Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Eight Months Out

First of all I want to apologize for updating so infrequently. Between school, my last medical adventure, catching up on classes, taking midterms and feeling all-in-all back to normal I just haven't had the time to update.

That being said - wow! It's been eight whole months since surgery! I still remember sitting on my couch back in July thinking I couldn't survive the first week. Well I survived that one, and the next one, and the next all the way until now. What a long and incredible journey this has been!!!

The Positives:
1. No more pain and cracking!!!*see #1 below
2. My bones are 100% healed now :)
3. I am incredibly happy with my profile and no-longer-gummy smile.
4. I can open my mouth to three knuckles width now.
5. I can eat anything without a problem (though I will be staying away from gum for the rest of eternity)

The Negatives:
1. My jaw clicks and crunches still, though it is no longer a matter of me doing it intentionally - it just happens every now and then. 
2. The muscles in my face are sooooooo tight and knotted up from clenching and having my jaw wired. I really need to get back to physical therapy.
4. My teeth have shifted, throwing my bit off again :'(
5. I desperately need to see a dentist for a good cleaning

If you look at this list, yes there are negatives, but they are all temporary and fixable! The permanent stuff is there for good! Like I said, I really need to get back to physical therapy; my jaw muscles and posture are suffering from my neglect. I'm guessing that this, along with complaint 4 have a lot to do with the reappearance of clicks and pops. I really desperately want to get back into braces (I know, who on earth would ever think to write that?!) so that I can get my teeth and bite back to where they were post op. Right now one of my teeth has shifted, forcing my lower jaw to move to the left if I want the bite to mesh. Otherwise my bite is dead on, but then it is slightly open. My teeth also look a little wonky and crooked right now, too. That's the consequence of doing this sans-braces, folks! 

Those minor things aside I'm thrilled. Everything feels so much better, even on "bad" days. The urge to crack my jaw hasn't returned at all. My eating has returned to normal, though I need to slow it down since I'm gaining back that weight I lost. College food, sigh. 

Also since my last update a lot has happened in regards to my December surgery. I went to see my surgeon, and he told me that my nose was definitely infected. He thought it was the graft in my nose that I was reacting to. I was admitted to the hospital on February 21 and put on IV antibiotics. My nose responded to them very well, and the swelling was down noticeably the next day. Dr A ordered a CTscan so we could see what was causing the infection and where it was located. After looking at the scans it turned out that the graft was perfectly fine. Something was causing the infection, but no one really knew what. Wednesday and Thursday were spent debating whether or not to take me into the OR again to clean out the infection. On the one hand we knew the graft was fine, but on the other there was definitely an infection, and if it needed to be cleaned out then it was best to get it done. Finally Friday came and so did the decision to take me back to the OR. Dr A cleaned everything out, and got rid of two abscessed sutures. I went home Saturday afternoon and was back in class by Monday morning. We're all still baffled by the whole situation. I was sent home with a one month course of antibiotics, which I'm still taking.

Other than that hiccup, things from my December surgery are great. That bit of my cheek that had scarred down to the muscle has been freed up, and my nose is back to being a natural looking width.

I can't even begin to say how thankful I am for everything. It's been a long process, and there were more than a few really lousy days involved, but it has all been so worth it. Just living without pain and a nagging urge to click is worth every bit I went through and then some. This whole process has just been so incredibly rewarding from the people I've met to the things I've learned to the incredible benefits.

Life these days really is back to normal. The only time I even think about my surgery is when I look at old pictures. If there's one thing that orthognathic surgery has taught me, it is that no matter how much your life gets turned upside-down, you will find normalcy again, and the world will right itself without your noticing it. And when you finally do notice, you just think, "Well, what do you know? I made it, after all."

Be well, every one. I can't thank you enough or tell you what your support has meant to me these past months. Chin up, it gets better!


  1. Nora, your positive attitude is so inspiring! Sometimes it's hard to see the bright side of things when life doesn't go as planned....somehow you've perfected an attitude of gratitude. Best wishes to you!

  2. Hi Nora, I'm so glad you've come out of all this with a positive view. And I'm glad you're nose got sorted out. I hope I'm as happy with my outcome as you are :)

  3. Nora! Was wondering where you've been. I"m glad to hear things have turned around for you and you're back to your old positive, happy self! Just wanted to stop by and say hello... I'll be posting an update this week. Having some more issues that need to be addressed by the surgeon on Monday.

    Anyway, just wanted to say hi!


  4. Glad to hear your infection is clearing up. You truly do have a great attitude. I hope I can be as positive as you are after my surgery :)

  5. Thank you ladies for your kind words. I can:t thank you enough for your support and encouragement through this crazy journey.

  6. Hi Nora! I noticed you haven't updated in a while. I hope all is well with you!

  7. Nora, just checking in to see how you've been! Let us know :-)