Thursday, 24 April 2014

1 year post-op: More Pictures!

Last month I hit the year post-op milestone and can honestly say the entire recovery and year in itself has flown by. I've been reluctant to post because there is nothing at all to say!
Jaw surgery has been and gone and recovery is well and truly done. Braces are off and i'm happy! It's lovely to be able to smile and see just teeth and not gums aswell, and even more amazing to be proud of your side profile! I still have numbness in my bottom lip/half of my chin and gums but nothing drastic enough to annoy me.

I can't believe looking back on my blog and the pictures in it how swollen I still was in places compared to now and there I was thinking that all my swelling had gone down! It just goes to show how long it really does take for your 'new' face to settle. (If you're new to the blog there are before/after photos below this post). Hopefully things will stay as good as they are now and I fingers crossed I don't bump into any problems with my screws in the future!

So heres to the brighter end of jaw surgery!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

10 months post op: Brace Free!

After what feels like a lifetime of waiting for surgery and then an added life-time to be officially 'post-op' I am FINALLY brace free.

I've just uploaded two quick pictures i've had since the de-bonding but will upload some proper before/after profile shots soon!

I'm onto the life of a retainer but thankfully I only have to wear that full time for 2 weeks, then I can drop down to wearing it at evenings and night times only.

Being brace free is amazing! And to anybody considering having jaw surgery - do it! The experience is life changing with truly amazing results!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

6 Month+ Post-op!

So I really didn't want to be the blogger that disappeared post-op and never did anymore updates, but I guess I became that and I logged on to lots of questions or comments that I haven't responded to! Opps! Sorry guys! I guess the point I can make from this is that your life really does get back to normality and you don't think about surgery or recovery or anything anymore! (Unlike the days when that's all I could think about because I was constantly reminded by either dribble, a hungry belly or generally fed up with looking like a swollen chip munk!)

Life has been pretty manic lately with finishing uni, moving back home and getting everything ready to start work! I've been enjoying as much time as I can with James - He was my rock during my recovery and I couldn't have done it without his support or encouragement, and I am very much looking forward to spending my life with him!

As far as how I am now... I can eat pretty much everything and let me tell you, having a bite that fits together is absolutely amazing. I feel like I have a real life blender in my mouth! I also really noticed the difference when I had small gaps after surgery meaning I had to have bands. Bands pulled my bite that bit tighter together meaning chewing is 10x easier so it's defo worth the perseverance even though they are annoying as hell!

Somebody asked how my numbness was going. I'm still numb on half of my bottom lip and part of my chin. Some of my gums on the inside of my mouth are still numb too, but it doesn't bother me in the slightest. Before surgery I was petrified of perm numbness for the rest of my life, but it sounds alot worse than it is!
I'm still in braces *groan*, however my orthodontist has told me that they should be off within the next 2 visits. So i'm hoping either christmas time or very early new year!

Other than that, everything else is pretty non-surgery related and I can't think of anything else I need to update on! I can talk clearly with no mumbles, i'm not drooling anymore and surgery seemed like a very very distant memory! My surgeon and ortho are chuffed with the outcome and I am too! There is no more gummy smile, just straight perfect teeth. My jaw line is great and I no longer worry about my side on profile! Although I wouldn't want to go through jaw surgery again, if I had to - I probably would! For the sake of a few months of pain and annoyance, the lifetime improvements and overall outcome outweigh every downside to surgery! Hopefully my final update will be of a brace-free me! :)

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Day 105: Photo Updates

When I look back at my before photos and compare them to myself now, I just can't believe the changes! 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Day 100+ A strange post

I cannot believe it's been over 100 days since jaw surgery - thats quater of a year! Things are definitely back to normal, although I still can't open my  mouth as wide yet, I still have a tiny bit of swelling in my cheeks and even though the braces are still on - jaw surgery is a distant memory.

I felt the need to show you guys this picture, of the bite I took out of a cake...

Before surgery, because my teeth didn't meet together i'd have to rip my food. As pathetic  as this sounds I used to envy people who had that perfect bite in their sandwich, or their toast, as mine was a jagged mess..

Well, looks like I got it!!

I've also found a new love for the nasal spray otrivine. I've been taking it for my hayfever, but I wish my surgeon let me have this stuff when I was stuffy and congested! It is a god send!!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Day 96: Belated post

So i've been a little behind on this and i'm aware that I need some more new pictures soon!

Last Friday I went to visit my surgeon again, the first time in 2 months and since hes been on compassionate leave. He's overly impressed with the results and hes happy that i'm happy! As far as the pain in my jaw has gone - it's settled down now and disappeared so I didn't feel the need to ask him about it. I did however ask him about my congestion. I told him that since my hayfever has started, it feels like i've got something swollen in my nose. He said that he doubts this as he's taken out the majority of the insides of my nose but he had a look anyway, and it is infact my remaining turbinate that is completely swollen. He told me that it's nothing to worry about, and will settle down once the pollen dies down. He did say that it was probably swollen from surgery anyway still and unfortunately pollen has come along and irritated it more, so this time next year I shouldn't be in the same level of discomfort! He's just advised me to keep taking things to try and control my hayfever and he will see me again in a couple of months - he doesn't want to discharge me yet until my nose is clear!

I've also been getting compliments from people who haven't seen me for a couple of weeks about my face! My sister and quite a few people at work when I started back immediately said that my face looks thinner, like even more swelling has disappeared. I've always said that I was still swollen in my cheeks but I know that this can take months and months to disappear, but I guess to a blind eye it doesn't look swollen! But it's nice to know that even now, there is still swelling and it is slowly disappearing!

Chewing is starting to get easier, i'm getting used to it more and more and I guess I have Dani and James to thank for that because they quickly shout at me if they see me not chewing! :)

I'm actually attempting a very thin cut steak tonight - we will see how that goes!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Day 89: Congestion and TMJ.

So the past week or so, has been an 'iffy' week - not great, but not awful either.

First thing on my list is congestion. Unfortunately my hayfever has started - big style. Naturally when something initiates an allergic response, one of the actions your body takes is to inflame the mucus membranes in your nasal passage and as a result your turbinates become enlarged. This has annoyed the living hell out of me. It's getting to the point now when my inferior turbinates are completely blocking my nasal passage, meaning that I can't even blow out the mucus and snot that's trapped behind it, and i'm having to breathe through my mouth again. Before surgery this didn't bother me, as I was never a nasal breather because I couldn't, but now i'm struggling. Just waiting on the summer to pass and the pollen to die down! Anyway, a few days ago, my congestion got so bad I ended up choking on my snot and gunk the moment I lay down and resulted in me having to spend the night sleeping slightly upright in bed. Lately I have been taking something to calm the hayfever down and it's become more manageable, but I see my surgeon again on Friday and i'm hoping he can advise some decongestant spray. 

Another thing that has been happening this last week is pain in the right side of my jaw, around the muscle area. At first I thought it was the jaw exercises, so I cut them down but the pain actually became worse, so i'm thinking i've got some slight TMJ appearing. 
I've never suffered from TMJ previous to surgery and I know that jaw surgery itself is a very tricky process when people do have TMJ as it can sometimes exacerbate the symptoms as opposed to reducing them. My surgeon was pretty happy pre-op that I'd never suffered from TMJ or clicky jaws beforehand! However recently i've been experiencing awful pain in the area which will radiate into my head. It also goes on to restrict my movement in my mouth as I can't open my mouth as wide.  One thing that I have found though is that the moment I take my bands out, the pressure is relieved and the symptoms disappear. I'm guessing that the force of the bands is starting to put too much pressure on my joints which is causing this pain - so i'm keeping my fingers crossed that the pain is definitely band related and nothing more sinister. Roll on getting bands off for good! 

Friday, 14 June 2013

Day 78: Back to Pain

So I haven't uploaded a mugshot of myself for a while, so I figured i'd just pop on some photos that I took over the last weekend!

Unfortunately, since my orthodontist appt, pain has come back. Although it's nice to be back into the world of orthodontic work, I guess I forgot how annoying and painful work to your actual teeth becomes! So since Tuesday, i've experienced very tight and achy teeth. When I visited my ortho, he also filed down my two front teeth ever so slightly because I said that It was banging on my brace (Obviously, this needs to be rectified else before you know it, you'll be knocking those brackets off). To anybody else and to myself, you can't notice a difference. He's taken the absolute microscopic amount off, but the pain to go along with this feels like hes grinded down my entire tooth - awful. So bad I had to take paracetamol AND ibuprofen to get it under control!

Also, now i've been putting my bands on to close my bite tighter during the night time, i'm experiencing pain in my back teeth during the day. I can tell the difference the new band position is making already, as i'm biting down on ALL my back teeth now, obviously as all teeth aren't used to this yet, i'm experiencing the pain I had first post-op when I could actually close my teeth together.

Jaw exercises are a chore in itself, BUT, in two days of jaw exercises, I can nearly nearly (with no bands) open my mouth to 3 fingers wide! My muscles let me know that it hurts, but I guess it's worth it!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Day 76+: Orthodontics

As I wrote this post, it took me ages to work out how many days I was out of post-op. I can't believe it! I thought 'that can't be right,' how time has flown!

Anyway. This morning I met with my orthodontist again for your usual check ups. As per, things are moving incredibly slowly for me. My teeth and bite have come together perfectly on the right hand side, but are moving really slowly on the left, so unfortunately - bands are still in. :( My ortho said not to worry about it, and that it's happening, just at it's own pace. He also checked out why I couldn't put my bands as far back as he suggested. Basically, on the very back tooth, the hook had 'tucked' itself into my gum, meaning that I couldn't access it at all. He laughed it off and said no wonder you couldn't get them on, and sorted that out for me.

On a brighter note, he took my surgical hooks from the top, other than the two hooks I need to band up. Although the process of actually removing them felt like he was trying to dislocate my jaw, it feels AMAZING without them on. I forgot how it felt! They're no longer rubbing or irritating my gums, and talking in general seems to be alot easier. Roll on getting the final 4 off!

He checked out how far I could open up, and it's still only 2 fingers and abit, so he's told me to start exercising my jaw and stretching it out. Attempting for 1mm per week but not going overboard. We also had an interesting discussion on how far you can open your mouth. He said that when he had a tooth extraction, they injected his muscle meaning he could only open his mouth a very limited amount, much like me! He said that it really got him down as you take for granted how much effort it is to chew when you don't really have that much room in between your mouth, due to you not being able to actually open it very far. So it was nice to have somebody who is on my wave length, and knows how frustrating it is to attempt to chew or simply fit normal sized bites of food in your mouth!

Other than that, the jaw has been pretty stable! Pain is non-existent other than the occasional ache which is nothing.
I find it amazing looking back how protective I was over my to begin with, I wouldn't even let somebody hug me. I know that Liz did a whole post about this and I pretty much agree with her. Last week (i'm sure he won't mind me sharing), James, Dani and I were all tucked up on my bed chatting about old times. I don't know how it happened but James ended up accidentally punching me straight in the top jaw and nose. I'm not going to lie, it hurt alot, and was a massive shock to the system, but in honesty I wasn't bothered or worried about it. Now if he had done this had happened at a week post op, I think I would have become suicidal and demanded that I be seen instantly at A&E, as I would have been petrified of the damage! Oh well, no harm done!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Day 70: Phantom Drooling

So today is a really good day in the jaw world. I woke up and I could wiggle my bottom jaw side to side! I have no idea how I did it, as I'd expect after a sleep it would sieze up more. It doesn't move as much as it did pre-op, but's it's sure moving and I can see it move! I love how little things like this excite you. I even had to call my mum up the stairs to show her. No doubt i'll be showing everyone else when I see them!

Another thing i've started to experience is phantom drooling. I know this is very common. When I drink or eat, I'll feel like i've spilt half of it down my chin. When I go to wipe however there was nothing there. Phantom drooling! I'm assuming it's something to do with the nerves waking up, as in this general area is where they're all abit sensitive and messed up - or my body is expecting me to make a mess. I know one day it will get me back, when I won't wipe, and there will actually be food there!

It's crazy how quick time has flown. My mum keeps looking at me and saying 'I forget that you've had jaw surgery now, now that you're all healed - I can't even think that it's happened' - and neither can I! I'm not so cautious and protective of my jaw anymore. I know there's still along way to go in terms of chewing normally again, nerves fully waking up and my mouth finally opening it's full width, ontop of more orthodontic treatment, but it's definitely a big step in the right direction!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Day 65+ Grad Ball

So i've hit just past the 9 week mark, and over the weekend was my graduation ball. It was great to just dress up and spend it with some absolutely amazing people. It was also the first time i've properly sat down and eaten a full 3-course meal in public. Admittedly, with the array of wine glasses, napkins and what felt like a million knifes and forks, I thought It was slightly too formal for me, but I did do pretty well! I even went out for a carvery the next day!

One thing that I probably should say, is at the club after the after party, the bouncer was very reluctant to let me in. He took one look at my OLD passport photo and uttered the words 'Is that really you? Are you sure thats you?' - To which I replied, yep, i've had jaw surgery that's why I look so different. He accepted this and let me through - but definitely a sign that I need new ID!

Moving my jaw side to side is still not happening for me, however in the middle of the night I woke up half asleep and wiggled it, like a normal jaw and had full movement. I'm pretty sure I didn't dream this, but I can't do it awake, so i'm starting to think that maybe I did. I can also still only open my mouth 2 fingers width, and it doesn't seem to be growing.

Oh well, time will tell! Other than that, life in the jaw-world is pretty boring and normal!

Monday, 27 May 2013

Day 60: The hardship of chewing and sensitive teeth!

So a quick update from my last post; I still can't put my bands in where my ortho wants them at night because it's simply too far back, so i've been wearing them where I do during the day. I have an appt with him this week so hopefully he can sort it out! I've also been abit poor on the picture front just lately so i've added a few on this post of pictures i've taken over the weekend!

I never realised how hard chewing would be again since getting the all clear to go ahead and start again. I understand that I haven't done it for 8 weeks and my body is probably a bit like 'what are you doing' but I thought it would be something that you would never forget, like riding a bike or swimming. Something you never lose. Well I have lost it, and i'm finding it really difficult to start again!

I can't move my bottom jaw side to side when I chew, it's very up and down. Pair this with the fact I can hardly open my mouth, it doesn't really leave much room to actually move the food around in there. One thing I'm attempting to do to try and get this back is to start moving my bottom jaw side to side slowly. It won't budge all that far and to even get it to move that tinest amount takes alot of effort! I'm hoping slowly (and I guess it will be very slowly) my body will get used to it again, but right now, I find myself favouring soft foods just so that I can avoid chewing! One thing that happened today in this process of chewing, was that I stabbed the back of my mouth with my fork. Don't ask how it happened because I honestly don't know! :P

This weekend is my graduation ball, and is the first time i've eaten out in public, so should be an extremely fun experience! For starters is soup. Now, i've only had soup once since my 'liquid diet' and that was last week. My mum gave it to me for dinner and I was mortified, I took one spoonful and refused to eat it. I couldn't stand the liquid-ness in my mouth, and to be honest I  think i've had my fair share of soup for life! I'm hoping that either the soup at the grad ball is so nice I can't resist it, otherwise I'm sure James and Dave will scoff it down between them both! :P

Another thing that is really annoying me just lately is the return of feeling in the places where i'm still completely numb; half of my bottom lip, a patch in my chin and my gums. At the moment the nerves in these areas are crazy! One slight touch will send weird sensations all about my face, which really makes my hairs stand on edge! It's got to the point now where I can't wear lipgloss because I can't stand the feeling, and I cringe when I put foundation on! With regards to the feelings of my gums returning, it's made my teeth incredibly sensitive. I've never suffered with sensitive teeth before but again, I hate it! I hate brushing certain teeth that are 'more sensitive!' I guess with all this feeling returning I should just grin and bare it, and be thankful that they're actually waking up. :)

Friday, 24 May 2013

Day 56+: 8 week mark - Chewing and more bands

Posting is getting harder as not that much is happening jaw wise; so i'll probably just post as and when something happens from now on! Life with uni is incredibly busy at the moment so you will have to excuse lack of pictures, but I just haven't had the time. Next week is my graduation ball so i'll probably upload lots of pictures from then!

So yesterday I went to visit my orthodontist again. He's taken over my care from my surgeon whilst he's on compassionate leave. As soon as I walked in he was calling people over to admire my results and said I was looking better everytime that I visited. He also showed me my first ever mold before any orthodontic treatment and the gap was ridiculous  You could fit over a thumb between the teeth and still have room to wobble, now I can fit a fingernail and that's all! :)

He said that my bite has come together perfectly on my right side but not so much to the left, so sadly bands have got to stay on for longer! Urgh! Ontop of that I've got to change the position at night time so they go all the way  back to my wisdom teeth, AND I have to double up the bands! I thought this sounded fine until I actually attempted to put in the bands last night, I could get it in one side but not the other. In the end I ended up throwing abit of a wobbly and said 'f**k it, they're staying where they were, i'll just double up' - tonight i'll have another go - if I can't get them all the way to the back i'll probably be meeting him again sometime next week just so he can show me how the hell i'm supposed to put them in!

He also said that I can go ahead and start attempting to chew. I'm only on soft foods still at the moment, he said don't go crazy on a steak tonight, and to avoid foods like pizza, or hard breads and meats, or things that take that extra bit of chewing. Again, I thought this was great until I attempted to chew. What a strange sensation! I started with pasta, and in honesty it was great, I felt like I had a real life blender in my mouth and I definitely see what i've been missing - and what everyone takes for granted! Chewing did feel easier but I can't really move my bottom jaw side to side in the movement of chewing, it's just very up and down, and still quite messy. I had to think about every tiny movement I made and it took me ages! I've been attempting to move it side to side in the mirror as I need to start building the muscle up, but it moves the tinest amount and that's with maximum effort! My ortho did say though that it would take a while to learn how to chew again, and would feel strange for quite a while until my muscles are used to it. I also found that after chewing on a few pieces of pasta my jaw got incredibly achey and tired, so I ended up just swallowing majority of my meal towards the end, but it's all progress!

Other than that not much has happened in the life of the jaw. I think all of my swelling has gone now other than a tiny bit on my left side. I can actually feel my jaw line and ontop of this I can feel the gaps in my jaw! But I assume they're starting to fuse together now, It's pretty weird actually and I try not to feel to much but I can't help myself sometimes! Pain is just in the form of aching if I talk to much at once, or if I chew as said above. And numbness is the same as always - in my lip and my chin, however i'm getting all weird sensations about my chin and face which my ortho said was a good sign! I'm also pretty sure that nearly all of my stiches have fallen out. I can't see any at the bottom but can't really tell at the top. During my ortho appointment he used those stupid plastic things to open my gums so he could take pictures of my bite, and after 1 stitch fell out so I guess they're alot deeper than I can actually see. The 'cotton ball feeling' is slowly disappearing, scar tissue is starting to build up but I guess when this breaks down talking and pulling faces with my mouth will be alot easier and won't feel so tight!

I can't wait to get the braces off now. I haven't asked my ortho how long it will be because I don't want the disappointment of how long I could potentially wait. They're starting to incredibly annoy me now, more so than before surgery, but I guess that's because my jaws are in the right place now and my mouth isn't used to it!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Day 53: I've injured myself yawning

I saw this on Esmeralda's blog and it really really amused me, so i'm having to make a blog purely for this photo. It's a good job we can laugh about these things now!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Day 50+: 7 week mark, scary pain experience.

So yesterday I hit the 7 week mark, the weeks are flying by now. Jaw surgery itself just seems like a distant memory, I only get the reminder that it even happened from my bands and weird sensations I have about my face right now.

As much as update wise goes, nothing new has happened and i'm still not chewing. Sigh. I know I can go ahead and probably start chewing up but until I see my ortho for clearance I daren't start just yet!

I'm still wearing my bands although I feel like my gap has come together pretty much completely now, but again, we will see what ortho says! They still suck to high heaven and really annoy me, ontop of just generally irritating my mouth! I can't wait to eat and food not to get trapped by them.

Numbness is really amusing me lately as I have so many crossed nerve wires it's unreal! I can touch my chin and i'll feel it in my cheek and teeth, or if I stroke my lip it will feel as though i'm drooling down my chin even though i'm not. I guess they'll sort themselves out when they want to! As for overall numbness, i'm only completely numb in my gums, half of my bottom lip and some of my chin!

Pain wise is still non-existant, although saying this I had an incredibly scary experience at the start of this week. Out of the blue I woke up with really severe pain along where I assume the gap is/was (whatever) in my lower jaw, and around where I'm guessing a plate is. At first I thought i'd slept on it funny, but as the day progressed it was getting worse and worse. It began to hurt when I smiled, moved my mouth in anyway, spoke or anything. James kept asking me if it was anything to do with my stitches, but it was no where near my incision line and definitely a bone pain. Anyway, it got to the point that I was regularly taking pain medication again, but it still wouldn't get rid of the pain completely. It stayed like that for a couple of days, and I decided that if it was still hurting on Friday, i'd pop over to A&E after work to get them to x-ray it just to make sure nothing had come lose, or there was no signs of infection, while I wasn't in the town where my ortho and surgeon live. Tuesday night it got even worse. At this point I needed my codeine, but unfortunately due to a bloody numeracy exam I had the next day, I didn't want to knock myself out too much. James offered to take me to A&E that night, and I did genuinely want to go as the pain was getting that severe - I was unable to move my mouth or lips in anyway shape or form due to it's severity, but again, because of numeracy exam I really didn't want to be sitting in A&E until early hours of the morning.

And then the weirdest thing happened. The pain moved from my jaw, to my chin, to the jaw on the otherside, and then vanished. Just like that! This is going to be a massive thank you to Dani and James right now, because I know that over these few days I was probably the most annoying I probably have ever been; I had them checking my temperature on literally a 5 minute basis, and got them to analyse my face every 10 seconds to make sure the pain area didn't re-swell up. (If it did swell, or my temp did spike I would have been straight to A&E demanding antibiotics!).

Anyway, thank you guys AGAIN for your amazing patience with me! I guess it just shows that it's normal to still experience certain feelings, even 7 weeks after surgery. I may be recovered in mind, but bone wise healing isn't 100% until after quite a few months!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Day 47: Another perspective (Best Friend)

So I’ve known Emma for just under three years now, when we first started university together! The very first time I met Emma I never noticed anything out of place of different with her Jaw so much so that I went up to someone else thinking that it was Emma, and they pointed me in the right direction! Oops!! Emma is not just my peer or flat mate, she is my best friend. Emma told me about her surgery quite soon in our friendship and from a personal point of view I never felt like she needed anything done and in all honesty from what Emma was saying I thought the day would never come. 

Receiving the text:
So on the 22nd Feb I was on a long day on placement and I went on my break to a text from Emma, this wasn’t unusual we were always texting however this message was very different and it read: “I’ve had a date for my op! 28th March!!” So this Is where it all began …
Over the previous few months Emma had supported me massively through a really tough personal few months and I was pleased that I was going to be able to return the favour and support her though this massive journey she was about to embark on! The more I thought about Emma having the operation the more panicked I became so I decided to just not think about it and the fact that Emma only found out a month before her surgery seemed to make everything fly by giving me and everyone else I think less time to think about the situation!
Before the Op.
A week before the operation I remember saying to my boyfriend that I didn’t want Emma to have the operation for purely selfish reasons and I think because Emma was beautiful and everyone who knew Emma loved her for who she was. However my boyfriend was supportive and it was happening despite what I felt of thought. Also I knew deep down that this was going to change Emma’s life massively. Knowing Emma how I did meant I knew that she hated her profile from the side, hated crossing the road with her side profile showing to the traffic, at times she was uncomfortable because her Jaw wouldn’t come together properly and she would NEVER have her hair up if she could help it. Little things that were all about to change for the better! Emma left the Tuesday before her operation and although I knew it was happening I think I blocked it out for the whole day even when she said bye to the girls at uni, however when she was ready to leave there was no blocking it out and saying goodbye to her that night broke my heart, it was very emotional for both of us! 

28th March 2013.
So the day had arrived for Emma to have surgery and I woke up to a lovely text from Emma ! The main person I need to thank though is James, he was brilliant at keeping me upto date throughout the day and just generally chatting with him I think helped to keep us both distracted from what was happening, after all waiting 8 hours for someone you love and care about to be brought back to the ward is a long time! I think having knowledge that I have (training to be a nurse) made it even harder I was thinking about all the what ifs. When I got the message from James to tell me she was okay I just felt relief! The end of a long day!
Since the op!
I went to see Emma just four days after her operation and at first I found it really difficult to see Emma in her new face, especially due to the bruising and swelling that Emma was experiencing. I did however notice straight away that she looked amazing and I knew instantly that this was a positive thing to happen for Emma! Although at that point I’m sure she didn’t! After being with Emma for about 10 minutes I managed to see Emma in her new face, I think it was her eyes and then I felt completely relaxed about everything, she was still dosed up on medicines and I think everything was probably still a bit of a blur to her however it was lovely to see her. After this I went back to uni but obviously spoke to Emma almost every day about how she was etc. I saw Emma again about a week later and the changes were amazing the swelling and bruising that I had previously seen had gone down loads and her face was really starting to take shape! I think it was about another week before I saw Emma again and again the swelling had gone down massively and I could really see the changes in her face she looked amazing. 

When Emma had come back to Uni properly she was really worried about eating infront of me and kept apologising, after telling her there was no need to be sorry and that it was fine I think she finally felt comfortable about eating around me. We went out on Emma’s first night back from uni as a cohort and we had a really good night and it was the first time I had a new picture with Emma and her new Jaw! It was really nice and looking at the pictures when we got home I couldn’t believe the difference!! 
Having Emma back was lovely! Since then Emma has continued to make amazing progress and even when we go home for a weekend and I come back you can see the changes in her face, the swelling slowly going down, supporting Emma at the moment just includes reassuring her that she is still swollen, that her face isn’t wonky and that this isn’t the finished product yet! I can’t wait to see it when it is! Seeing Emma have pictures from the side is lovely as well, it’s something she never used to do and also she has her hair up now which again is something she never used to do! These small things to most people are massive to Emma, and I’m so glad that she had the operation as it really has changed her life, okay so there may be days when she doesn’t like her face, but I’m sure that’s normal its very new to her and it looks unbelievably different to us let alone Emma!!
The next big milestone for Emma is to chew and I’m hoping as much as she is that she gets the all clear from her ortho next time he sees her, I think that will help Emma to get back to normality!

Following that Emma, James, Dave and I are going to a ball and for Emma to be able to chew then would make it an even more successful night!
Also want to say a massive thank you to Emma for letting me be part of this journey and allowing me to support you throughout. You’re amazing, look beautiful and I love you lots!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Day 46: Reflection

So guess what happened today? Two of my stitches fell out! Oh yeah! One step closer to 100% recovery! You've got to love these jaw surgery milestones!

So since my life is becoming somewhat normal again I've been doing a lot of thinking back to the day of surgery and those very early recovery days, and in all honesty I cannot remember any of it!! There are memories which are a complete blur, and things which baffle me still to this day. I guess when you're knocked out for a big amount of time, and then pumped so hard with every pain med going, you really don't know what's going on - and I didn't...

There is one thing that has always stuck out to me, and that was waking up for the first time in recovery. In my head, I thought I was fine as soon as I woke up, but the more I try to 'piece together the day' the more I actually don't remember any of it. For example, when I woke up, I thought I stayed awake, moved to my ward 2 hours later and then saw my family. In reality, I actually have no clue of moving out of recovery to my ward, or even how I got off the theatre trolley onto my bed. I certainly hadn't stayed awake for 2 hours, and I know this because my limited memory was actually of my surgeon trying to wake up over and over again, and him telling me to stop touching my face. During this time my sats dropped, I got the worst chesty cough imaginable, and my recovery nurses refused to move me to my ward because I wasn't stable enough yet in their eyes, and I refused to keep my oxygen mask on. I guess I scared myself a little (knowing to much is bad for you) and I sat up and just watched my surroundings. I even attempted to drink from a cup which failed, obviously as I couldn't feel or move my face, but then I assume I dosed back off during this time and they eventually moved me out, as I can't remember the transfer at all. I remember being sick when I finally got to the ward, waving to my parents and James when they first saw me, and then from here the rest of the visit and the night turned into a blur... apparently I asked James if my nose was wonky. Oh well!

I also don't remember the first time I saw my 'new face.' Before surgery I thought it would be a big moment, that would stay with me forever, but I have no clue of seeing it for the first time. I vaguely remember people telling me that I looked amazing in recovery, but lets be honest, I was so spaced out, falling in and out of sleep,  I didn't care what they were telling me, and I guess during this time I didn't care what I looked like either! I think I even shrugged one of the nurses when she said that the transformation was amazing! Opps! :P

Considering I can't remember much of my stay in hospital, It still felt like the longest 3 days of my entire life.

Anyway, I want your guys views. How much can you remember, or not in this case? How did you feel waking up for the first time, or seeing your face? Get commenting!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Day 40+: 6 week-ish update!

Oh dear, I've been abit neglectful of this blog over the past few days. Life has suddenly gotten extremely busy and I've just had no time! I apologise! I think from now on I'll blog as something happens, or if I have an apt with my surgeon, or simply if I just find something interesting to blog about :P So last Thursday I hit the 6 week recovery mark. WAHEY!...

I was due to see my surgeon on Wednesday but unfortunately he had to cancel - he's gone on an unplanned compassionate leave for 2 months which means he has handed me over to the care of my ortho for the time-being, and he won't be seeing me until he returns on the 28th of June, but will be seeing my ortho in 2 weeks. I'm not too fussed in all honesty, as I've been seeing both my ortho and surgeon at the same time, and my ortho is pretty switched on surgery wise. It just means that I'm still not chewing/blowing my nose etc... as I haven't had the 'all clear' from either of them - so a big step for normality for me will be closer to the 8-week mark, when I do finally see Mr.Ortho.

Anyway, here is a general 'update' of things that have been happening surgery and life wise:

Is basically non-existing, however since I've started work placement and i'm communicating more, and just generally working more my jaw is getting incredibly tired and achey which results in pain. It's not surgery pain in general, it's more of a 'getting used to normal habbits' pain. But it really does ache. One thing I also keep doing is 'shocking my jaw' - usually when walking down the steps. I forget that my face is pretty delicate at the moment and I bounce down steps as I usually did pre-op, and when I get to the bottom one I throw all my weight down onto my foot (rather than placing it down gentally), and it's like my body has lost it's suspension and the sudden force travels up my body and shocks my jaw a little. It's pretty pathetic really but oh well!

Has come down a lot. I can't see any swelling at all anymore, however my family and friends do say that I still have a tiny little bit around my lower jaw and under my chin. But last little bits can take months to disappear.

I've pretty much regained all feeling in my entire face, accept for half of my bottom lip and part of my chin. At times they do tingle which makes me think that one day they'll wake up, but I won't be surprised or bothered if they don't. My gums are still completely numb but again are tingling, but I now have all feeling on the inside of my mouth and tongue.

Still on no chew unfortunately atleast until the 8 week mark. I can now open my mouth around a finger and a half width so it is gradually getting wider. Eating is gradually getting faster but I still use  a little spoon or fork, and it's still a messy process because of the bands. I guess psychologically eating in public is a big thing, as I only feel comfortable to eat around my family James and Dani, I certainly wouldn't tackle a restaurant yet! (Atleast not until the bands are off!). It's also a pain trying to find foods that aren't messy which I can take to work.

I'm not really congested anymore, however I still can't blow my nose (as I haven't been given the all clear), if i'm being honest I've secretly blown my nose EVER SO GENTALLY sometimes (shh!) and it feels incredibly weird. I get this popping sensation in my right nostril which scares me sometimes, and happens if I blow or press a patch near my eye which I do want to ask my surgeon about. But I can't wait for the complete all clear so I can have a blowing party with a box of tissues!

General Feeling:
Surgeons thank-you card.
All in all i'm incredibly happy with surgery and it's outcome. I'm still getting used to my face and at times I don't like it, but that's only because it's so different. I look in the mirror and wonder who is staring back at me sometimes! The past 6 weeks have flown by and in honesty I'm sad to see this era of my life pass, something I have waited so long for has been and gone in the blink of an eye, and I frequently say that I wish I could go back and 'slow down' and enjoy it a little bit more (even though there is nothing to enjoy really accept for the outcome!) People ask me if i'd do it again and I would, Jaw surgery is an amazing thing and is one of the best decisions I've made!

My surgical team and orthodontist have been absolutely amazing and I hold a lot of respect for these people, they're so intelligent and their level of care and compassion for me has been more than I ever expected during this surgery stage, I really can't thank them enough for the impact they've had on myself and my life! They are truly an inspiration!
One thing I have done is had a thank-you card made for my surgeon of my x-ray, as i'm pretty sure he will be discharging me from his care pretty soon which i'm incredibly sad about, (my ortho won't get one until he removes my braces and discharges me :P) but it's cool so I thought i'd post a pic!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Day 39: Photo taking!

So after last nights 'blip' and alot of amazingly lovely comments from you guys - I feel alot better about my face, and alot better in general, so this post is dedicated to you guys. It's so nice that you're not alone in this whole jaw surgery experience, whether that be friends and family, but it's even nicer knowing that you're surrounded by such a diverse yet amazing group of people, who are all part of the 'jaw army' together - although we're all generally having jaw surgery, our own stories, procedure and recovery is unique, and that's what gets me through the tougher days, knowing that each of you have gone through yours and got out smiling the other side, so thank you, for simply being there!

As much as updates goes, I had my first ice cream today. Fair enough I couldn't eat the cornet but the bit on top was a-ma-zing! I also took plenty of photos - last night after my strop I decided that I was going to take absolutely, no more photos until i'm totally recovered so THEN I could get used to the results, but today i'm on something different - if you're reading this, take millions of photos, every single day, and use these photos! Since jaw surgery i've made sure that every photo has been updated on any social networking site such as FB, my phone background, etc.. not only will it let you embrace your new face, it lets you get used to it to!

My favorite photo today has got to be the one of James and I side on, i've always envied people who could have pictures like this as side-on I was always so self conscious about my jaw, but now I can too!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Day 38: Sleeping milestone and a good cry.

So last night I hit another milestone, I slept in my own bed, for the entire night! In honesty I made a fortress of pillows to guard my face, but managed to have an amazing sleep. I only woke up once and even slept in until 9.45! Amazing! I didn't plan to get in my bed, I got on my chair and within 5 minutes i'd had enough and thought oh sod it. I spent most of the night on my back, and if I did roll onto my face I made sure pressure was on my forehead rather than directly on my jaw. But one step closer to normality.

Today soon turned into a pretty awful day. I originally became really productive, and even made a video. However shortly after my mood rocketed and I turned so depressed I even uttered the words "I hate my new face, why couldn't I just have been greatful with what I had - this jaw surgery was the worst thing I have ever done" *Gasp* That turned into a massive sob, and I mean real hysterical crying which probably lasted the best part of an hour.

Now I feel more positive about the situation; how I should have looked at it is; I'm learning to smile again, my smile is wonky because my swelling is worse on one side but non-existing on the other, I can't talk properly yet because of numbness and swelling and stitches, and my face looks completely different - but completely normal.

I guess you never appreciate how hard it is to get used to something completely new, especially when it's changing on a daily basis. To me my new face looks weird, it looks out of proportion and it looks totally different. To anyone else it looks normal - but a normal smile with no gums showing, or a normal jaw line is Not something I am used to!

Anyway, on 'reflection' of said event, I'm not going to upload the video I did, nor any photos I took. I'm going to start a new day tomorrow and attempt it again, and appreciate that yeah, I'm healing pretty well, but i'm a long long way from total 100% recovery. People say that you shouldn't worry about your appearance until 6 months post-op, but that's real hard isn't it?!