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!