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.
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!
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.
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.
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!! 🙂
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
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
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.
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!!!
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’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!!! 🙂