Five Weeks Post-Op

Honestly, I cannot believe that it’s been five weeks since I got my jaw surgery. I feel like it’s been so much longer than that! I apologize for not posting very much, I just haven’t really had a lot to say.
I finally got my splint out, so I have officially moved back into the world of orthodontics. For those of you getting a splint with jaw surgery, the day it is removed will be a glorious day! I talked with a very strong lisp while my splint was in, and trying to talk once it was removed was a little amusing. I was still talking like I had the splint in my mouth. It took a couple of hours for me to adjust to the feel of my new jaw and talking without the splint.
I’m allowed to eat just about anything I want now, but I’m still supposed to avoid crunchy foods. However, just because I’m allowed to eat things, doesn’t mean that I’m ABLE to eat them. I try to challenge myself to eat something that requires a little more chewing each day, because I know I won’t adjust otherwise. I am essentially re-learning how to eat, and it is extremely weird and most definitely a challenge.
Most of my numbness is gone, although I don’t have normal feeling in the area around my nose or on my chin. However, I can feel enough that it isn’t debilitating in any way.

I have to admit, getting the splint out, I expected to feel more like myself again. However, I feel very far away from myself. I’m a music major at college and I also love to work out. I can’t play my primary instrument, violin, because it hurts resting my chin. I also can’t sing very well because I can’t open my mouth very wide, and since I’m not quite used to the position of my new jaw, then forming certain words is still a bit of a challenge. Not being able to perform musically to my full potential has been extremely frustrating. Music is another appendage for me. Not being able to fully participate really puts a downer on things. The other thing that makes me feel far away from myself is that I can’t work out. I’m still only allowed to walk or ride a bike. I’m not allowed to lift weights, run, or swim, which are three of my favorite physical activities. All of this has left me feeling a little lost, but I’m trying to focus on the fact that it won’t last forever and I will eventually be back to myself again.

For those of you who read this blog, I am happy to answer any questions you may have. If you just need someone to talk to who understands, I am happy to help in that way as well.

Hang in there, lovely readers. I am doing my best to do the same.

-Savanna

 

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As of today, I am five weeks and two days post-op! 

Day 8: Saying Goodbye to the Liquid Diet 

I saw my jaw surgeon today for my one week post-op appointment, and he gave me the all clear to move to soft foods! This is two weeks earlier than I expected, so I’m ridiculously excited! I’m allowed to eat foods like scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, and pasta. My surgeon also said that I’m healing extremely well, and that everything looks exactly how it should! I know I have a long way to go before the end result, but I already can’t wait to see what I’m going to look like once my braces are off and I’m fully healed. Unfortunately, I don’t get this annoying splint off until August 8th. However, I thought I would be on a liquid diet until my splint came off, so the splint is slightly easier to bear now! I’m a music therapy major in college, and my primary instrument is the violin. Not being able to play my instrument has been extremely difficult for me this past week, but my surgeon told me that I could play as long as I didn’t experience pain. I’ll probably still give myself another week of rest before I try, but I’m very happy that I can technically play again whenever I want.
Week One was definitely a struggle, but I have a feeling this week will be a quite a bit better. I’ll let you know! 😊
-Savanna

Day 5: Slowly Adjusting

Today marks five days post-op of my upper and lower jaw surgery. Yay! 

Day 4 Recap:

So, day four was absolutely terrible. I broke down twice, and I don’t typically let my emotions get the best of me. I think part of it was lack of food. Also, I think my new reality had finally hit me. I had an overwhelming desire for everything to be normal again. 

I gave myself a good kick later that day. I realized that this is normal. I realized that I’m going to be struggling and my life is going to be full of adjusting for quite some time. 

I’m so incredibly thankful for both of my parents. They were right by my side the entire day and did everything in their power to make me feel better. They’ve been beyond incredible since the surgery, and before it as well. 

Day Five:

I’m slowly adjusting. I’m tired of milkshakes, smoothies, and soups, but I’m making myself eat them because I know I need the food in order to heal. I’m still anxiously awaiting the day when I can move away from the liquid diet, but I’m no longer letting my food ruin my day. 


My blank expressions make me laugh, but I didn’t know what else to do. 😅
According to my parents, I look just about normal. Apparently, my swelling has gone down a considerable amount. My cheeks are still a little puffy, but I’m looking good! 

From the side view, I feel like my upper jaw is much farther forward than it should be. I’m not sure why that is. I think it’s because I have a splint, and part of it is wrapped around my front teeth. I think it’s causing my lip to protrude farther forward than it actually is, causing my upper jaw to look like it is extremely far forward. I’ll make sure to ask my surgeon when I see him on July 20th. 😊
Positives:

  • I’m drinking everything from a cup. I have found that this is the easiest way for me to do things. I’m so happy I’m done with those awful syringes! 
  • I didn’t take a nap today! I noticed I have a lot more energy than I did the previous days. I’m still doing quite a bit of lazing around, but I don’t feel as thoroughly exhausted as I did. 

Negatives:

  • I really miss normal food. I’m trying to move away from thinking about it, but there are so many food commercials on television these days! 
  • I can’t drink from a straw, and I’m not sure why that is. I’ll have to ask my surgeon. 
  • I’m really struggling with my breathing. I had a deviated septum, which my jaw surgeon corrected during surgery. He warned me I would be stuffy, but I didn’t realize just how stuffy I would be! 
  • I have a splint in the roof of my mouth and it wraps around my front teeth as well. It gets in the way of EVERYTHING and is beyond obnoxious. I believe I have to have it in for three weeks, but I’ll check with my jaw surgeon when I see him. 

    I’m slowly adjusting, but I think I’m making good progress, especially mentally. It’s hard to not let my limitations bring me down, but I’m trying to focus on the positive future and take it one day at a time. 
    -Savanna 

    Post-Surgery Update

    I got jaw surgery on July 12th, and today is July 15th. So, it is three days post jaw surgery (I’m not counting the day of the surgery.) 

    I’m writing this post on my iPad, so I apologize if this isn’t as cleanly written as some of my other posts. 
    First things first, the surgery went extremely well! My surgeon came and checked on me the day after surgery and was extremely pleased with how it was looking. I don’t go see him until July 20th, so I still have five more days! I’m super curious to see what he has to say about everything. 

    I had my Mom call the surgeon this afternoon because I was able to see my front teeth. This freaked me out because I was worried something had moved or that the surgery hadn’t been done properly. The phone call relieved my fears, though! My surgeon said that it’s because my front jaw has never been this far forward, so it’s just me seeing something that I’m not used to. 
    This is me much earlier today! My face is pretty swollen, but I would say it’s not too bad! Of course, my Mom has been absolutely relentless in me wearing ice packs. Also, that towel I’ve got tucked in my shirt? That’s my drool towel! I can’t feel the lower half of my face and I’ve been drooling a lot, so I wear a little dish towel to keep myself from being too icky. 
    These past few days following surgery have been rough. I’ve taken a nap(s) every day that I’ve been home. I’ve needed help with EVERYTHING: eating, drinking, filling my syringes to drink, showering, getting dressed. My bubble of independence has been thoroughly shattered. However, I’m beyond thankful for the strong support system of my parents. They try their hardest to understand my garbled language, they’ve been patient while helping me, and they’ve kept me on a regular schedule of medicines and ice. I honestly could not be doing this without them. 

    Happy progress notes: 

    • I used a spoon today! I’m really struggling with using a straw, but I’ve noticed my mouth opens quite a bit. I had a lot of success using a spoon to dump the milkshake I was eating into my mouth. 🙂 I had to use a mirror to make sure I didn’t dump it all over myself, but it’s something! 
    • I haven’t noticed any bruising, so that is really nice! 
    • The pain isn’t too bad! I haven’t had any pain medications, aside from the very first day after surgery. 
    • I showered by myself today! My Mom had to help me wash my face, but I’m so happy to be taking private showers again. 

    Sad things: 

    • I really miss chewing. 😦 I’ve been craving a bacon cheeseburger since I woke up from surgery, and I know I have a long wait ahead before I get one. I’m doing okay with not being hungry, but I’m “eating” every hour or so. I just miss normal food. 
    • My face is TIGHT. It feels like someone has stretched my skin to it’s max limit. 
    • I can talk, but I’m pretty difficult to understand. Luckily, my Mom and I know limited sign language so that’s helped some! However, it has been really frustrating not being understood when I talk… 
    • Attempting to talk wears me out. I feel like it’s good for me to be working my face muscles and getting them used to the new lay of things, but it makes my mouth tired and causes some pain

    That’s how things have been going so far! I’ll try to remember to post updates regularly now that I’m moving a long a bit better. 
    -Savanna 

    The Day Before Jaw Surgery

    As I’ve been prepping for jaw surgery, I’ve realized that there aren’t a whole lot of people that have been through what I’m about to go through in less than four hours. With this realization, I decided to share my jaw surgery journey with everyone.

     

    I have been in braces since November of 2013. My orthodontist told me that jaw surgery would have to happen in order to correct my bite which, at the time, was much more worse than it is now (I only had two teeth in my entire mouth that touched). Being in braces has definitely helped my bite considerably (I now have more than two teeth that touch! Yay!), but it is still no where near where it needs to be. The surgery will help correct my bite by widening my upper jaw, and then moving my lower jaw over and back. Then, I will have to be in braces for another 6-9 months.

    I’m not going to lie, I hate that I have to get this done. It’s already been a very frustrating journey, and even though I know it will be worth it, I sometimes wish I had just been born with perfect teeth. If I don’t get the surgery done, I’m looking at a lot of issues in my future, so I know this needs to happen.

     

    Biggest Pre-Surgery Fears:

    • Having something go horribly wrong during surgery
      • Okay, so I have already had three surgeries. My first one was a knee surgery, my second was wisdom teeth removal, and my third was an appendectomy. Not a single thing went wrong in any of these surgeries, and I know my surgeon is perfectly qualified to do this job and do it well. However, I’m still super worried that something is going to go horribly wrong. I’m trying to just give my fears to God and remember that He is in control.
    • Waking up with a different face
      • This seems so silly, I know. The thing is, my surgeon warned me that I might look a little different. My brain translated this as: “You’re going to wake up looking like a completely different person and no one is going to recognize you, not even your own family.” It’s completely absurd, but it’s still my fear!
    • What if I’m only able to eat soft foods for the rest of my life?!
      • I LOVE food. I eat ALL THE TIME. My favorite time of the day is meal time. I know I’m going to eat like a normal human being after a time, but this is where my first fear comes back into play again. What if something goes horribly wrong during surgery and I’m only able to eat soft foods for the rest of my life. No more popcorn, no more cheeseburgers, no more fried chicken, no more watermelon, no more chips, no more snickers bars,  no more of any of those delicious foods that require lots of chewing. This fear is completely unwarranted, but it still exists.

    Those are my main fears going into this. I hope that anyone who comes across this post, freaking out before their jaw surgery, will read this and know that they are not alone in their fears. Yes, your fears may seem completely absurd, but that’s okay. It’s okay to be scared.

    IMG_8679This is me! As you can see, I’m super pumped to be leaving in less than four hours!

    I have to leave at 3:30 AM to get to the hospital by 5:30 AM. Yay for the hospital being two hours away!

    With that, I am going to try to get some sleep. I love you, dear readers, and I hope this post brings you comfort.

     

    -Savanna