Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Days 12 & 13

So, the best news of the past couple of days is that I saw my OS yesterday and everything is fine! He said that my muscles are just trying to adjust to my new bite, and that's why it feels like I'm not biting into the splint. No crazy rubber band configurations, no being wired shut, just the same thing I've had for the past week. I know there was a very (very very very) tiny chance of him wiring me shut, but I'm sill so relieved!

Sunday I went out shopping with my mom for a couple of hours. We went to the outdoor mall, and it was really nice to walk around outside...even if it was cold. By the time we got home I was exhausted. I'm starting to feel like I have some energy, but I have no reserve energy, so I get tired quickly. My OS told me that this is normal and that it will take awhile to get those energy reserves back.


Swelling- I haven't seen much improvement in the swelling over the past few days. Sometimes I look at myself and think "wow, you look almost back to normal" (which I know is so not the case, it's just the vast improvements since days 1-5 that make me think this) and other times I think that I still look like a balloon.

Talking- I still don't think that I'm understandable...my OS had trouble understanding me, and you'd think he'd be used to listening to patients with splints and swelling! This needs to vastly improve before I go back to school or I'm going to be carrying a whiteboard everywhere I go!

Bruising- there is still a little bit of yellow along my bottom jaw and some bruising under my chin, but it's fading and is much less noticeable now.

Stitches- I haven't noticed any of my stitches dissolving and falling out, but my OS said that one already dissolved (a bit early) because he could see a tiny hole where it had been. It's nothing to worry about, I just have to make sure I keep my mouth clean, which I'm doing :)

That's pretty much all that's been going on. Here are some pictures (Day 13) for your viewing pleasure, haha.

<3 Stefane

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 11

I wanted to post this morning, but my computer blue-screen-of-death-ed me, all better now (hopefully)!

I was tired yesterday. I wasn't down in the dumps or anything, my body just wanted rest, so I spent a lot of time watching movies and reading. On the plus side of being tired, I slept through the night last night!!! Eight entire hours! Uninterrupted! I was very pleased when I woke up and my clock said 7 am...in case you couldn't tell!

I updated on everything yesterday, so today I'm going to talk about "food" and some of the stuff that has tasted good to me since my surgery.

Cream of Chicken Soup with Cream cheese mixed in- this is actually the sauce for a chicken dish that I like. It was the fist savory thing I "ate" after surgery, and it just felt so good to have something thick in my stomach.

Mac and Cheese- this doesn't blend well, but I used one of those food choppers (like this: http://www.amazon.com/Kitchenaid-Cook-Cure-Pink-Chopper/dp/B002R243U2) on the noodles and that worked well.

Refried Beans and Cheese- it would be better with chips, but...it was still pretty good.

Mashed potatoes- whipped with milk and cheese!

Chop Suey- I don't like the meat, so I had the broth on couscous (I usually eat it with rice, but couscous is smaller). This was a little messy, but it was different.

Cookies- it's Christmas, how could I not figure out a way to eat my mom's homemade chocolate chip cookies? I put a couple cookies in a plastic baggie and crushed them up. Then I mixed the cookie crumbles in with some milk. :)

All this talk of food has made me hungry, so I'm going to go mash up some mango for a snack!

<3 Stefane

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Days 9 & 10- Christmas after jaw surgery

Sorry I didn't write for the last 2 days, I took a break from technology for Christmas!

Christmas was interesting...I got presents with tags on them saying "Do NOT Use Until NEXT YEAR!" They were things like a tube sled and a air pop popcorn maker (which I've wanted for my dorm room for awhile now). Eating Christmas dinners was even more interesting!

For Christmas Eve we always do out big Italian dinner: Wedding Soup, Chicken Parmesan, and Manicotti. So, I ate soup, then blended up the chicken with extra sauce, and blended up the manicotti with extra cheese. The chicken actually tasted pretty good, but somehow the manicotti didn't...

Christmas Day I actually ate some french toast for breakfast! I chopped it into tiny pieces, so all I had to do was put it in my mouth and swallow :) For dinner my family made a pork tenderloin (which I wouldn't have eaten anyways) and twice baked potatoes. I ate an entire (very large) potato, and have another in the fridge for later today!


I'm sleeping much better now that I'm taking the Ambien. I wake up once in the early hours of the morning, right around 5 hours after I last to Motrin, and then I sleep until morning!

Numbness-I have a tiny bit of feeling in my bottom lip! It's very minuscule, I can only tell it's there when I'm deliberately trying to tell if I have feeling...on the other hand, my chin is still completely numb. Most of the rest of my face is still very tingly.

Congestion/coughing- I'm still very congested and am coughing a lot. It's really annoying, because it hurts my jaw to cough so much...

The splint-I can open my mouth pretty wide, so I've been really good about cleaning my splint, but sometimes it still feels slimy. I noticed yesterday afternoon that I'm not biting into it correctly anymore, my teeth kind of hit it and then slide forward into the groove. I'm a little bit worried. I'm going to see my OS bright and early on Monday morning (at 7:15 IN THE MORNING!!), so I'm sure I'll have some new band configuration to help with it. But, in the back of my head there's this voice saying "what if he decides to wire my mouth shut?" I'm not sure how i would handle that...so I guess we'll see.

Here are my lovely pictures from Day 10:

Best wishes to all-

<3 Stefane

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day 8...up and down

Yesterday wasn't a bad day, but it wasn't really a good day either.

I went with my mom when she went to run some errands, and we ended up stopping at the grocery store on the way home She was going to go later, but it was snowing and the roads were still decent, so we decided it might be better to stop then. So, after walking around (and scaring small children) for 45 minutes, I was pretty tired when we got home.

I had some re-fried beans mixed with cheese for lunch, and that was yummy! I tried to have some potato soup for dinner, but it was really spicy (and I don't like spicy) so I only ate a little bit. I just wasn't really hungry yesterday...hopefully I'll be hungry today, we eat our big Christmas meal on Christmas Eve, so tonight's the night for my modified feast :)

I decided to use MucinexDM to try to help with my congestion and coughing, so I took that last night and I'll take it again in a little while. I was still up coughing for awhile this morning, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it was the night before.

I'm starting to wonder how much my speech is influenced by the swelling and how much by the splint...I'm sure the swelling has some impact, but how much? Will I be talking like this for the next 5 weeks (when I get my splint out)? Or will I be more understandable by the time I go back to school in 2 weeks (Yikes!!)? My mom thinks I'm talking better, but I think she's just getting better at understanding me, because it is really hard to talk! It's not painful (a little uncomfortable when I say more than a few words...) my tongue just doesn't know where to go, and it trips over the splint, and I can't really open my mouth to enunciate...so I guess we'll see!

Pictures from Day 8:

That's all for now. Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

<3 Stefane

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day 7...maybe I'll finally get some sleep

Day 7 didn't start out so well, I was up really early because I couldn't sleep (again...even with Advil PM...)

My mom asked me if I wanted to go get my nails done, since she was going in for a fill. I thought about if for a minute, and decided to go get a pedicure. It was the first time I would actually be out in public (except for my OS appointment)...I was a bit apprehensive, but I'm not a regular at the nail place, so I figured what the heck, let's do it! Be prepared, the first time you go out in public, you will get strange looks...especially if you still look like a balloon, are yellow and purple all over, and have tiny band-aids on each side of your face :) My mom told the lady doing my toes that I had just had jaw surgery, so she didn't ask me questions or try to get me to talk, which was very nice-plus she let sit in the massage chair while my polish was drying, instead of having me move to one of the regular chairs by the drying light/fan thing.

On the way home we stopped at the DMV (a place I would avoid even when I'm not 1 week post-op from double jaw surgery) because I needed to renew my license plates. My mom had to run out to the car to grab something she'd forgotten, and the lady at the counter kept asking me questions...now, my family has gotten pretty good at understanding me, but she could not understand half of what I was saying! And she just kept asking and re-asking questions! I was starting to get really frustrated when my mom came back (mind you she was gone for less than 3 minutes...)

By the time we got home I was tired, so I had a smoothie and some couscous and watched TV for awhile. I know I really didn't do much (sit in a massage chair and be pampered) but just that little jaunt out of the house was enough to tire me out!

Since I still wasn't sleeping well, I decided to have my mom fill the prescription for Ambien my OS prescribed on Monday. And, I actually slept last night! I was up for a while early in the morning, but that's because I was coughing really hard...

Has anyone else experienced chest congestion and coughing after the surgery? My OS has me taking a decongestant (to help clear up my nose and sinuses), but that seems to be draining everything into my throat and chest, and then I cough...luckily I can open my mouth as much as I can, because I'm coughing up mucus and it's really gross, but I can spit it out...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 6- Starting to feel better!

I actually had a really good day yesterday! And, it was my first full day just taking Motrin and not taking any Vikodin! My days are mostly good now, nights still are a major issue...

I had a smoothie for breakfast, which I actually ate sitting at the kitchen table with my family while they ate bagels... I'm able to "eat" with a lot less mess than I was a few day ago!

I had my 1-week post-op appointment at my OS in the afternoon. When I got there I only waited in the waiting room a couple of minutes (versus 20+ normally) before they brought me back...where I waited 30 minutes for my doctor. My mom made a comment about them bringing me back here to wait now that I'm swollen and uncomfortable, I told her they did it because they didn't want me to scare anyone :D My OS said everything looks good! I asked him about the trouble I am having sleeping- he said it was fairly normal and I could try Advil PM and he would prescribe me something if that didn't work. He took out the external stitches and put band-aids on the incisions instead, those have to stay on a couple days. He also showed me how to take my rubber bands on and off, so I can "eat" and brush my teeth a bit more easily. While the bands were off he measured my opening...(drumroll, please)...20mm. That's right, 20. He said it was incredible!

On the way home we stopped at Super Target because I wanted Couscous and we needed to get the Advil PM. I stayed in the car...I'm still very drooly and was not going to walk around Target with a washcloth bib on...

I had a bowl of couscous when we got home, and it tasted sooooooooo good! It was the first time real food tasted good to me...I've had soft scrambled eggs, cream of chicken soup mixed with cream cheese, mashed potatoes, etc, but none of those really tasted good to me.

I was tried after that, so I decided to rest and watch a movie. I wasn't tired to the point of wanting to take a nap, I just needed to sit and rest for awhile.

For dinner i made Velveeta (smashed up) shells and cheese, which turned out to be a lot more complicated that I thought (the noodles weren't quite small enough-even tough I'd smashed them with a rolling pin-so I had to chop them up once they'd cooked-not easy, they're sticky) but it was something else that tasted really good :)

After dinner I took a long, hot shower (as I have done every afternoon). I don't know why washing my hair makes me feel better, but it truly does...

Sleeping didn't go so well again last night, even with the Advil PM. I kept waking up, and I don't know why. My body is tired, I'm tired, I need a good night's sleep, but I can't seem to get one. I think I might have to use the prescription my OS gave me for that sleep aid...I don't really want to, but I need to sleep!!!!!

Now, picture time!

Cheese!! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is a smile!

Hope everyone is doing well in their preparation or recovery!

<3 Stefane

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pictures, Days 4 & 5

Day 4:
I don't really know if the swelling went down between days 3 and 4, but bruising did start to emerge...

Here you can see how swollen I am under my chin...

Day 5:

I think the swelling has gone down some, maybe along my bottom jaw :)

I like that, in this picture, you can see how my chin isn't quite as out there :) though you can see the bruising.

And, lastly, a lovely shot of the bruising that began emerging around day 4 and got worse into day 5 :)

I'm going to see my OS in a few hours, so I'll have more to update you all on after that!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Days 4 & 5

Hi everyone! I'm still doing well, getting through and trying to stay in good spirits :)

Here are some of the expected and unexpected things that I have experienced through my recovery:

Swelling- Expected, but I didn't expect it on my neck and under my chin! Under my chin is still really, really swollen, even more than my cheeks.

Bruising- I bruise fairly easily, so I expected more bruising than I have, though I noticed more today than I noticed yesterday, so that might continue to get worse...I also have a lot of bruising around my eyes. It look like I was punched!

Numbness- Everything below my eyes is very tingly, and I get random nerve spasms all day long, except for my bottom lip and chin, which is completely numb. It's really annoying when I'm trying to eat, drink, or even just not drool (which I'll be going into in a minute...) and I can't feel anything!

The DROOLING- I knew that there might be some trouble with dripping food on myself because of numbness, but I didn't expect the constant drooling! Because of the swelling, my lips don't close together, so there it is-a constant annoyance. I'm keeping a washcloth with me at all times, even when I'm walking around, because if I don't I look down at my shirt and it's covered in drool...

Trouble breathing- My nose is clear, but it seems like my throat is coated in mucus and I feel like I can't breath. I cough and everything is loose, but I can't cough hard enough to cough anything up...

Trouble sleeping- I didn't think that I would have any trouble sleeping, I usually sleep well even if I'm sick or injured, but not now! The breathing issue seems to be the major reason I'm having trouble sleeping at night. Ii takes me awhile to fall asleep, and then I wake up a few hours later...the only time I'm really getting some good sleep is between 6 and 11am.

Overall, I'm doing well. I spend a lot of time trying to get calories in and a lot of time resting- I walk around and stuff when I have the energy, but I'm tired more then I'm not. My best friend and her fiance are here for the night, so spending time with her is keeping me in good spirits!

Tip: Taking a shower feels amazing!! I take a long one every afternoon, and it just makes me feel so much better!

Hope everyone is doing well,
<3 Stefane

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Final Catch-up Post!

So, I was released from the hospital on Friday morning...

My OS came by to see me about 6am, he said that I was doing well, and as long as I was drinking and walking around he'd go sign my discharge papers :) I asked him then about giving me pills rather than liquid meds, and he said we could talk about it when I stopped by the office on my way home...

I had a last dose of IV antibiotics and a shot of some type of steroid (to help with the swelling) at around 8am. My mom arrived about 8:30 and I told her that I was going home! By 10am I had the darn IV out of my arm, was dressed in an actual shirt, wearing shoes, and waiting for the wheelchair!

On the way home we had to stop by the OS office to have some post-op x-rays done (making sure everything is exactly where they wanted it to be) and to see the OS. The x-rays were tough...I had to stand really still, and there wasn't much to steady me, but they turned out okay! I then saw my OS, he was very happy with my x-rays, but not very happy with me asking for pills...he said he would give me a prescription for them, but I would likely have to use the liquids for a few days...THAT SO WASN'T HAPPENING!! I absolutely despise liquid meds- they taste gross and they make me gag. I've been successfully taking antibiotics and pain meds in pill form since I got home :D

I was exhausted by the time I got home, so I ended up taking a nap. When I woke up I took my meds, walked around some, and got tired again...I was really wiped out! I watched a movie with my family in the evening (and fell asleep during it...) and then went to bed. While it was much easier to sleep at home, I still didn't sleep well last night. Ar first I felt like I couldn't breath...my nose wasn't stuffy or anything, it just felt like my throat was clogged with icky. I slept for a few hours...woke up to take some meds, then back to sleep for a few hours...woke up and thankfully fell back to sleep quickly, then my mom woke me up around 7am to get more meds in me...

I haven't really napped at all today, just dozed a little, so maybe I'll be able to sleep better tonight! Coming up: Day 4, and what is with the drooling????

<3 Stefane

Still Catching Up...

Ok, so here's an overview of day 2:

My OS came by to see me about 6am, he was pleased with how well I was doing and he took the NG tube out. I loved the fact that that little tube drained the blood out of my stomach and kept me from being nauseated, but it was such a relief to get it out! I could swallow more easily and I was able to breath a little through my nose :)

Later that morning my catheter was removed and I was moved to a regular room...that's where the wonderful attention ceased. I was supposed to call a nurse when I had to get u to go to the bathroom, so they could disconnect my IV and these leg pump things they put on me, but it would sometimes take 30 minutes for someone to get there! A minute or two after I pressed the call button someone would come on the little speaker and ask me what I needed...think about that for a second. JAW SURGERY PATIENT. Really? They could barely understand me when they were in the room with me, much less over a speaker!

My mom came back to the hospital and spent the afternoon with me, which meant that she just unhooked me and rehooked me when I wanted to get out of bed. My nurses were really nice, just busy...so it was nice to have someone there just for me.

The second day, they switched from giving me my pain meds through my IV to orally. YUCK. I have never liked liquid medications, and did not want to take them! I also was taking Dimatap orally, which is a decongestant. That one tasted like grape, not nearly as bad as the acid infused yellow gatorade disgustingness that was my pain med!

I walked around that afternoon (usually everytime I got up to go to the bathroom I took a lap around the floor), though I was really shaky on my feet at first it got a lot better!

MY OS came to see me again that evening, and he said that I would be cleared to go home in the morning (YAY!!!). I was just so ready to be out of the hospital!

Ok, time to try to get some food down, and it's also time for my antibiotics and pain meds (yay wonderful OS for giving me prescriptions for pills when I begged for them!!!)

I'll finish updating you all in a few hours!

<3 Stefane

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pictures days 1-3

Here are a few pictures I took in the hospital and one I took today after I got home!

The Day of surgery-swelling doesn't actually look too bad here! You can see my NG tube going into my nose, and I had that humidifier tent/oxygen mask thing which helped with the dryness of my mouth a little bit...

Day 2- The NG tube was taken out that morning, that made everything feel soooooooo much better!

Day 3- Home at Last!! The swelling has really gotten worse, hopefully it will begin to subside soon!

Home at last!

Hi all!

I'm out of the hospital and at home, thank goodness! I don't think I'll be able to update all at once, so here's an overview of the first 24 hours:

5:30am-arrive at the hospital, go through pre-admitting stuff
6:15- get taken back to pre-op, change into gown and get IV put in. After I was changed and everything they let my parents come back to sit with me before I was taken to the OR at about 7:30.
I don't remember much after they brought me to the OR...they had given my some relaxation stuff through my IV so I was already floating! The surgery started at about 8am.
I was moved to the ICU at about 2pm (I think...) and was in and out for a few hours. I remember asking for water and ice chips, which really seemed to help with the dryness in my mouth. However, it was so difficult to swallow! I had a tube going through my nose and into my stomach to drain the blood, which helped with the nausea, but made it even more difficult to get liquids down...
I didn't sleep much the first night...not because of pain or anything, but just because I was uncomfortable and people were always in and out of the room. I did have a catheter in, so I didn't have to even think about getting up to go to the bathroom or anything, which was nice...

Alright, I'm going to take a nap now, I'm pretty exhausted! I'll try to post again later (with pics of my balloon face) when I have a bit more energy!

<3 Stefane

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where's my Teddy Bear?

Hello everyone, I'm on the other side now! I'm still in the hospital ,will hopefully be going home tomorrow morning, otherwise I might lose my mind!

Just a quick overview, and I'll write more tomorrow when I get home :)
The surgery went well, it took about 5 1/2 hours. When my surgeons woke me up in the recovery room the first thing that I asked for was my teddy bear, "Bear Guy," which they thought was hilarious. But they went out to my parents and brought him back to me...I spent last night and this morning in a Step-down ICU, which was wonderful with all the attention from the nurses. I never waited more than a couple minutes for anything, they stayed on top of my pain meds, so, yes, they were treating me like royalty Carrie! The regular unit isn't so great...I've given up on calling the nurses for stuff and just have my parents unhook me so I can go to the bathroom and everything. The nurses are really nice, they just have so many more patients to care for. I've mostly stuck with drinking water today, though I had a crushed up Popsicle this evening :) the hospital food just isn't at all appetizing!

I'll write more tomorrow once I'm home and everything!

Much love and best wishes, Stefane

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just a few hours left!

Hello all!

I'm going to bed in a few minutes, so just wanted to give a quick update before I go into the hospital tomorrow morning :)

I saw the splint when I was at my surgeons yesterday- it doesn't look nearly as bad as I expected, so I'm not quite as worried about that anymore...

I'm all packed for the hospital, and have done some shopping for afterward...luckily my mom is going to do some more shopping and stuff before I come home from the hospital!

I'll be in the hospital for 2 nights, so I won't be posting until Friday afternoon!

So, I really have to get to bed, but I do want to thank all of you for your support and tips through everything! I'll see you all on "the other side"

<3 Stefane

The Before Shots

Surgery is tomorrow! I'll post again tonight about my last meals and preparation for the hospital, but I wanted to post pictures! My best friend is here and she took these today:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

4 Days...wow.

So, my last post was really just a rant...it's difficult when I'm going to school 1500 miles away from where I live an am having this surgery! But here's an overview of my appointments:

Ortho- The surgical hooks are on, and they are driving me crazy. I have wax on the bottom ones because they're cutting into my gums, but the top ones aren't hurting, just annoying :) They took my final x-rays and my molds there and I picked them up a few hours later to take to my surgeons.

At the surgeons- They took an x-ray of my jaw joint, which showed that I have developed arthritis in my left joint. This didn't really really surprise me, since I've been dealing with this for so long now! He took my measurements again (to confirm with the other surgeon) and used this contraption (wax bite plate in my mouth, connected to this metal thing) so he can mount my molds in relation to the rest of my face to preform the surgery and create my splint.

He also gave my more information about surgery day. I'll have to be at the hospital at 5:30am, they'll bring me to the operating room about 7:30 and the surgery will start about 8. Since Wednesday's are his day to get his kids to school he won't be there before they put me under, but he did tell me that we could wait for him to get there if I wanted to. After the surgery I will be in a step-down ICU overnight, so that I have more nurse supervision. For that first night I will have a tube going through my nose and down my throat to drain the blood out of my stomach, he said that this will help with the nausea, but I'll have anti-nausea meds if I need them :) (sigh of relief). I will also have a catheter in,so I don;t have to get up and walk to the bathroom. Those will both come out the next morning when I'm moved to a regular room. I'll get to walk around (a lot!) that day, and hopefully will be released the next morning!

Ahhhhhhh, this post is turning into another novel and my dad is yelling for me to come help clean the house (my best friend and her fiance are arriving tomorrow), so I'll write again with the rest of the info my surgeon gave me!

<3 Stefane

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Trip from Hell

So, the semester is over and my jaw surgery is less than a week away! I made it back to Denver by some miracle, and here is that story...

The Plan: Take my Friday final on Monday. Take my other 2 finals. Take a final on Wednesday morning at 8am, then leave Marquette and drive 7 hours to Chicago for a 7:25pm flight to Denver. Get home Wednesday night, ortho appointment at 9:40am, x-rays at 2pm, appointment with my OS at 3pm today (Thursday).

The Problem: A Blizzard (warning from 7pm on Tuesday to 1am on Thursday)

What actually happened:

My university sent out a message to all students on Tuesday afternoon: bad weather is on it's way, exams might have to be canceled Wednesday, DO NOT LEAVE FOR HOME ON WEDNESDAY. I called my mom, because I was starting to worry about making my flight and everything. We decided that the best thing for me to do was pack up my car and leave...then. I would miss a final, but I could not let this surgery be postponed. I left Marquette within the hour.

I hit very little snow north of Green Bay, but between Green Bay and Milwaukee it started snowing and I was slowed down. After I got through Milwaukee the snow picked up and the road conditions deteriorated. I couldn't see the road, visibility was low, and the snow was wet and heavy. It took me over 3 hours to drive a stretch that normally takes me less than an hour and a half, but I finally made it to my grandparent's house in Chicago.

The weather was supposed to be bad in Chicago until the middle of Wednesday afternoon, so we figured my flight (at 7:25pm) would not be affected by the weather...boy were we wrong! The flight was posting an on time departure all day, and was still when I got to the gate. FOUR HOURS LATER...I was still sitting at the gate. My flight was 3 1/2 hours late departing Chicago, so I got into Denver at 1am and got home around 2.

So, the trip sucked, but I made it! I met with my surgeon this afternoon, but this post is really long, so I'll write an update about that tomorrow!

Best Wishes and a Speedy Recovery to Carrie who had her jaw surgery yesterday!

<3 Stefane

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

T - 14 days!

Two weeks from now I will be on the other side! Time is flying by!

I have a meeting with the Director of Dining Services tomorrow to discuss a plan for January. Since I'll be on a mush diet for the 1st month of the semester I won't exactly be able to eat in the cafeteria...I'm hoping that I'll be able to get permission to take food to my dorm and blend it into mush :)

Other than that there isn't too much going on, I'm swamped with final projects and exams...trying to not let myself get stressed out! I can't afford to get sick!

<3 Stefane