Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Wires...Rubber Bands and a HUGE Headache to boot...

Today is One Month and One Day since my surgery. Things are moving right pun intended! I had two appointments this week, yesterday I went to my Oral Surgeon's office for a check up and he's very happy with how everything is looking. He did that sharp and dull object test again to see how much feeling I have back in my chin and lower lip area...well...I have a little feeling on my "left" and none on the right....yet. This all can take time as anyone who has had surgery knows. I'm encouraged as I've been getting a lot of twinges in my chin area so that tells me those nerves are working to reconnect.

On another note, he asked me about the screw that is poking through under my tongue and I let him know that all THREE of the screws are poking through but two are only poking against the skin and only one is broken through the skin... but you can feel them. He said that he'll have to take them out but it won't be for another six months or so, which is fine. Although I can feel them with my tongue, they're not causing sores or anything...which is a good thing. He also said that my chin will get a bit narrower as it's still pretty swollen.

Today I had an ortho appointment with Dr. Kawakami and my OS thought I should have a splint made to give the teeth that are not touching something to rest on. Dr. Kawakami felt that we didn't need to take impressions for a splint as he felt putting on rubber bands will start to pull them down. I was actually relieved as I wasn't looking foward to getting impressions with the limited range of motion my jaw has right now. So, they took out my surgical wires which was a great celebration...and put in another wire on both top and bottom. I now am wearing triangle rubber bands, two on each side. My teeth are quite sore and my jaw and to top it all off...I have a HUGE headache. So, I have been popping ibprofen today to help with the ache in my teeth and head. I'll be going back in a few weeks to get some new brackets in a few places where they've broken.

I would expect I won't be in braces that much longer...maybe six months more...that's my guess...we'll see what it actually is.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

25 Days Since Surgery...

It's hard to believe that it's now 25 days since I had my lower jaw advanced 6mm and my chin reduced 6mm. I still have some swelling in my chin and would imagine that will take some time to go away completely. I have been feeling twinges in my chin and lower lip so I think that is probably good news as the nerves continue to work at repairing themselves so hopefully I'll see some feeling coming back in my chin and lower lip.

I'm still eating no chew foods like lots of cream of wheat, oatmeal, scrambled eggs w/ cheese, pasta, chilli, mashed potatoes, yogurt, smoothies, protein shakes, soups, ice cream, pudding and ice cream. I find I'm only eating three meals a day with NO SNACKING as I have not been that terribly hungry.

I also continue to do my lower facial exercises as Dr. Wood suggested by getting some serious movement going. I find I'm very restricted in my facial muscles around the chin and lip area. Elaine posted some great photos of her exercises and I was so impressed with what she could do with her mouth...I tried them but couldn't get my mouth to go in some of the directions she could...she must be double jointed...Hahaha. When I smile it's very crooked still and if I didn't look in the mirror I'd never know it was crooked...but it's seriously crooked!! I know once I get the feeling back it will all look fine...just working on being patient!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Crooked Smile @ Day 19

Not much new to post about that's why I'm not posting everyday. I took some pictures today of myself smiling and every single picture my smile was crooked...and looked pretty strange. This one is still crooked but not as bad as all the others. Hopefully all that will work itself out as I get rid of the numbness in my chin and lower lip. Things are pretty much the same, still numb and haven't noticed much change there. Just trying to be patient...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 16 Post Op - Look...I Can Talk!!!

Wow...I've been busy this week with starting back to work and all my appointments. I went in to see my ortho, Dr. Kawakami and I was very nervous as I thought I was there for an impression for a splint but he just wanted to look at how things were coming. Phewww....I left quite happy!!

Yesterday I had my two week follow up with Dr. Wood, my oral surgeon. He was quite happy with the healing and told me I just need to wear two rubber bands during the day and close it all up tight at night like I've been doing which involves about six rubber bands. I was so excited, I can now TALK....and everyone can understand me...Yay!!! He then put my chin and lower lip area through the "pointy instrument' test to see if I had an feeling yet. Everywhere he touched in my chin area I couldn't feel the pointy instrument and my lower lip is gaining a little feeling back. He said to give it time as he didn't severe any nerves so it's just a matter of patience. I have to say my chin feels cold and prickly all the time. I find myself covering it with my hand to warm it up but when I put my hand to my's warm...LOL...go figure. Dr. Wood was ready to send me on my way for a two week follow up when I asked him about the thing I felt in the way back behind my tongue. I told him I thought it was bone and he was like....what??? So he unwrapped all my rubber bands and got his trusty dental mirror and started to take a look and at first he didn't see it until I showed him it was way in the back by my back molars under my tongue. He then tried fitting his fat fingers into my incapacitated jaw and I thought he was going to break my jaw...LOL...oh's already broken...well I can say it was hurting and he went back to using the mirror and *drum roll please*...he said...Oh's one of the screws sticking out from my jaw....WHAT???????...I guess it's better than bone which I thought that's what it's the screw! He was kind of shocked but tried not to show it...but he said that if it's really bothering me that they'll have to wait for six - seven weeks for my jaw to heal and they could remove it, but he wanted to see if skin would grow over top of it we are just going to let it be for right now and see what happens.

Guess what I ate today???? Shhhh...don't tell anyone...I had Nico's Nachos with French Fries....all the makings of Nachos but with french fries....I chose this because I knew it would soften up the fries enough so i wouldn't have to chew them. I forgot that they actually put steak pieces on top so I had to work my way around the steak but it was delicious. I've lost a little over 15 pounds in two weeks so I didn't think those fries would matter much. It was sinful but delicious!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day Thirteen Post Op....Scarey!!!

Ok...don't ask me what I was doing...I look like I've had one too many smoothies! I actually was trying to get rid of my double chin but it doesn't seem to have worked....AT ALL!! I'm wondering if my chin will drop or if that extra chin will go away....I'm a bit concerned as the bottom of my chin seems to be stting high in comparison to my neck...LOL...I hope I don't end up with a double chin and that's it's just the swelling. Enough about my chin!

I started back to work yesterday and it wasn't too bad. I work part time at our church and on Monday's it's very quiet and today it was actually pretty quiet as well. I also am up to walking a mile so that's good and great for getting me out there and I beleive this has helped in my recovery as well. I was looking for full time employment for the past several months and once I can talk without all these bands then I'll start to pursue full time employment!

Feeling great and am very happy with my results. I hope my chin and neck will all resolve itself and it's due to the swelling. I'll be praying...and by the way...I've had so many people praying for me throughout this entire surgery journey and I am so grateful for all the prayers as I know that is why I've been doing so well. Thank you to all those prayer warriors, I'm so grateful for all of you! We serve a wonderful God and I thank Him everyday for all He does in my life and for those special people He's placed along this path we all call life. We serve a truly loving God!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day Eleven Post Op....Looking Pretty Good

Got up and decided to go to church this morning. Felt really good to get out of the house and not have to drive too far. Today was pot luck and I was a bit worried thinking I would just sit there and chat as everyone else ate. This pot luck was all about soups, chilis and perfect was that? I had some chili and smashed the beans up and sprinkled a little cheese on it and I have to say it was very good. I saw some really good looking chicken soup but everything in the soup was cut really big so chilli it was. We got home and just relaxed and watched some football and I fell asleep on the couch for about 1.5 of tuckered myself right out, eh? Overall a very good day and feeling pretty good overall.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day Nine Post Op - Still Some Swelling & One Fat Neck.

Wow...what a difference getting rid of the lower lip tape makes, eh? I still have the tape under my chin and that will be gone tomorrow. There's still some swelling in my chin and neck area...I think that's why my neck is looking a bit bulgy. Today I went out and about visiting a few friends to get out of the house. I had more energy today than I have since my surgery so that's a good thing...I'm on the mend!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day Eight Post Op...Crooked Smile...Say Cheese!

A bit goofy looking with my "half stiff smile"...but least I'm trying to smile. I get rid of the tape on Saturday so that will be one less medical accessory that might allow me to look a bit more normal. Jessi still is wondering why I talk to so funny when I call her.

My chin was hurting a bit today so I'm thinking there's a bit more feeling in that area. I can't feel my lower jaw at all when I'm brushing my teeth and that can be dangerous if you're not careful when brushing. I've caught myself via the pain of brushing to quickly and hitting the back of your jaw...pain is the first word that comes to mind. I'm doing really well with keeping my bands on all the time except when eating. I keep them a bit loser during the day so that when I answer the phone I can be understood.

I haven't been real hungry and although my stomach was growling for dinner I made myself some macaroni and cheese with a roasted cheddar wurst and blended it all together...I ate maybe a quarter of the bowl and felt very full so I put the rest in the fridge for tomorrows lunch. I haven't stepped on the scale and think I've probably lost some weight as I just haven't been real hungry. I know I have to eat and get my calories up for the healing process I'm finding I'm having to push myself to eat. I think some of it is having to blend my food and eating it which gives it a completely different texture...than I am use to eating it.

I've been real good about exercise since coming home a week ago. Everyday I've gotten out to walk. At first it was just around the yard and then I graduated to the end of the driveway and today I would say I walked about 30 minutes and by the time I was coming up my small hill to the house I was ready to sit down. It's hard to breath through having your jaw banded shut...LOL...I can't let my mouth hang open and take in all that fresh air. It feels good to get out and about and especially good knowing I'm getting stronger every day. Plus my dogs love to go for a walk and it keeps them in shape as well.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

One Week Since Surgery...Me and My Four Legged Friends... are my staples as I recover at home. One hand towel and mirror so I can watch myself as I eat and when I need to wipe my chin I see it in my mirror...otherwise I would have no clue I had stuff on my chin. A glass of water that I drink throughout the day, one fruit smoothie with straw. It was pretty funny..I was drinking my smoothie with my rubber bands on and due to the numbness I didn't realize I had all these berry seeds just covering my rubber bands and front teeth until I went into remove them to eat...what a pretty sight I must say...NOT!!!! Vaseline and Blistex have been my most favorite friend since the beginning...I keep it on my lips ALL THE TIME!! It's helped to heal my lips up as well. My cell phone for those people who call that don't realize I can not talk vey good. and my glasses to help see whatever I may reading at the time.

Day Seven, one week today I had my, how time flies by. I have to say that it wasn't at all what I thought recovery would be. I had a few days where I was very achy but overall I have had a pretty easy time of it. I sympathize with those who have had both upper and lower surgery as I'm sure the recovery is much more difficult and painful. That being said...I'm feeling pretty good! I do notice that I get really tired early in the afternoon. This morning I was working online posting my jewelry to ( and I spent the entire morning until about 1pm and then it seemed like I hit a wall. The energy just left me and I had to lay down and I zonked right out. Wow...I wish I could sleep like this all the time. :)

Dakota...such the Poser!

Kera Sitting on Her Throne!

Jessi Lou of Liberty Smilin' Pretty

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day Six Post Op...New Chin Tape!!!

I had my first doctors appointment with Dr. Wood six days post op. He said that everything looked great. He removed the terribly stained tape and gave me some new tape, a piece under my chin and a piece that stretches underneath my lower lip. He wants me to keep it on until Saturday and by the time I got home the tape under my lip was already coming off...and then by the time I ate my first's amazing how much food one can get on ones self when their chin is numb as numb can be. I had to put a mirror in front of me and was amazed how much stuff slopped down my's a lady to eat properly with a numb chin, eh???? I ended up going to the pharmacy and this was the best tape I could's not clear like the other but...oh well. :)

They removed the one stitch on each side of my lower jaw area where they inserted the three screws on each side and once the Dr. W removed the tape the assistant spent a 1/2 hour trying to get all the goo off from the sticky tape. She used alcohol soaked gauze pads and still wasn't able to get it all off. She thought maybe we could use "Goo-B-Gone"...LOL...but that we'd then be treating surface burns...I kindly declined her invitation...LOL!

They removed my rubber bands and said that everything was healing really well and that he wanted me to go into tighter bands and they showed me how to put them on in the "box shape" and I'm to wear them 23 hours a day. I can remove them when I eat and to brush my teeth and rinse...YAY!!! I couldn't stand not brushing the inside of my teeth so I'm a happy camper right now. I am more tightly banded now with all the rubber bands; I can't not even move my jaw at all. It's taking a little getting use to talking without moving my jaw...I bet I'll be a great ventriloquist by the end of all of new potential career!!!! :)

My diet is still no chew so everything is to be blended which I expected. I had blended chicken noodle soup and a yogurt for lunch and then I had Dinty Moore Beef stew doesn't look great but it sure tasted just like Dinty Moore Beef Stew. :) I followed it with a small dish of peanut butter cookie doe ice cream. This was the most I've eaten since my surgery.
I'll be making an appointment with my ortho, Dr. Kawakami next week so I can get an impression (not sure how that is going to work as I can't open my mouth very well) for a splint. The splint they had made didn't fit right so we're starting from scratch. Right now my back teeth are not touching and my front teeth are carrying all the weight and until those back teeth can be pulled down they need something in between them. I'm just doing what I'm told at this point!! :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day FIVE Post Op - Varying Shades of Yellow

It's hard to believe that it's only Day Five as I feel pretty good overall. I tell you I can't wait to get rid of this stained looking tape that is holding my chin upright. That will come off tomorrow and it will be interesting to see what Dr. Wood will have to say about everything else. My lip is still a bit swollen but almost looking like it does typically. I know it does not "feel" normal...LOL...I feel like it's huge due to the numbness. Numbness is still the same, no changes there but that's to be expected so early after surgery. As you see on my neck is developing it's pretty shades of yellow, kind of matches my chin strap...LOL! I felt a snap in my mouth earlier and couldn't see anything or feel anything for that matter and it was not until an hour or so later that I felt something on my tongue and it was one of the rubber bands that was holding my jaw shut...probably a good thing I couldn't feel anything,right?

Food is a bit challenging as my blender is working overtime these days. For breakfast I made a tropical protein shake with frozen bananas, frozen pineapple, milk, a little oj and some vanilla protein powder...I was wishing I had some coconut milk to make a Virgin Pina Colada..yum!!! I find it pretty easy to drink out of a plastic cup which works really well. The Zip n' Squeeze bags are nice but my first one made it through three or four uses and I'm basically just using them for my hot meals now. I'm trying eat or should I say "drink" something every hour or so. I've lost about seven pounds, not that I am trying to lose weight but just part of the surgery. That's not to say that I don't have about twenty pounds I could lose, but now isn't a good time to try to lose to much so that's why I'm trying to keep my calories up so that I heal well.

My spirits are very good and although still a bit tired I feel pretty normal. I obviously like the word "normal"...LOL...whatever normal may be, right? I have had some wonderful friends checking up on me, thank you to all of you!!! You've made this entire process bareable having such special friends both near and far watching out for me.

This morning I thought I was feeling good enough to take my son down to the bus stop which is about four miles from our home so we went out to leave and my car wouldn't had been sitting there since my surgery last week and I think the battery died...that's my hope anyways. I will have someone come over later to try to jump it and see. I had my other car just towed today to the garage because some lovely little critters decided to make their home in my engine and they like to keep those tiny teeth filed down so they chewed my wires up all over the place. Darn critters!!! So, I've had my share of car problems but they will be taken care of here soon, so no worry.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day FOUR Post-Op...doing well!

Today, I'm feeling pretty good considering I can't really talk to much still. If you notice you can finally see my bottom lip is looking a bit more normal today...LOL! Still really numb and I find I have to check in the mirror to make sure I don't have any food hanging out on that bottom lip and chin. As you can see, I've developed a some very lovely colors on my neck...pretty yellows, purples and greens...goes nice with my hair don't you think??? I got rid of the chin wrap last night (ace bandage), the doctor wanted me to keep it on for a few days after surgery because he said it was important so that my chin wouldn't droop and look like a witches chin...GREAT....I kept it on longer than I needed because I really would prefer not having a witches chin. The tape stays on until my first visit back to see Dr. Wood on Tuesday morning and then he'll remove that as well.

I actually got dressed today in yoga pants a shirt and sweater and my trusty red fluffy slippers. It felt good to get out for a short walk with Dakota and Jessi. They're always up for a walk so they made good company. I've gotten out every day since arriving home to do a little walking around in the yard but today I walked to the end of the driveway and a bit further and then headed back and walking back up the hill to my driveway made my heart beat a bit fast but I made it up. It's not a huge hill but enough to put my heart rate up which is a good thing.

I made french onion soup with a three onions I had and it turned out really delicious. After sauteing the onions and caramelizing them I added some sherry and cooked it down and then added a bay leaf, two cans of beef broth and one can of chicken broth and let it simmer for 30 minutes. I then drained out the onions, removed the bay leaf and put the onions in the blender with some milk and blended and chopped them up and then added them back to the broth with a little salt and pepper. It turned out delicious. I also cut up some french rolls I had and sprinkled them with garlic powder and Parmesan cheese and baked them in the oven for about twenty minutes. After the bread was done I ladled out some soup into the blender again and put some of the bread cubes with a bit more Parm cheese and blended it all together and put it in my zip and squeeze bag. It made a very good lunch. I was so excited after eating my soup to try to see if I could eat some lemon meringue pudding with my newly acquired baby spoon and it was just the right size to be able to suck the pudding off the spoon through my front teeth...LOL...what a sight, eh? delicious!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day Three Post Op... is day three post op and I'm feeling not great...can you tell??? My muscles along the entire jaw are really sore and achy which is causing my ears to hurt. I'm using heat on my face verses the ice and it seems to add some much needed relief. I made them out a pair of socks with white rice and you tie the sock off and put it in the microwave for two minutes and have a wonderfully heat relief sock which instantly soothes and comfort the sore tense muscles from moving my jaw forward.

I had a nice breakfast through my zip and squeeze bag of cream of wheat cooked and then blended with frozen banana and cinnamon and a little extra milk to thin it out. It took me over an hour to eat but it tasted good. My bottom lip is completely numb and still swollen. When Dr. Wood reduced my chin he went in right below my bottom teeth and lip to do my chin reduction surgery, that is why it's swollen the way it is. I get little feelings of twinges in my chin which tells me all those nerves are working overtime to regenerate themselves.

Schuyler is due home later this morning. He arrived in right on time last night from Albany, NY through Chicago as he called me about 10:45pm to let me know he made it back. He spent the night at my Aunt and Uncles and they'll be bringing him out to the house today. It will nice to have some company and to have him back home again.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Early Morning Day Two Post Op...

I actually got some good sleep last night. I fell asleep about 11pm after waking from a small nap. I'm now on Tylenol with Codeine so that makes me sleepy. I went to bed around 11pm and slept until 3:30 and got up as my throat had a HUGE frog in it and having your jaws banded shut makes it difficult to clear out. Anywhoo...I got up to have some hot tea which helps a great deal and feels so good on ones throat.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Day One Post Op...

Here's Day One post fingers tell another story but that could be the meds talking.... and I'm not feeling too bad actually. I've been on an oxygen mask since they brought me upstairs and that helped a great deal with my the coolness of the air that was blowing out. I've been on morphine when I need it which has been about every four-five hours. I have ice on every twenty minutes and off twenty minutes so that's helped with the swelling. The major swelling right now is my's wrapped in taped and that lovely makeshift chin keep my chin from drooping until everything heals up. Let's see, my throat is what bothers me the most right now. It very sore from the nose tube and it hurts. I couldn't talk much the first day at all and what I did say wasn't comprehansible...LOL. Today I'm actually being understood and my upper lip I can feel but nothing on my chin or lower lip. As you can see my chin and lip are pretty swollen.

I'm drinking some juices with great difficulty but I want to go home so I'm drinking as much as I can and it takes me forever. :) The nursing staff have been really great here at TMC and very attentive. I checked out at around 5pm and headed home. My wonderful girlfriend, Maryann took me and picked me up and got me all settled in at home. My wonderful friends Pastor George and his lovely wife, Denise stopped in the day of surgery to see me and pray with me before my surgery...that met the world to me and my surgery went perfectly and I'm not feeling half bad actually. My Uncle Don stopped by the day of surgery and he did most of the talking as he couldn't understand a word I was saying. :) God is good!!