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 šŸ™‚

Greatest accomplishment since my last post – I’m gettingĀ CHEEKBONES!!! Who knew something like that would give me so much satisfaction? After spending years feeling like my face was aging extremely quickly; almostĀ appearing caved inĀ – 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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Ā 

Numbness:

No changes in this department at the moment. My husband and I have started a kissing test to measure changes in my lips šŸ˜‰ 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 šŸ™‚

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Day 21 – Three Weeks….Really?!

I’m writing this as I approach week FOUR, having realized just how fast the past week has gone by. So once again, I need to catch up!!

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Before and After – Day 21

I cannot get over the changes in my face, already!! I couldn’t be happier! I know that I still have a ways to go with residual swelling throughout my chin and cheeks but to know that things will only get better from here is astounding šŸ™‚

Work has kept me quite busy through the day but I’ve tried to get out more often in the evenings; whether for a walk or drive just for a change of scenery. However, I would really love for the weather to start improving! These cold temperatures have made it difficult to enjoy a walk around the neighbourhood in the sun because the cold wind feels brutal on my skin and nostrils; and breathing through my mouth is near impossible right now with the sensitivity level of my teeth!

The infection behind my molar seems to have decreased significantly. It has become much easier to brush my teeth and my cheek is not as visibly swollen on the outside.

No major changes in sensation. I’ve started to notice a minor range of sensation across my chin but it’s VERY minor because of the level of swelling that still exists. But hey, it’s something, right?!

I did notice a lessening in swelling of my left nostril which has only made breathing even easier šŸ™‚

Lastly, I’m officially getting sick of the ‘no chew’ phase and blending foods. I need to do some more research on some new items to try. My tastebuds are getting bored and I just can’t wrap my mind around the notion of blending things like pizza (hurl). I know it all goes down the same way but visually, I just can’t do it!

I hope everyone is having a great start to their week!

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Day 21

Day 20 – Back to Reality…Sort Of

I haven’t disappeared and I can’t believe tomorrow marks three weeks!! But I did have to return to work as of Monday so it’s taken up most of my time. I’m fortunate to be able to work from home until I feel up to spending all day at the office. However, any spare time is still being spent resting and catching up on sleep. I knew that getting back into the grove would require a lot of focus with my client files but MAN – I’m so mentally exhausted already!! I’ll get there….it’s just difficult when I start out feeling completely like my old self; only to end off the work day feeling like I hit a wall. I’m just not used to my body dictating my ‘limits’ like this!!

I had my second follow up appt with my surgeon on Tuesday. Turns out I have a minor infection at the back of my lower right molars and have been put on a quite potent antibiotic for seven days – which I have to alternate through the day with a probiotic. While I have been trying to diligently reach as many teeth as possible when brushing; turns out I was completely missing my back molars because the cheek tissue had internally swelled from the infection. And here I had thought I was just hitting the back of my mouth all this time! Side effect of having partially numb gums LOL Needless to say, I’ve resorted to brushing my teeth……in the dark….flashlight in hand, to ensure I reach the very back hahaha

Day 15 – Sleep Makes All the Difference

It’s hard to believe that two full weeks have come and gone. While I’m still in full blown recovery mode, I have definitely started to feel much more like myself. The biggest contributing factor has been successfully having a full night’s sleep. WHAT a difference! Up until a couple days ago, the norm had been 1-2 hour intervals of sleep followed by 1-2 hours of insomnia. It didn’t matter how much I tried to regain ‘rest’ through the day, the night time interruptions made it increasingly difficult to ‘feel better’ once morning arrived.

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Swelling:

I’ve entered the stage where the remainder of my swelling continues to decrease at a snail’s pace. But that’s okay! It’s amazing to see how things have changed in merely two weeks; and how there are noticeable, subtle changes every day. I have also noticed that depending on how and what position I slept the night before, the swelling that remains tends to shift through my face. At this point, it’s mainly my chin, right nostril and cheek. I did notice last night that swelling in my nostril and right cheek minimized slightly after trying a heat bag.

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Day 1 (that was a nightmare haha)

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Day 3

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Day 6

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Day 9

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Day 12

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Day 14

Numbness:

I know it’s still early but I have not seen much progressĀ in this department in the last week. Problem areas are similar to the swelling regions plus my upper gum is completely numb and my tongue only has partial sensation (and tastebuds functionality šŸ˜¦ ). Areas in red are still completely numb; areas in orange are partially numb. I still have constant tingling/prickly sensations across my chin and lower lip.

Numbness Day 15

Pain:

Since getting the surgical bands removed, my level of pain has drastically reduced. HALLELUJAH!!!! The jaw spasmsĀ have almost completely disappeared; another reason sleeping has dramatically improved and the piercing pain in my lip has stopped! Otherwise, I still have constant toothache pain across my lower front teeth and my lower right molars. However, this is nothing a simply Tylenol can’t help šŸ™‚ I’m most happy with the fact that I no longer require multiple dosages of liquid ibuprofen through the night. I rarely take medication in general so I’m happy to be weaning off of it. One round before bed and I’m good until the next night!!

Ā Eating and Weight Changes:

NO MORE PARTICLE-FREE LIQUIDS!!!!!!

I’m happily in the ‘no chew’ food stage of post surgery. Ironically, since having this new food freedom, I haven’t had nearly the appetite! What’s up with that?!?! Up until now, I was downing ensure/boost drinks and strained soups like it was candy (unappealing candy nonetheless) and still felt hungry. Now, I actually have to remember to eat something….so…strange.

During my particle-free liquid diet, I think I lost roughly 5 lbs. I was surprised that that was all but now I contribute that to a) forcing myself to eat using a cup rather than syringe – enabled me to intake far more calories and faster and, b) the sugar content in meal replacement drinks – it’s actually disgusting now that I think of it! Prior to surgery, I had been following the Fast Metabolism Diet plan to increase my metabolismĀ and cut out ‘the junk’. Post surgery, once I had to depend on these drinks, I realized that I was drinking excessive amounts of the very things I had worked at cutting out – sugar, sucrose, corn syrup, cornstarch, canola oil. Yes, these are the PRIMARY ingredients in all of these meal replacement drinks….DISGUSTING.

Since focusing on ‘no chew’ foods, my system and skin feel SO MUCH BETTER. IĀ had beenĀ experiencing breakouts and bloating from the increased sugar. Some of the items I’ve been enjoying in the past few days include:

– smoothies with protein powder and cytogreens

– mashed sweet potatoes and avocado

– butternut squash and carrot soup

– creamy potato and leek soup

– overcooked pasta

– fish cakes (mashed)

– mini m&ms melted in my mouth (two at a time lol)

Jaw Exercises and Physical Activity:

I’m still working away at my ‘five times a day’ jaw exercises to increase how much I can open my mouth. I find my joints to be very stiff in the morning so jaw expansion is better by mid day. In the morning I can open roughly 15mm. By mid day, 20mm. I find it harder to expand the right side of my mouth. Not sure if this is because of joint pain or the increased swelling on that side which you can notice from the puffiness on that side of my lips?

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Thanks to the increase in steady sleep, I’ve been able to get out more for short walks. I’ve been out to the mall and completely a solid 30-40 min walk.

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Day 13 – I Didn’t Even Recognize You

And so begins the ‘out in public’ encounters with people who do a double take haha

I had my first post surgery orthodontic appointment this morning. While sitting in the waiting room, a couple we’ve known in passing for years popped in. We looked at each other; nothing was said and then came the firstĀ ‘oh my goodness! I didn’t even recognize you!’ moment of my jaw surgery journey haha I stillĀ think they wouldn’t have realized it was me had my husband not been there with me! Apart from that, I’m loving how shocked everyone seems to be when they learn that I’m just shy of two weeks post surgery. Even my orthodontist said I look far less swollen than the norm at this stage, considering my procedure. I’ll take it!!

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I find that from front on, I still very much look my myself; all swelling aside! The positive changes thus far are a) being able to close my lips at rest, b) having a proportionate nose, and c) having a ‘shorter’ face in general – no longer suffering from long face! But from side on, I look like a different person…in the best of ways! Everything that I’ve ever been self-conscious about – the lack of chin, the drooping cheeks, the lack of a jawline, and bulbous lips from my overbite….it’s all GONE (or in progress through de-swelling)!

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Side note: jaw exercises are exhausting! After all of the anticipation surrounding removal of the surgical bands yesterday, I actually opted for one last Boost drink as myĀ dinner because my muscles were just too tired to try something more adventurous LOL Secondly, my first sleep post-bands was not very successful. Gravity from trying to lay down mixed with jaws that were confused with being ‘free’ meant a lot of joint aches and chattering of teeth!

Today has shown more promise šŸ™‚ With elastics in (they’re still pretty strong), I can open a few millimetres. With elastics removed, I can open roughly 1.5 centimetres! This meant I happily enjoyed some delicious, overcooked ‘no chew’ pasta complete with protein and cytogreens powder for lunch šŸ™‚

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I hope everyone’s recoveries are going well this week!!

Ā 

Day 12 – Surgical Bands REMOVED!

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I’m Freeeeee!!!Ā I can’t get over how much more flexible my face feels now that the surgical bands have been removed! However, the moment they came off….wow that felt trippy! I thought my lower jaw was going to hit the floor LOL My husband couldn’t help but laugh at that moment because my jaws just started to uncontrollably shake from the shock.

I was sent home with justĀ two elastics remaining. One extended in triangular form from each of my upper canines. I have to remove them to eat, brush, and practice opening my jaw – five times a day. This is proving more difficult on my right side; likely due to the swelling that still extends all the way up to my eardrum.

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Say cheese!

My upper lip is still so stiff and partially numb that it tends to disappear when I try and smile enough to show my teeth. I’m sure that will change as the swelling continues to subside; it’s just strange compared to how full my lip has always been! You can also tell how the swelling on my right side is still quite prominent.

I have another follow-up appointment with my surgeon in one week to assess how much progress I’ve made in opening my mouth and whether or not my jaws have negatively shifted in that time.

 

Day 10 – Before and After

Thought it was time for everyone’s favourite kind of post! Before and after photos!!

I know it’s still early and there is still a lot of swelling to subside but I’m loving the fact that from front on, I still look pretty much like myself – I know that my nose has widened but I’m okay with that. Before, my nostrils had pretty much capsized and now I can breathe šŸ™‚ But side on….oh my goodness! I have a CHIN and a JAWLINE and my lips SHUT…naturally!

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Before Surgery

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After Surgery – Day 10

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Before Surgery

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After Surgery – Day 8

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After Surgery – Day 10