Thursday, February 7, 2013

The One Month Mark

Yesterday marked the one month mark for my jaw surgery.
 So, here's where I am:
  • Wearing rubber bands all the time, except when I eat
  • Doing stretching exercises to get the muscles in my mouth and face going again
  • The doctor cleared me last week to eat anything I could manage
  • Next week I go in to get my splint removed
  • Still swollen on left side
  • Still can't feel a lot of my face
I'm having a hard time this week, for a couple of reasons. The first three weeks, I saw improvement every day- swelling went down, bruising went away, I felt better, This week seems to not only be a plateau, but also frustrating. I can eat anything- if I can fit it in my mouth, which I can't open very wide. I can chew, but I still can't feel most of my face, so the inside of my cheek is taking a beating. Every time I close my mouth I feel like I have to shift my jaw so the teeth fit right. Straws still defeat me on a 50% basis, I still drool, and I am not fit for company when eating.

So, frustrating.

Food wise, I'm eating with a small teaspoon because 1) I don't worry about jabbing myself or my orthodontics with a fork tine, and 2) that seems to hold the amount (and height) of food I can open my mouth for. I'm also having to cut food up small, but did manage steak on my birthday last Sunday.  I do find that it still takes me longer to eat (which is problematic teaching high school where you get 20 minutes, and that has to include cleaning up afterwards), and my jaws get tired after not eating a lot. My jaw muscles were also really sore Week 3, the first week I went back to work but I think that's mainly because I'm a teacher, and I spend all day talking. I've managed with just taking ibuprofen, and that's been fine. It does seem that I'm grinding/gritting my teeth at night, which is causing some soreness at the gum of my lower teeth, but again, ibuprofen seems to handle that fine as well.
One positive is that during my liquid diet, I varied what I ate, so I haven't had any real problems transitioning to solid food again.

I need to remind myself that the doctor says I'm way ahead of the healing curve.
I need to remind myself that it will take time to adjust to my new bite. That I'm gaining feeling, albeit more slowly, and that the swelling can take up to three months to go away.
I need to focus on the long term fabulousness this will all lead to. And remember how cool it was to actually be able to bite into a piece of pizza the other day (which I've never been able to do straight on).

I'm hoping next week, when I get the splint removed, and then go to the orthodontist, I will have more to be positive about. No splint should mean that my speech returns to normal. I'm also hoping that my orthodontist can tell me what we're looking at time wise. Originally, he had said the plan was to get the teeth as close as he could, have the surgery, and then move the teeth the last bit. I'm hoping this means that I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for getting my braces off. Looking at my bite, it doesn't look like a lot left to do, but what the hell do I know?

So, here's to focusing on the positive, and waiting to see what news next week brings.

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