Tuesday, November 2, 2010

They are Gone Baby GONE!!!!

Last. Picture. E V E R. W/braces.

An hour and half later...  I LOVE IT!!! :)

And, a little bubbly to celebrate! Courtesy of Dr Nelson and his staff. So sweet!

Monday, November 1, 2010

5 Month Update

Wow, it's been a while since my last post, guess that's what happens when life gets back to normal. ;) This past month has been really busy...We took a vacation to Niagara Falls earlier in the month (the area is Beautiful!), and then we headed to Iowa City to watch the Iowa Hawkeyes play (both me and my hubby are native Iowans), and October=Oktoberfest (that one is self explanatory).  Busy, busy!

Sooooo, my braces are coming off TODAY! WooooooHooooo!!!!! :) :) :)  It's been 2 years and 3 months since all of this started, and I am READY for it to be done.  Happy times!

Only other update to note is my ROM issues are no more.  I'm opening to 40 mm, and Q says that's right where I need to be. :)  So those tongue depressors did the job! :)  I still need to use them once a week for about 15 mins or so, just to keep the muscles stretching and in shape.  About 2-3 weeks ago, my right jaw joint started krackling and popping when I'm eating crunchy foods.  Since I have no pain w/it, Q says not to worry about it, so I'm not. :)

Really no change with all the other stuff - I still have some numbness and slight puffiness, but I just don't notice it much anymore.  Kinda nice, I must say. :)  I do catch myself when I'm bored or whatever, running my fingers across my chin so it tingles.  Some of the sensations appear in my lower lip or the opposite side of my chin, which I think is funny now.

On the food front - just about anything and everything is game.  I still shy away from raw veggies unless they are small pieces like in a salad.  I bit into a hard piece of chocolate a few weeks ago, and it hurt so that was my warning to take it easy on the hard stuff.

Lastly, just wanted to share a couple pics from our trips this past month. First one is at Niagara Falls (on the Maid of the Mist boat), and the last one was at the Iowa game (outside Kinnick Stadium) on our way to the game.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tongue Depressors

That's my "home" physical therapy for the next 10 days.  Sticking a bunch of tongue depressors in my mouth.  LOL  Right now 17 fit in my mouth.  I have to add 4 more to the stack by adding one everyother day, and holding the stack in my mouth for 15 minutes.  All I can do is laugh, I look completely ridiculous. :D  But, hey, if it works then I don't have to do real physical therapy, and that makes it worth it! :)

Also, Dr Q got my mouth to open to 34 mm which is 4 mm more that the last time!  I was completely surprised, because I didn't think I had improved from the last appt since I was a bit more tense due to things at work this past week.  That Flexeril must be helping!  (Just to note: 34mm is still VERY limited.  I read somewhere that 50 mm is considered the norm for females so I still have A LOT of work to do!)

Other good news this past week - I saw Dr Nelson on Tuesday, and he said my bite looked perfect!  And I don't need to wear the rubberbands anymore.  Woo! Woo!  I had just said to my husband the night before how tired I was of putting those on at night. lol  I don't go back to see Dr Nelson for FOUR whole weeks - that hasn't happened since well before the surgery!

And, I got my teeth cleaned on Monday.  I was afraid it won't go very well, because of my ROM issues and that I'd be in a lot of pain.  So not the case.  It went really well, and it feels great to have clean teeth! :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

3 Months Post-Op

So I'm just over the 12 week mark.  Hard to believe it's been that long already.  Though the days haven't been all easy (and still aren't) they are flying by!  This journey is going to be completely over before I know it. :)

Here's the latest and greatest that's going on with me and my jaw...

No Chew Diet No More
I've finally been given the ok to start chewing food again!!! :) :) :)  Not that I can run out and chow down on raw veggies or nachos or anything like that yet, but it's a step closer to it!  Eating is STILL a process, because my teeth are still mostly numb so I have to be careful not to over do it.  Dr Q told me that I can't solely rely on my teeth to chew up food yet.  I've had bbq from The Salt Lick (my fav) and Rudy's, although I only had the brisket.  Don't think I'm quite ready for the sausage or ribs yet.  I had harder time w/ the brisket than what I thought I would since still had to cut the brisket into smaller pieces to chew it, and the chewing was more like gumming, but whatever, I'm chewing again!!! ;)  Also had a cheeseburger (no veggies of course!) Friday night, and again not quite as easy as I thought it would be, but man o man was it GOOD!!

My ROM is still very limited. The muscles are still VERY tight and not wanting to be stretched out.  It still hurts when I do the stretching exercises which are helping some, but not enough.  I saw Dr Q last Wednesday, and I thought I had improved from the last visit, but he said I wasn't opening any further than the last time.  That was depressing. :(  The muscle relaxer he had me on from the previous visit didn't do much for me as I was still waking up with my jaw clenched.  So he upped the ante and prescribed a different one (Flexeril 10mg).  This one is working quite well (also, things at work have calmed down so that helps too).  I have a hard time waking up from it in the morning, though, but at least my jaw isn't clenched.  I'm afraid I'm going to end up in physical therapy soon which I'm sure is going to suck big time.  BUT on the upside, the PT should be able to help me regain the ROM that I'm not able to achieve on my own. I sure hope so anyway.

Both, Dr Nelson and Dr Quaroni, say that my teeth fit together very nicely every time I go in to see them. :)  Dr Nelson comments almost everytime that the surgery really could not have been done any better.  He continues to fine tune my bite at every appt which has been almost every week since the surgery.  I'm still using elastics every other night on the back molars w/the metal bands - inside of top molars to outside of bottom molars.  I was wearing the elastics every night, but Dr Nelson said it was doing too much, and going w/o them wasn't quite enough.  Most days I feel more contact on the right side of my bite than the left, but that's a part of the fine tuning that Dr Nelson is doing.  Just gotta stay patient.  Still on track to be brace free by the end of October!  Woo Hoo!!

I have most of the feeling back in the original numb areas - 100% in my cheek and nose, and about 85-90% in my chin and lower lip.  On the "new" numb areas feeling is around 60% on the chin, and 30-40% in the area under my chin.  Everything is still tingling most days so that is good news. The nerves are still working on repairing themselves.  Again, just gotta stay patient. :)  Oh, and also my upper teeth and gums are starting to wake up too.  I'm starting to feel my tooth brush along the gum line. :)

Recap of my numb areas - immediately following surgery, the whole right side of my chin and lower lip were completely numb as well as a small area on my right cheek and the inside of my right nostril. Around the 8 wk mark or so, I noticed a couple newer numb spots - the whole area under my chin and a line to the left of my chin starting at the corner of my mouth to the jaw line (kinda weird, but Dr Q didn't seem concerned about it when I mentioned it to him so I haven't be too worried about it.).

I still have some residual swelling around the base of my nose and above my upper lip (so in my profile my upper lip doesn't look very full).  It's not really noticeable to anyone other than me.  It's a little more pronounced some mornings when I first get up, but doesn't last very long.  Doesn't really bother me all that much since I know it will eventually go away.  Also, the base of my nose and on either side of my nose where the plates are gets really tender sometimes.  I've been told that all of this stuff is normal and will last up to 6-8 months.  So, I'll say it again - just gotta stay PATIENT. ;)

I still feel like I'm on an emotional roller coaster ride.  I still don't feel "normal" yet.  Most days I'm fine and happy with everything.  I couldn't be happier with the results, I mean it's just SO amazing.  But, then there are the days that I'm not so happy.  The days that my patience runs thin and I just wanna everything to be healed so I can just be done with it all.  The no chew diet really wore me down, I mean REALLY wore me down.  It's been tough to go all this time w/o chewing anything.  Thankfully, I've reached the huge milestone of chewing again, and I'm just beyond happy about it! :)  My ROM issues have been getting me down a lot lately.  It hurts so much to stretch out my jaw, and then the pain continues for most of the day - it just aches all day and all I wanna do is cry.  No fun.  No fun at all.  But, I knew this recovery wasn't going to be easy when I decided to do this, and it was going to take some grit, both physical and mental, to get thru it. 

Patience really is the key to this recovery process.  That and finding something positive in everything.  Just not always that easy to do.  The one thing that I can say is that I have never had the thoughts of "Why did I do this" or "Wish I hadn't done this."  I won't allow myself to think like that.  I can't allow myself to think like that.  I have no regrets about choosing to go down this rough and bumpy road.  That's the way I believe life should be lived w/no regrets. ;)