Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Toothbrushes and "24"--Day 11

So nothing spectacular today...but I was able to brush my teeth, with a real toothbrush! Well, ok it's a Dr. Seuss toddler's toothbrush but so what! It works! Things feel good, I'm getting more feeling back into my upper lip which is sweet! It's a pins and needles feeling but I can feel it! The swelling is slowly going down. If you draw a straight line from right under your eyes down to your chin that's where most of the swelling is still concentrated...and some still in my lips.

I still can't tell exactly what my face will look like because of the swelling...and I don't want to make any judgements yet but, I can't help but sneek looks and think "wow, I have a chin! how cool!!" So I'm pleased so far!

That's about it...me and Chris are having a "24" tv series marathon today and being lazy. I still have to remind myself to drink more. I've never been good at drinking enough water or anything during the day. But I know it will just help me get better. I can sort of drink from a cup but it's a bit messy so I'm still sticking with the zip n' squeeze. It's just much easier!

I see the oral surgeon on Friday so hopefully I'll get good news and maybe get cleared for semi-solid foods. (I'm crossing my fingers Erin!!)

Monday, July 30, 2007

First Public Debut

So me and Chris went out to CVS today out in PUBLIC!! I couldn't tell if anyone looked at me funny, I was trying not to make eye contact!! But it felt good to be out except for all the tourist traffic! I even blowdried my hair for the occasion...ok not all the way but at least part of it. I feel fine minus the swelling. Just a little bit off-balance because my ears feel clogged like having a head cold.

Another milestone too...I finally got to semi brush my teeth! Ok so I can't quite brush them with a toothbrush but I used one of those little pipe cleaner looking things. Proxabrush I think they are called. I got to all the teeth I could between the elastics, splint and braces...oh my! But even just the little bit I got to, felt so good! Then I rinsed with diluted Peroxyl since I can finally close my lips...most of the way, I still drool some out when swishing! What a sight huh!

I had another thought too as we were driving today. So, in a 1,000 years from now some archeologist might dig up my bones and see all these little metal screws and plates! What will they think?! I guess they'll find alot of people with metal parts. Just a random thought...they happen alot to me. Chris has gotten used to the 'out of nowhere' things that come out of my mouth!

Well gotta go see what I can blenderize for dinner. Oh yeah only one more penicillin pill to take!! Thank god...those things taste nasty when crushed! yuk!!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

bored, bored, bored

Home still. I'm getting pretty stir crazy which makes me think of what else...food! I did make a nice strawberry ice-cream and banana milkshake today. Yum, that was good. Chris went to help one of our friends move his family into base housing. So I've been on my own for a good chunk of the afternoon, but within cell phone reach of him if i need him.

We had a good laugh yesterday coming home from the doctor's appointment. We live on base so you have to stop and go through the security gate everytime you enter the base. Well, the guard gave me a wierd look as we went through. After he let us pass I turned to my husband and said "I wonder if they think you beat me or something?!" We both laughed and he said when we returned from the hospital the guard hesitated and gave him a look like 'should I be worried?'. I should wear a sign or something!

Well, it's time to go drink some dinner...

Friday, July 27, 2007

First Dr Visit with pics! what a day!

Post-Op 1 week!
My first post-op OS visit was today. I was a little hesitant...i know i've been babying my face but I'm sure Dr B wasn't gonna as much as I did! But, things went well. I got there and right away they wisked me into one of the exam rooms. They took a panaramic x-ray then Dr B took a look around. I can't really feel my upper lip and bottom of the nose 100% yet, so someone moving it around felt SO strange! He asked me to bite down and i told him how i wasn't really sure where to bite down! So, with some help i found it and he added...3 elastics (yes the triangle form!) from my top brackets to my bottom ones to keep my jaw in line. One is right in the middle of my two front teeth then one a couple of teeth to the left and right of it. They are not so bad. I can still open my mouth fine but there's just more stuff in the way when I try to drink through my straw! At first my muscles felt really tense when he did it, but i guess they are just not used to being in that spot. I have to give them time to get used to it...but it already feels better than it did at first.

He said everything looks fine and the swelling went down alot! He said my lips really got a beating during surgery. I have a small mouth so he had to do alot of stretching. He said he did a similar surgery on Wednesday and it took 2 hours shorter just because she had a bigger mouth!!! I said "sorry"!

It was nice to be out and about. We actually stopped by one of my husband's co-workers that was moving into base housing. I just wanted to drive by to see where they were gonna be but to our surprise they were there. Chris asked if i wanted to stop or just wave. But, i felt fine and i know they already knew what i went through so i wouldn't have any scary looks! My first encounter with outsiders! Being outside gave me a burst of normalcy and confidence that i won't be locked away in my tower forever!

Oh to those who were curious...my splint covers the roof of my mouth, the back of my teeth and wraps around the bottom of my top teeth enough to lock them in place. I wish just the back of my teeth were just covered like some of you!!! It really is like putting a huge piece of taffy on the roof of your mouth and teeth!!

Well, that's about it for now. Chris just went out to go grocery shopping...he getting me some ice-cream! yum!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I need a tic-tac...or twelve

Ahhh, a real night's sleep. Last night i actually slept for almost 7 hours straight! I still have funky dreams...like the one where i had a wad of Laffy Taffy stuck to the roof of my mouth and i couldn't get it all out no matter how much i pulled out!!! (For those who haven't had the first hand experience--that's what having the splint in is like...a big piece of taffy shoved on the roof of your mouth and against your teeth!!)

I can sort of make my lips touch today but it's definitely a strain! But an improvment. I'm not sure where to bite though. Because my nose is stuffed up most of the time, i'm a mouth breather during the day! But my OS said my bite is where my bottom teeth feel like they 'click' into the splint. I think I found it but it feelt wierd when I do it! I guess that's cuz I don't really know what a 'real' bite is supposed to feel like. But I'm still swollen so I'm not going to pass judgement just yet as to what it feels like. I know my muscles need to get used to the idea of a new bite just as much as i do! But I trust Dr B and he said everything fit together just the way they were supposed to in the operating room. I'll just have to be patient.

Tomorrow I have my first post-op appointment with Dr Bravman. I feel so bad that my breath stinks! I'm sure they are used it but, yikes. I tried to swoosh (more like put it in my mouth and roll my head around a bit) with some Peroxyl diluted with water yesterday. It was nice and minty but i couldn't really get it around the top of my mouth where it needs it the most!! But I'll give it another college try before we go tomorrow afternoon. At least they'll know I tried not to be stinky!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Post-Op Pic

Ok, ok here they are the post-op pics (ta-dah!) I still can't quite close my mouth all the way so my profile isn't quite right yet...

Side shot--notice the lovely bruising and tape residue on my face! nice!

The drool bib!!! Never leave the couch without it!


Drowning in Drool

Post Op Day 5

I feel good today. Got a bath and actually washed my hair--what a grease trap that was! I've been able to sleep better at night, although i just wish i could sleep normal and not propped up on the couch. But, the reclining couch is better than nothing! My lips are getting closer but not able to get them to touch quite yet. Fish face is still in full effect, which makes me drool ALOT! Everytime i look down or sit up a long spittle of drool starts to flow. I always have a washcloth on my chest or in my hand to catch the water slides!

I can't get the sticky residue off my face from my chin being taped up! We tried baby oil, then rubbing alcohol, even nail polish remover--nothing is taking this off! I tried the old standby of soap and water with a washcloth which loosened some of it but i can't scrub too hard--i'm too sensitive in spots still. Any suggestions on getting this goop off would be much appreciated!

I think that the mornings and right before bed is the hardest times of the day. That's when I feel the pressure and muscle aches the most. So I've been able to get away with taking my pain meds less then before. I do get times where I just get frustrated with eating, drinking, or just not feeling totally comfortable. Then i get snipy and my poor husband gets the brunt of it. But i know he understands i'm just frustrated and it has nothing to do with anyone else.

well, my husband is conked out on the couch next to me with one of our cats, Jasmine, sleeping on his lap. how cute! i'll let them sleep a while longer...till i have to wake him up to help me!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mirror, Mirror on the wall..

I'm afraid to look too much at my teeth. I'm kinda glad my lips are still very swollen so they cover everything that's going on. I'm not sure I want to know yet.

Ignorance is bliss sometimes...

Post-Op Day 4--ugh

I'm home! The surgery went well...as far as the doctor says that is--i have no idea what went on. Me, my husband Chris and my dad all got to the hospital at 6:15, I got changed and sent to the pre-op waiting area in no time. That's when the crying started. I couldn't help it but i couldn't hold it in either. Plus there was a little girl about 4 yrs old getting admitted when i was. She was changing into her hospital gown with her grandma in the changing stall next to mine crying saying 'i want my underwear back, i wanna go home. i'm scared.' Well, i lost it right there--she hit the nail on the head! Then they put the IV in, took stats and asked a bunch of questions. They let Chris and my dad be with me right until i had to go in. But the anethesiologist (spelling?) assistant saw me having meltdowns and decided to give me a little something before i actually got wheeled in. i remember telling chris how i saw all the ceiling tiles moving around, then just being in another room, someone looking over me smiling and being cold. The next thing i knew i was in the post-op area and Dr. Bravman calling my name to wake me up. Then off to my room. I was in a room by myself in the new part of the hospital which was really nice! I had a nice flat screen tv, there was a chair and sofa that pulled out to a bed and a small desk in the room as well.

I thought i'd be more scared just being in the hosptial (i do not like them to begin with) but i did feel safe knowing the nurses were all checking up on me and i had them to ask all my paranoid questions to! I had an IV in giving me fluids and my meds, they also had a catheder in me so i didn't have to get up to pee! I thought i wouldn't like that but it was great not having to get up to pee all the time! I didn't get sick but did feel nauseous a few times--i had to get an x-ray later that day and felt sick and getting used to the pain meds. But the nurse gave me a shot in the butt and no more feeling sick for me! I got released Saturday and left about 7pm.

Home is nice but i do have to go upstairs to go to the bathroom which stinks but at least it gets me up and moving around. It's hard to sleep for a long time so i end up taking 2-3 hour naps all throughout the day. When I take the pain meds it makes me sleepy as well. We've had to crush up the meds and put in juice for me to take. Dr B said getting liquid doses would take longer for the pharmacy and i did not want to wait for pain meds!

I'm very swollen and can now only barely touch my lips together. So, i drool...ALOT! I had my chin taped up until yesterday which pushed all the swelling up into my cheeks. It was also pushing my lower jaw back which strained my jaw muscles. It's a bit better now that it's off. I can breathe fine...sometimes my nose gets a little stuffed up or only one nostril will work! I am not banded so it leaves me a little more freedom. I eat with the Zip n Squeeze which is tough but SO much easier than the syringes they gave me in the hosptial. The hardest thing is the pressure. I get some little zings of pain in my chin or face but mostly it's an extreme feeling of pressure from my eyes down to my chin that bothers the most. And the fact that my breath stinks and i cant really get in there to clean yet! I feel bad but I can't do much about that yet. I cant keep my lips together even to swish some antiseptic or anything yet!! Chris is a very patient and loving husband to put up with me all day and night!!

Well, i'm gonna go now...the pressure is coming back so i think i'll call my nurse (aka chris) for my meds now.

Thank you all SO much for your emails, text, voice and cards of love and support (i even got flowers!!!)!! It is so appreciated...just to get my mind off everything for that chance little bit helps so much! :))

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Surgery Eve...all the anticipation except without presents

And so here it is...the night before. Nervous? yes. Anxious? yes Freaking out? not quite yet. It's a very weird feeling...I think its just pure DENIAL! I got the confirmation today that I am scheduled for surgery at 7:30 and to be at the hospital at 6:15. I'm not sure what to bring so here's what I'm taking: change of clothes, glasses, a book (in case i can't fall asleep at the hospital) and chapstick. My husband will carry my wallet, cell phone and paperwork with him in case they need anything from it. I'm not sure what to write now...just waiting, prepping my 'area' (right side of the couch) and getting packed. I will write on here as soon as I can when I get home.

Ugh. I hope Dr. Bravman gets a better night's sleep than I do!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I should be able to pick up cable soon...

I had my last orthodontist visit today before the surgery. They put on the surgical hooks (more like tiny antennas!) which wasn't too bad. A few times i cringed as they crimped it down on the wire. A few of my back molars on the right side are tender and it's hard getting my top lip over some of them without looking like i'm blowing imaginary kisses in the air but, other then that it was fine. It took about 45 minutes to get them all on plus replacing the little rubber bands that go around each bracket with individual wires. (you can see them on the pic) It's getting real, especially when people ask me when is the surgery and now I say FRIDAY! yikes. still nervous.
You can see in the second pic how much I move my jaw to the side just so I can get more than 2 teeth to chew with. If I do the trick the OS taught me (put your tongue all the way back on the roof of your mouth then bite down) my midlines match up but I only have 2 molars that make contact. Definitely not enough to bite or chew anything!

I bought some food stuff for next week but I'm really getting very creative with it. I bought some tomato soup, cream of broccoli and mushroom (which i can blend totally smooth) and even chicken broth. I also got a thing of V8 juice blends. The kind with fruit cuz I can't stand straight V8!

I tooks some pics of what I got so far... Here is my food/entertaiment stuff: Blender, soup, Vitamin Waters, Ensure, music, Netflix, 24 season 2 and 3 and two books (Macbeth and one on Mythology--yes I'm a big nerd). Oh yeah and of course one of my cats--Jasmine...she just can't stand not being in the middle of everything!

Then for medical or not so fun stuff I got: a neck pillow for sleeping on the recliner couch, 2 ice/hot packs, Afrin nasal spray, Colace (cuz the nurse recommended it saying that the narcotics make you constipated--great!), Tylenol Extra Strength Easy to Swallow pills, Baby Vicks, baby spoons (since it might be hard to open my mouth all the way for a while), baby Dr. Seuss extra soft toothbrush, Hibiclens (the hospital gave me to wash with the night before or day of surgery) and the Zip N Squeeze bags. I did forget to buy the Peroxyl stuff...again. Oh well I've got two more full days left.

I definitely need some Ben & Jerry's to get me through this week...

Monday, July 16, 2007

monday, monday...

T-4 days.

Yup...it's that close. I am starting to feel the "bring it on" attitude the OS was talking about a month back. I'm a very nervous person and thought I would be a basketcase this week. But I'm not. Sure, I get the 'what the hell am I doing!' feeling every now and again...you know just like the one you get as you're climbing the first hill of a roller coaster. But I'm ready, ready for the beginning of the end. No more jaw aches after talking all day, no more headaches, no more picking food out after eating, no more lips getting caught on those little antenna thingys, no more brushing with something used for dentures, no more braces, no more metalmouth!!!! ugh.

Well I bought a few more supplies today and I will finish up the list by tomorrow. I broke down and bought a Waterpik from Amazon. I thought I could muddle my way through the splint without having to buy one but, the more I thought about it...the more I wanted one. My OS suggested it for cleaning around and about my teeth when the splint is on. Plus, even after I'm done with recovery they say it's as good or better than flossing which I can't stand doing. It has 10 different pressure levels so I can be gentle on the teeth for a while. I also bought a neck pillow. I figured since I'd be sleeping on my reclining couch a soft neck pillow would make it more comfortable. Lastly, I bought two 24 packs of Ensure from BJ's. One chocolate, one vanilla. If I don't drink all of them before moving onto a semi-solid diet, I can totally use them once I go back to school in Sept. There will not be many soft options to eat there.

Tomorrow I get to see Dr. Markovich my orthodontist to get the surgical hooks put on. FUN! I wonder how much more annoying eating is after those are on! But I kinda like going to the ortho office. They are all as excited as I am about the surgery!

All in all I had a great weekend (my brother and his girlfriend make the trek to the Cape from New Jersey--our first house guests!) and a nice day of shopping today. The rest of the week is packed full of errands and appointments as well as my dad coming up to be here for the surgery. I promise to take some pics after tomorrow's appointment and the mug shots too!


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Batteries, Blood and Bites

So I went to get my pre-op blood tests done this morning at the hospital. First of all the day just didn't start out so great, I get into my car and the battery is completely dead. Great. Thank god my husband only works 5 minutes away. He came back to get me so I could use his car. But that's one more thing I gotta get done! Anyway, the nurses at the hospital were very cool and understood how I tend to get chatty when having blood drawn. I can't look or think about it or I get creeped out. At least I don't faint. I remember people dropping out everywhere in basic training when we had to have blood drawn and then a series of air injected shots. fun! But, now everything is all set at the hospital for the 20th. I have to call the day before to confirm the time they want me in at. No eating or drinking after midnight the night before and I have to shower using some anti-bacterial liquid soap stuff from the neck down the night before or morning of the surgery (regular face wash and shampoo though--they don't want you using that stuff on your face because it could irritate your eyes. I think I'm gonna take the shower in the morning...who knows when I'll be able enough to take one again! Get this, one of the nurses was about to put me into pediatrics before she looked at my date of birth again and said "you really don't look 29!!" which I responded "yeah it's a blessing and a curse." So now my only other appointment before surgery is with my orthodontist on the 17th getting the surgical hook/loop thingys put on.

So here's how the OS visit went yesterday. He did a wax impression of my 'supposed to be' bite (that's what I call it when I don't correct it). Then he did 2 (yes 2) sets of molds using the tray filled with that goopy nastiness stuff. For those of you who haven't had the lovely experience it is a goopy material that expands and then sets around your teeth (and roof of your mouth) that is in a tray that is shaped like the top and bottom of your mouth. Then they yank it (literally) out of your mouth after 2 minutes...that's if the suction it creates breaks free alright. Man, you really have to focus on breathing when they do the top tray, it really feels like you are going to choke on that stuff, especially when it starts to expand in the back of your mouth. Then when they are done you've got all this white gunky stuff all over your face, neck it even got in my hair! They took some mug shots of me and did some other measuring for the surgery then we sat with the doctor and went over any questions. So I pulled out my handy list and fired away. Here's the answers I got:

Q.With the 2 Piece LeFort I, should I expect a gap between my two front teeth right after surgery?
A. There may be a slight gap but no, he's expanding the back not the front.

Q. Will I be banded shut? (I thought he said no last time...I really gotta write this stuff down)

A. Nope!! Not even with elastics! I will have the splint in but will be able to open my mouth freely (that's probably only until the orthodontist wants to put some on!)

Q. How should I clean my teeth? A rinse, then what kind? (I saw the Perxoyl rinse at the store but I wanted to wait to see what they recommend)

A. Since I won't be banded shut, I can brush my teeth gently but I still couldn't get to the ones covered by the splint. The Perxoyl over the counter rinse will work just fine. (I already picked up a toddler sized extra soft toothbrush)

Q. Approximately how long will the splint be in for?

A. Hard to tell, approximately 4-6 weeks. I will be seeing him every week after the surgery for a while though so he can monitor the recovery.

Q. Are there any foods/drinks that I should stay away from post-op? (Obviously alcohol, but I would think caffeine or carbonated drinks as well??)

A. Aside from the liquid diet for a while, I could have anything. If that caffeine craving hits me it's ok to have a cup--I'm thinking Iced Coffee since I won't be able to feel much and don't want to get burned!

Well I think I wrote enough for now! If I think of anything else I'll write! Now to call the dealership about that battery...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Getting Warmer!

T-10 days.

I'm feeling a bit less anxious about going in for surgery. I have some great support from family and friends...plus a cousin who is in the surgical "biz" who always puts my mind at ease. Just as a side note for all you other ortho goers...she told me how expensive the plates and screws are that are used in the rigid fixation. She told me one tiny screw is worth $1100!! Finally, all that money we pay for insurance actually pays us!

I did buy some more supplies and all my appointments are scheduled and ready. I picked up some Tylenol (extra strength, easy to swallow pills), Afrin spray and Baby Vicks (it smelled much better!) oh and the Zip N Squeeze pack came in. I was having trouble with their online ordering and I could not get anyone over the phone. I found another vendor selling them for the same price so I ordered the Hospital Pack that came in yesterday!

I have my final pre-op visit with the Oral Surgeon (OS) today. I wrote down a bunch of questions which I'm sure he already answered before. But, I'm sure I just forgot over the months/years! Here are some of the questions:

* With the 2 Piece LeFort I, should I expect a gap between my two front teeth right after surgery?

*Will I be banded shut? (I thought he said no last time...I really gotta write this stuff down)

*How should I clean my teeth? A rinse, then what kind? (I saw the Perxoyl rinse at the store but I wanted to wait to see what they recommend)

*Approximately how long will the splint be in for?

*Are there any foods/drinks that I should stay away from post-op? (Obviously alcohol, but I would think caffeine or carbonated drinks as well??)

Ok, I got my list of questions and ready for more bite impressions this afternoon. My husband is coming with me this time so he can hear and see what to expect as well. Plus, he'll get to experience the plastic skull with all the rubberbanded parts that the OS uses to explain the process! yum!

Friday, July 6, 2007


It took some digging but I found pics of me throughout these past 5 years without braces, with clear braces, then with the current metal braces. Here we go...

This picture was in 2002 at the Barnes Air National Guard Air Show. This was me pre-braces. Wow...looks so strange. Don't mind the military bangs and pudginess...I just got out of 6 months of basic training and tech school--Air Force food packs on the pounds! Ugh...I really hate pics of myself. It was a long hot day.

Here's another that's from Halloween 2002, again pre-braces. This one gives a better shot of my face all prettied up. You can really see the gummy smile here.

Here's December 2004 with my ceramic braces on top and metal on the bottom...oh yeah and my perfectly straight-teethed husband (not fair)!! At this point the braces had been on a year! ...I can't seem to find any pics from 2003...hmmm must have been hiding from cameras.

And lastly, a funny face pic of me last year in 2006. I am exaggerating the gumminess of my smile but I think I did that unconsciously. I had to take funny-face pics of me for a digital imaging class I was taking that semester. I guess I knew what already looked funny about me so I showed it off!!

...So there it is. I will be taking some front and side profile shots before the surgery. You don't always get to see yourself from the side profile (and thank god to that for those with no chins like me...it's scary) so I want it clearly documented before it changes!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Feeling Unprepared

OK, so lately I've been searching the webwaves looking for other personal blogs for people that have gone through similar ordeals. First, I had no idea there was so many out there!! But, now I feel really, really unprepared. I haven't gotten anything to get ready for my surgery. I don't know if I'm procrastinating on purpose or what but..I gotta get my butt in gear!

OK so far this is what I know I need to get:

Tylenol -- I only have Advil and on my pre-op paperwork is says not to take them within a week of surgery.

Ensure -- I know I like the Vanilla kind from when I had my wisdom teeth out (10 years ago!!!).

Zip n' Squeeze -- I may be too late but I was having issues trying to order online. (?)

What I've gotten done so far:

Netflix Queue -- that's totally updated with all the movies I want to see

Amazon -- I ordered two new books to read.

The couch -- Gotten used to the idea that's where I'll be for a while

I think I need a good list...and actually get everything on it done before the 20th!!


Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Countdown Begins! (T-19 days)

T-19 days.

And so it starts. I've decided to set this blog up to follow the journey to the center of my mouth. I am scheduled to have upper jaw surgery and Genioplasty done on July 20th.

This has been a 4 year project in the making. I initially just wanted to get braces to straighten out some crooked teeth. Little did I know that the first Orthodontist I saw would label me a "special case" and refer me to someone else with more experience. That should have been my first clue! Next, after finding another orthodontist, they led me down a path for 2 years that really wasn't in line with what orthognathic surgery needed. So, after moving I found a new orthodontist who pretty much told me "we've got to start over with new braces"...great. But now...two sets of braces and an amount of money I don't like to think about later...

I'm finally ready for surgery! Medically that is...mentally is a whole other thing.