Tuesday, October 9, 2007

8 Weeks- New Sensations

Wow, it's really been a while! What can I say, things are going so well that I don't feel like posting all the time (same old stuff)... My appointments are finally starting to get spread out a little more. I'm going in for my OS appointment in 2 weeks instead of 1 week and my OD appointments are back to 6 weeks apart. It feels good not to have to get up early to go see the OS every week just for a 5 minute checkup.

A few days ago, feeling has started to return to the roof of my mouth. It's kind of a ticklish type of feeling, but I'm just so glad it is coming back. As for my face, only the center of my chin and lower lip are numb yet. The "circle" just keeps getting smaller... Since I'm getting feeling back in my mouth, I've been eating a lot more solid food. Before, the numbness made chewing so uncomfortable. Now, I'm eating chicken and pasta and bread and all those good things that I've missed for 8 weeks now... I'm still holding back on hard, crunchy things like fresh vegetables, nuts and the like. I had a cheese sandwich yesterday and it really was amazing..;-)

My bands are still on 24/7. The gaps in the back are closing, but it's extremely slow. I take off the bands to brush, eat and stretch my mouth and then they are on for the remaining 23 hours. They don't hurt anymore however... About the stretching thing; it really seems hopeless. I stretch all day long, for about 5 minutes each time. I can still fit only 2 fingers in my mouth and it makes me sick. I don't even like talking about it. After a month of stretching, I only improved by a few millimeters. It just doesn't want to get any better.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Day 43- Splint's Offf

I had my splint taken out on Monday. It went a lot smoother than I thought. My OS made a few snips and the splint came out in a few pieces. No pain whatsoever... I was waiting for the "smell" but there really wasn't anything...? My teeth felt a little "fuzzy" but there was no food or anything stuck to them. He did say that my mouth was really clean...

Right now I'm back to wearing my bands 24/7. I had some spaces in the back of my mouth on Monday and they are already closing up by today. My bite looks so incredible. I have to post some pictures. It's just so weird having my teeth "fit" so well into each other. I always had my top teeth sitting on my bottom teeth. They never went together.

Maybe now I can finally bite into a piece of bread and not use my tongue to tear it off! :-)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Day 40- Stretch, Stretch, Stretch!!!

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while. I guess I've been getting caught up in post-op life... I know I say this a lot, but time is really flying by. I can't believe I was under the knife 40! days ago already. I remember sitting in the waiting room like it was yesterday. I'm pretty much back to normal as far as talking goes. I still have a little lisp, but that will go away after the splint comes out. Oh yeah! I almost forgot; I'm getting my splint out this week! I was supposed to get it out last week, but I purposely called in and missed my appointment so that I could get an extra week of healing in. I know my OS knows what he's doing, but I really just wanted to make sure that everything was healed enough to prevent any sort of relapse.

I've been stretching about 10 times a day, for about 10 minutes every time. I have noticed a little improvement, but only in mm. I need to get at least another 1/2" and it's going to really hurt. I know every day now it will get harder and harder to stretch, but I just don't have the nerve to force it open... I'm trying the slow and steady method. If there is improvement, I think that's all that matters, not how fast I can do it.

One thing that has been bothering me is my "mushy" pallate. Every time I make a suction (straw) or pretty much whenever I'm eating, I can feel my pallate flex and bend. It's not a fun feeling at all! It kind of reminds me of a baby's head after they're born (soft spot). I'm sure that the bone hasn't filled in the space left by the expansion and the bone that IS there isn't very strong yet. I'm sure with time it will get harder and more rigid. I really hope that my teeth don't start moving around after my splint comes off!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Day 31- PAIN!!!!

Today, I had the worst appointment ever. Last week I was told to stretch my jaw and move it side to side. I thought I was doing a good job. I didn't know, however, that he wanted me to really STRETCH the muscles. I saw him today and I thought things would go smoothly. He told me to open and I did willingly. If I would have known what was coming I would have kept my mouth shut. Without warning, Dr. K started torquing on my jaw, saying, "It's necessary!" Out of pure reflex, I grabbed his arm and squeezed his wrist with super-human strength. It felt like my jaw muscles were tearing and it felt as if my bottom jaw would just snap right off my face. I mean, I had more pain today than I had during this whole experience and I've been through a lot. After my startled surgeon let go of me, he said that I needed to stretch more and more everyday, otherwise my muscles could "scar" and my mouth might never open as far as it should. I wish he would have told me about that last week!! I would have concentrated a lot harder if I would have known that... I felt pretty bad for what I did to him after he told me that, but I wish he would have told me that he was going to pry my tender mouth wide open. It totally caught me off guard. I told him I was sorry and he said that this stuff happens all the time and left the room while rubbing his squashed wrist.

For the rest of the day, I've had a queasy stomach and I felt like throwing up a few times. I told Dr. K that I would work on stretching my jaw myself, but now every time I touch it I feel sick. I still have a week to prove that I can accomplish my goal, but I'm really going to have to work hard at this. I haven't heard of anyone else going through this- Am I the only one facing this challenge?!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Day 28- Jobs..

I was surprised to see that it's been 4 weeks already. Time is really flying for me right now. I'm starting to really get moving on my job situation. I have 3 places now that are accepting me, I just have to weigh the good with the bad in order to choose the right one. I am really hoping to get a position that is close to home. I have an interview/weld test on Thursday, so I'll see how that goes and work from there.

I'm having a hard time stretching my jaw. It feels so tight that it's almost impossible to open any farther than what I'm accomplishing already. If I really force it, I get a jolt of pain by my ear and it really hurts. I guess I can only hope that everyday it gets a tiny bit better. Also, I like Mr. splint for what he has done for me, but he makes talking really difficult! I feel like I can talk just fine in my head, but when I actually try to talk, it comes out all slurred and lisp-y. Also, I've noticed that I've been burning my palate with hot foods because I have no feeling there. This happens especially with oatmeal, because no matter how much I stir it, there's always a really hot spot that manages to make it's way into my mouth. My palate will get puffy for a day and then go away... At least I can't feel it!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Day 26- Life Moves On...

I've been so busy this week that I haven't had much time to go on the internet. I'm starting to apply for jobs now and I'm also going to school 5 days a week. I'm beginning to fall back into my old lifestyle. No more fun and games!

My jaw is getting better, but so slowly! I can open my mouth a little more and I'm moving it side to side. I'm still eating pureed foods because with my numb gums, I really can't chew (it feels so weird!) I can't wait to start doing some serious exercising because I want to put the protein powder I'm eating to good use! I think right now the powder is just maintaining my muscle mass... I gained a few pounds this week; I'm up to 187 pounds. I'm still getting aching pains in my jaw muscles, but with my regular dose of Tylenol/ibuprofen it keeps the pain at bay. The one thing that annoys me is the swelling in my face. I still feel really puffy and it's almost 4 weeks post-op!

I went to my OS on Friday and he said my bite looks amazing. The 4 rubber bands at the front of my mouth did their job and all gaps are closed. He left two bands towards the front and put 2 in back, I guess to just keep everything in place? I asked him about the splint and he said either next week or the week after that. I told him that I wasn't in a hurry to get it off and he agreed that it was a good idea to leave it on as long as possible. I'm thinking 6-7 weeks just to make sure :-)

On a side note- It's so weird finding all the little things that have changed on my "new" jaw. For one, I can't stick my tongue through the gap that I once had. I also can't breath out of my mouth anymore unless I open it! The teeth are so perfectly tight that it really restricts the airflow :-) Finally, I'm noticed the roof of my mouth has dropped dramatically. I used to have a pretty deep palate and now my tongue feels claustrophobic it's so low! I love the fact that I breath entirely out of my nose now, because before I was more of a mouth breather. Maybe my deep palate had something to do with that?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

3 Weeks- Aches and Pains

I have to say I'm glad to have made it to week 3 already and I'm glad everything is coming together. It's just that lately I've been having a lot of aches and pains around my muscles in my jaw. I know it's because I'm over-using it. I'm trying to step up to soft foods, like hot cereals and soft pastas, but every time I take my bands off to eat, I end up opening my mouth up just a little too far and then the pain sets in. It really is a hard pain to describe, because it's not anywhere on my jaw. It kind of feels like it's right behind my ears... The good news is, I'm not losing any more weight and that's good (never thought I'd say that!)

School was a joke once again, because my teacher said," No labs today because it's your first day (in that course) so you can go home early". So once again I drove 30 miles for 30 minutes of class. I'm hoping this is the last day this is going to happen! Maybe this is all happening so I have more of a chance to heal? LOL