Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Day... 41?

I haven't posted for two weeks, so I thought I better write something while I actually remember!

Since the previous entry, where I had the splint removed, life has been better. I have been able to eat better food and be able to eat it easier- I had toast and it was AMAZING!! It was probably the food I had been craving the most since surgery, so to be able to finally eat it was fantastic. I still can't open my mouth wide enough sideways (if that makes sense) to be able to bite into it, so I have to cut it into soldiers. Never the less, I'm still loving toast. I've also been able to have hot chips and lollies. Any weight I lost in the first few weeks will soon be all put back on I'm sure, especially as I'm not allowed to do any strenuous exercise yet. However I do go for walks, not that I walk very fast and they're only for 40minutes max, but by that stage I am stuffed!

I was supposed to go back to work the day after getting the splint off, but I took the extra week so that my wires could also be removed, and I was so glad for it! Because my bottom teeth had no guidance from the splint as to where to go and be held in position, my jaw muscles had to work so much harder, and I was pretty sore for a couple of days. I still had the wires in and wore the bands, only taking them off to eat. It was great being able to brush my teeth. There was a lot of blood and it felt very strange as my gums were completely numb! The sensation is slowly coming back to them.

So last Wednesday night I had the wires removed. Once again I got the happy gas (the nurse pumped it a bit higher than normal because the procedure is quite brutal and unpleasant), then my surgeon gave me about a dozen local anaesthetic injections in my gums. Once they'd taken effect, he sniped where the wires were twisted into hooks, then yanked the wires out. My mum said she couldn't believe how long some of these wires were- a good few inches apparently. I had my eyes shut because I thought seeing them come out of my mouth covered in blood, and seeing the blood in the suction tube would freak me out. It felt uncomfortable, and I some of the wires required some pretty strong yanks to get out, but it wasn't painful. I then went and rinsed as much of the blood off my face as I could and headed home. I go back to see the surgeon in 6 weeks.

My top lip which was very swollen because of the wire rubbing against it, went down quite dramatically within the first couple of days. It's still a bit swollen, especially in the mornings, but I know eventually it will return to normal size and I will no longer look so much like a duck. The rest of my face is also coming down well since the wires have come out. I can now see I have a jawline and my cheeks aren't quite so puffy.

I went back to work the day after having the wires out, but I haven't been working full days- 6 hours is the longest shift I'm doing. I just get so tired! And working in aged care I have found it difficult raising my voice so they can hear me clearly, and the swelling has meant I've been speaking with a bit of a slurry lisp. But it's getting better.

I've had a lot of mixed reactions from people at work. I suppose because they haven't seen how swollen I initially was, they just kept saying how swollen I look and how I look tired and sore- not that I'm looking good. I had one of the staff come up to me and ask, "Crap! What happened to your face?!" which I can kinda understand because it is obviously different to how it was, but it was more the way she said it. I came away from work feeling really uneasy about it all.

I went to the orthodontist, and he changed the top wire because it got cut during surgery. I have to wear elastics in square shapes at night. I told him I was a bit concerned that my top teeth aren't straight across and are on a slant(?) and they're off centre to the left a little. He said these things should be able to be fixed with different elastic arrangements and we'll talk about it more at my next appointment in a couple of weeks.

My feelings about my "new" face change frequently. Sometimes I feel really good about the changes, sometimes I don't feel quite so positive about them. I suppose it will take some getting used to, and the final result can't be seen yet due to all the swelling. My boyfriend has to remind me about this a lot and reassure me that I'm doing well. He has been great through this whole process.

I have had a bit of excitement in the last 24 hours... I'm starting to get feeling back in my bottom lip and chin! Not much, but at least it's reassurance that that whole area won't be numb forever. But I have to continue to be patient.

Photos to come soon.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

One step closer

No more horrible splint! I had it taken off earlier tonight and wow does it feel strange.

I got pumped with the happy gas at the surgeon's and felt like I was floating. It was a relief because I was worried about whether it was going to hurt and if I was just going to have to be brave. But man. That gas was bliss. I could feel them prodding around in there, and got jabbed in the gums and lip a few times, but it wasn't bothersome whatsoever. I still have my wire hooks in and have to wear elastics to help my muscles get used to closing my mouth correctly without having the splint there as a guide, the wires get taken out next week. My jaw muscles are sore tonight but I'm sure as they get used to their new demands it'll get better.

Swelling continues to slowly go down. Sensation continues to slowly come back.

For a while I've been finding the sitting up to sleep thing very uncomfortable. I wake up numerous times through the night, sometimes for a couple of hours at a time, and can not get comfy again. But because I wake up quite puffy and swollen I was scared that if I was to lay down it would be even worse. Last night after being awake for about an hour, I was fed up and thought, "screw this, I'm laying down". I slept gloriously. And to my pleasure, I was no more swollen when I got up than I had been previously when I'd been sitting up to sleep. So I'm going to sleep lying down ALL NIGHT tonight!

Nothing more to report. I'm about to brush my teeth and it's a bit ridiculous how excited I am about it!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Day 22 photos

Just quickly posting a few new photos. My lip is still swollen but it is soooo much better than it was! Still have a lot of swelling in the bottom half of my face...

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Day 17

Slowly, slowly getting there.

The bruising is just about all gone- there's just a little bit underneath my chin which is still purple-ish, and my hand where I had my drip is still quite bruised and a bit sore, but I'm fine with that.

The swelling continues to go down, but the rate at which it's decreasing has slowed down. The right side of my face is more swollen than my left side so I look rather lop-sided! My lip has gone down significantly. It's still quite swollen, but so much better than it was. I now resemble a human more than a duck! The problem was that one of the wire hooks was sticking into my lip so everytime I talked or ate it would rub and iritate it. So when I went to see the surgeon  he bent the hook around and hey presto- no more iritation! Hopefully it will return to normal size soon.

The surgeon is still very happy with how things are going. I now only have to wear my elastic bands when I sleep. I had x rays taken and the difference is amazing. I have four plates in my top jaw, one on either side of my bottom jaw, and one on my chin. Before surgery, my back teeth of my top jaw was sitting on the second back teeth of my bottom jaw, and now they line up perfectly. It's amazing what they can do in that little space!

I'm still sleeping propped up, but my body is getting sick of it. I wake up a few times each night and then find it so difficult to get back to sleep because I can't get comfy. And I wake up in the morning and my body has made its way down to a point where I'm almost lying down flat, except my head is still held upright by my pillows- sore neck! Can not wait to be able to sleep on my side, lying flat, with only one pillow under my head.

I go back to see the surgeon on the 13th to get the splint taken off, then my wires off the following week, and wow that will be a happy day! I can not wait to be able to brush my teeth properly again!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Day 10

Today is day 10 post op. The bruising is noticeably less, but the swelling is taking a while. It's frustrating. The worst of it is in my lips. They're HUGE. I'm icing them to see if that helps, but most likely it will just need time. I just hope the massive swelling isn't due to an infection or anything. I'm sure the surgeon will let me know on Wednesday whether or not it's anything to be concerned over.

Sensation is slowly coming back, too. Every day I try to trace the outline of where my sensation cut off is and it's slowly getting narrower. I get these little pin prick feelings in my numb areas which I'm hoping is the sensation returning.

Yesterday I had soft foods for the first time since surgery and it was divine. Scrambled eggs never tasted so good! I had 2 for breakfast and then was so full I didn't want to eat the rest of the day. But I know I have to, so I had some mashed sweet potato and cottage cheese for dinner. Today I had mashed up avocado and cottage cheese and for dinner I'm having dahl- yum!!

I'm getting better at putting my elastics on. Still hurts a bit but I'm getting the hang of it. And I'm doing my exercises like a good girl so hopefully the surgeon will say I don't have to wear them during the day.

Other than the swelling, the other thing that's annoying me is the drooling. It's gross. I can't wait until I can lip seal and don't have to worry about dribbling.

That's it for now. Going to take some more photos tomorrow and hopefully I'll be able to notice a difference from a few days ago.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Photo update


Had a bit of a bad morning. Taking off the elastics and putting them back on was INCREDIBLY painful due to the stitches in my upper gum and lip. The slightest movement was like being stabbed repeatedly with needles, and because the wire hooks I need to loop the elastics onto are up quite high under my lip, I have no choice but to move my lip out of the way. Excrutiating. I had a bit of a cry. I just have to take it really slow and carefully, but it's so frustrating!

Anyway, here are some photos.

Straight after the op

Day 1 post op

Day 4 post op, ready to leave the hospital

And today, day 7 post op (excuse the lip drool! hahaha)

As you can see, the swelling has gone down quite a bit. Hopefully it won't be long until my lips are back to normal size and I can use my mouth normally again!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


I survived! I'm back at home and getting better every day. All up so far, I'm happy with the way things are going. There has been minimal pain, I haven't been hungry, and I have been getting so much support from friends and family and strangers. I can finally see the end in sight and I can't wait until it's all over.

So my surgery was Thursday last week (16th June). It was an afternoon op so I was sure to have a glorious breakfast that morning and savoured the ability to chew. Fasting started at 8:30am. Got to the hospital at 11, hung out in my room for a while, until I was taken down to the waiting room with my mum. There were a few tears, then I was wheeled away. The nurses didn't give me a pre-op med which they should have, so the anaesthetist wasn't impressed but it was no big deal. Next thing I knew I could hear my mum and dad talking to nurses but I was too groggy to open my eyes.

The surgery took 5.5 hours. They decided to give my sinuses a clean while they were there, and did a septoplasty and bilateral tubinectomy. I had a nasogastric tube in my left nostril and a nasopharyngeal tube in my right nostril. I had a tube coming out of each side of my neck to help with drainage. They were all removed the next day. Then I was taken from the high care nursing unit back to my own private room.

My mum stayed on a trundle bed in my room for the rest of my time in hospital. I had visitors come and give me flowers and everyone seemed really impressed with how well I was doing- not that I really felt it myself. I had no energy, even walking across my room to go to the toilet would absolutely wipe me out. Eating was a struggle, and wasn't helped by the fact that sometimes the kitchen would give me soups that were impossible to suck up with a syringe like brocolli soup! But every day I tried to eat a little more because I knew it was going to help me get better quicker.

I was given the OK for discharge on Monday. The trip home was exhausting so I went straight to bed for a few hours. That night I slept terribly. I couldn't get comfy, my ice packs were too cold, I had a headache... I was very grumpy and felt a little regret doing this whole thing. But the day went on and I looked through photos from when I was in hospital and realised how much improvement had already happened and started to feel better. My nose finally cleared and last night I slept really well.

Today I'm starting to feel really good and get a bit of energy. I can already notice changes despite all the swelling. My nose looks a little different and I can see a little bit of a jawline coming through. I am very bruised on my cheeks down to my chest, and I still have a lot of numbness but it's slowly coming back. I just keep reminding myself that each day my swelling, bruising and numbness will keep going down. And it will soon be all behind me.

I saw the surgeon tonight and he is really pleased with my recovery. When he cut my elastics it felt so so strange- my jaw just kinda sprung open (I'm sure it was only like a tiny tiny bit, but felt huge!). He gave me elastics so I can take them off for meals and brushing my teeth, then put them back on afterwards. He also gave me exercises I need to do 3 times a day to train my muscles into their new bite. Elastics coming off means... I can start eating soft foods!! Things like scrambled eggs and stuff. This es exciting. Not that I haven't been eating well- my mum's been making up yummy soups and custard and protein drinks- but it means I am that much closer to being able to eat a burger again! So I go back to see the surgeon next week for another check up.

It's not letting me add photos and I'm getting sleepy, so I'll be sure to put some up tomorrow.