Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 102 - Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! My first "big" holiday with the new face. Sadly it wasn't really that Halloween-y for me. :( I've had a busy day with appointments, class and homework. So while everyone is off wearing costumes and going to parties I'm in my dorm finishing a research paper. Not exactly festive, but I have my little pumpkins near me to keep me in the Halloween pun intended.

I had more physical therapy today and things are going really well. It's truly bizarre to have someone stick their fingers in your mouth and force it open, but it seem to be working so I won't argue. I'm opening 33mm now. That's definite progress. Part of the treatment involves re-training my posture, which means I get a neck and shoulder massage to try and get rid of all the knots so that I can stand properly. Awesome! The appointments are starting to pay off though as I'm gaining back strength and mobility in my jaw - double awesome.

Hopefully the rest of you have had a good Halloween! Be well, and keep on being awesome. :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 101 - Exam Week

Hello there everyone, it's now day 101 of recovery. And for me and all of the other students at my school that means midterm week two, so I've been quite busy with studying. What else is new, right? Haha, at least all of this work pays off well in the end.

Today my jaw was pretty good. Pain and swelling were non-issues, and I think I feeling is starting to come back into my gums. Hooray! It will be nice to be able to feel when I'm brushing my teeth again.

I'm sorry that today's post is so uneventful, but this far out and with so many other things going on today, I didn't really pay enough attention to my jaw to notice anything.

I hope the rest of you are well! :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 100 - I Made it to Triple Digits!

I made it to day 100! It has been a full one hundred days since I had my face rearranged. Honestly that blows my mind. How on earth have a hundred days already gone by?! I could've sworn that it was only a week ago that I was sitting on my deck absorbing sunlight like a little plant while my face was completely numb. Now I'm sitting in a dorm room as snow hits the North East and writing a research paper. A lot can change in 100 days to say the least!

Soooo what's up in jaw land on day 100? Pretty much nothing. My jaw doesn't hurt, and feeling has made its way back into most of my face. Swelling goes down so slowly it's hard to track, and getting back mobility is my main concern. Sometimes life is almost totally back to normal, and others....not so much. This entire process has been a series of ups and downs, be it mood, swelling or pain.

Sadly, as exciting as the 100-day mark is, I haven't done much to celebrate. The weather is rather gross and I have 14 pages worth of essay to finish by Tuesday. Therefore, the entirety of today has been spent in an 8x11 room reading and researching, taking breaks only for the bathroom, food and to stretch my legs. Not exactly fun-filled, but hey, not every day can be all-around awesome. I'm content to just sit here and quietly celebrate the private victory of making it this far without losing my mind, hahaha.

On the plus side, my friend M is visiting for the week and since I'm the one with the air mattress, she'll be spending the night here. Let the girly fun commence! After I finish my paper that is. :)

Be well all, and keep warm if you're sitting in the middle of this weird snow storm!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 99 - TGIF and Cold = Ow?

Hi everyone. It's day 99 - the last double digits in counting my recovery. Neat-o!

Once again I had physical therapy, and things are really improving. My neck and shoulder muscles aren't so knotted, and I'm getting back some flexibility. This will allow my jaw muscles to relax properly and hold my jaw where in the best position. As for range of motion I think the last time we measured I was at 30mm. We didn't do mobilization today though, but she'll do that again on Monday. It really is amazing how helpful the physical therapy is.

Swelling is back to "normal" today, and I didn't have any soreness or fatigue...well at least not from healing or exercise.

Today presented a whole new issue though - the cold. The northeast is getting something of a freak snowstorm tomorrow, and the temperature is dropping. I noticed today that being outside made my face hurt, but it was fine once I got warm again. I'd heard about sore joints or pain in old injuries during cold and bad weather, but to be honest I totally forgot about that possibility until now. Hopefully it gets better over time. Do any of you have suggestions? I really don't want to spend my winter trips to the mountain dealing with pain when I should be having fun!

Other than that I didn't have any problems today, and I felt really well over all. :)

Be well, everyone!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 98 - A Relaxing evening

Hello all! Day 98 - boy it's been long, but at least this evening I've been able to relax! Considering the amount of work I need to get done by Tuesday I'm enjoying this calm in the storm as much as I can.

Speaking of storms, can you believe that it's snowing back where I live?! I called my mother this evening and she told me it was snowing. There's only one other time I can remember it snowing earlier than this. Strange, indeed. Where on earth has the summer gone?

Today my face is a bit swollen, but as I'm not in any pain this isn't really cause for concern. It's simply annoying and nothing more. I was able to open my mouth quite wide today, though, and I was super excited. Physical therapy certainly is working, and the mobilization things improve my range of motion exponentially faster than the exercise alone. Who knows, maybe I'll get range of motion better than what I had pre-op! I have more physical therapy tomorrow, and I'm excited to show the therapist my progress.

Hopefully you're all warm and well! Time for this student to go do some reading. Until tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 97 - So much to do, so little time!

Hello all, day 97 now. Not long before the 100 day mark at all. I've got a bunch of papers and exams coming up in the next week so I haven't had much time for anything but my school stuff.

School stress notwithstanding I'm doing pretty well. Some days I'm more swollen than others and some days I can open my mouth wider than others. It's all about the ups and downs right now. Oh well, I just need to be patient and wait for all of the final stuff to work itself out. In that sense alone the end of recovery is worse than the beginning. Back in week 1 there were noticeable changes every day. Now the changes are hardly noticeable from week to week!

My joints are still pain-free and I hope that it stays that way!

I hope the rest of you are doing well! Until next time, good bloggers. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 96 - Busy as a Bee

Hello bloggers, I'm now on day 96 of healing. Awesome! I've been quite busy lately, so I'm utterly pooped by the time I sit down to do my blog. The perpetual activity is good, and it's good to know that I'm actually doing things rather than sitting around.

Today my jaw was pretty much totally ok. Still a bit puffy and tired from yesterday, but generally everything was good. Any discomfort I do have these days is easily soothed with a wet washcloth warme up in the microwave.

I'm still waiting to hear when my scar revision surgery will be, hopefully some time in the next two or three weeks. The sooner that's out of the way the sooner I can be 100% better!

I hope you all are well!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 95 - Mobilization

Hello everyone, day 95 is coming to a close and my jaw is tired. This is good though, because it means that I've finally gotten to work on mobilization in physical therapy!

My PT got into contact with Dr A, and he gave her the go ahead to start mobilizing my jaw, and told her that nothing she would do poses any risk of re-breaking or moving something. Let me just say that it's a bit scary at first. Mobilizing involves the therapist putting her thumbs in my mouth and physically trying to open my jaws wider. Having spent so much time making sure nothing hits my face, physical force is a bit nerve-wracking; though after the first couple stretches I relaxed and got used to it. My joints are very tight so it wasn't painless, but it definitely wasn't anything terrible. And if this is what needs to be done to get back my range of motion, that I'm not going to complain

Naturally I'm a bit swollen from all of the exercise, but I'm not in any pain. My jaws are more tired than anything else. Other than that there isn't much to report. This far out the bones are mostly healed and I'm just waiting for things to solidify, so there aren't many changes. I didn't notice a difference in terms of numbness, today either, but other than my chin and upper lip most of my face is well on the way to having almost full sensation.

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be quite nice, and I'm looking forward to enjoying a day outside. Cold weather is on the way so I'm taking advantage of the nice weather while I can.

Be well everyone!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 94 - Just Another Day Home

Day 94, like all the others, has come and gone rather quickly. I feel as if I just need to blink and another week will have passed.

To be honest today was all around uneventful. My jaw didn't give me any cause for worry or joy - it simply was. That's probably not a bad thing, though. I did, however, get to eat more steak today! Eating is still weird. Not in the sense that I need to restrict my diet, but in the sense that I still can't properly move my jaws. Sometimes things fall out of my mouth or else don't move  around where I want them to go. But, as I'm not drinking my steak through a straw, I'm not going to complain. Eating is a million times easier now than it was in the first weeks after surgery.

Today's happenings were just as non-noteworthy as my jaw. For the most part I just sat around and got to relax. I did go out though for a bit and then baked some brownies when I got home. In summary it was an all-around neutral day. And that's just dine by me. :)

I hope the rest of you are doing well! Until next time, then.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 93 - Bear Mountain and New Phones

Hey everyone! Day 93 now, and it sure is getting chilly. The cold and my face aren't friends - it makes the numbness come back a bit and my nose feel like it's dripping. Oh well, at least the leaves are pretty!

I spent today at Bear Mountain with my parents taking a stroll around the lake. Funnily enough we got there to find that it was Oktoberfest, which makes my second beer celebration this fall. I don't even like beer! The weather was gorgeous - sunny and bright with fluffy white clouds and crisp autumn air. And since it's that wonderful time to renew phone plans, everyone got new phones. I still have to figure mine out, but it sure is nifty.

My jaw and face were complete non-issues today. I didn't have any pain or soreness, and the swelling has gone down a tiny bit more. A friend even saw me for the first time since mid-September and said "You're face looks normal! It's very nice." I laughed and we discussed the surgery a bit. She also has very bad TMJ and had joint-repair surgery a few years back. Sorry everyone, but I don't have much more to share than that. After all - I am getting better every day. And each day makes me more thankful than the last for my surgery.

And now for fun pictures! Be well, all. :)

Mother and Daughter <3

That little speck of a human is me :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 92 - 3 Months, More Surgery and A Long VIDEO

Three months! Three months! Three months! It is exactly three months since my jaw surgery - wow! Seriously, where did the time go? Didn't I say something about it feeling like I'd never reach day 6? Well days six through ninety-two have come and gone, and I feel great.

Today I had my three month post-op appointment. Unfortunately Dr A couldn't be there, but I was still able to speak to him on the phone. My trust in the residents is increasing, so I left today without doubts or worry. Another x-ray was taken and things look wonderful. All of my bones have fused (except of course for my chin, which will fill in after a few more months) and all is as it should be in terms of bone healing. I did not get the screws taken out since I still deviate to the left when I open. As the screws don't get in my way or cause problems I don't really mind. I'd rather have them than take them out only to have to get them put in again.

Dr A also told me that he spoke to my physical therapist an cleared her to start doing jaw-mobilization things. Hooray!

As for the more surgery - don't worry, I'm not getting more bones broken! That adhering scar on the right and all the scar tissue in my mouth just aren't going to fix themselves, and Kenalog isn't going to help, so I need a revision surgery. It'll be a quick hour in the OR where Dr A will cut the scar out, free up the muscle and sew me back up. Nothing major or scary at all. He'll also go and cauterize those bands of scar tissue in my mouth to get rid of them so I can open my mouth more. I do have the options to narrow my nose now with another alar cinch rather than wait until December, and to get my upper lip augmented since it seems to have re-flattened itself despite the cinch. These aren't really priorities, so I have to really think about them before I say yay or nay. At any rate I'll be logging more time in the OR sometime probably in the next three weeks.

Numbness and swelling are unchanged, though the more the surgeon and residents look and discuss, the more we all agree that the "swelling" on the right is not swelling, but muscle that that is puckered up because of that scar problem - the muscle isn't being allowed to slide freely under my skin and so it's puckering. Time will tell!

I also have a video today! I warn you though, it is loooooong. Like 31 minutes long (hey I can have my own show!). Feel free to ignore most of it; I didn't plan what I was going to say so the entire thing is full of "uhhhh" and air quotes. But, in the spirit of being honest with you guys, natural me just spilling my thoughts is probably better than a perfectly scripted video. I do plan on doing more in the future, which will certainly be shorter and less all-over-the-place. Enjoy!

Three months out of surgery - life is good, I'm pain free and happy as a clam. :)

I totally think that my mother and father deserve a shout out. Mom, how can I ever say how grateful I am for how you nursed me through this whole thing? You put up with my crazy starvation mood swings and let me cry when I needed. Not to mention the constant blender experiments! And Dad, you have been awesome, too. Taking care of me, making sure I was comfy and not too hungry and just making sure that I wasn't alone to fend for myself - you deserve a huge thanks. I love you guys and I appreciate beyond words the support and love that you've given to me through this whole process. <3

Be well, everyone!!!

*edit: blogger is being dumb and not letting me post my pics or my video. I promise I will try again tomorrow!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 91 - 13 Weeks and I'm Feeling Good

Hi there, everyone! Today, day 91, is precisely 13 weeks after my surgery. Let me tell you - the human body can do some incredible things in 13 weeks! Today seemed rather lazy and nice. I'd been worrying about an exam today and I woke up to find that the professor moved it to next Tuesday. To cap it all, both classes let out 30 minutes early and I got to longboard some more. I even went out with my sister (gasp)! Just a quick trip to the mall, but it was fun nonetheless. Yep, today was a breeze.

Jaw healing was pretty easy-peasy, too, today. No pain, limited pinchy nerves, and continued decrease in swelling. Things are, for the most part, better every day.

I still have a problem with that sticking and dimpling scar, as well as scar tissue in my mouth that may need cutting again. Of greater concern is the fact that I think my gums are receding. It may honestly just be that I'm in desperate  need of a cleaning, but I'll still mention it to Dr A. I have an appointment with him tomorrow, so he'll be able to answer all of my questions then. I have a funny feeling that another Kenalog injection is waiting for me (curse you stupid scar!).

Tomorrow I'll be heading on the train back into Manhattan to catch yet another train to the hospital for my appointment. Yet one more positive of this surgery - the necessitating of trips into Manhattan where I can explore and have fun. Perhaps if I get in early enough I can wander the Met. Hmm...time to go plan!

Be well everyone!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 90 - Milestones and Blustery Days

Hello bloggers! Today marks a special day - 90 days have passed! Ninety days ago I came out of the OR to begin this whole crazy recovery adventure, and in that 90 days I've become a new person inside and out. I have become stronger and more self-assured. My mind and body have been put to the test, and I've come out the other side a better person. I know that even at my very lowest and most desperate, there is always the hope of a better tomorrow, and that when I look back, I immensely proud of what I have done and the lessons I've taken from it. Most of all I feel blessed, so incredibly blessed.

So 90 days out finds me again at physical therapy. Swelling is decreasing and mobility is improving. My neck and shoulder muscles are getting back their stretch after so many days of tension. Apparently my body tries to defend my face even when I don't think about it, so my muscles are all knotted up; this is another thing my therapist is working with me on. I've also been given clearance to start the jaw-opening exercises again, now that the swelling is going away a bit. This physical therapy thing is actually pretty cool, and I've learned a lot already.

And of course my jaw - who could possibly forget my jaw? After all it is the reason for this entire crazy surgery and blog thing! Well at 90 days out I'm pretty sure the bones are fused and the breaks are healed. There is of course still gaps where cuts were made, but these will fill in by the six-month mark. In all honesty my bones are probably a heck of a lot stronger than I think, but I still baby them and worry over little bumps and nudges. That's probably going to be the last thing to "heal" - the fear that I'm going to collapse my face and see 13.5 hours of surgery go out the window.  Swelling is back down to where it was about 2 weeks ago. The warm soaks and upright sleeping are definitely helping.

Numbness still exists even now. Some days are worse than others, but it's usually the most numb in my gums. My chin and lips are still only half back to normal. At this point the combination of slow recovery and me getting used to it, the numbness is really a non-issue. I definitely think that I'll get full sensation eventually. Pain? It doesn't factor in beyond fatigue and soreness from exercise and nerve twinges.

Today has been, to quote Winne the Pooh, "a rather blustery day." As such I didn't really get to do much. Tomorrow I've got another exam (when does it end?) and then it's off to do sisterly things with Zoe. She and I will be heading home for the weekend to enjoy some fall fun with the family and I'm looking forward to it.

90 days also brings the question of how long I should continue this blog. Originally I had planned to go to day 90 (today!), but I feel like there's still so much healing that I want to document. Already I'm grateful for what I have, and I feel like stopping now would be leaving my work unfinished. I'll probably keep going until life is so normal I forget - that's when everything will be back to "normal." 

Hopefully you've all been keeping out of the wind. Be well!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 89 - Longboards and Exams

Hey everyone, it's day 89 of my recovery! Overall today was pretty good, though I did have a French speaking exam. It wasn't too bad, thankfully, but the written part is looming closer.

I don't have much to say about my jaw other than that the swelling is going down. I realized that after surgery I slept in a sitting position to decrease swelling, so I tried that again, and when I woke up I wasn't nearly as puffy as yesterday. More often than not, using one's brain can come in handy.

Yuck factor warning. My mouth has been tasting quite bad lately, so I took it upon myself to look inside. I need a cleaning! Having my mouth wired allowed some serious plaque to build up, and its sitting behind my bottom front teeth, trapped by a permanent retainer. Despite using a water pick and brushing twice a day, I guess I couldn't avoid buildup. Since I'm going home on Friday for another surgeon appointment, I will try to set up an appointment for the dentist. Gross!

And now for some good news: I rode my longboard! It has been 89 days since I got on a board, and I just couldn't hold back any more. Things were a little shaky at first, but after a while I loosened up and was able to ride. I'm still only going to cruise and go back and forth to class. Heaven forbid I was to fall doing something silly! Despite how tame the ride was, it was great to be back on my wheels. :) Yet more signs of life returning to normal.

Be well, everyone!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 88 - Physical Therapy

Hi there, everyone. Day 88 has passed me by all too quickly. Time is becoming a fast-moving blur now. How is it that it's been 88 days since my surgery when my memories of the hospital still seem so fresh?

Today I had my second physical therapy appointment, and already I've seen some improvement from it. When I open my mouth I still deviate to the left, just not as far. Hooray! I told the therapist about the swelling and she's told me to do all of the exercises (including some new ones) for my posturing and relaxation, but to avoid the jaw opening ones until I see Dr A. Until then I'm going to use heat or ice as needed to bring down the swelling. Other than that everything seems to be in order.

I'm still wearing my rubber bands, though to tell the truth I sometimes forget to put them back on after I eat. As soon as I remember, though, I put them on. If something were to be thrown off by something as silly as me not wearing my bands properly I'd be very frustrated, so I just save myself the trouble. Hopefully this will be my last week with the bands. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for having my screws removed on Friday.

Some of the swelling has gone down today, despite having the therapy appointment, which is good. That's not to say I'm not a bit puffy, but there is some improvement. Yay for improvement! Even this far out, it's hard to imagine how things are going to change over the next couple of months. At least it leaves me something to look forward to!

Hopefully all of you bloggers are doing well. You guys are great!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 87 - A Calm Sunday

Hello jaw bloggers! It's day 87 now, and I'm feeling good. The weekend is over and tomorrow bring a new school week and more school work. I've made a mental note to do everything in tiny bits and pieces, rather than hide from the big assignment looming over me. It seems to work out better in the end.

My jaw hasn't given my much to share with everyone other than the fact that it's still a bit puffy. I still want Dr A to do an x-ray next time I see him. I'm sure everything is probably fine, but as the puffy face started the day after a really restless sleep, I want to make sure that I didn't throw anything out of place. Does anything look different to you guys compared to about a week ago? I think the x-ray would just help with my piece of mind. Other than that there isn't anything noticeably different in terms of numbness or pain. I'm also going to ask him about the night time clicking. My jaw doesn't click from me trying to make it, but rather it clicks whenever my face relaxes when I'm on my side. It's hard to explain.

I have another physical therapy appointment tomorrow, and I'm curious to see what the therapist is going to do. The exercises she's given me are definitely helping, though I have noticed one bad thing. Now that I can open my mouth a bit wider, I've noticed another band of scar tissue that I think Dr A is going to have to cut. Thank goodness that the process is painless, but I still hate having it done.  Oh well, at least it's evidence that I'm gaining back mobility!

I hope the rest of you are doing well! Until my next post, then. :)