Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jaw Surgery vs. Abdominal Surgery

So, this isn't really about my jaw surgery, but it is an interesting point of comparison. I had my gallbladder removed on Tuesday (not emergency surgery, but they figured out what was wrong on Friday, Monday I saw the surgeon, and Tuesday morning I had the surgery, so it was quick!) and I was amazed at the differences between my 2 experiences with surgery! They were at 2 different hospitals (in 2 different states), that probably accounts for a lot of the differences.

Anesthesia/going into the operating room: For my jaw surgery they put my IV in while I was in pre-op and then they gave me some floaty stuff before they took me to the OR. All I remember about the OR is that it was green. This time I was brought down to pre-op (from where I checked in and changed and such on the surgical floor), and they put in my IV, put a hair net on me, placed all of the heart monitors, put the compression socks on my legs, stuck a temperature strip on my forehead, and stuck some other monitor across my forehead. They gave me some meds before they took me to the OR, but I was still fully conscious and aware. I remember moving over to the operating table, they strapped down my arms, hooked up all of the monitors, and put an oxygen mask on me. I was awake for probably 5 minutes after I got into the OR..way different than before!!

Recovery: So I think that I way way more aware after this surgery, so I actually remember more of my time in the recovery room. However, they wouldn't go get me my teddy bear!!!! That's the only thing I would say when I woke up from my jaw surgery and my surgeons went out to get him from my parents (mostly because they thought it was hilarious). This time the nurse said she couldn't send anyone to go get him and I got very upset...causing myself more pain and more than doubling my stay in the recovery room.

Pain management: When I found out I would be having this surgery I figured it would be a piece of cake after orthognathic surgery. The surgery was done laproscopically, so I figured my pain would be easily controlled and I would be better in no time. Wrong! Now, I'm only 48 hours into recovery, but so far this hurts way worse. I was getting morphine injections every 3 hours at the hospital (I think I got them every 4 to 5 hours after jaw surgery) and am taking my prescription pain meds every 4 hours on the hour. I know recovery overall will be quicker and easier, but for now this seems much worse...

Leaving the hospital: So every hospital that I (and anyone I've ever talked to) has been to requires you to leave in a wheelchair when you are discharged. Not this hospital! They practically make you walk out (Has anyone else experienced this?).

My orthognathic surgery was my first surgery (except when I was very little), so I thought that what I experienced then was pretty standard, but this has really changed my mind about that. I guess it all just depends on the hospital you're in!

<3 Stefane

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Numbness...and Lack Thereof

So, as most of you have probably realized, the majority of orthognathic surgery bloggers stop blogging within an few months of de-bracing...unless they have continuing issues. Now you all can guess which camp I fall into...

I've been in Michigan all summer, but went home to Colorado last week for some family time. It turned out that I spent more of my time at the dentist/orthodontist/surgeon. I was supposed to have three appointments: ortho on Monday, surgeon on Tuesday, and dentist for a cleaning on Wednesday. Everything went fine at the orthodontist: my teeth haven't shifted, my retainers are all good, and they took me off of active patient status!

Tuesday's appointment was a little more complicated: my entire lower lip and chin are still just tingly and the plate that is on the right side of my nose vibrates sometimes when I talk (annoying and painful!). Dr. N doesn't think that the feeling will ever completely return...though he thinks there might be some changes in the next couple of years. We also discussed taking the troublesome plate out at Christmas (when I'm home again). I think that taking it out would probably e best for me, but my parent's aren't really supportive of that at the moment.

Teeth cleaning at the dentist was fine, except for the cavities (lower right side) that they attempted to fill in December (but couldn't get me numb). They aren't bothering me or anything, but the dentist felt that we should attempt to fill them again before I needed a root canal. So I made an appointment to have them filled Thursday morning...

It wasn't my normal dentist who filled the cavities, but he knew what was going on. First he tried a normal Novocaine injection and (after trying 3 or 4 times) he couldn't even get past the scar tissue to get to the nerve. Then he tried a maxillary blocker (I think that that's what it was called) where they inject the numbing stuff up closer to the jaw joint (owwwwww). That got me partially numb. After another maxillary blocker (again owwwwwwwwww) my teeth were mostly numb, but I could still feel pressure. After a third (by this point I'd been there for nearly an hour and my jaw was starting to tighten) I was finally numb (thank goodness!!). Since it had taken so much for me to get numb they decided to drill out an old silver filling (which was going to need to be replaced eventually) on one of those teeth, in addition to the small cavities they were intending to fill. After the drilling, they filled one of the holes and went to grind it down and shape it...I could feel everything again. So the dentist came back in and gave me another injection (mouth opening now getting smaller by the second). They filled the remaining cavities and shaped those ones (the medicine was wearing off again, bad enough to make me cry, but I didn't want any more injections).

Apparently the meds take forever to work into my system, because by the time I got home they were no longer wearing off. I was numb to an inch or so over my ear. I spent the rest of the day laying on an ice pack and eating soup. Novocaine always makes my jaw extremely tight and painful; it has been 5 days and it is still tender.

Since I didn't know they were going to drill the silver filling (which was on the surface of my 1st molar) and the couple small cavities were in between my teeth, I didn't bother to bring my retainer with me...leading to the next chapter in my week of dental appointments. They built up that molar too high (possibly because I could feel the shaping of the tooth and was in a lot of pain) so my bottom retainer didn't fit at all. Phone the orthodontist. Friday: 2nd orthodontist appointment. They managed to get my retainer to fit again by grinding down both the bottom and the was a close call with having to get a new one made!

So, now that I've had my rant and you are all sick of reading my long post, I'll say that in general this surgery has been amazing for me. There are some issues, but I suppose that is to be expected...

Hope all is well with everyone finishing their journeys and good luck to everyone apporching their surgery!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Retainers and Such

Hello all!

Well, this semester has been even crazier than last winter semester! So, I finally got around to taking pictures of my retainers and found time to write a post...

I have 2 sets of retainers: a clear set to wear during the day, and a hard plastic and wire set that also serves as a bite guard at night.

You can hardly see the clear ones, but they do create a little visible gap in my bite just because of the plastic. It's really tiny, I doubt anyone notices it but me!

(Sorry about my crazy eyes in all of these pictures! I pulled an all-nighter last night and didn't realize how tired and wacko I looked until I put these pictures on my computer...)

Here's a picture of my bite without the retainers for comparison.

My night retainer is much more cumbersome, since it is a night guard. I went to the orthodontist on the 4th to get those retainers. The bottom retainer was really really thick and they shaved it down a bit and did several bite paper things to mark where my teeth hit the plastic so they could shave grooves in it. This made it so that my teeth all hit it equally and it holds my jaw in a different position at night so it can relax. However, it gives me a pretty bad lisp and my lips don't close around it unless I force them to.

So, I also have a copy of my post braces x-ray to share with you all, but my printer is not cooperating and won't scan it to my computer or a memory once I figure out my technical difficulties I will post that!

<3 Stefane

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bye-Bye Braces!!!

Today was the day! The braces are gone!

19 months total: 6 1/2 before surgery, 12 1/2 after surgery,and now my teeth are free!
I don't have pictures or x-rays from the orthodontist yet, those will be taken at either my next appointment or the one after that.

Cleaning off the cement hurt on some of the teeth, mostly the ones in the very front and the very back. They took several impressions, and I'll go back in an hour or so to pick up my first set of retainers, and go back next week to get my more permanent ones.

I suppose I'll post again after I actually see my orthodontist (she's on vacation right now) and my OS!

<3 Stefane

Thursday, December 16, 2010

1 year

Hello All,

1 year ago I was waiting in the pre-op area, all hooked up to my IV, getting ready for a long surgery and recovery. I've been thinking about this post for awhile now , and I don't quite know what to write. Though it has been a year, the recovery certainly isn't over: I get my braces off in a week and a half, my chin is still a big block of numbness, and I'm probably going to have at least one of the plates removed.

A lot has changed since my surgery. All of my teeth it together now, and my jaw hasn't locked up in over a year. I can actually bite into foods with my front teeth (before the surgery I didn't know that "normal people" could bite into a baby carrot with their front teeth and actually take a chunk clean off). You can no longer see my tongue when I smile, nor can I touch my tongue to my nose anymore (though I hope that I will be able to once the braces come off, as I an strange and miss being able to do that!).

Somethings haven't changed that much. My muscles are still sore sometimes, since they're trying to adjust to my changing bite. Once the braces come off I think that that will change. I still get migraines, though I didn't think that the surgery would change that, since I started having migraines long before I started having jaw issues.

The numbness is still there, though I think it is getting better! There's a patch along my jawbone on the right side that feels more normal than the rest of my chin. I talked with my orthodontist about it during my appointment this week and she said that it took a really really long tome for the feeling in her chin to return completely (I don't know if I even mentioned that she had the exact surgery I had-expanding and advancing the maxilla and shortening the mandible- with the same surgeons!).

I don't see my surgeon until Jan 3, since this is their busy time of year, haha, but you'll get an update from me before then...just check out my countdown clock!!!

<3 Stefane

Monday, November 29, 2010

Again? chain broke again. It broke in exactly the same place, so there's obviously something rubbing against it that is causing it to break. I only realized this yesterday, and I'm not going to call my emergency ortho up here again. I will be back in Denver and at the ortho 2 weeks from today, so it shouldn't be a big deal. Plus, I'm heading into finals week, have 2 lesson plans due and an exam this week, and am working extra shifts at work for the next 2 weeks, so I don't have time to get it fixed right now!

Hopefully I'll post again in 2 weeks saying the Dr. W has given the final ok for the braces to come off on December 27th!

<3 Stefane

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

3 Months til Done!

Hey everyone!

In 3 months I will no longer have braces!! I really need to start another countdown clock...90 days!!! Things are going well with the braces (I did manage to get the top chain replaced): my back teeth are moving down, they're not touching all of the way yet, but they're getting there!

The nerves in my lip and chin are not cooperating as well as my teeth are. I still don't have feeling from the corners of my lips down to the bottom of my mandibular. It has me worried now, though my OS says that it takes between 6 and 12 months and I've found other sources that say it can take up to 18 months for full feeling to return. It's been 9 months...

And, since it has been 9 months (and since I haven't posted before and after pictures since about 9-weeks post op) I have pictures!





It's been a long road, and it's not over yet! I can't wait for these 3 months to fly by! Plus, after I get my braces off they'll take my x-ray (my OS has post-op x-rays, but my ortho puts all of that stuff on my patient website so I can access them) and I'll be able to post those before and afters!!

<3 Stefane