that... it's a strong, dull ache from the root of each tooth that's being pulled by the elastic bands. The resultant pain resonates through my entire head. During the day it's awful enough and unlike the discomfort of swelling, cold packs only have limited effect.

At night though... that's another story.

I pretty much had my worst night since the surgery. I had a couple of Panadeine forte before going to bed and that knocked me out until midnight. Woke with aching teeth... contemplated just putting up with it but the pain was just all-consuming. I got up to take some more pain meds and realised I couldn't because of the bands. So I unbanded, popped meds, rebanded. Went downstairs to change the water in my hot water bottle. And then I suddenly felt really nauseous. It was a supreme race to get upstairs, unband again (it's a tweezer-neccessary job) and spew up the pain meds. Exhausted, I just collapsed on the floor hating life and feeling sorry for myself.

Dad rescued me and put me back in bed and eventually, I think the sheer exhaustion put me back to sleep. There was a minor pause in my rest where the guilt of not wearing the torture bands overwhelmed me so I got up to put them back in... I am an A+ patient :).

Today has been better. They are still sore but either my pain tolerance has increased or my teeth are toughening up but it doesn't seem as bad. I haven't had any pain meds because of that vomitting reaction. I feel more 'energetic' although that's all relative. Dad challenged me to walk up and down the stairs 5 x today (he has a 2 story house, nothing huge) and by the 4th walk I was gripping onto the handrails. I nearly fell at the 5th.

It really goes to show how not being able to eat ends up affecting the rest of your body.

In positive news, my swelling has gone down a bit. I can start to see my dimple again! And bruising is starting to become visible. I never thought I'd think of that as a good thing.

1/07/2014 - 4 days post op

I meant to write sooner because I think that most of these sentiments sound best 'fresh' but I didn't have access to a computer in hospital. By the time I was reunited with my laptop, the pain started setting in and now all I want to do is sleep and wait for it to be over.
Here are my thoughts chronologically, to the best of my memory.

Waking up after surgery:

  • I felt great! No pain; no nausea
  • I was in ICU and hooked up to a lot of tubes and things so going to pee was a nuisance
  • There were 2 x drains connected to my neck that were a bit annoying but honestly I had so many bits and pieces on me I could barely notice
  • Morphine drip helped me to sleep especially because the other guy in ICU was so noisy
  • I had no appetite for food

The next day:

  • Still feeling good. No pain or nausea. 
  • The drips in my neck were really starting to bother me so I couldn't wait for them to be taken out
  • They hurt getting taken out! But it was so worth it
  • I got disconnected from most of the other bits and pieces (ECG, pulse, BP, oxygen in nose, IV) so I could get up and walk around freely
  • When my own room was available, I was moved out of ICU

Two days later:
  • I felt almost normal. There was a lot of swelling but I was warned that swelling would peak at 48hrs so I braced myself and used a tonne of ice-packs
  • My neck itched like crazy from the bandages to cover the drain sites; I ripped them off as soon as I got home
  • I got to go home a day early. Horray!

Since I've been home:

My face keeps growing o.o

From maybe the 3rd day post-op, a dull ache started being a feature of my symptoms. That and extreme swelling. I mean, my mum looks at me and spontaneously bursts out laughing... that kind of swelling. I use ice-packs constantly because it helps with the swelling and the pain but I don't sleep sitting up (as recommended) because of lower back pain. I wonder if that would make a difference to the swelling at all.

Eating at home has been surprisingly easy. Dad's made a bunch of different soups, juices, smoothies and blended veggies so I just take my pick for various meals. Plus oats for brekky. I find I'm not that hungry anyway and even watching amazing foods on Masterchef doesn't really incite too much jealousy.


So huge!

Today we visited my surgeon for a review. Everything's looking good and unfortunately for me, that means I gotta start wearing the bands today. They are 4 x rubber bands that go from the top teeth to the bottom teeth to sort of hold it all together. My mouth is so sore now. It's like that fresh after ortho adjustment feeling of tightness plus everything else that's going on. *sigh* I can only hope it gets better and easier. At least I can take the rubber bands out to eat.

As of yet I can't really visualise the results of the surgery because I'm so swollen. In fact, I couldn't be bothered to censor these photos because I like to think they're so far from what I normally look like anyway. My teeth are in Cl 1 though!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

26/06/2014 COUNTING DOWN

Hello all.

It's the 'eve' of the big surgery and I'm nervous as anything and DRUNK.

I'm sipping red by the gallons to calm the nerves. I have done pretty good so far with no real fear or anxiety but I think all the repressed feelings are surfacing now. It comes in waves and when it hits, even my hands go tingly and numb.

To distract myself, I've cleaned my house (something I would NEVER normally do) and packed my hospital bags, written lists of things to do while I'm in recovery (all the tedious tasks I've been putting off).

I've also packed on a heap of weight using the excuse "I can't eat for 4 weeks" to stomach whatever junk food I can get my hands on. Today I've done a series of 'before' body shots (not to be published here) to motivate myself to get back in shape after.

It's interesting to think that something localised to the mouth does end up having an impact all over.

I'm currently on savacol mouthrinses 3 x a day and antibiotics 3 x a day as a prophylactic to reduce oral bacteria pre-surgery.

Tomorrow, I get checked in at 11am and start fasting from 7.

Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

11/06/2014 2.5 weeks until surgery!

It's getting closer to D-Day and I thought I'd update with some cool casts of my teeth. My orthodontist gave me these to pass along to my oral surgeon and of course I can't help but play with them in my own time.

I've set up the models in the way my teeth are CURRENTLY and in how they are to be fitted during the surgery. There are front and profile shots of each position. I'm estimating a half tooth width retraction of the lower jaw?

 Current front view

 Current profile view

 Intended front view

Intended profile view

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

30/04/2014 Surgery Date Booked

Wow... I can't believe it's been nearly a year since I last posted and over 2 years since I started this blog.

What a long journey.

Not all of this can be attributed to the fact that orthodontic work always takes longer than you think it will; us ordinary people think everything looks amazing straight away abut the specialists spend ages fine tuning the tiny details. I also spent 3 months in Europe where no progress was made. Oh, and prior to that, I had an accident and fractured part of my upper jaw and killed a bunch of teeth.

Never mind all that.

What's more important is that earlier this month, my orthodontist gave me the go ahead to book in with my oral surgeon. I went to see him for a pre-surgical consult today and a surgery date has been booked!!

Talk about a massive emotional rush.

On one hand I feel hugely relieved that an end is in sight. I'm so used to having braces and a fish face now that it's become part of me... and not in a good way. On the other hand, sometimes I lie awake at night thinking about the actual surgery and I put myself in panic mode.

Aside from all that, there's the element of cost. I'm so clueless about this stuff I don't know how much anything will end up costing me. I've lost my original quote. I'm bracing myself for the worst. Furthermore, taking off at least 4 weeks from work means loss of income for someone who doesn't get sick leave. Add to that 2 mortgages and 3 debt facilities and well... let me spare you for this tedium.

I've taken a few more amateur shots to show how things are now that the braces aspect of my treatment is complete.

Surgery is booked for the end of June and between now and then, I'll have another visit with my orthodontist for him to put some hooks on my teeth that will be used to keep my jaws together with elastics after surgery. Good times to come!!