Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 71 - Horses and Hot Wings

Hello there everybody! It's day 71 now and I've been busy busy busy. It's the first non-rainy day since my family got to Lake Placid and we've certainly taken advantage of it. Earlier in the day we spent a few hours browsing shops. Then we took a horse-back ride through a mountain trail and everywhere we looked was a feast for the eyes of autumn foliage and mountainous skylines. My horse was a lovely white one by the name of Sinatra, and he was a real sweetie. Our group was led by someone on the American bobsled team in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics - way cool! Then it was off to a local sports bar/restaurant where there was an amusing mix up involving regular and boneless wings. All in all a fun-filled day with my family. :)

There was no more pain today in my left joint, so I'm hoping it was a freak occurrence. Swelling is down even more, too. Numbness isn't noticeably different day by day so I can't honestly give you an update on that. 

At this point things are basically getting back to normal. I can eat almost anything and I look like a passable human being at last. I'm starting to like my new face. My pictures don't really show it yet because I just don't know how to present myself anymore. However, when I look in the mirror I can pick out things that I like. Even my nose, which I once was so bothered by, is starting to grow on me. I still think it's a bit too wide and others agree, but I'm not totally self-conscious of it anymore. With luck it will decrease in size as the last bits of swelling go down. If not it's a simple fix - just a quick alar cinch in the dental clinic and the problem is solved.

The only thing I'm unhappy with is my actual teeth. They're more crooked than pre-op because I haven't any braces to hold them in line, and this new screw is making a gap. There is also a nick in my gumline over my upper front left tooth from the new band. It has healed but it now looks like a step shape rather than a smooth curve. These things, while they seem little, frustrate me a lot. I think the last steps of this process will be to get my teeth cleaned of peridex stains, have my gums shaped and my teeth re-aligned. All of this will probably be in December.

Despite these little setbacks I'm overall very pleased with everything. I'm not troubled by ceaseless pain anymore and I have a chin! In my book those are two things worth celebrating. This surgery has honestly been such a blessing to me.

I hope the rest of you are well!

Again, I have pics but I'm going to wait until I have some tape for the camera before I dare open it. Silly broken camera...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day 70 - A Birthday and a Hike

Day 70 is now nearly over. A good day it's been, too; we celebrated my father's birthday and had a nice day with the family.

I had some sharp pain today in my left TMJ. This of course is cause for concern as I really do NOT want the pain to come back. Even worse the pain was different and sharper/more severe than it used to be. Whereas in the past pain was localized to the "inside" of the joint (when the angle of it actually opens) and was more of a dull ache, this is outside and up by the ear with sharp, stabbing pain. I did chew steak last night and I slept on that side, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is why it hurt.

Swelling is down more and I noticed that my skin is almost completely back to normal in terms of numbness. I'd say feeling is about 85-90% returned in most parts of my skin. Deep tissue is harder to gauge and my gums are still about 95% numb. Mobility is coming back and allowing for more facial expression, but I have not gained any more ability to open my mouth. Progress has stopped just shy of two knuckles in opening. Time to set up that physical therapy that I keep putting off.

This entire healing process, any difficulty has come from the right side. It just hasn't cooperated. There was the spitting stitch and pain in the beginning, the excessive swelling, the adhering and dimpling scar and all of the scar tissue inside my mouth. It just doesn't want to do what it should and now is no different. Last appointment Dr A cut through some scar tissue to free things up on that side. Unfortunately it has either re-adhered or I need more cut. Everything on that side is hard and stretched taught with "string" type bands of tissue connecting things that shouldn't be connected. I'm a bit frustrated, though not worried since I know Dr A can pretty much fix anything.

My biggest frustration right now is the gap between my front teeth caused by the new screw. I did NOT go through 13.5 hours of surgery only to be embarrassed to smile because of this stupid gap tooth thing. I know I sound like a brat when I say this, but it had better get resolved fast, because I refuse to have it. It's just one of those things that really gets to me after everything I've been through.

That's about it. As I said, today was my father's birthday. We spent the day hiking towards Marcy Dam. The walk was exhausting but satisfying. We made it 99% of the way, with 1/10 of a mile left to go before we all caved to sore feet. Hurrican Irene wiped out the dam, though, so even if we'd made it all the way I think I'd have been depressed to see the once beautiful area now a mud flat. All in all it was a wonderful day and I think my father really enjoyed it. I certainly enjoyed just being with my family.

I hope the rest of you have had nice days and are in good spirits. Be well!

I have pictures but I'm going to post them tomorrow since we don't have any tape to close the camera if I open it up again. That poor thing is so beat up, lol.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 69 - Back to the Mountains

Another day is over, day 69, and I'm back in Lake Placid. I look a right mess after a day of being on the road, but I feel fine.

Nothing has really changed since yesterday so I haven't got much to share with anyone. I was able to eat steak tonight though! I couldn't chew it properly, but I was still able to kind of chew it. The more rare bits were slightly easier for me to handle.

At any rate I'm sitting in my cabin now, pooped as can be. I'll have more to share tomorrow. Be well everyone!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 68 - Sleepy

Well it's day 68, and like the past few it has been long. I've really been wearing myself out, but it feels good to sit down after a long day and know that I've gotten something done.

Last night was really good in regards to the new band configuration. The swelling in my gums has gone down a bit, so with padding the rubber band doesn't slice through anymore - this is definitely an improvement over the first few attempts at wearing the new band.

The swelling is going down more, though because I see myself every day it's somewhat hard to gauge just how much. At any rate, going down is going down, and I'll take it. Pain, too, is gone save for the soreness I mentioned yesterday. It seems like each day I have less and less to share with everyone.

I'm looking forward to the next five days as I'm going back to Lake Placid. I absolutely love northern New York. It's beautiful beyond belief and there is  something about the region that strikes you viscerally. This time my sister and her boyfriend will be joining me and my parents, so this promises to be a good vacation. The mountain air should certainly be good for me and my healing. I can't wait! Totally worth the long car ride.

Until tomorrow, good bloggers!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Day 67 - A Productive Day

So it's now day 67! And day 67 has been a long one indeed. I've spent the entire day moving all of my things from one building to another and then setting up my new room. It literally took all day to do.

Right now I'm still waiting for my cut gum to heal. Until it does I'm going to wear the band in the old configuration, and then switch to the new one and add cushioning under the band. Hopefully that solves the problem.

My right is a bit sore when I try to open wide. I'm going to assume that this is because of the cut my surgeon had to make on Friday, but a tiny part of me worries that it's because either the scar tissue is re-sticking, or else I'll have to get more cut. Definitely keeping my fingers crossed for the first scenario!

Swelling is down even more. Oh! I also never mentioned my mini-milestone; I can whistle again! It was sort of an unconscious thing, but I just found myself able to whistle the other day for the first time since surgery. To add to the good things going on right now, I'm starting to figure out how to smile. It isn't quite there yet, but it is definitely improving.

I am one tired girl right now, but the new room is great and I'm feeling wonderful. :)

Please don't think I'm a zombie when you see my pics. Lighting is horrible and I had to use my webcam.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 66 - Moving!

Hello everyone it is now day 66 of recovery. I'm moving to a new dorm room, so I've been busy studying and packing all day.

The gap between my front teeth is widening, and the gum cut is getting worse. Dr A was given a new picture and he told me to put a cushion under the rubber band at night, and the gap can be fixed with a retainer. I just need to go get good cushioning material now, but it seems like this should solve the problem. Phew!

Even more importantly I'm feeling somewhat improved today in terms of whatever bug got me. My throat doesn't hurt as much and my nose isn't as stuffy. Yay!

That's basically it for today. Like I said I'm moving, so I was really too busy to notice much about my jaw. This is probably a good thing; it means that I'm starting to move forward. :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 65 - Blegh

Hello everyone! Day 65 has been characterized by icky sickness and quick questions to the surgeon.

I'm still sick and unfortunately my schools infirmary isn't open until monday, so I just have to wait it out. Most of the day was spent inside just taking it easy. Being sick is definitely no fun. :(

I also have a problem with the new screw and band. The screw is causing a space to open between my two front teeth and the rubber band is cutting through my gum, down to my tooth. I texted Dr A and sent him a pic. He didn't seem worried, thankfully and just told me to keep the band on at night and leave it off during the day. My guess is that the screw has made my gums a little puffy and that's why the band is cutting them.

Swelling seems to have halted its progress since I'm sick. There is also a bit of soreness where the scar tissue was cut yesterday. Things could always be much worse, though, and I'm thankful to have come as far as I have.

Because it was such a lazy day I don't have much to tell you. Stay healthy, everyone!

P.S. Please excuse the dopey look in my pictures. I had to use my laptop since I don't have someone who can take the pics for me tonight, and I can't tell if I'm looking into the lens or not, lol.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 64 - Progress, Regress, and Sickness

Hi to each of you out there in the blogosphere. For the first time in a while in my recovery, I had an eventful day. I’m pooped! I’m sorry this post comes to you as late as it does; the wireless in my dormitory is down.

I had my two-month postoperative appointment with my surgeon today. Just getting there was an adventure that involved two trains, and a few hours of freedom in Manhattan. I even got myself a cool new watch J

Leaving my adventures aside, I got to my appointment without any problems. The plan was to possible take out the screws if I could open and close straight – well that didn’t happen. Dr A wants to keep me in bands until my bite is really trained, but this posed something of a problem. The configuration I had was perfect for moving my jaws, but the rubber band was beginning to shift my front tooth. No other things exist to attach bands to, and the configuration I had is the only one possible that works. The solution? A new screw! Yup, I got a nice novacaine shot to the inside of my upper lip where that little string of tissue usually holds the lip to the jaw. That was fun enough, but the next part involved my surgeon screwing another screw into my jaw as easy as if it were drywall. Unfortunately, the deeper he got, the less numb it was. By the end I could feel it heading towards the roof of my mouth. Ouch!

I also mentioned that strange formation inside my mouth. I wasn’t sure if it was a ligament, bone or scar tissue. It was scar tissue of course, and it was getting in the way off fully opening my mouth. So another needle was administered and he cut through the band of scar tissue, freeing things up a bit. Let me tell you, it has already made a difference. The swelling in my right was down more after the tissue was cut than ever before. Hooray!

Yeah I got some needles and Frankenstein procedures done, but it was a good visit. Dr A is still dumbfounded at how quickly my bite shifts and fixes itself. He also said that I have more range of motion than most people do this far out from surgery (a plus since I was actually starting to worry)

I’ve got a new band configuration, with a band going from the lower left screw to the new top center one. It doesn’t hurt and hopefully it will give that shifting tooth a break!

As if today wasn’t exciting enough, I’m also sick. I knew I was coming down with something, and last night getting literally 10 minutes of sleep in order to wake up at 6am and start my travels didn’t help. I spent all day either on a train, walking, getting my mouth tortured or traveling in a car. I’m exhausted and sick and my pictures show it. I’m just glad I’m sick on the weekend so I don’t have to miss class.

I know this post suggests otherwise, but today was honestly a good day. I just hope that the rest of you stay nice and healthy! Time for this little blogger to get some sleep. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day 63 - Feeling Good at Two Months

Hello everyone, it's day 63 now. I entirely forgot to mention how special last night was, as it marked exactly two months from the date of my surgery. That's right, two months!

In that time, so much has happened. I've dealt with the hell of the first week and the struggle of getting used to a liquid diet. There were moments of worry and pain, and some moments of small triumph as I got past another hurdle in my. Each milestone was something special; the first liquified dinner, the first time I left the house, getting my mouth unwired, relearning to eat. So far everything has been an insane roller coaster of good days and bad days, eventful ones and slow ones. Two months out of surgery - I can't even wrap my head around that fact. Two whole months since I began this process.

This morning I kept thinking back to the earlier days and I can't believe how far I've come. I remember crying when I had to eat a liquified egg, and tonight I ate pizza. The worries of a wired mouth seem so far away compared to the effort to get back some mobility. Everything is changing. Where bones were once broken, now most things are fused. Gaps will fill in and tissues will heal. This entire healing process has been a test in patience and emotional endurance. The only word to describe how I feel is blessed. Every day, no matter what little things may worry me, I remind myself that I am thrilled with what has been happening.

Today was great. Swelling has gone down by a couple millimeters and chewing was a little easier. Things feel like there really starting to solidify and get strong again. Which reminds me, I need to start getting to the gym now that I can eat again. :) Healing is easy these days, just slow.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with Dr A, so I can get some of my new questions answered. I'm looking forward to seeing what my surgical team has to say.

I just want to take the time to say thank you to my parents. Through this entire process they have been there for me, often going out of there way to  do so. I don't know how they put up with my mood swings and tantrums during the rough parts. They nursed me through the beginning, and supported me through every bit of healing. It hasn't gone unnoticed. I love you guys so much, and am thankful for everything you do for me.

Thanks to the rest of you, too. Without this amazing support system I don't know how things would have gone for me. You made everything that much easier. Thank you a million times. Stay well everyone!'

 I promise I'm not as miserable as I look in the pictures! We couldn't get a good one and I started to get impatient, lol.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 62 - Twinges and Pinches

Day 62 has flown by. The days are going by so fast now!

With each post I find less and less to talk about, because healing now is slower and less dramatic. Today I really only had a problem with twinges and pinches as the numb parts of my face try to wake up.

I have a growing concern about the inside of my mouth. I think it may be scar tissue on my right cheek, near the joint, but I'm wondering if it may be hindering my ability to open my mouth because it is very tight. Luckily I have an appointment with Dr A on Friday that I can bring this up. The bump beneath the right scar is also something of a problem still.

The most irritating thing is the screw on the left of my bottom jaw is digging into the inside of my lip. Hopefully I can get the screws out soon. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I want it done when my gums are still kind of numb. I'm such a baby, haha.

I'm still just taking this one day at a time. These days are mercifully easy when I remember the earlier ones. Life is getting back to the way it was, and I'm alright with that. :)

Be well, fellow bloggers!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 61 - Busy Busy!

Hello everyone! It's day 61, and like the early days of my recovery, summer is just a memory now. Fall is here!

With the cooling weather comes the buckling down at school, so I'm up to something most of the time. I like the momentum of everything, though.

Healing continues of course, and swelling is one of the few things left to remind me that I'm not quite better yet. For the most part my energy levels are back to what they were. Every day is a bit better than the one before.

The only remaining things worrying me are the bumps along my jawline. I'm not sure if they're swelling, healing bone, or here to stay. I'll be having an appointment with Dr A at the end of this week, so I'll mention it then.

My friend, A, and I got to go out to the mall today and be girly. I usually get new clothes before school, but with the weight changes and healing, I wasn't really in the mood. It all kicked in today and I treated myself to some makeup. I'm trying to play up my new face and figure out what to do with it. It's actually kind of fun to play around. At any rate, getting off campus for some girl time was nice. Thanks A!

That'sabout it for today. I hope you all are doing well :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 60 - Student Life

What a perfectly round number 60 is! Sixty days now in recovery from surgery. How is it possible that almost two months have gone by since this crazy process began?

Most of my time is spent being a student: attending lectures, reading textbooks, and writing papers. It's not exactly fun, but the structure that it gives my life is nice. I noticed after surgery that I did well when I was living each day by some sort of schedule for my medication and meals. The same seems to apply with other aspects of my life. While I love just relaxing and going with the flow, structure just makes me feel a whole lot better.

While being a full time student I still try to make sure I take care of my physical well being, too. I think I've been doing alright by myself with all of this, particularly now that I can eat again. My swelling seems to go down a little more every day. Today it wasn't too changed from yesterday, though. I'm also close to being able to open my mouth wide enough to insert two knuckles. Getting my mobility back is such a relief! I was afraid I'd be stuck with cutting up food super tiny forever, lol.

Here at day 60 I'm doing well, and that 2 month update video is looking like a real possibility. I feel bad that I didn't do videos every week, or at least at the one-month mark.

I hope that the rest of you have been having a good day, too. Until tomorrow!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 59 - Relaxation

Hello fellow jaw bloggers! It has now been 59 days since surgery. It's absolutely insane how much time has passed, mind boggling actually.

My swelling is down a bit more today, and my friend excitedly pointed this out to me. Yay! I'm starting to feel more normal now, too, though my upper lip doesn't move quite right yet. Maybe I'll make a video on Thursday so you can see what I mean.

The cold days are having a rather interesting effect on me: whenever there is cold wind on my face, it feels like my nose is running. It's a little irksome, but nothing too bad. Things could always be worse.  :) I'm just glad that I'm getting back to normal more each day. The human body is really incredible. I cannot wrap my head around the things that it can endure.

Right now the hardest thing is getting used to my new face. It's still difficult to tell what is here to stay and what isn't. Finally having had this done, my mind is not where I thought it would be post op. I thought I'd instantly love the changes, and be able to forget what was. It's not like that at all. Some days I can't tell if I look bad or if I'm just not used to the "new face." By a year from now I'll know what is permanent and not a result of swelling. That gives me something to look forward too.

Sorry I don't have more fun stuff to tell everyone, but there's been a lot of other things going on with school back in session. Have a good one, everybody! :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Day 58 - A Trip to NYC

 Day 58 now! Time is moving so fast, I can't believe it. Day 58 was spent in NYC visiting my cousins. They haven't seen me since before surgery and they were quite shocked at the change. It was an interesting experience to say the least. No complaints here, though, today was very nice. :)

Swelling is still up and down, and that bump on the right is persisting. I have no clue what it is, but it doesn't hurt. I have a feeling there's another injection with my name on it. Needles in the face do NOT equal fun times. But if it makes this bump go away I'll suck it up and be brave.

Pretty much I'm hangin' on here waiting for this last bit of healing to finish up. Time is the best healer of all.

I can't express how thankful I am to have had my surgery! It's so good to know that I don't have to hope anymore, I finally got my wish. Happiness is an understatement!

Fall is definitely here, so get out your coats everyone and enjoy it! Be well :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 57 - Autumn is Coming

Hello all. Day 57 came, cold and autumnal. I love it! Fall is here, fall is here! I just want to go on hayrides, eat donuts and carve pumpkins. Fall is like being a little kid again. It really is a beautiful time of year.

And with the new season my healing enters it's later stages. Now it's just a matter of waiting for all of the little things to settle themselves. I'm still hoping my nose gets a bit smaller. Right now the tip is so bulbous and my nose seems too wide for my face.

Swelling has gone down a bit more, and my upper lip is beginning to tingle ever so slightly. Something tells me my nerves are waking up. I hope so, because having sensation would be wonderful. I'm hoping that by Thanksgiving I feel more like the old me. It would be nice to have a day where I don't think about my face. All in good time, all in good time.

I'm still working on getting physical therapy set up, so there is no news on that front. I kind of want to see if I can get copies of my x-rays and pics to put up here on my blog. I'll look into it.

Be well everyone, and enjoy these last possibly warm days!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 56 - Getting The Hang of This Eating Thing

Hello all, it's day 56 now in my recovery. Yay!!!

Overall it's been a pretty quiet day on the jaw front, though I was able to open my mouth a hair more. Progress is progress!

Eating is also getting easier and easier. I look less monstrous in the process now, and I feel less alienated from my friends. Tonight was the first night I didn't mind eating in the dining hall in front of everyone. I managed to eat my pasta in a semi-normal manner. My friends and I were all so blown away by the normalcy of having all of us together for a meal again.

I haven't had any bad pain in my right joint either since that shot last week, and my rubber band configuration isn't causing any problems.

Slowly but surely, I'm getting back to normal. This process is so amazing! Be well everyone :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day 55 - A Long Day

Day 55 now. I feel like all of these days are pretty much the same.

The weather today was quite warm and humid, so my skin felt hot and prickly all day. It was really strange. Happily for me, the pain in my right joint is fading away. I think that the shot I got may have helped out with it. Whatever did it, I'm happy! Swelling and mobility are unchanged from yesterday.

I think today was good because it was uneventful. A quiet day is nice after such a long time with something worrisome always nagging at me. Hopefully the rest of you are in good spirits, too!

Pictures courtesy of a hall mate. My hair would not cooperate, lol