Thursday, April 26, 2007

Spring in Northern Virginia

Here's a question for you ... How do you know when it's Spring in Northern Virginia? You know it's Spring in Northern Virginia when every single car, truck, motorcycle, boat, and bicycle is the same color -- yellow/green pollen.

Seriously, it rained a bit last night and I was hoping that it would have washed all the pollen off the trees and cars. Did it? Nope ... I now have a nice pollen "paste" thing going.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Three Weeks Post Surgery Update

I had my third post surgery appointment with my Surgeons today and everything is looking good. My bite has remained stable and the upper & lower midlines are still lined up with each other. The Surgeons want me to continue wearing the guiding elastics for now and that's fine with me. It gives me a sense of security ... especially when sleeping. My next appointment isn't for another two weeks now. If things go as planned, my Surgeons will be turning me over to my Orthodontist so he can resume "tweaking" my braces. Feeling optimistic, I went ahead and booked an appointment with my Orthodontist for 23 May :)

I'm getting more adventurous concerning my eating habits. I don't mean I'm trying to chew ... that's still a big NO GO. I'm just trying more variety. For example, I went to a restaurant yesterday for the first time since the surgery and had fish, macaroni and cheese, corn, potatoes, and (my favorite) cheesecake. Today, on the way home from the appointment, I stopped by Taco Bell and bought three Burrito Supremes … I ate the filling and tossed the wrap. Awesome!

Oh yeah … almost forgot. One of the women at work mentioned to me that I look 10 years younger. I don't see it ... maybe it's a combination of the surgery, the 15 pounds I've lost, and the little sun burn I managed to get over the weekend. Whatever, I'm very pleased with the outcome so far and can't wait for all of the swelling to go down and the braces to come off so I can see the "final" result.

And now for a couple more updated photos:

12 March 2007 (one day before Surgery #1)

25 April 2007 (three weeks post Surgery #2)

You can't really see it in the most recent photo but I still have internal swelling within both cheeks as well as the lower lip & chin area. I'll sure be glad once the swelling disappears for good ... although I've been told that could take several months.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Back to Work Blahs

So I finally went back to work after having, for all intents and purposes, five weeks sick leave and I've got to say it was .... tiring. My work day starts anywhere between 6:00 and 6:30 am and ends between 5:00 and 5:30 pm - not counting the drive time both ways. Needless to say I sorely missed my afternoon naps!

Overall I'm glad to get back to work as it's a return to the "normal" and a milestone in the healing process. Now I just need to concentrate on letting the jaws heal enough so I can start working on the "widening process" and, before you know it, I'll be back to a normal diet.

Speaking of normal diets ... I finally managed to eat something other than soups, Boost, and smoothies last night. I cooked up some Lipton Creamy Chicken Pasta Sides and boy was it good! Of course, I had to use a baby spoon and sort of suck the pasta into my mouth but it was SOOOO worth it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Two Weeks Post Surgery Update

Well, it's two weeks since surgery #2 and I'm feeling pretty good. I had my second post surgery follow-up appointment this past Monday and the Surgeons are pleased with my recovery up to this point. They want me to continue wearing the guiding elastics until at least next week which is fine with me. I take the bands off each time I eat and brush as well as for a few hours each afternoon and I plan on continuing to wear them at night even after the surgeons tell me I can stop wearing them ... I like the comfort of knowing that they're there in case I accidentally roll over during the night. The surgeons also gave me the go-ahead to eat anything that I don't have to chew ... over-cooked pasta, fish fillets, et cetera. The problem is that I get a sharp pain in my left jaw every time I attempt to open wide enough to get a baby spoon in my mouth. Looks like it's going to be awhile before I get back to a "normal" diet.

My sleep cycle is getting back on track as well. I've stopped sleeping in an inclined position because the swelling has decreased significantly - there's still a good bit of internal swelling (both cheeks and especially the lower lip/chin area) but, unless you know me, you probably can't tell. And I've experimented with sleeping on my side instead of my back ... so far so good but I wouldn't do it if I wasn't wearing the elastics.

Tomorrow is "back to work Thursday" for me and, as it turns out, I'm ready. I was thinking about this yesterday ... I've only worked three days in the past five weeks because of the two surgeries. I know the Marine filling in for me is ready for me to come back too!

Finally ... an updated photo from today (Two weeks post surgery):

Friday, April 13, 2007

10 Days Post Surgery #2

Things are much better now that the tight elastic bands have been removed. I'm taking in a wider variety of blended soups and it's great being able to actually brush after *eating*. What's better, my bite is stable and hasn't shifted over the past couple of days. My hope is that Surgeons will decide to scale back the use of the guiding elastics to night-time use only rather than only taking them out for meals and brushing.

My next appointment is this coming Monday ... will update more afterwards. In the meantime, here's a photo I took just a few minutes ago:

I still have residual swelling on the inside of both cheeks as well as the chin and lower lip area. From what I've been told, it could take several months for all of the swelling to go away.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Wednesday's Post Surgery #2 Appointment

Not a lot to say except .... WOOT!

The tight elastics have been removed and replaced with "1/4 inch Medium" guiding elastics. This means that I'm able to remove the elastics on my own when it's time to eat and brush. This is a HUGE benefit.

Another good thing is that my bite has been stable over the past 24 hours ... it hasn't tried to revert to it's old position. I really think this second surgery did what it was supposed to do.

I'll take some new photos a bit later.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Quick Update - One Week Post Surgery #2

Just a really quick update now that I'm one week post-surgery #2. Things are progressing well and the swelling started to go down yesterday.

In the side view photos you'll notice a small brownish/black area ... that's where they went in from the outside put in the screws. They do this because it's a lot easier to ensure proper placement that way.

And I sure do look tired in these photos :)

One Week Post-Surgery #2 (10 April 2007)

I have an appointment with my surgeons tomorrow afternoon. I'll update again when I have more information.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Recovery #2 Update

I received an e-mail from my sister Alice saying that, although I have said I am recovering okay this time around, she doesn't believe me because I haven't been updating this Blog as often as I had the first time around. I thought about that and I think she may be right.

I guess the first time I never hit that proverbial "wall" that most people who've had this type of surgery experience. The physical aspect of the recovery this time around is going much like the first; however, I'm really psychologically tired of the whole "recovery" thing and am very ready for it to be over.

Updated photos

Front View
Friday, 6 April 2007 (3 days post surgery #2)

Side View
Friday, 6 April 2007 (3 days post surgery #2)

Front view
Saturday, 7 April (4 days post surgery #2)

Side View
Saturday, 7 April 2007 (4 days post surgery #2)
Comparison Photo
Sunday, 18 Marcy 2007 (5 days post surgery #1)


So there I am, in San Diego with my friend Axia and we're getting ready to play hooky from work and go see a San Diego Padres game. Afterwards we've got plans to go salsa dancing (although I've never been before). The day is beautiful with bright sunshine and a temperature in the middle 70s.

Then the alarm clock goes off because it's time to take my medicine. My head is still the size of a bowling ball. It's the middle of the night and I haven't had a decent night's sleep in I don't know how long. And to top it off, it's snowing outside (one day before Easter Sunday).


Thursday, April 5, 2007

A Few More Photos

One day prior to the first surgery:

Three weeks post-surgery #1 and one day prior to surgery #2:

Two days post-surgery #2:

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Back Home From The Hospital

Thanks for all the well wishes ... I really do appreciate it!

I'm back home and feeling pretty good. The surgeon said that they went in and removed the titanium plates and screws, rotated the lower jaw a couple of more millimeters to the right and slid it forward just a smidgen, and then put new plates and screws in to hold it in place. They also had to shape a couple of the teeth so that the bite would be better. The only thing is that my jaws are tightly banded shut with elastic bands again ... for the first week anyways. The reason I'm tightly banded with elastic bands is because I evidently have very stubborn jaw muscles and they didn't want to take any chances.

I feel good ... and I actually could have been released from the hospital yesterday evening. I elected to stay the night because I didn't feel comfortable leaving that early and I had to have x-rays taken early this morning. I was drinking water almost immediately upon waking up and walking around shortly thereafter. Also, like the first time, I didn't have any adverse reaction to the anethesia.

And I didn't miss American Idol ... woot!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Surgery #2 Show Time

I just confirmed with the hospital that my show time for tomorrow's surgery is 11:30 am with a 1:00 pm surgery time. Much more reasonable that the first surgery where I had to be there at 5:30 am but now I have to fast for a longer period of time ... like I'm not getting enough to eat on the blended / liquid diet as it is.