Monday, March 30, 2009

pre-op "head on" photo

As requested:

This is about 4 years old, but...

Me & my niece, Hannah!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Week 7: March 26 to April 1st

The feeling is starting to come back!!!  The feeling is starting to come back!!!  FINALLY.   Day 45. There are some weird one to two second long "pains" that happen in my chin a few times a day. I can feel light touch on my chin and everywhere else except the right half of my lower lip. My teeth hurt.  It actually feels like I have a cavity, but I saw my dentist and he said "probably not".  I still can't open my jaw more than a finger's width.   Also, when I touch my lower left lip, my bottom front teeth feel like I'm biting into tin foil.  Fun!

Other than that, I still have a lot of stiffness.  I'm not taking anti-inflammatory / pain meds because I didn't feel that they made any difference at all.  I thought about renewing the Rx, but decided not to.  What for?  

My smile is starting to look a bit normal too.  I actually liked being in public today.  Apart from the elastic-fang-teeth, I think I'm starting to look a little more like my formerly deflated faced self.  But not completely.  It'll be nice to do the 6 month comparison.  I'll keep you posted.

Oh, and I would just like to add how much I LOVE my waterpick.  Kisses, waterpick!!!  

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Week 5 - March 12 to 18th.

No changes...  Had my 3rd follow up with Surgery Man.  He replaced my elastics because I can't yet do it myself.   I asked where I could get those grippers, and he said they're very expensive, so...  I also got a Rx for an anti-inflammatory / pain med because of my ridiculously stiff face. Apparently blowing one's nose can really puff the face up.  Noted.  

Other than that, the weight is still down 15lbs...  Blazers don't fit me anymore... My coats are too big...  Everything about me is shrinking except for my huge lollipop head.   I also really love how these elastics hanging of my canines make me look like a vampire.  I am so sexy.  Like siren-level sexy.  Can't wait to go back to work on Monday.

March 16th update: 

I finally had to put my elastics on myself.  One shredded and the other broke, so I was forced to do it. Not hard really - took about 10 minutes for the first one - 5 for the second.  The swelling is going down a teensy bit more also, so that helps.  I feel a teensy bit less stiff.  But not much.  As for feeling in my face, it's slooooowly coming.   I'm eating almost anything now... but I feel like I'm an ant standing at the base of a giant cupcake to tell you the truth - this tiny opening in my mouth is so small. Everything is cut up into pieces the size of a stick of gum or something.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Week 4 - Mar 5 to 11th.

Sort of a smile...with about 1/4 of my teeth.

Okay. Han Solo face day appears to have been caused by getting my elastics on. It really bummed me out. I keep expecting each day to be "better than the last" - and instead it's kind of a roller coaster of ups and downs. My chin by the way, is shiny because of some lip ointment
to help with irritation.

Nights are easier - the mouth not quite so dry through the night. Sleeping is nice and peaceful. Still adjusting to the numbness and stiffness. Still drooling periodically, but I eventually get it. I haven't yet taken off the elastics - I wasn't able to put them on myself (overlapping at first just to see). If they break, then I'll have a challenge ahead of me. I could care less anyway - after the jaw locking a while ago, I have no trouble getting tiny bits of food at a time into me over the course of an hour. Last night I even had a piece of shrimp tempura and a piece of sushi (it took an hour and I soaked it in soya sauce & cut it up until most of it fit between the tines on my fork, but I did it). Also bought some lasagna & cheesecake today and did the same. Bought sensodyne for the teeth, too. Teeth don't feel as cold now.

So, overall, the last 2 days have been okay. I'm coming to terms with the swelling. Not liking the "bumpy" look where the lower jaw was cut, but we'll see where that goes. Getting my hair done today helped. My stylist was awesome and made sure I got my favourite girl to do the wash & dry. Ahhhhhhh. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Day 21. How I feel today.


Stone face.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Contrast! Pre-op profile vs Post-op profile.

Interesting study I stumbled upon via the UofT journal database... People with recessed chins are viewed as "less intelligent" than they actually are.  I can see why.  Too bad we often can't help but make assumptions based on appearance.  I wonder if people with protruding jaws are viewed as "more aggressive" or something.  It wouldn't surprise me.  Looks like I may have an idea for a research study!

Contrast! Day 3 vs Day 19

Check it out, homeys!

Week 3. Feb 26 - Mar 4.

Feb. 26th  - 15 days post op.

Feb. 28th.  Serenity now.

Mar 2nd - trying to use my eyes more to create the illusion of a real smile.  Came out looking like I need to sneeze or something.


Drank my first coffee through a straw at the Starbucks in Yorkville.  I have to make sure the straw knows where to go, and sometimes I kind of "make" my lips form a seal with my fingers, but it is SO much better than drooling down my face.  Drank wine through a straw.  Don't judge.

Wondering why the cold hurts my face so much.  It's almost intolerable. Teeth feel cold all the time too.  The right side of my tongue feels like there's a piece of ice constantly melting on it.  It's probably just numb.    

Scrambled an egg and forced it through the tiny opening by placing just a little bit on a fork at a time.  It worked.  It was delicious.  And I don't really like eggs.  

Took Ibuprofin for the facial swelling pain.  It's just so stiff!  It sort of helped.

Ate 2 mini baked spanikopita after cutting them up with scissors into what could almost be called a fine "mist".  Just shredded it and got a little bit in at a time.  Yum.  I'm good at getting tiny amounts of food through a 3-4mm opening after having my jaw locked shut in July '07 for 2 weeks.  If I can cut it - I can eat it.   I won't try anything hard or crunchy (still can't really chew and don't want to try), but if it's sort of mushy or semi-soft, I can swallow small amounts whole.  It's just so nice to taste something that isn't sweet like milkshakes.  Also am eating some squash and apple soup my mom made.  Through a straw.  It's fab. 

2nd post-op visit.  Lasts 10 minutes.  Taught me how to put my elastics on.  I don't think so.  I can't get my fingers into the side of my mouth - WTF???  Surgeon-man said I could do it.  I'm all for positive thinking, but he had a thing to pull my cheek out to the side, PLUS a handy pair of grippy-grippers.  I don't have those.  Fingers are so yester-year.  So I went to the pharmacy and got some good tweezers.  Still,  I'm going to try to leave these on as long as I can - I'm so worried I won't be able to do it myself - even with the tweezers.  And I'm worried about a relapse.  I asked Surgery-man the percentage of ppl who relapse and he avoided it.  Just said it depends on how much the jaw has been moved forward or back.  Mine's been moved 7mm on the right, and 5mm on the left to correct an unbalanced midline.  I'll have to ask him again next time.  Sneaky. 

***Just so you know, I was expecting to have less numbness & swelling & stiffness by now.  After reading a LOT of blogs, I now know this is not realistic.  It will take a anywhere from 3 to 6 months time for feeling to come back (and it probably won't be 100% even after a year).  I also  read a study that with double jaw surgery, the nerve regeneration is slower due to the greater likelihood of exposing the trigeminal nerve to trauma.  Also, fewer double jaw surgery recipients regain the same extent of feeling than those who had the one jaw done.  

If you're like me (somewhat neurotic), rest assured that while you may have qualms about your appearance right now, by the end of the year, you will likely feel just as satisfied as the average (non-woody allenesque) person.  This is from some other study.  I don't feel like referencing - it's a blog, after all. 

Week 2. Feb 19 - 25.

Feb 20th - look out Giselle Bundchen.  

Feb. 21st - I'm in jeans again!

Feb. 22nd (and a hairstyle)

Feb. 23rd - first half smile.

Week 2 sucked A LOT for the first 3 days.  My good good friend put up a homemade calendar to mark all the positive changes so I don't lose sight of the big picture.  Got some nice flowers delivered - lots of people are sending cards and checking in.  Friday I tried to drink a martini at home with friends - I couldn't BELIEVE how strong it was.  I measured it - it was no stronger than's just that my tongue was in complete shock.  I couldn't drink it.  This made me sad.

Anyway, by day 10 (Saturday the 21st), I experienced my first day of feeling "good".  I could BREATHE AGAIN!!!   Just a little heads up:  I kind of sorta blew my nose here and there (lightly).  I couldn't take it.  This is risky can do some damage.  Be delicate and don't force it.  

I didn't have the usual "crummies" for the first 1-2 hours after waking up, and I felt like getting dressed in my jeans again.  This was a major turning point.  Also, my jeans from age 25 fit again.  I'm not rejoicing too much, because this kind of weight loss is completely unsustainable.  My motto: the faster it comes off, the faster it goes back on.  I'm still enjoying the jeans though.  By Sunday the 22nd, I had a friend over to watch the Oscars and I was feeling pretty good.  

On the 24th I had my first post-op surgeon's visit.  He took off the gazillion rubber bands on my front teeth, releasing me from what I affectionately dubbed "the tooth cage".  I can lick my lips "sort of" now. I can open my mouth about 4mm.  Good enough.  Happy to be able to breathe like myself, and not like Darth Vadar.

The 25th, I got pretty sad.  Trigger?  My family's reaction to my "new face".  I forgot to warn them that it's going to be another 6 months before my face decides how it wants to look.  I'm not worried too much about it, but the look on their faces is sort of a mix of pity and confusion. It just reminded me that I've been through something pretty tough, and for some reason, it stirred some emotions up.   It was good to release that.  By the next day, I felt great again.

Week 1. Feb 12-18.

Feb. 14th - I just can't figure out why I didn't have a date on this Valentine's Day...

February 15th with my "Linus" blankie.  Mom left the next day and I had to become an adult ...again (sigh).

Feb 14th again. This is what discomfort looks like.

Feb 18th ... Yellow & Purple is "the new black".  
What a hot mess.

These are photos of me taken in the first week.  Thoughts this week?  So many...
  • I can't breathe right.  This sucks.
  • I feel like crap.
  • I need more ice in this head-wrap-thing.  
  • This is like having a really bad cold...aaaaaand a broken face.
  • I need my shades...sunlight is way too bright all of a sudden.
  • Where is the Otrivin?  And why is it not working? 
  • I would pay a gajillion dollars to blow my nose right now.
  • I'm supposed to sleep sitting up?  No problem....I'm so tired.
  • I don't need food anymore.  I'm "above" it now.  I'm so zen. 
  • I love T.V.
  • I love this la-z-boy.  LOVE it.  I shall live here for awhile.  Leave me be.
  • Why is everyone talking to me and expecting me to answer?  PASS THE PEN & PAPER, FOLKS...LOOK ALIVE.
  • Neat, I drool now.  
  • I have to take this towel with me everywhere.  I feel like Linus from "Peanuts". 
  • Neat, my face feels like there's a big pile of rocks glued on top of it.  
  • Where's the codeine?  Has it been 4 hours yet?
  • Where's the cherry decongestant?  Why are you trying to kill me with Buckleys, mom?  (true story - I thought I was going to die of menthol fumes).
  • Can you fill up the humidifier again please?
  • Look at that, my nose bled all over my pillow while I slept.  
  • Thanks for cleaning that up, mom.
  • Thanks for getting me that mom - and that - and that - and that too.  I appreciate that.
  • I'm so glad my mom is here.
  • Why is my cat totally ignoring me?
  • I like Ensure...I really like it.
  • This syringe sucks.  Ha ha ha.
  • I couldn't even read right now if I had to, that's how tired I am.
  • This can't possibly ever get better.  This is just brutal.  No way is this getting better.
  • Why is every day the same as the last one?  Why isn't it getting better?  
  • I have a sneaking suspicion that people who had one jaw done are recovering much faster than me...
  • I am SO glad I made sure to ask Surgery man if I could use my waterpic on the lowest setting.  It's awesome. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Just after surgery...I'm ready for my close-up...

Yes Yes Y'All

This is what I looked like about 4 hours after my surgery.  Surgery lasted only about 2.5 hours for top & bottom + sliding genioplasty.  At this point, I'm finally out of recovery room #1 (having never made it to recovery room #2... I was having some trouble breathing right so they monitored me closely in the first one...I stayed until closing). 

I had top and bottom jaw surgery.  Just before surgery, I signed a consent and noticed there was also "sliding genioplasty" written down on the form of "to-do's" for the day.  This was news to me, so I made a quick decision to go ahead and have that done as well.  I knew my chin was not going to be made worse should it be a little more prominent than before (see post #1 for photographic evidence suggesting that this was in fact, a wise choice).  

Leading thoughts @ this point: 

  • "I'm so glad I can sort of breathe now"
  • "I'm so glad they finally removed that bandage that was impeding my breathing...what took them so long?"  
  • "I'm so glad I'm alive" 
  • "I must look really bad...Oh well"
  •  "Yay...I didn't throw up!" 
  • "Evidently, 80's bangs are back!"

The "Before" Photo. Surgery day. February 12, 2009.


Age: 32
Sex: Yes please...
The Situation: TMJ & degenerative bone disease (aka arthritis) - mostly in the left jaw joint, but also in the right a bit. Overbite. Recessed and non-genetically blessed chin (courtesy of my dad). Braces on since May 2007. Already had one surgery (arthrocentesis) in July of 2007 to "flush" the disc in the left jaw joint back into place after my jaw locked semi-shut.
The Surgeon: Dr. Claudio Tocchio (North York Gen).
Mental Status: Pretty freaked out! Looking chill on the surface though (or I like to think).
Location: Toronto, Ontario - Canada
Time: About 10:30 am.
Last meal: Indian yumminess over 12 hours ago.

Oh, and this is a pic from a few years ago in all my toothy gummy glory (pre surgery). I hardly ever smiled like this, and I'm going go ahead and venture a guess that you probably know why...

See how I don't lie? Now enjoy
this blog and trust me from now on.