Get in ma belly!

Hi Everyone!

Tomorrow is New Years Eve, woo hoo. I’ve decided I’m going to try to go out, something I really enjoy doing. I went out by myself for the first time yesterday and being extra careful, I was still nervous about fainting. I got really light-headed in the dentist’s chair (I think it’s something to do with my new skull and the dentist chair when it’s down.) Either way I was still a little light headed when I left so I made sure to be extra careful driving the five minutes back home.

I understand now that I just don’t like going out alone, no one wants to faint without anyone being there..obviously.

Yesterday I had a crazy craving for peanut butter but the consistency was just too thick and I didn’t want to risk me trying to chew on it. I stuck it in the vitamix but it was still thick so I added some milk. I took a sip and was craving protein so badly I drank it all. Yuck! I realise now just  how disgusting it was.

Today however, I had  decided to try and eat some cheesecake that I wanted to blend. For anyone that thinks they can eat this after surgery in its original format, you can’t ladies and gentlemen. It’s just too risky and there is a much simpler method, as I was about to find out…

I put a slice of cheesecake in our little blender, a black and decker, and blended it…still too thick. The consistency needs to be able to run down a glass so that even if you can’t drink it, you can let it just run into your mouth. Attractive, I know.

So I added some cool whip…still too thick. At this point I was drooling and getting so impatient because I could smell the deliciousness but couldn’t get my mittens on it! I decided I would add some milk, why not right? Cheese…milk….come from the same source. Wowza is all I can say…It was delicious! It tasted just like cheesecake, none of this “it tastes like feet but I’m so hungry I’m trying to ignore it.”

Here is a picture of my culinary art, If I may say so myself…..

Here’s the before:

and here is the blended version:

 

 

 

 

 

 

If anyone would like directions let me know, its super simple and so worth it!

Today my swelling is down even more, my weight loss is at 18 pounds in 23 days!

Here are some updated pictures:

I look terrified in the first one, haha.

Xoxo  Meow

19 Pounds!

Wowza!

19 pounds lost in three weeks, complete insanity.

My face is still looking the same, so no need for a picture. My skin has been so bizarre, a side effect of the surgery. They don’t go into detail about what they do to your skin but they do stuff….a lot of stuff. It’s almost like there’s a layer of sand all over my face, dry skin? Perhaps.

I summarized how I was feeling overall and I feel this statement should become a headline for future surgery patients. It sounds really harsh but it really hits the nail on the head. I said
” I feel like an 85-year-old who is battling sickness.”

The lack of movement I’m willing to do and the aches and pains that come and go, and of course, there’s the overall fatigue that you feel after getting up for five minutes.

I’m feeling okay today, the weather is pretty gloomy and I don’t foresee myself leaving the house. Last night I took Advil PM since I had some pain and it allowed me to get some much needed sleep. I woke up as soon as the Advil ran out but was able to go right back to sleep.

Since I have no pictures of myself to enlighten you with I thought, what a better thing to post then……. PUPPIES AND KITTENS.

Okay, so they’re actually both middle-aged but still….so cute!

 

The Pain.

You would think that the worst of the pain would be over by now. Last night was one of the worst nights by far as I had a horrible headache and overall facial pain. The medicines just weren’t doing the trick ( I think it’s just really important to stay on top of the pain, I fell behind) and with a cold wash cloth on my forehead I tried to sleep. I fell asleep at around 2 am and woke up a few times during the night, today I am exhausted.

I went to Costco and used one of the electric carts, of course my cart showed full battery until running out 20 minutes later. The race to checkout before it ran out so I didn’t have to walk was the most entertainment I’ve had in a couple of days.

People definitely stare at you. I feel like they’re thinking “she doesn’t need that cart, how rude of her”…. Little do they know!

The dizziness is really getting to me, I get up and I just get so lightheaded…I’m hoping this passes soon.

So I’m kind of over doing the daily pictures just because I’m overly lazy ( I won’t even try to make an excuse) but if you would like some updates, let me know. I shall deliver. If I start to notice a change I’ll definitely post them!

Here is the medical stuff now: Are you ready?

Call me…THE TERMINATOR. 

On the left is the before picture, my air way is the little black “hole.”  On the right is the after picture. Moving my jaw forward during surgery allowed my airway to be the size it should be.

Here’s a diagram of my jaw before and after.

Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

I just had my first “desperate attempt” at a normal meal, gravy, stuffing, and mashed potatoes blended. I drank quite a bit of it and it really wasn’t that bad. Looking at the stuffing in its normal form in a plate is quite painful though, I have to admit.

My dessert was nutella, yum. Dr. Gunson said I should really try not to eat without my elastics in. It makes things a lot more challenging that way but, whatever is best for the mouth!

My lips and chin are still numb and I can’t use utensils so everything got really messy. I didn’t care though, I was so happy to be eating something so delicious.

I would post pictures but todays activities have worn me out! I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!

The Red Eye

Finally home.

And since this post is as long as a short novel, I’ll post my pictures right now. Please excuse the hair….smeared make up…..my shirt with grits on it….and my sign ( a piece of paper.) I lost the marker for my board.

We took three  planes, each one getting worse. The pain I felt was absolutely excruciating. I was so weak ( apparently from the weight loss and loss of blood during the operation) and needed wheel chair assistance. Arriving into Los Angeles, I waited five minutes outside the plane for the person with the wheel chair, standing there got too tiring so we started walking and were met by the wheelchair eventually. The lady was so rude, asking us what we wanted to do. They can’t leave you with the wheelchair  so they either wheel you around (eating somewhere would have been awkward, they just stand there…Maybe wheelchair theft is common in an airport, doubtful) or they drop you off somewhere ( for me, it was in a secluded seating area away from humanity) and then leave…with the wheelchair.

Wonderful. Three hour wait and I feel like a secluded leper.

To make things worse when it got time for our flight, the lady at the desk was a complete Grinch wearing a Hawaiian shirt, I wanted to drink from my sports bottle ( bad idea, normal bottles are much better, lesson learned) and then drool on her. Usually wheelchair assisted people get on the plane first so as to not disrupt everyone but no, she just let me sit there. I was even able to make my way towards the plane, only after did she realise that she hadn’t even checked my boarding pass and chased us down like wild zoo animal.

Mom was my personal guard and protector during the whole travelling. So funny. I was so “high” on pain medication that everything was hazy but I remember mom going up to the rude lady,behind the little “united airlines” podium. Hands flying everywhere and suddenly I just heard yelling. Something about my mom needing to step away from “United Airlines” podium, and my mom yelling ” my daughter….6 hours of surgery……she just needs a wheelchair to get to the plane!”

The last flight was the worst. Not because of the people (thank you Chicago) but because of the pain. I was so positive my brain was going to explode due to the air pressure changes. I don’t know if it’s because my sinuses were operated on during surgery but the pain I felt was absolutely horrible. The air pressure affects your ears, head, and sinuses.

I really recommend that anyone who has gotten the surgery try to wait as long as they can to fly. It’s different for everyone I’m sure, but the pain was almost unbearable. Mind you, this was also on my strong medication. Once hom we called Dr. Gunson because I was still in a lot of pain and I’ve been doing so well that we just felt it was necessary to call. He was so nice, and sounded genuinely sorry I was in pain. I feel like doctors are so used to patients wining they start not to care haha but Gunson told mom exactly what to do. His directions were surprisingly specific but the pain is at a bearable level now, so thankful.

Now that I’m done complaining about my flight, which I apologize for, I should be thankful I’m home safe…even with pain, it could be much worse.

We left Santa Barbara at 9 o’clock at night so we had the whole day and Dr. Gunson opened the office just for us. Since I was going home he wanted to confirm that my bite and jaw were doing okay. Have you heard of a doctor actually opening his office just for you? And two days before Christmas! I was so appreciative.

My favorite part was this:

Yes, that is Dr. Gunson on an awesome motorbike.

Home tomorrow!

Hola!

I go home tomorrow, yaaaaaaay! I’m so very ready to leave. I love Santa Barbara but I’m ready to have some normalcy. I’ve been forgetting to mention one of the main reasons I had my surgery, my airway! Moving my jaw forward in surgery will allow my airway to be the size it should be.

This is an x-ray of my airway, it is encircled in red. Apparently it should be four times this size…Now it is! With my new airway I won’t have to deal with severe sleep apnea when I’m older which is when it becomes a real problem. Before surgery sleeping was never a big issue except that I would sleep for ten plus hours and still be tired. That’s one of the effects of a small airways according to the doctors. Again, I don’t know the scientific explanation so please excuse the simple terminology.

I changed my elastics today, it took about half an hour. And that’s after I did my exercises for half an hour, a whole hour dedicated to my jaw….exhausting. I can’t believe I have to do that twice more today.

I’m feeling some tingling and little nerve pinches in my chin which means it’s slowly trying to wake up. They’re kind of painful 😦

Say “Ahhhhh”

What an action packed day! I spent two hours with Dr. Gunson today as we tweaked  my mouth a little more. My right side was touching more than the left so we were working on getting the left to touch evenly. It’s still all very scientific and I have trouble re-wording it 🙂

As I write this I am doing my jaw exercises. After taking out the elastics I have to open my mouth for a few seconds and then close. For now Dr. Gunson is having me do this three times a day for half an hour because my mouth was not opening as much as he was hoping.

Good news is that I ate some spaghettios today, yum! But had to blend the pasta up more and more each time. It’s been a lot tougher because I  kept thinking that liquids with particles meant little baby pieces of food. In reality it means scientific particles as in tiny miniscule pieces of food. Now whenever I try to go to sleep all I think about is how I will be eating more liquid the next day, it’s a pain in the butt. I get these moments where I just can’t stand the thought of eating liquids…

I lost one more pound today which means I’ve lost a pound for each day since surgery! (Two whole weeks)

Mom was so hungry ( poor thing doesn’t like to eat in front of me) but I told her I didn’t mind. We went to McDonald’s and I decided to try a McFlurry. It was so challenging to eat! Mom said she wolfed her food down because looking at me struggling to eat was too difficult, she felt bad….which made me feel bad.

I went home and set the McFlurry in front of the heater to let it melt more so I could drink it. By far the worst thing for me today was the messy eating. I eat food and get it all over my chin but don’t feel it. My mom will yell at me from across the room “dripping, you’re dripping honey get it, get it hurry!”

I am praying the numbness doesn’t end up being permanent.

This is me so hungry, trying to melt the mcflurry so I can drink. So frustrating!

I got to brush the rest of my teeth, this is me begging the tooth-brush to not hurt me.

Teehee me being so silly.

 

My swelling is way down today, I am finally looking more like…me!

I’ve got a lot of other things to take care of though, like changing my elastics, practicing opening, taking my joint medication, making sure my skin cleansers don’t give me an allergic reaction etc. Lots to do.

I could not be happier I had my surgery during Christmas break. There is no way I ( or anyone ) could be handling all of this with added stresses.

Here are my updated pictures with a picture of me before surgery!

BEFORE:

Sorry about the quality. Keep special attention on my lips and chin. That’s where you can see the difference for now.

and NOW:

No talking for THREE hours!?

Just ate my first bowl of soup with little pasta. Delicious! We couldn’t find little star pastas so we thought cutting up spaghetti would work. unfortunately some pieces were still really long so I was swallowing these large pieces and half choking. After blending it up a little more I was able to eat it more comfortably. I’m looking forward to when I can brush my teeth after eating. Despite the size of the pasta some pieces still get caught on the elastic.

Today has been so packed. I went in for my normal appointment, got to brush me teeth, yay! It wasn’t as weird as I thought it would be, I mean…it’s been two weeks since I brushed them (hot) but I’ve kind of enjoyed it. For example, waking up in the morning, I literally roll out of bed, get dressed, eat and go. Not having to floss at night has saved me what feels like hours every night! My mouth has always felt super clean because A) There are no solids being eaten so nothing in my teeth. B) You rinse with hydrogen peroxide twice a day.

Despite the advantages, it does feel good to brush…I guess 😉

Dr. Gunson came in and took a look around and said the right side of my mouth was closing perfectly but the left side would need some help….I have no idea if that’s what he said but that is what I understood. He put the elastics in this wild design from one side of my mouth to the other and the top of my mouth to the bottom and so on. He said I should really try not to talk while I had these on, which would be for three hours until he would see me again in the afternoon. I could not open my mouth at all, it was quite uncomfortable.

Not being able to talk was horrible. I knew I could try but I was so scared of doing something wrong I just mimed everything. I had to wait until 6pm to eat, and that was my first meal of the day! I am exhausted. Whenever anything is done to my jaw it really takes a toll on the body making it especially tired.

Good news is that Dr. Gunson said everything looked much better when I went back in. It’s amazing how quickly he fixed it! I don’t even know what he did exactly.

Here are my pictures. My swelling is a lot better, I can smile a little more 🙂

I’ll go in for another appointment tomorrow to do the rest of the things I should have done today. I’m going to be learning how to put my own elastics in!

 

 

Milestones

Today is a day of much improvement, very exciting! I’ll start off with describing the rest of yesterday which involved going to the beach and then doing some shopping downtown. I was running on 6ish hours of sleep yet was able to continue shopping until 7:30. That’s pretty incredible considering just a few days ago I could only do five-minute walks.

Tomorrow is the day, The days of all liquids. This means particles are allowed and my meals will be that much more interesting! Here’s what I plan on eating:

Lunch

Photo by ex.libris.

 

http://giulianohazan.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Pasta-e-Fagioli.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add tiny star pasta to this!

 

I slept FOURTEEN hours last night, they were wonderful. Mom says she used the light from her cellphone to make sure I was breathing…what a sweetheart. Personally, this is what I picture:

Image from film "Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror!"

and it scares me.

Another step in the right direction, I weighed myself today and have lost a total of 14 starving pounds in 12 days. For those of you who are asking “how did she do this?” I call it the “starvation diet…” quite simple really, it involves not eating.

Disclaimer: I am not recommending this diet. It’s unhealthy. Please don’t sue me.

Now for the best milestone: I am officially on no oxy pain-killer. I took two Tylenol, just for a little bit of discomfort. I’m looking forward to seeing things clearly from now on. Apparently I’ve been talking in my sleep. Mom says one night she looked at me and my leg was stretched out in the air with my hand spread across my face as I smiled to myself. Few nights ago I woke up telling my mom “zoe says hi…..” making things even stranger is my awareness of the fact I do not know a zoe as I kept saying “she says hi..who is Zoe? Who is Zoe?” Oh the things medication will do to you. Last night we went to the store and some lit up christmas decorations were moving, my first thought? “Mom, Do you see those moving reindeer too?”

The swelling on my right side is down today unfortunately the left side is still swollen and I have swelling below my chin. I can see a slight preview of the final results!

Here’s my face!

I have an appoitment with the dr’s tomorrow. Rumor has it that this appointment is a lot of fun ,yay.

If you can eat solid, Why are you blending it!?

I just saw a commercial advertising a fancy blender. The only thing I was thinking was “why are these people blending their food when they are very able to eat it solid?”It makes no sense. No really, I stand behind my opinion.

Mom and I went to visit our surgery buddies and we went on a walk on the beautiful beach. It was so nice to breathe fresh air and the hotel was just perfect. I also got to see a dog which was super exciting. I am a believer in the healing effects of all animals 🙂

Here are some pictures from the beach today:

Last night was especially tough as I couldn’t fall asleep. I began feeling congested and then my head started to hurt and it was a never-ending pain story. I finally fell asleep but only got about six hours of sleep. I’m surprised I am still able to function. My congestion is much better and I feel relatively pain-free. I have yet to eat anything though, my hunger is hiding, it likes to do that lately. I think it’ll come down to me forcing myself to eat some tomato soup…with sour cream. Yum, my hunger just came knocking 🙂

Here are pictures of my face today, We decided to use the beautiful background of the  ocean.

It’s alive, It’s alive!

I think I’ve developed feeling in my left cheek. Very nice, very nice. The area below my mouth and my chin is still very numb, I look forward to the day when someone will ask me if they can light my chin on fire to see if it hurts. The swelling came back a little bit which is always frustrating, especially because it came accompanied with some terrible pain. I don’t have an explanation for the pain but my whole bottom jaw is feeling very tight. It feels exactly how an old door that needs to be greased feels. Like I have rusty parts and I need some desperate oil. I’ve taken two doses of the oxy and a dose of Tylenol and the pain is still strong, I can only imagine what it would feel like without the medicine.

I was staring at my mouth in the mirror today and lightly poked the elastic in the front of my mouth, the one that is connected to the screw below my top lip and the hook below my bottom, and it snapped! I screamed out of fear because it slapped me in the mouth. I called one of the ladies from the office (it’s Saturday, remember) and she said it happens every now and then and that I don’t have to worry about it. I was so surprised I could reach her on a Saturday especially when she happened to be on vacation! What lovely people.

I was looking forward to my walk downtown today but it ended abruptly. I was in pain to start off with but wanted to distract myself. What ended up shortening my outing was pure light-headedness. I don’t remember if this is due to the surgery or if it’s a side effect of the medicine but it’s quite scary. You just feel very weak and vulnerable. The idea of fainting and landing on my face is so terrifying I chose to just call it a day and go home. Mom and I ended up going on a drive a bit later. We wanted to see the real estate on the hills, boy are those roads curvy!

The food cravings are stronger than ever.It’s mostly for pasta, short pasta…preferably a l’amatriciana…anyways, mother is cooking pasta for herself tonight. (I told her it was fine because I wanted to be able to smell it.) My plan was to taste some of the sauce she was putting on it,no harm in that right? It’s liquid. Then I got the brilliant idea of sticking it into the blender but mom felt it would be psychologically damaging considering the pasta was  “too solid honey,”and it simply wouldn’t come out right.

…..I settled for a sniff, it was delicious.

Here’s my face today:

Just like velvet.

Are you wondering why my title is “just like velvet?” Mama just blended up a wonderful cup of lentil soup, definitely the thickest yet. As soon as I began to drink it, my first sentence was “Mmmm goes in just like velvet.” See, when you have only liquids you begin to appreciate a little bit of variety….this much thicker consistency? Very appreciated.

I went “out” to eat today for the first time. Found this cute little place on State Street that had just been featured on the Food Network. They were advertising their clam chowder ( a very popular dish with me lately) and after explaining my situation he was able to blend the “chowda” into a smooth tasty soup. Yum.

I still get very down about not eating pasta. I think about it every minute of the day, sometimes I try to imagine the taste, other times I beg people to describe the pasta they’re eating to me. People think I’m joking but I’m not. I want to know what pasta you ate, how it smells, the texture, the taste, the sauce……I am slowly going bonkers I think 😉

My personal favorite is whenever I walk by a resteraunt and I think to myself “I wonder if they know just how lucky they are to be eating food right now?” This whole experience is opening my eyes to a whole new world.

My swelling continues to go down, yay! I found out I can’t wear any makeup until Tuesday which is interesting, I didn’t think to ask before because honestly I didn’t care. I bet not wearing make up is a huge issue for some people, thankfully my skin has stayed clear, I can’t imagine how much harder this would be if I broke out and couldn’t cover it up. (Knock on wood, or metal if you’re in Italy.)

I had the genius idea this morning, in a moment of desperation I saw a little cup of peanut butter. Mmmm protein at its finest. But how would I get it into my mouth? In comes the syringe….

It took about 15 minutes to set it up……

And squeezing it into my mouth took so long that I lost the excitement and gave up…way too hard.

Here is my face today!

I feel like I’ve been showing the glamorous side of this surgery and only describing the difficult moments in words….I felt this picture really summed up the reality of the situation.

This is me, drinking out of a mug (that’s all I can drink out of) in my pink bathrobe, in front of the TV, on strong pain medication, and with toilet paper stuck up my nose. My right nostril is quite the trouble maker.

Now, if this isn’t attractive I honestly don’t know what is…..

Thursday Night Fever

I had a fever last night (100.3,) very strange for me, I swear the last time I had a fever was in the 4th grade. At my second appointment with the doctors today they said it’s very normal to have a slight little fever. It’s doesn’t feel good at all, One second I’m hot, the next I’m cold, and of course the typical “body ache” is present…that’s probably the worst symptom.

This is me in the waiting room haha, I look so glamorous with my sunglasses. I just put them on so I could take a nap!

Here’s a video of me doing my “mouth” exercises. They take out the elastics and I have to practice opening and closing, and moving side to side. It’s quite the challenge!!

I can’t wait to go on my all liquids diet on Tuesday. I’ve already planned out things I want to eat (spaghettios,grits,) anything I can drink out of a cup is fair game. If anyone has any ideas for liquids, let me know! My body is stuck on the 10 lbs lost in a week, it simply will not budge. Apparently this is my body going into starvation mode. I hope it ends soon…..At least give me the weight loss to be content about right?

As for pain, it hasn’t changed much and the medicines really help. The one thing that is happening more often is this weird tingling, tickle, itch sensation on my left cheek/jaw area. I know it means something is waking up, it just feel so weird! I think it’s going to get worse too, like when my nose starts coming alive. I am so thankful I’m not drooling though, apparently I’m lucky with that. My nose still bleeds, kinda gross but I’m just happy I can feel it coming. The last thing I need is for blood to run down my numb chin and I’ll be walking around with no idea I have blood on my face. So attractive. The bruising is slowly going away and I think the swelling went down too. I’ve gotten to a point where I really don’t care about covering my “square” face, if someone has an issue with it, they can walk the other way. Thank goodness I haven’t had a little child look at me and scream, that was one of my biggest concerns.

This is what I picture:

Photo taken from: http://www.toddlertantrums.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/screaming-baby1.jpg

Here are my pics for the day!

Not so sweet…..

( I’ve come out with the strangest bruises on my eyes..even the doctor said he had never seen this)

Today has been super difficult for me. I wasn’t able to eat anything until about 10 minutes ago, I had clam chowder sans the clams. I have come to understand that anything sweet is a major no-no for me. The thought of eating, smelling, or drinking something sweet is absolutely revolting. Maybe this is a permanent change? For now, I’m enjoying the warm soup in my belly. Before that I had a small coffee, water, and 3 sips of a (what would normally be delicious to me) Nutella and banana smoothie. I think my body was running so low on calories and I haven’t taken a nap today that I just felt really sick and light-headed.

I went on my five-minute walk today and it was quite the struggle. I couldn’t see signs ahead of me, that’s a side effect of the medicine added onto the nausea, strangely enough my final destination for this walk was a grocery store. The ONE thing I thought I could eat was clam chowder. I feel like a pregnant woman sometimes! I get the strangest cravings, I move very slowly ( no offense ladies), and I have to sleep on my back. Well, I’ll be prepared I guess. Adding more humor is the fact I’ve had kidney stones so many times in the past year, according to women with children the pain of kidney stones is worse than child labor. Wow, I really am ready for any future pregnancies I might go through.

My mood is especially low today because frankly I am so sick of being swollen. I feel like a slug….just slugging around everywhere, but I’m a sad slug 😦 I’m a slug that can’t eat anything.

As for my swelling, I feel like my lips are more swollen but it could be because he changed the elastics yesterday. My face looks pretty much the same…I’ll let you decide for yourselves 🙂

 

Tomorrow I have another appointment with the doctors. I hope I feel better, I want to remain positive and not start going backwards in my recovery…wish me luck?

First Appointment Post-Op!

Today was my first post-op appointment with the crew and overall it went very well. They cut my elastics that were basically keeping my mouth closed, this was super exciting because my booklet had originally said this would happen in a week. Anyway, it felt weird having nothing holding my mouth together but not as weird as most people say. What I think was weirder was that I thought I was opening my jaw but to my surprise Gunson handed me a mirror and I was actually not really doing anything,(p.s look how fancy Dr.G’s shirt is….so fancy)

I will be allowed to go on my liquid diet (that means anything that is liquid, but it won’t have to be strained) next week. I am soooo excited. Grits, here I come! Overall my appointment went really well, they cleaned my mouth up (so gross, but I kind of wanted to watch) and put in new elastics but in different places. Now, I have to tell you about this hook I have coming out of my bone on my lower gum, it looks like captain hooks hand…but its little…and on my jaw. I will only take a photo if I get requests because it would be intrusive to my mouth BUT we’re talking about a metal hook….can you say, wow!?

My stomach was very upset today because of the antibiotics so I’m not taking those anymore. I’m still taking the Oxy ( in liquid form) and the Tylenol but in solid form, thank goodness. Once you’re “drinking” all your medicine that sweet syrup can get really gross! My swelling is still going down and I got to remove my facial tape! Hopefully that will stop rude people from staring.

Image

First Night of Good Sleep

I have been awake for less than half an hour and I can think of lots of things I’ve improved on. First of all, last night was a relatively restful night, I can never calculate how much sleep I actually get, but the fact I’m awake right now is a good sign of  peaceful sleep. I forgot to mention that having a good nights sleep is super tough,not only because I have to sleep with my head raised and on my back but also because every two hours I get woken up by an alarm and I take my medicine. It’s been quite the system really….My mama planned it all out for me.

Another improvement is the fact I woke up and I’m hungry, hungry for eggs….bacon/sausage…..pancakes…..little bit of whipped cream…….add chocolate chips in the pancakes. But alas, I am going to have a yummy protein drink 🙂

I am so excited for my appointment with the dr’s tomorrow, I hope they see how hard I’m trying! And they’re also going to remove this ugly facial tape from my face, so gross. I can’t wait. Hopefully, they’ll say I’ve done really well, and everything looks super good!

Here’s a picture of me in front of all my beautiful gifts and “get well” items:

(That is my super happy face, it doesn’t look like I’m trying…but I am)

Here are pictures of me today:

 

First Day out in the Real World

Today I decided I was going to go out for longer than my 5 minute walk. Santa Barbara is so beautiful and it was a perfect day. I made sure to wear a scarf because my facial tape has blood on it making it look like im constantly bleeding from my nostril. Apart from that I looked pretty normal. I have to admit my walk is still slightly off, I don’t know how to explain it. Thank goodness im not walking like this anymore. This is my first post-op walk on day 2!

On a more negative note, one gentleman decided that I wouldn’t catch him staring at me as I crossed the street. I knew I wouldn’t care because whatever our faces look like now, they are going to improve. The fact that he was so rudely staring in the first place is what made me so angry. Do people no longer have any manners?

Back to the positive notes, I had a reflexology foot massage today. It was very nice, a little too long but I think it did a world of good. I could feel the blood rushing up from my feet to the rest of my body. For someone who has been practically bed ridden maintaining blood circulation is very important.

The pain has been controllable except for the past hour and a half. I think my nerves are waking up and my whole mouth is in A LOT of pain. My cheeks, my teeth, even my tongue is in pain…Im hoping it will go away as I just took the strong stuff. Its kind of sad to think I wont be totally numb anymore, that must have saved me so much pain 😦

Oh well, tomorrow is a whole new day, wish me luck with the pain!

4 days post-op

Hello,

First of all I’m going to apologize once more for any spelling errors, the medicine I’m on makes typing realllyyyy challenging.

Sleep. One of the most important things. I havent been getting any. I’m not sure if it’s because I have to be on my back, head elevated,…..OR it could be the fact that every two hours the alarm would go off so I can get my medicine. I have finally understood that I can’t miss or be late with my medicine otherwise I begin to feel excruciating pain.

Other strange things happening are connected to the fact I’m getting feeling back inside my mouth. I don’t know what it is, but there is something very odd in my mouth…not stiches, it’s as if there were little additions here and there just floating around in my mouth. Yucky

Also strange is my nose….itchy itchy. I swear I woke up last night scratching my nose.  And my eyesight like I mentioned before is very strange. Whenever I type, I shut one of my eyes? How weird is that..

Apart from all these little problems, I am feeling an improvement and I can’t wait to have the swelling go down. Apparently, today should be the last day of swelling…its all deflation from here on. Woohoo

Here are some photos I just took. This is 4 days post-op. Lbs lost = 7

   

Day 3

I just went on my first five-minute walk and it sure felt good! I’m so lucky to be in beautiful Santa Barbara instead of anywhere else, really. My nose has stopped bleeding for the most part but if I have to bend down to get something it will start-up again. The pain I’m feeling today is in my lower jaw, I think…you can never be sure because your still so numb.

Watching me try to drink out of a glass is hilarious and a towel is always needed.

Here is my picture today…I think the swelling is slowly increasing but over all its been fine. Very surprising considering I bruise SO easily! It still feels weird when I look in the mirror, I’m trying for figure out what my final appearance will be like!

Haha this is me trying to smile…impossible with everything numb.Also ignore the blood, nothing to worry about very normal, just difficult to remove 🙂

Anyone considering getting the surgery I highly recommend the office Arnett and Gunson. Gunson has made himself available to answer questions. He also, of course, improved my overall appearance.

First night at home

Here’s a picture of me the day I left the hospital with my surgery buddy Daniel

As  mentioned before, I lost alot of blood during surgery so they kept me there for an extra night.  Not too bad considering the nurses are super helpful, I could probably stay there for two weeks.

The bad side of this surgery is the pain ( in my case.) Apparently a lot of people don’t feel pain because the medicines just worked for them. For me the only that worked was having my morphine pump available at all times. obviously this couldn’t go on forever so I has a rough night the second night after surgery. Dr. Gunson reassured me that I wouldn’t leave the hospital in pain…It was all about me feeling comfortable.

My medicine regime now consists of Oxycontin in the liquid form every four hours, Seems like a lot but believe me at three hours no matter where I am, I begin feeling pain pain pain.

As for my face itself, it feels HUGE buts it’s really not. I can’t open my mouth much at all, I don’t think I would want t see whats in their anyways. I’ve been rinsing my mouth with the salt water “stuff” which helps me feel a little cleaner.

I apologize for not having any pictures, as soon as I got home I just lay down in bed. Of course, I made sure to do my 5 minute walks!

If you have any questions let me know!

Featured

Surgery Day! (12-2011)

Hi everyone!

So here is where my day of surgery began:

I am not able to write too much today as the medicines make my vision blurry. Surgery went well and everyone says I’m not swelling the usual amount which is great. The doctors and nurses are all so nice, I have had little  discomfort.

Here’s me  right out of surgery

      

During the surgery I lost a lot of blood so I’m staying here an extra night,

I apologise for the short message, I am just so tired that it takes me a really long time to think of a word, and then spell it correctly.

Here’s my “new” profile…I have a chin!

This is Lux  and I, she was having the same surgery but with Arnett. She is going to come out sooo beautifully.

My surgery buddy Daniel wanted to come by before his operation. Why am I wearing Rudolph antlers? Ask my mother. I was taken advantage of 😉

The Night Before

I am so nervous.

But then I remember the great surgeons taking care of me and I get a sense of relief…

But then I think about the surgery and I get nervous again.

It’s a never.ending.story.

Tomorrow is my surgery and I can’t believe it’s finally here! Two years in the making. I spent my day at more doctors appointments,found out I’m all set to go for surgery apart from the presence of kidney stones but….I’ve had 8 in the past year and a half so I’m used to them. As long as they don’t start to travel down I’ll be okay.

Here’s a picture of me getting blood drawn. Look how scared I am!

Walking around the downtown mall, my eye caught on to a poster for a chocolate store that I just had to visit. I spent the next 15 minutes searching for this place and finally found it. I picked flavors ranging from chocolate salt all the way to lavender chocolate…simply delicious. Before that I had gone to Ihop and ordered myself a monstrosity piled with whipped cream, blueberries, and hash browns.

For dinner…oh dinner. My last meal for 4 months, I decided to go with Italian. The best part was the wonderful company we were with. At my first appointment with Dr Gunson I met another patient having his surgery a day after mine! We swapped numbers, our mothers swapped number and we met up for dinner. It was the perfect way to relax and eat a delicious meal at a great place called Bucatini’s.

This is a picture of my mom and I!

Daniel with Ms.Susan enjoying his second to last dinner.

I am praying my surgery goes well tomorrow. I’m very nervous, don’t know if I will sleep, and I’m irked at the idea of having to wait until noon to go the hospital.

Did I mention I’m nervous?  🙂

I keep reminded myself that this is the last big thing and then, recovery will lead me to a path of perfection!

Until then, I’ll be writing to you all with my new face 🙂

Did you know….

….that during surgery they stitch your eyelids closed!? definitely a fact I would have been more than happy not knowing but with lawsuits being the “cool” thing to do, I guess we have to be warned of everything. Apparently I’m also receiving a nice little baby screw on my forehead, but its going to be taken out before I wake up….ah thank goodness for anaesthesia.

Oh! Before I forget, I was cleared for surgery today! My skin biopsy came out totally normal, we think my outbreak was stress related. Lovely!

On the other hand I had my pre-surgical appointment with Dr. Gunson and his wonderful co-worker Kim. I’m not sure what she does but, she knows all the answers to my questions 🙂

We went over pre surgery things and then Gunson came in to explain what they would do during the actual surgery. From what I understood the are splitting my upper jaw in half, yowza. They’re doing a whole bunch of other stuff but I have no idea what most of it means. Here, I’ll give you the technical name and you can try to solve it yourselves:

Multisegment Lefort I Osteotomy Bilateral Sagittal split osteotamies. Local bone harvest bone grafting to the maxilla and mandible.

Heres a picture of the doctors taking measurements:

Personally, I think it has a large resemblance to this scene from “Saw.”

Still Image: Saw

I have to admit, my favorite part of the appointment was the possible side effects of the medicine. Kim talking to my mother, “If she begins to hallucinate or see things that are not really there, just let us know.”

No, My favorite part was really the comfortable atmosphere of the office and how nice Dr. Gunson is. Its comforting to know that the person changing your appearance really cares about your thoughts and opinions!

Tomorrow’s the pre-surgery hospital appointment, I will update you all!

-3 days until surgery

I’m nervous!

Tomorrow will be my first pre-surgical meeting with the doctors. I think we’ll likely go over the basic stuff and then, the FUN stuff. I’m meeting with a nutritionist to discuss my personal goal- lose the weight and keep it all off. None of this, “I lost 20 pounds and then BAM it came back when I started chewing again!” Nope, not for me. I want to make sure I stay fit and healthy as I drink nothing but liquids…… ( particle free mind you) for weeks.

I am still dealing with my rare skin rash that has doctors baffled. By baffled, I mean they don’t know what it is exactly. After going to Dr. Mac Friday I got a call from the team in California saying I had to get a culture done.

After the culture, the Dr thought it would be a good idea to do a biopsy. I’m aware a biopsy means removing skin so obviously, I was fearful. We called Dr. Gunson to make sure it was okay to have an open wound and he cleared us so we began the process. One shot of anesthesia and I didn’t feel anything. They tied it up in one stitch and sent my skin away to the lab.

Here’s a picture (My first visible stitch, so cute)

Mother was not too pleased with our $900 check but I reminded her that we had met the “5th sexiest woman in the city” per a NYC magazine. (She still wasn’t too pleased)

What happens from here? I find out tomorrow. I’m praying they say my skin is okay, nothing serious and that surgery is still set for Wednesday. I was told if the rash did not go away, I would have to postpone 😦 This would be traumatizing for me mentally, I don’t think I can wait any longer, and what if I don’t make it for Christmas on time?

Praying hard tonight xoxo

Arrival in Santa Barbara

Finally here! Mom and I arrived last night, it felt a lot later due to jet lag but we arrived at 5:00pm. The plane from San Francisco to S. Barbara was frighteningly small. My mothers first words were “Its so small! And it has propellers!.” Anyways, the flight wasn’t so bad and I was able to take a little nap.

I’ve been excited about coming to Santa Barbara since the first time I came here in Feb. 2010 (for the first consultation), its a wonderful little place with a lot to offer. My surgery is this Wednesday (more on that later) and I have to stay in the area for three weeks so we rented an apartment. We found it on Homeaway, the apartment is under the name MamaDux and is simply wonderful. I strongly reccomend it to anyone getting surgery! It is right in the middle of everything and did I mention, it’s fit for a princess? Warm, classy, and luxurious, this huge studio space is the perfect recovery oasis! I doubt I’ll ever want to leave.

 

1st Stop: New York City

Today was the appointment with Dr. Mac (medical team Dr), and I’m not too sure what I had done. Sounds like something to do with elongating my teeth as its all part of the pre-surgical plan. Gotta make sure my teeth line up nicely after they operate on my jaw! Any appointment with Mac is fun, and I love NYC so I was super excited to see him!

The office is always so beautiful. Look at the little decorations!

On a more awkward, strange, situation I really don’t feel is that embarrassing and will tell you ALL about note, I developed a rash on my neck last night. No biggie though, right?

Wrong. Anytime I say “no biggie,” I can assure you that is wrong and it is absolutely a biggie.

With no idea what this rash was (but likely stress), I let Dr. Mac know ahead of time. Fast forward 24 hours, mid way through my visit with Dr. Mac, and I have to visit a dermatologist around the corner about my rash.

No biggie, right? (You get how this goes now…)

In an effort to save precious time and figure out what the heck was going on with my neck, I was referred to a nice dermatologist who was voted “sexiest Dr. in NYC” at one point in time. This shouldn’t matter, I know. However, the fact this is my reality at the current moment is beyond understanding.

$950 dollars later (yes, that much) and we still didn’t know what it was exactly, but it wasn’t going to spread and appeared to just be a stress rash,

In conclusion, some pictures of me in the dentist chair. The handsome man you see is Dr. Mac.

 

Hello world!

Hello World!

This blog is for anyone interested in jaws, teeth, bites, and of course, jaw surgery. If you are not interested in the above,  may you gain large amounts of laughter and entertainment from my discomfort.

My journey towards full upper and lower jaw surgery began two years ago. My pain symptoms included migraines, jaw clicking, sore joints, difficult opening, and a total and complete inability to ever feel fully rested. I finally decided to set up an appointment with Dr. Chira where I discovered my pain and jaw issues were worse then anyone had thought. I was connected to Dr’.s Arnett and Gunson in Santa Barbara, California, and born was my medical team of four doctors, in three states. Two years have passed and here I am, less than a week away from surgery! I hope to keep you all updated as much as possible, if you have any questions, reach out to me anytime, anywhere, for any thing.

Now a little about me:

Name-Ashley

Age-21

Occupation-Full time student

Favorite foods-Pasta

Worst part about this whole process: having braces in college.

Best part about this whole process: a huge improvement in my overall quality of life.

I went to Dr.’s Arnett and Gunson for the first time in Februrary of 2010 where they created a very professional looking packet of my records (half of which is far too medical for me) and with computer simulation software, formed a picture of what I will closely look like after my surgery.  The team warned me that I may look like I’m straining in the picture but it will not look like this after surgery, and it is just a technicality with computer software.
Disclaimer: The morning after I arrived in Santa Barbara I was diagnosed with kidney stones (it was great, thanks for asking). Notice my eyes are half closed in the following pictures.

I found a software online that let’s you “surgically alter” your face. I decided to try it out myself. Here are my results:

On a separate note, please enjoy the following picture I took at the Doctor’s office (while under the influence of strong narcotics for kidney stones) as I formally announced “I found Nemo!” to the innocent bystanders sitting in the waiting room.

– I always make great first impressions.