Day 42 – Slow and Steady

Changes have started to slow down quite a bit now. I understand why many bloggers start to ‘drift’ or disappear around this point. BUT, since my orthodontist says that what you see at month one, versus, month two, three and four are often quite different….I’ll stick around 😉

With just under two weeks to go until my next appointment with the surgeon, I’m still working on expanding my mouth. Prior to surgery, my mouth had limited opening ability – 35 mm. A ‘normal’ mouth ranges from 35 to 55 mm so I’m essentially trying to reach my old range. Currently, I’ve accomplished 32/33 mm but I can’t deny that it’s a struggle. I get so far by the end of the day and then after a night’s sleep, my mouth seems to seize and I have to start over again at the 28/29 mm mark…reliving the joint pain over and over. I’m going to see if my massage therapist can work on the muscles near my joints.

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Sexy 😉

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I also need to work on how I open my mouth. My bottom jaw seems to have a tendency of opening slightly off centred. One day at a time!

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My smile is also starting to look a little more relaxed and not so ‘plastic’. My cheeks still have some level of swelling that prevents me from smiling fully without my top lip disappearing. The middle of my chin is also still numb which leaves me unable to control the centre of my lower lip.

Day 37 – I LOVE MY FACE!!

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So much so, that I treated my new face to a new ‘do’ 🙂

I’m amazed at how much change has occurred in the last week from minor loses in swelling! My chin is evening out, my cheek bones are becoming more pronounced and I can’t help but stare all the time when I catch myself with my lips shut. It’s still such a foreign concept for me but one that I am incredibly delighted in.

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Side note – I COMPLETELY understand now why so many patients have spoken of becoming ‘selfie junkies’ post surgery! Prior to surgery, so many of us have agonized over photos  of ourselves; feeling self conscious about our smiles (or lack there of); adjusting our bite to appear ‘normal’. OR, the countless photo op attempts we’ve made, only to come out with one or two ‘semi acceptable’ choices worthy of the eyes of others…heaven forbid dreaded social media platforms! I was even the type who loathed the selfie-obsessed. Why did people have to obsessively post photos of their perfect looking faces..all…the…TIME, while I wanted to hide from every candid shot friends and family snuck of me that made me cringe.

Well, I’m not about to become an obnoxious selfie gal. BUT, I AM going to be extremely proud of my new face and the recovery that I’ve been through. Bring on those candid shots, people!! 🙂

 

 

So… About Those Jaw Exercises…

Remember when I admitted that my surgeon’s millimetre expectations were causing me a certain level of anxiety? Apparently…that was justified!!

After my last follow up appointment, my surgeon wanted me to work up to 25 mm; from the 17 mm at the time…within two weeks. I tried not to panic but then fast forward to the day before my latest appointment and I still had only managed to reach 23 mm. I was feeling like a bit of a failure – blame a lifetime of school girl perfectionism lol

Fast forward again to my appointment. My surgeon approaches with his trusty ruler and WHAT?! I was only measuring 20 mm!!!! 😥 I was actually near tears because I knew how much joint pain I had gone through the past week to gain those few extra mms that were now no where to be found. To make matters worse, my surgeon admitted that I was officially running out of time to stretch my mouth much further before the joints/bone/muscles all settle into their permanent positions. Again….WHAT?!?!?!?!?!

I was about to walk out with my head hung in shame when I said, ‘Look, please hand me those tongue depressors! I’ll prove it!’ I piled them up, shoved them in my mouth and BOOM! 23 mm baby! Oh but wait. My surgeon instructed me how to increase the progress more effectively. When the depressors are in your mouth, take another one and add it in amidst the ones already in your mouth and carefully tap/shift it in – like an axe splitting wood. Surprise! 25 mm!!! And some admitted joint pain. But ooooh was it ever worth it to see his satisfaction 🙂

Of course, he then informed me that at my next appointment in three weeks, he expects me to be at 35 mm!! Bring on the tongue depressors…… :-l

Day 31 – I Can Chew!

After another follow up appointment with my surgeon, I have been given the green light to chew ANYTHING! Granted, that last word is used loosely as I quickly found out that this whole chewing gig is going to take some practice haha

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I started slowly with some delicious fruit and yogurt. I learned quickly that even that was somewhat challenging because…..most of my molars are still numb! When I first started to ‘chew’, I realized that I couldn’t actually tell what and/or if I was chewing unless it came in contact with my tongue.

I also noticed that certain textures are going to take more practice than others. Things like orange slices and bananas which have more ‘movement’ once chewed are harder to keep track of between my teeth; and to know whether or not I’ve actually chewed completely through. Things like strawberries and very tender asparagus or chicken, while still soft, maintain a more solid form while chewed thus making them easier to break down.

Day 30 – Before and After (Exciting Changes!)

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FINALLY, I have a few minutes to breathe, rest, and check in with everyone! I’m officially back to myself from a work perspective…so in classic style, it has taken over my life!! I’ve spent the remainder of each day resting up from pure mental exhaustion (and a little joint pain from my jaw stretching exercises).

It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire month since surgery. Time is FLYING! I’ve officially reached that stage where the regular changes in residual swelling and numbness tend to slow down quite a bit. However, in my case I have to admit that I’m still constantly astounded by the visible changes in my appearance….and I’m LOVING IT!!!

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I have been told by many that I look much younger. I won’t argue that! 🙂 Everything is so much more lifted and defined in my face that I no longer appear haggard and old all of the time. That in itself does wonders for the psyche! I wake up with more energy and feel more ‘alive’ when I look in the mirror. I’m amazed at how collapsed my nose was prior to surgery and I’m shocked how much more proportionate my entire face seems. Even my large forehead no longer seems as prominent since my new chin helps to balance out the top and bottom of my face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Didn’t Disappear – I Swear!

I’m so sorry for the silence! I’ve been so incredibly swamped with work this past week that I haven’t had time to sit down and blog OR I just had to avoid the internet at all cost in my down times in order to avoid more work emails!! LOL

I’m going to try and post a Week 5 (that’s just crazy!) update in the next couple of days! Hang in there everyone! I have seen your updates and you are all looking INCREDIBLE!!! 🙂

Day 25 – I LOVE Progress!

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Day 24

Happy Monday, everyone!

It’s another lovely, sunny but FREEZING COLD day as we await March to go out like a Lion with a massive Blizzard warning for Wednesday :-l You know it’s bad when I’ve already starting planning our next trip to the Med in the fall!

So this weekend offered up a lovely mix of relaxation and visitations by friends and family. After a long week of working from home, I realized on Friday evening just how much I needed to start getting out to socialize more. Both to increase my facial muscle strength AND my emotional state. Yes, the dreaded blues often experienced by jaw surgery patients finally hit me; like a BRICK. So, my husband took charge and forced me out of the house for much of the weekend. Fast forward to Monday morning….SUCH a good idea 🙂

Greatest accomplishment since my last post – I’m getting CHEEKBONES!!! Who knew something like that would give me so much satisfaction? After spending years feeling like my face was aging extremely quickly; almost appearing caved in – a result of long face syndrome, I couldn’t be more excited!

Second greatest accomplishment – I’m finally seeing progress in the number of mms that I can open my mouth! I’d be lying if I said my surgeon’s request to reach 28 mm by next week’s follow up appointment wasn’t causing me some anxiety. Having only been documented at 17 mm during my last appointment, the new goal just seemed completely unattainable! I think a combination of the infection decreasing and the amount of talking I did this weekend can explain how I suddenly went up to 22 mm this morning. YAY!! Phew! One week to go and 6 more mm to go. I.CAN.DO.THIS!

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Day 25

Swelling:

I’ve since lost a bit more swelling in both my chin and right cheek. However, I’ve noticed that any time I do a lot of talking, the swelling tends to increase in both cheeks a couple hours later. Anyone else experience this?

My right side is still more swollen than my left which seems to be the norm for everyone to have one side that recovers more slowly than the other.

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Numbness:

No changes in this department at the moment. My husband and I have started a kissing test to measure changes in my lips 😉 He just can’t have too much ‘scruff’ or the little prickles feel like daggers to my upper lip haha

Sleep/Energy:

I’ve managed to get down to using only two pillows at night. I have a very fluffy/cushiony pillow that has allowed me to enjoy some proper side sleeping – oh how I missed that!

I’ve also been able to get out for more lengthy walks around town. I do still get quite winded/out of breath when climbing stairs or a hill with any level of incline but I know this will improve over time. I’m going to try and start using an elliptical or spin bike this week to increase my cardio a bit more.

Eating:

Still on a ‘no chew’ diet. I’ve often wondered why this rule is so strictly enforced when you’re only eating things that are blended, pureed, or over-cooked. Well, I ‘ate’ some very over-cooked pasta and a noodle accidently ended up between my teeth. My jaws involuntarily decided to shut and ‘chew’ the noodle. BAD MOVE! Who knew a single noodle could cause such a sharp pain to shoot through my molars :O

In the meantime, I’ve added a few more items to my menu of options

– ‘3 ingredient pancakes’ – ripe banana, 1 egg, 2 tbsp. oat flour. Tastes like a cross between a pancake and banana bread! I cook it with a hint of coconut oil and a dash of cinnamon and I add in my VEGA all-in-one protein powder to round out the meal.

– blended cashew chicken – mixed in sticky rice – A-MAZING

– mashed beans – quick and easy extra dose of fibre and protein

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Wonky but progressive smile 🙂