Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Six Weeks Post Op

No pics today.  Sorry. Bad hair day and too tired to do anything about it.  Yesterday I woke up at 4:30 am and couldn't get back to sleep so thought I would be tired yesterday, but no...tired today.  Hmm.  Also had trouble sleeping last night but not because of apnea or my teeth or anything.  It was the wind.  And the rain.  Sounds silly but the winds were so strong I thought the roof would come off and the rain was, well, it was a West Coast Winter storm.  Anyone in Northern California or Oregon and  Washington knows what I mean.  Hate it. Big time.  Especially up here on top of the mountain.  Winds are really strong.

So, six weeks.  Bruising gone.  Swelling still hanging in there slightly.  I really do think I am still clenching.  I wake up with my teeth not touching each other, but my molars are aching like they were touching.  I tried putting heat on my jaws after breakfast and it seemed to stave off the usual migraine that comes with the jaw inflammation.  Good tip.  Hope I remember it, ha!

I can chew, even turkey meat if it is moist, but I have to cut it into tiny pieces and take it easy.  My open faced turkey sandwich at lunch looked like a toddler's plate.  All cut up into tiny little pieces.  Jaw is sore on left side after chewing turkey.  Ground meat is easier but it gets caught in those pesky knots in my stitches along the sides of my teeth.  Really a pain to get out.

I really feel pretty good overall at the six week point.  I feel ready to go back to work after New Year's next week.  For me that is freelance translating, so it means sitting with my laptop all day, not heavy work.  Just heavy mental work.  Russian to English.

My hip (from the bone graft) is much, much better.  I can walk, go up and down stairs, no problem.  Today I  even did my exercises for my back and knee (had knee surgery for cartilage tear earlier this year).  No problem with the hip.  What a relief.

See the surgeon tomorrow.  Can't wait actually.  Hoping he will release me to my orthodontist so we can get this party started again and move those upper teeth into final position.  The spaces they left for surgery left me with a big overbite and they are both bugging me.  I must be getting better because I am complaining so much.

Still numb in the chin and lower lip but it feels different this last week.  Like it is trying to wake up.  My muscles move better in the chin and lip area now.  But it feels different talking.  I guess moving the lower jaw out so much would make a difference.

Baked bread yesterday.  Jules Gluten Free Sandwich Bread.  Soft and slightly sweet, it makes a great breakfast bread and it is nice and soft.  Easy to eat.  Still starting my day with a shot of prune juice.  Have to say that it is more pleasant than other ways of getting things going.  Have to make sure I have adequate protein to go along with it though.  Had a sugar crash today after breakfast.  Not fun.

On to week seven.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Five Weeks Post OP

Day 38
Wow! Today is Day 38 post op.  Swelling is nearly gone, just a bit in left cheek and right jowl.  Bruising pretty much gone.  Some of my stitches inside my mouth have been reabsorbed into my skin and the biggest and most annoying knot fell off (I think I must have swallowed it).  Ugh.

I can floss all my teeth, but it still takes a long time to get the ones in the very back.  Mostly it is because my muscles are not used to moving that way yet and some of the stitches along the top of the upper gum line have little string ends hanging down and I accidentally pull on them instead of the floss...big ouch.  So, I have to go from the top down, which is more difficult for me for some reason.

I can open my mouth more than one finger, but not quite two fingers.  I am chewing a bit, although still find softer food more appealing.  Most annoyed that I couldn't eat roasted vegetables from PCC the other day.  Even microwaving them, they didn't soften enough.  Bummer.  Discovered that tofu is just as annoying as scrambled egg for getting stuck in my brackets and wires.  Major pain to clean it all out.  My teeth cleaning routine now is to rinse about six times with warm salt water, then brush, then rinse, then floss, then rinse several more times.  It is truly amazing that food particles will come out on the last rinse after all that, but they do.  Go figure.

Numbness.  I am no longer numb in my cheeks for the most part and my upper lip is pretty much ok, although lately the stitches pinch a bit there.  Still have occasional wake-up pains and pins and needles.  The area of pins and needles is moving around to different spots.  Makes sense.  I have a little more feeling back in my lower lip, but still can't put my lips together to spread lip gloss, for instance.  Very important stuff here.  Still have numbness under my eyes, but it is much less than before.  Ditto for my lower lip.  My chin.  A story unto itself.  The middle of my chin is still numb, but now I can feel it when I dribble water down it (which is sadly, still pretty often). The sides of my chin are gradually waking up.  The right side more so than the left.  I have some feeling below my lower lip on the sides.

Pain.  The pain is not so bad and it comes and goes.  Wish I could say my headaches have disappeared, but I would be lying.  Not sure why I am still having headaches.  They are not as frequent as before but still seem to come in the morning or middle of the night.  I think they are dehydration related (got to drink more water) and maybe I am still clenching, although I am not sure my teeth are clenching but maybe the facial muscles are trying to clench, if that makes any sense. When I wake up, my mouth is open, but my molars hurt.  Sometimes I have nerve pain in my teeth.  It doesn't last long.  If it comes in the middle of the night, I take some Tylenol and that helps.

Hip pain and discomfort (bone graft related).  My hip is so much better!  I can walk almost normally.  When I try to walk at my normal pace, I feel some stiffness and pain, but it doesn't stop me like it did.  So wonderful not to walk like an old lady.

Chewing.  Yes, I am chewing.  Last week I made roasted chicken thighs and could eat the meat.  Then I went to PF Chang's and ate some shrimp and chicken in the GF Shanghai Noodles.  What a treat.  This week I made brown rice pasta with Bolognese sauce (with ground beef and pork).  It was to die for.  So good and so easy to eat.  So I decided to make turkey and stuffing and cranberry relish for Christmas Day.  I am going to have that Thanksgiving dinner I missed if it kills me.  I did decide to skip the dessert though.  I am down 8 lbs and want to keep losing and I weigh in the day after Christmas.

Next week is the six week mark and I see the surgeon again on Thursday.  If he doesn't release me I will have to reschedule my orthodontist appointment for the following week.  I am actually anxious for an adjustment.  I can't quite put my lips together comfortably yet and part of that is due to the spaces between some of the upper teeth.  Can't wait for those to be closed up.

On to Christmas.  Won't be exactly the same, but at least I won't be putting on the usual 4-6 lbs.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Week 3

Day 26 Post Op...a smile
I'm almost there.  Can begin chewing in three days at week 4.  Week three was busy, so no time for posting.  Our house went back on the market on 2 December and we had a flurry of showings, so was cleaning and straightening and getting out during the showings.

Also this week I was able to start eating better food.  Some scrambled eggs, soft tofu, tuna fish salad (very wet) and soft fish.  Went out to dinner for the first time and went Japanese.  Miso soup, steamed rice (pretty difficult to eat without chewing), grilled salmon (even more challenging) and sake and green tea ice cream (easy to manage).  Lost another pound this week despite eating the new foods.  Was very careful to keep up my Weight Watcher tracking.  It would be so easy to just give in and eat hot fudge sundaes, but thought better of it.  With the fish it was best to take really tiny pieces because it wasn't cooked soft enough.  Made oatmeal yesterday and today and that was a huge hit, both with me personally and with my poor digestive system.  It's much happier now.

Saw the doc this week and he was so happy that he said I don't have to come back for three weeks and  he took me from 4 elastics to 2. He even said I could take a break from them sometimes if I want.  He couldn't be more pleased with my progress.  The only challenging thing this week has been my hip.  Still limping from the bone graft thing, although it seems to be gradually improving.  The doc suggested hot baths and that gives immediate relief, but then things go back to where they were pretty quick after that.  The pain has eased up, so although I still walk at a snail's pace, I am not in constant pain. That's good.

Major swelling in the face is gone but still have some and the bruises are still not completely gone.  Hoping they will be next week.  I am having shooting pains in my teeth off and on.  Think it is wake-up nerve pains.  Cheeks are mostly back to normal with just a bit of pins and needles stuff near the chin.  Chin is still numb as is lower part of lower lip.  Still feels icky to put lipstick on the bottom lip.

Talking is still not normal but sometimes people can understand me.  Depends how many "B" and "P" and "M" sounds are in the words.  I still feel like my lower lip is twice its normal size and am shocked to see it isn't when I look in the mirror.

I can floss nearly all my teeth now.  The very back molars are still too hard to get to unless I really push my cheeks back hard, but then it hurts, so I think best to wait until nothing hurts.  Hard to believe it will be a month since my surgery later this week.  Feels more like a year, Hah!

Got to go now and make dinner.  Imagine...baked salmon, sauteed spinach and roasted yams. A real dinner, even if I can't chew it yet.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 20 Post Op

Day 20
Almost to week 3 now.  Here are the latest pics.  Had to take them myself in the mirror and couldn't get the flash to stay off, so they are not ideal, but you get the idea.  Swelling continues to go down.  Bruising just about gone.

Eating some fun stuff now...mashed potatoes, deviled ham, scrambled egg, pudding.  Tried to get some meat into my diet last week and tried baby food.  Take my word for it, don't go there.  After that fiasco I looked up recipes online for deviled ham and made some yesterday. Much better.  Although the saltiness of the ham was surprising.  I guess a couple weeks without processed food and your palate changes.

Satisfied a couple of soup cravings in the last couple days.  I have been thinking about Julia Child's Cream of Mushroom Soup for days.  I finally had the energy to make it last night.  In fact, I think I overdid it last night in the activity department.  I started the mushroom soup, then got potatoes going for mashing, then made the deviled ham.  So last night we had mashed potatoes, deviled ham and cream of mushroom soup.  It only took two hours on my feet in the kitchen.  Yes, that was silly, but what a meal that was. Voila.

Mushroom soup
Mashed potatoes and deviled ham

Ok. So I have to admit that I could not eat the mushrooms as pictured in the photo.  Too big and not soft enough to eat without chewing.  But after dinner I pureed the rest of the soup for later meals.  The deviled ham was easy to make in the food processor: lean ham, mayo, dijon mustard and sweet pickle relish.  Process it until it is a spread.  Easy to eat without chewing.  BTW, if you have never tried cream of mushroom soup from scratch, you are really missing something.  It is heaven itself.  Julia's recipe is fussy, but if you follow the instructions exactly, and I mean EXACTLY.  Lots of straining and pouring hot into cold and not the other way around, but definitely worth it.

Today I had to go out at lunch as our realtor was showing our house (yes, I am insane enough to be selling a house at the same time as having this surgery).  I thought about where I could eat and not embarrass myself too much.  I picked the bar at Purple Cafe and had their to-die-for tomato soup.  It is mostly tomatoes and olive oil.  I had a full bowl and proceeded to eat it with a teaspoon.  It took about 30 minutes, but I did not dribble down my chin...yay!  Of course, it wasn't enough so I had to have a mashed potato chaser when I got home, but hey, I went out to lunch and didn't embarrass myself.

Planning to rest the remainder of the day and have leftover soup and mash for dinner.  On to week 3.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Two Weeks Post Op

Week 2
 I'm two weeks post op and feeling a whole lot better.  I'm mobile, off the serious pain meds, driving myself to doctor appointments, shopping a bit, and drinking from a real cup/glass now.  I even graduated to soft food...a bit.  I had scrambled eggs for dinner last night.  In honor of my new status, I thought I'd dedicate this post to the things that made my life easier during the first two weeks.

Food syringes.  The hospital gives you a syringe to get water and juice that first night. Takes a long time to get anything down this way, but at first, it was all I could manage.  

Sippy Cups.  These are the cups with the lids that toddler's use so that they drink without spilling the liquid all over them.  Jaw surgery patients are eating at the stage of a toddler too, so they work.  Although, I still recommend a towel bib under the chin because I still managed to drip even with a sippy cup.  Also, at first I couldn't use them because they have a flap in the drinking spout that keeps things from leaking out.  I couldn't get any liquid with it there, so we modified my cups to remove it.  In the beginning, one sippy cup of smoothie or juice or soup was all I could get down.  Later I could do two cups of soup.  Each sippy cup holds 7 oz. of liquid so it makes it easy to count how much you are getting.

Toddler Spoons.  These tiny spoons are the ones I used to try to eat things like pudding or soup.  I couldn't really open my jaws enough to use them until after the first 10 days.  Now I have graduated to a teaspoon.

Toddler toothbrush.  Really necessary and even these are not small enough at first.  I just started to be able to open my jaws enough to brush the insides of my teeth a few days ago.  Now I can floss my upper front teeth (very carefully).

I bought a 6-pack of sippy cups at the super market. But because my husband hates washing dishing by hand, he bought another 6-pack.  It's quite a sight to see them lined up and ready to go.  You'd think we had a baby in the house and not a baby-boomer recovering from jaw surgery. 


Off the hard pain meds

Taking off and putting on elastics myself

Had some of my hip bone graft stitches removed and got permission to take a shower without covering the incision!

Got permission to blow my nose!

Got permission to use a straw.

Started trying to eat soft foods like scrambled egg and pudding.

Drove myself to the doctor, etc.

Made another batch of soup from scratch (Spicy Carrot-Lentil).

Dusted the house (our house is for sale; having a showing tomorrow).

Cleaned my bathroom.

Put make-up on.

Went to Starbucks and drank a latte (carefully; in the car, looking in the vanity mirror to make sure I hit my mouth!)

Weird things happening:

More little wake-up pains in my cheeks and lower lip (have some feeling in the top part of lower lip)

Pain at the incision points above and below the gum lines. Not sure but think this is the nerves waking up.

Still feel like I have a cold.  Nose is dripping or congested all the time, but I can still breathe.