Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 60 Post Op

Day 60 Breakfast
Day 60 post op and I have reached two major eating milestones in my recovery.  Last night I successfully managed to eat chicken teriyaki strips from the take-out place!  It was actually much easier than before my surgery to bite through the chicken.

Second is today's breakfast featured in the photo.  Greek yogurt parfait with banana, blueberries, honey and ...yes, Udi's granola.  Ok., I couldn't eat all the granola, but I was able to eat all but the most hard pieces of nut and raisin.  Normalcy is returning to my life.  Not that I won't still behave myself for the most part.  I still have braces on so still nothing sticky and chewy like caramels or popcorn or pizza crust.  Still, this is great and it has put a big smile on my face.

I talked to my Mom last night on the phone and she wanted to know if my migraines were now history.  She says everyone is asking her.  Ok, for all of you out there, including my friends who thought it nuts to do this "just to get rid of sleep apnea".  Once again, there are at least 5 reasons I chose to do this: 1) get rid of ONE of my migraine triggers; 2) cure my sleep apnea; 3) give me a fighting chance to keep all my teeth; 4) be able to chew on both sides of my mouth; and 5) be able to bite through pizza crust, an apple, and other hard things that most people with a good bite can do.

Yes, I still get migraines, although I think I am getting slightly fewer than before the surgery.  My teeth are still not in their final position.  The orthodontist is now able to start doing moving them since my jaws are mostly healed.  They put large spaces between my upper teeth in two places in preparation for the surgery.  Still not sure why they needed to do it, but they did and it left me with a lisp and a very large overbite after the surgery.  Now that the wires are moving my teeth again the overbite is gone (in two weeks) and the spaces are starting to close up thanks to the big elastics.  Now both sides of my molars hit at the same time, but my front teeth are still hitting funny because of the new positions.  So I am still clenching (although the botox helps keep it minimal) I won't know how much an improvement in my migraines I will have achieved until my teeth get into those "perfect" spots.  But I went into this accepting that a one third improvement in the frequency of my headaches was success.  I know it is complicated and probably why my mother doesn't understand, but i have a lot of migraine triggers.  The surgery may solve one of them.  Not eating gluten got rid of my migraine with aura.  I still have reactive hypoglycemia and low blood sugar can trigger a migraine as can a change in the weather or dehydration.  I cannot change everything.  I will always have some migraines.  I have accepted this.  I wish everyone else would too.

The sleep apnea and the prospect of my degenerating jaw causing  gum recession and possible loss of  teeth was more serious and scary to me.  My narrow airway also caused breathing problems during exercise and the loss of sleep from the apnea was really degrading my health.

You shouldn't discount the importance of being able to chew properly.  It is a huge quality of life issue.  According to my doctors, as we age, everyone's bones shrink and the jaws recess somewhat.  In my case, I had an underdeveloped lower jaw and the orthodontist in my youth made it worse by removing teeth to solve the crowding problem.  By the time I saw my current orthodontist (and the sleep doctor and the surgeon) my jaw was so small that my tongue was too big for it and my airway was extremely narrow in one spot because of how far back my lower jaw was positioned.  The work around I developed to be able to chew a meal put a huge amount of stress on my jaws and on my joints.  This caused facial muscle fatigue and inflammation which then triggered the migraine response and the nausea, light and sound sensitivity.

In my opinion, I had no choice if I wanted to lessen the pain in my life and improve my health.  Orthodontics could only do so much.  If I had not had the surgery, I would have had to wear a bite splint that stuck out of my mouth and made me lisp for the rest of my life.  I would have had to sleep with a CPAP machine which gave me gas and made me gag for the rest of my life.  Bottom line:  it is my life.  I made my decision and I still think I did the right thing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

8 Weeks Post Op

Day 55
Tomorrow morning it will be 8 weeks since my surgery.  My doc says 8-12 weeks is the recovery time for bone healing.  So there you go.

Still not a great picture.  Used the camera in my laptop and cannot figure out how to get the flash off so have to mess with the image in Photoshop and its still not great.

Saw the orthodontist last week and he has started moving my upper teeth again to close up the awful spaces between my teeth that give me a lisp and make me look like a hick.  This involves rubber bands...really huge strong ones (made in Korea, though not sure why that sticks in my mind).  The mongo elastics come with a little tool to get them on and off and at first I thought I didn't need it because surgeon doc gave me such a nifty scissor-like tool already.  Well, the thing with the mongo elastics is that they are so thick that they are hard to get on and off and one in particular does not want to come off the back tooth unless I cut it off...unless I use the cute little plastic tool that comes with the elastics.  Go figure.

The other thing I figured out this week is how much easier it is to floss when I use the compact magnifying mirror that I carry with me when I am out and about.  I lay it down on the counter and then I can actually see what I am doing!  It also keeps the food particles off the big bathroom mirror so I don't have to clean it so much.  It is far easier to clean the compact mirror. Yes,  I am so lazy.  Flossing, by the way is MUCH easier now.  I can open my jaws more than one finger wide easily.  Two fingers still is a bit uncomfortable, but less so than a week ago.

Eating is easier.  Surgeon doc says I no longer need to wear his elastics during the day so I am finished with the taking on and off before and after meals.  Thank God.  Don't seem to have to take the mongo orthodontist ones off before eating, just after to brush and floss.  I seem to be able to eat things now that were "challenging" a week or two ago.  Like grapes and orange slices.  And toast.  I even had a revelation about how I could eat baby carrots.  I could steam them first and then let them cool. Why didn't I think about this before?  I can cook them to desired softness and then cool them and keep in the fridge and be able to have a semblance of a low-cal snack.  True, the fiber is probably not as good, but it's better than resorting to pudding. Yes?

Exercise.  I went back to Naginata practice last Saturday and discovered that now that my hip is better (bone graft stuff all healed) my knee that I had cartilage surgery on last March is really hurting when I put all my weight on it.  Seems like the whole left leg is weaker so I started doing the physical therapy exercises to strengthen it again.  Also have to take an anti-inflammatory prior to practice and maybe use the heat pack on the knee.  Otherwise, I would have been ok with the exercise.  I have been trying to do a little more in my daily routine.  Like take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.  Still not full strength when I do 3 flights of stairs.  But in my regular routine I feel fine.

My stitches are nearly all gone.  Just one little one left on the upper jaw.  This makes cleaning the teeth easier. Grabbing the end of a stitch instead of the dental floss was a real wake-up call. Not good.  Not good at all.

The feeling is coming back in my chin and lower lip.  More noticeable now.  My lip is so good that I can drink from a cup without much fear of dribbling down the front of my shirt.  When I touch my chin I feel little shooting nerve pains in my teeth (like when the dentist hits a nerve) so I guess that means the nerves are regenerating.  Yay.  I can talk better now because of it.

So how come no one ever comments on this blog?  I know people are reading it.  Would be nice to know if it helps anyone.  I have the same issue with my gluten-free blog.  I wonder if it is the Google password stuff they make you do to post a comment.  Any suggestions? Maybe I'm just boring. Whatever.  On to week 9.