Sunday, 28 April 2013

Seven Weeks Post Surgery..

Surgery feels like a distant memory at this stage. I'm pleased to say that I am finally starting to worry less about anything hitting off my jaw. I only noticed this while blow drying my hair this week. I hit my jaw twice with the hair dryer and thought if this had happened three or four weeks ago I would have passed out with fright. I was also having a feel of my new jaw and I've located the two splits in the jaw, I'm pretty sure I can also feel a little screw on the left side. I've had lots of fun getting people to feel it and then watch them freak out.

I've noticed that when someone says smile for a photo I still automatically try to push my jaw forward like I used to post surgery and it sends this almost electric pain through both sides of my jaw. I think it just shows how ingrained my overbite was before surgery that I'm still unconsciously moving it. I am starting to remember now that I'm okay with people seeing my profile. It's an incredible feeling not to be considering it. 

At the moment the only problem I'm having is with my elastics, the problem being that I'm sick to death of them. They're hard to get on, then they get stuck on the wrong tooth and it's a nightmare to get them off to put them on the right tooth. I've also developed little cuts in the corners of my mouth from getting them on. Then in the middle of chewing food there are regular snap sounds and sometimes it really hurts. They have caused a friction burn on the inside of my cheeks from talking and chewing. Oh and it's added at least 3 minutes extra onto brushing my teeth. Having said all this, considering the two surgeries, 8 teeth extractions, separators, metal bands and endless pulling and pushing the fact that elastic bands are all I have to complain about is an absolute blessing. 

I have an orthodontist appointment on Tuesday week and fingers crossed I'll be getting a date for brace removal however, there is still a relevantly substantial gap on my right side so possibly not. 

Finally I remember a post I published before surgery when I was concerned about a lot of things after surgery, mainly being able to catch up with college work. I am pleased to say I only have one week of lectures left before summer, I have caught up with all my continuous assessment work and I only have four exams which I feel relatively prepared for. Not if I could just go back and tell pre-surgery Liz it will all be okay! 

Here are some photographs of week 7:




Saturday, 20 April 2013

SIX WEEKS POST SURGERY...

I'm here, I've made it to six weeks post surgery. It is so exciting. I feel officially recovered. I have ZERO swelling, ZERO pain and I eat WHATEVER I want. What more can I say..!?

My first week back at college was fantastic. My friend had made some kind of welcome back cake I've never heard of and that was my lunch Monday. I was worried about being too tired during the week however I didn't feel any tiredness until Thursday which I ignored successfully as my friend (same one who made the cake) was hosting an Ann Summers part that night. Friday I was extra extra tired but this was aided by the late night and 2 hour drive home. None the less I ignored it and went for a walk up a cliff at my local beach. It felt amazing as it was my first proper walk since surgery. The sun was shining and there was a nice crisp breeze in the air. I was exhausted from it but it felt great. Here is how it looked:



Sun in Ireland who would have guessed?!

Everybody had been telling me I look great and that I seem far more confident although people can't really tell why. I have to say I LOVE being back at college and seeing friends and feeling far more normal. Next step is to get brace free.

Here are some photos Week Six, I've given up on the front side view but I do still need to get more friendly with technology so I can do before and after pictures, next to each other.



Sunday, 14 April 2013

Five Weeks Post Surgery..

I know I say this every week but I never imagined I'd be writing five weeks post surgery. I will be doing my updates on a Sunday from now on as I will be heading back to College Sunday evenings and the internet connection isn't all that. I'm excited to be going back to college and see everybody. I wonder if they'll even notice the difference.

I've been looking over my posts to see if I'm putting in sufficient information on the important bits so I've been keeping a little check list when things pop into my head. So it started with the fact that for about two weeks now my lips are not as dry as they used to be. There was a point I needed vaseline about 25/30 times a day, now I use it 3/4 times a day. It feels good not to have such dry lips and appear very vain by constantly putting vaseline on my lips.

In terms of numbness, I don't have any and I do have feeling in the part I wasn't sure about. I tested it with a pin. Although I don't have numbness I do have a strange feeling on my lower right lip. I'm not sure how to describe it exactly but it's not numb. I do occasionally get pins and needles in the area but it doesn't last too long. This brings me onto the inside of my mouth. My cheeks, around where the stitches were feels very tight. I would imagine this will go away eventually but sometimes I worry it will tear if I stretch it to much though this is probably not possible.

Although I've been given the go ahead to chew I find it very strange and avoid anything remotely hard. It hurts but only because my back teeth are moving which is good progress. I will look forward to a day when I can just eat without thinking about it however I'd say it will be a long way away but I'm okay with that. The elastics are very irritating. Putting them on is hard and time consuming and the rub off the inside of my cheek and when they break it can hurt depending where it hits. However this is something I am more than willing to live with as the end is in sight.

My energy levels are so close to being back to normal. I get tired still if I've had a full day of activities but I'm able to force myself not to nap and this leads to good nights of sleep. I'm waking up feeling very refreshed. I haven't had any pain in a few days. I can now lay on either side at night time and not feel any pain at all. This is very exciting.

Overall I feel about 95% recovered at just five weeks post surgery. I am 100% happy with the results. I know I'm not perfect, nobody is but I am beyond happy with how my profile looks. Before surgery when someone pointed a camera at me my first reaction was to avoid a profile view and had perfected a way to tilt my head. Now when someone points a camera at me I don't care what angle they are coming from. This in itself is life changing. My confidence has grown so much and so many people have commented on this. I believe this process of surgery is far more than a physical one, it's psychological. It changes your mind set, your mood and self-image. I don't know if it's coincidence or not but currently I am the happiest in life than I have been for as long as I can remember and every day as I get closer to having the braces off I get a little bit happier.

To all you people currently awaiting surgery.. All I can say is.. GET EXCITED!

Here are my photos at five weeks. I hope to do some before and after photos next week for week six:




Thursday, 11 April 2013

Mini Update..

Today has been such a good day I really had to publish a little update to explain how my orthodontic appointment went. I arrived in, smiling as usual cause my orthodontist and the nurses are amazing and always put me in great form.

So they had a look at my bite at the back and the left side has as she said it 'settled in well' and is in the correct position. The right side not so much so I have to wear elastics for another while. She said to put a second elastic on the right side at night time for some extra pull. She did say that if the right side has moved with the left she would be giving me an appointment to REMOVE MY BRACES!! However, she said they will be out during the summer. I will have another appointment in about 3/4 weeks and if the right side has moved into place (and it WILL move into place) she will be giving me a removal appointment. I actually nearly fell of the chair when getting up I was so excited. I did not expect to get this news. I've had a ridiculous smile on my face all day. I said to her I've had a lot of pain over the last few days, she thinks I smile to much and this is causing pain and when I think about it I do smile a lot now. So much has changed in my life over the past month including my surgery happening but it has all been really positive so I can't help being happy!

On another good note she also said I can chew what I want from now but obviously avoid foods such as apples, steaks, crusty bread etc.. I don't think I'll ever again feel comfortable eating these items anyway. I came home from the hospital and had a Chicken Tikka Wrap for lunch with a bottle of coke to celebrate (I normally don't drink fizzy drinks!).

All in all it's a GREAT DAY :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Four Weeks Post Surgery..

I honestly just don't know where the time has gone, I am not complaining though. There was a point before surgery when recovery seemed like a distant dream. I am so pleased to be here now. I've had a strange week jaw wise. I thought I had regained all feeling in my lower lip since the day of surgery but the other day I went to speak and realized that my lip was jammed between my teeth and I hadn't even noticed until I tried to speak. When I touch that part of my lip I believe I have feeling in it but for some reason I didn't feel it being bitten to an inch of its life. This is something I will bring up at my ortho appointment on Thursday.

I have had a few painful nights in the last week. The right side still hurts a lot when I lay on it. The left side has started to do the same now when I lay on my left side but the pain seems to be on the upper jaw rather than in my ear. Pain is to be expected though and I've been very lucky so this I can live with. I also find that sometimes I get this weird sensation in my ears, it feels like I am under water. I'm not sure if this is normal post surgery but I am assuming it is.

The tiredness is still there, improving slightly but still there. I am having my last drink today and returning to the doctor this evening so we will be looking at this again. I was due to return to college today but haven't been well enough. I have been feeling sick in general, maybe a bug or something.

Over all I am very very happy to be at this point and would without doubt do it all over again if I had to.

Here are photos four weeks post op:




Monday, 1 April 2013

Three Weeks Post Surgery..

I can't believe it's been three weeks already. I remember nervously saying three weeks until surgery. So in my last post I said I was off to the doctor because I was so tired. He prescribed me drinks called ensure which are amazing really. The 'ensure' you get all your relevant nutrients and he gave me one drink a day for two weeks so I have one week left. I am still very tired but it's improving slowly. The drinks have increased my appetite and helped my digestion which makes me feel healthier in itself.

All the swelling is gone by now and I never bruised at all which makes me feel very lucky. Now that the swelling is gone I've really been able to look at my profile and I have to say I love it and I've earned it! I still get pain at night time if I turn onto my right side and it really hurts when I do. It wakes me regularly and I can't do anything but sit still and wait for it to pass, sometimes it takes a minute and other times it could be twenty minutes. It's a bit inconvenient but it's a small price to pay considering how lucky I have been with recovery.

I've been thinking about my lack of swelling in comparison to others and have comprised a list of things that have contributed to this. Hopefully this can help those of you who are heading for surgery.

  • I was given drains which are visible in my 'so surgery happened' post. These took a lot of blood from my cheeks which otherwise would have been sitting in there. These were easy to handle and you barely notice them. 
  • I was given three bags of steroids through an IV which were to help with swelling. 
  • I took to difene tablets twice a day for about 10 days which are also for tackling swelling and inflammation. 
  • I used ice packs for about 15 minutes at a time three times a day for about 4 days. 
  • Finally I slept elevated for about two weeks. This can be annoying but it's worth fighting through it. 
I've been more adventurous with food. I've eaten chicken nuggets from Mc Donalds, pasta and my long awaited ham sandwich. It seems to be going okay until there is a snap sound and I wait, frozen to figure out if it's my jaw braking or just the elastic snapping AGAIN! Luckily so far it's been the elastics. 

Here are my photographs three weeks post surgery: