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?!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Day 37: Nasal Turbinates and Congestion

Nasal congestion is extremely common when you undergo jaw surgery, especially with maxillary impaction due to the top jaw being moved upwards - cutting through your nasal bone and into your nasal sinuses. If you watch the maxillary impaction video below, you'll see what I mean!

Anyway for me personally, because of my impaction movement of 6mm, I had to have turbinates and soft tissue removed, which I was aware of before surgery, and again this is very common. Alot of people have been asking me what these are and where they are located. Turbinates, also called nasal concha are to support the 'air-controlling' and 'air
filtering' functions of your nose when you're breathing in an out. If you flare your nostrils and shine a torch up there you may be able to see them. It's removal comes with it's own risks, which I won't go into, but your surgeon will - this is something that you need to weigh up yourself. For me personally, the risks associated with turbinate removal during my maxillary impaction never bothered me, and it's not something I've worried about since.

Since surgery I've always been congested; this is extremely common due to the removal of turbinates and cutting into your nasal sinuses in general, and healing is generally paired with inflammation and increased mucus production. I'm not allowed to blow my nose as of yet due to the risk of doing some damage up there, and the risk of bleeding. However, as of yesterday my nose has started to bleed. Urgh! It hasn't done this since the day of surgery! It's only coming out of one nostril, and it's very fresh blood mixed with the mucus. In all honesty I have been cleaning up there with a cotton bud, and from what I can see I've irritated a little part of my nose and made it abit sore. It doesn't help that my hayfever has started and things are starting to get inflamed. Anyway, for safety reasons, when I see my surgeon on Wednesday, I will get him to check it out!

Friday, 3 May 2013

Day 36: Another perspective (Best friends)

So I had alot of emails and a few comments following James's post, saying what a good idea it was, as we never really see jaw surgery from somebody elses view other than as ourselves going through it. So I handed this post over to my best friend Vicky - in honesty her post made me cry, she talks about her fears and nerves watching me go through jaw surgery! (I'm also going to ask Dani and my parents to write one at some point!)
When we think about what we want out of life, most people think of their career path and having a family. For Emma though, she's had something completely unique on her list. She wanted Jaw Surgery and after a long wait, she’s had it!
The first time I met Emma I noticed something different about her... I thought she was a twin! (No, really I did). Well I got that wrong, but I came to learn that there was something different about Emma.
During college me and Emma became extremely close friends. Although she's a 'little worrier', she’s always been the strongest member of our little duo. Emma has always had a huge amount of independence. I would never have thought this back at 16 when Emma spent most of her days in a dressing gown and didn't know how to turn the washing machine on! But she's always been independent with regards to what she wants out of life. I found it amazing when Emma was set on having Jaw Surgery.
I don't think throughout college and the start of Uni it ever really sunk in. I remember in second year of college, we were asked to introduce each other In front of the class. Being best friends, we had a lot to say about one another, and one of them on my list was that Emma had a 'deformed jaw'. I remember everyone being confused and shocked but I don't think anyone including me saw anything wrong with Emma's Jaw. Admittedly, I've always been extremely jealous of Emma because of how absolutely gorgeous she is! It made me feel even more jealous when I realised how gorgeous she is inside. Back then, major surgery didn't seem real to me.

I remember a month before her surgery and she told me shed set a date and changed her surgeon. I have no idea why but I didn't take it in. I think because we'd been waiting so long for this day, when it came it just felt like they were going to say 'no Emma, you're not ready yet'.
I think that month went unbelievably fast! The most upsetting time for me at this stage was not being able to see her before surgery. Since she told me that she had a date, I hadn’t seen her for a while and I felt terrible! I wanted her to know I was there for her and I was thinking about her, but texts and emails just weren't the same as the hug I was dying to give her.
Week of the Surgery
The week of her surgery, I think adrenaline pumped in. I wasn't excited...I was worried. I started to have loads of dreams about her going into theatre. I’ve never liked the thought of surgery for anyone. I've always thought what If something goes wrong. I think because I hadn't said good luck and I love you to her face, I kept worrying thinking if anything happens will I ever get to say bye.
The day of surgery, went extremely slowly. I woke up at a ridiculous time in the morning after another weird dream and went into Uni early to do work. The whole of the Uni was completely silent and I remember sitting in the library being so fidgety. At this point I have to thank James. He was absolutely amazing at keeping me up-to-date with everything that was going on!
After the surgery, I was so relieved that she had come home and everything had gone according to plan. James kept me up to speed with everything, which was brilliant and I was so happy she was doing well. She's so strong! For me though, that first week was horrible. The nerves had set in and I realised that the next time I see my Emma, she will look different. I think the first time she showed me a photograph, I was stunned. But then I thought calm down this was taken when she had just come out of surgery, she's bound to look different.
I think it really really hit me when she uploaded a video on her blog. Within the first 20 seconds of viewing it, I broke down in tears. She just looked so pale and so ill, and it just felt like her sparkle had gone! That week and when more photos came, I was getting more and more nervous about seeing her. To take my mind off the nerves, I started to focus on how I could show her I love her. I thought I'd do her a little box with bits in to keep her going so she could relax and pamper herself. I think I felt like I had to compensate for not being there beforehand.

I think the worst thing about that week was when I tried to explain to people who didn't know Emma why I was nervous. No one seemed to understand why I was petrified about seeing her for the first time. I couldn't get to sleep all week because I felt so guilty for feeling nervous about seeing my best friend. I know she hadn't changed inside but I couldn't explain why the surgery had made me so anxious to see her and no one understood. I think it felt even more worse because I felt like I couldn't talk to Emma about it. I didn't want her to be worried about me and I didn’t want her to think I was being a rubbish friend. It got so bad at one point that I was really close to giving her some crap excuse to say I can't come and see you. Even thinking of saying that made me feel sick. I just felt like such an awful friend!
The night before I went to see her, I actually started to get excited. I really really missed her and I wanted to show her my box of goodies; I kind of dragged Jordan along with me. I thought if I start to get upset I want someone I can hide my face behind.
When I did see her, I couldn't look at her straight in the face. I put the box of stuff on her knee, and when I was pointing to things, I realised my hand was shaking and so I just thought I'd sit down quickly before she noticed. I decided to tell her a story of what had happened to Jordan the day before to make her laugh. And it worked! And even though half of her face didn't move I could see the sparkle in her eyes returning.

I’d never once say that Emma had done the wrong thing. It's what she wanted and I was always beside her every step of the way. She looks even more gorgeous than she ever did before and I feel so lucky to have such a strong best friend and an amazingly gorgeous one too. I still feel silly for feeling and reacting the way I did. I know Emma herself probably won’t be aware of everything I felt through that first week until she’s read this. I'm just glad that the hard part is over with now and she's on the road to full recovery. She's been amazing! I love her 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Day 35: 5 week update

Pain in Jaw: 1/10
Wow, the weeks are flying by!

I've been abit pants on the picture front lately and I do apologise; I do have them I just don't have any front view before pictures (hence why only side ones have gone up) from my other laptop around, so as soon as I get them i'll back track and update the daily photos.

Recovery is going well, i'm learning to talk and use my mouth again slowly which is nice, the swelling has gone down alot on one side compared to the other; it's really comical when I talk or smile because the less-swollen side goes up more! I can't wait for 0 swelling so that I can see a 'finished result smile' rather than one of a working progress!

I'm still in two bands, one either side which limit my movements quite alot. I've said this before but bands are used to guide your teeth into their new position, I definitely feel as though this has improved since the first couple of days, when I could bite together my brain got a little overexcited I think and was like 'Wow, lets clench down hard' and it didn't really know when to actually STOP applying clenching pressure. Since then, my bite has just come together comfortably with no added pressure etc... My jaw spasms seem to have started again, but again, I think this is my jaw getting abit frustrated of being kept in one place, I feel as though it's telling me it's okay and it wants to start moving!

Pain has been under control for the past week or so, I very rarely take pain meds anymore, sometimes I feel as though my jaw is getting tired when I talk too much at once but this is to be expected. The only discomfort I have really is the cotton ball feeling around my lips; but this is just a combo of numbness, swelling and stitches, and a burning pain I get frequently in my chin.

The only places i'm totally numb now are my gums, half of my bottom lip and an area of my chin, everywhere else is starting to return. It's not fully back yet but atleast it's not numb!

Eating is getting better, I can still only open my mouth a fingers width wide so eating is abit of a messy process but I can generally mash most things up with my tounge. Meats I find difficult so I avoid them. I'm still on strict no chew diet but i'm getting real bad urges to chew just lately, especially when food gathers around my back molars; I keep having dreams that i've forgotten I'm not allowed to chew and i've bit and chewed away on something anyway - I doubt when I start it will be as easy as it is in my dreams though :P

Congestion has been pretty bad again today but I think that's because my hayfever is starting. I'm going to check when I can blow my nose with my surgeon next week, when I get the all clear i'm going to buy a big box of tissues and go crazy!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Day 34: Another perspective (Boyfriends)

So out of all the jaw surgery blogs i've seen around, we all write things from our own perspective. I thought i'd hand over this post to James for the night in hope maybe i'll appreciate things more from his perspective, watching me undergo jaw surgery! (I might even ask my parents and friends to write their's at some point too!).

I first met Emma around 9 years ago but to be honest I never noticed anything wrong with her face or jaw or smile. We lost contact and remet again in September 2012 when we started our relationship, and still I never noticed, I thought she looked beautiful as she was. When she told me about her operation initially I was abit freaked out, I wasn't expecting it and I wondered why she was putting herself through this. After this I took an interest and did my own research and brushed up on things so that I fully understood what she was going through and what I had to do to help. The day she got her date for her op was an awful day, I started to worry loads about her, about us, how she was going to cope, all sorts really. After this moment I was fine, I still had my worries but as the days grew closer and she got excited I was happy for her as it's something she has always wanted.

Hospital Stay:
Leaving Emma at hospital on the day of her op was another awful day, we didn't really prepare to leave each other so soon so we all got abit upset. The 6 hours she was down theatre went on forever, it felt as though she was down there for weeks and time dragged so much. I called the hospital a few times during the afternoon but I just kept being told she was still in theatre. When we got to the hospital and I saw Emma for the first time post-op I was relieved and I was happy because I had her back, I knew she was safe and she looked stunning, even better than before. I was amazed by the results and how much different she looked and this is when I think I first realised what was up with her jaw before her op. Soon after Em's parents and I got there she started being sick and got really poorly. There wasn't much I could do other than hold her sick bowl, comfort her and wipe the sick away (Scoring points - a nurse said what a great boyfriend I was :P). The one thing annoyed me was knowing that she was ill and I couldn't do anything for her.

Over the next few days while she was in hospital Emma got abit depressed, she really wanted to come home but wasn't allowed, and then when her surgeon added her 3rd band it was the icing on the cake for her and she got really upset because she couldn't eat. Day 1 she had a reaction to her antibiotics and her pain and drooling started on day 2 which really frustrated her, she was really tired and abit fed up. Luckily we got to take her home after 3 days in hospital which I was really happy about and so was she.

Post-Op Recovery:
Recovery during the first 2 weeks for her was pretty tiring, Emma slept like a baby for the first couple of nights as she was so tired, but after this she got really uncomfy trying to sleep. Food wise everything had to be liquidised and trying to get foods and drink into her through a syringe was hard for us all. Nothing would fit down the syringe and she didn't like any of the stuff we were giving her (usually soup). When I ate my food Emma always asked me to sit with her and I hated eating around her, I felt really guilty that she couldn't have any of it, and her mum was making real nice food.
Her pain got bad after the first couple of days and she was needing pain meds around the clock. Seeing her in pain was distressing, especially when it peaked.  Swelling and bruising also got worse around day 4, to be honest this didn't bother me, I was just scared people would have thought i'd been beating her up or something. Emma also regretted the surgery in the first couple of days because she was so uncomfy and in so much pain, she cried a few times and she wished it was all over but I reassured her it would be alright and it was.

Thankfully things have improved since surgery and shes nearly 5 weeks post-op. I feel relieved that it's coming to an end after how long shes waited for it, it's not hanging over her anymore, so she can plan her life and we can plan our future without having to worry about 'upcoming jaw surgery.'

In general shes done brilliantly, i'm really impressed by how well shes coped with it all, without really moaning or complaining, shes just got on with it. She looks more beautiful each day and i'm really really proud of everything shes achieved in the past few weeks.