Friday, February 24, 2012

10 Weeks Post Jaw Surgery

     I haven't updated this blog in a little while. I have posted videos in my YouTube account, however, and I am working on the Jaw Recovery Playbook website so.... that's something.

Early Trip to the Orthodontist
     I saw my orthodontist in week 6, the day the surgeon removed my bite splint. He replaced my cut wires with identical surgical wires, just without all the surgical hooks. He said he thinks we should wait till week 12 to start adjusting teeth. I gave it a little time but I couldn't wait any longer. My teeth were moving a bite with all the "room" in the wires and I didn't want that movement to cause problems with the alignment so I went to see my orthodontist on Tuesday, exactly 10 weeks post-surgery.

    He replaced the bracket that had fallen off and moved on bracket on a tooth that was slightly lower than it should be, and he gave me new wires to start moving the teeth a little. I go back in a couple of weeks for new wires and power chains... People complain about the power chains and I'll probably not love them this time either, but before surgery I found the power chains a relief. They provided some cushion for the inner lip area against the brackets but before surgery my teeth were made considerably worse in the open bite so now the brackets aren't really an issue. BUT I look forward to closing the gaps and losing the "lisp" haha

   At my orthodontist's office, there's a decal on the wall over the sinks where the disposable toothbrushes and floss are. I snapped a picture because it's awesome...

Anemia Updates
     I steel feel the symptoms I have felt since week 4, but they're not all day every day so I guess it's getting better. I go for my repeat blood work next week, after 4 weeks of using the iron supplements. Honestly, though, the B12 supplement seems to make a more pronounced difference in symptom relief so.... maybe that's work looking into. 

    I decided that I would try to go back to working out next week. I thought I was starting out slow in week 4 with a little ChaLEAN Extreme... don't let the name fool you, it's not as "extreme" as P90X or Insanity or TurboFire even. I figured, 3 weight-training sessions using lighter weights, as opposed to the heavier weights I would normally use, should be fine and the workouts are only about 30-35 minutes.... but when I completed each workout I felt like I might die... okay, maybe not die.... but I felt like I could pass out. I didn't understand it was anemia until week 7 when my regular doctor did labwork so I guess next time I should pay closer attention to what my body is telling me haha
Running Errands in Week 10...

   Instead of trying to push myself, I'm going to keep it simple. I dug out TurboJam. I haven't used it since I got TurboFire because I LOVE LOVE LOVE the HIIT workouts and Fire Drills in TurboFire :-)
(HIIT = High-Intensity Interval Training)....
    TurboJam is easier, but still good. I will try to use the 20 minute workout 3 times next week. If I feel like I did before, then I will just stop and go back to the doctor. Sounds like a plan, anyway...

Chewing, TMJ, Pain Management 
     I didn't have any real pain during the beginning of my recovery, but as things started to "recover" I started to feel it. I managed pain (which wasn't really "pain" but just mild aching) with Ibuprofen only. I still have some discomfort though, but I'm trying to go without the Ibuprofen unless the discomfort is really distracting me and affecting work. By week 10 I really shouldn't need it.

    When I had braces before, as a teenager, I started to experience some TMJ pain and occasional locking. The awesome thing about lock jaw is it always ONLY happened when I was at lunch at school!!! Lunch period was short enough to begin with, you stand in line for 10 minutes to get your lunch, finally sit down with less than 20 minutes to eat and as soon as I would go to take a bite my jaw would lock in a painful "half-open but not really" position.

    That went away when the braces came off, and I believe it only started AFTER that orthodontist began applying elastics. Since then, no locking or pain just occasional popping.

   Well, I shouldn't have any real TMJ issues from my surgery because instead of the BSSO I had genioplasty to fix the lower jaw appearance with the 3-pc. LeFort I to fix the upper jaw completely. BUT, I'm getting popping and discomfort in the left TMJ so that's fun. I think, though, that it's just from everything being messed with and it will be fine before too long. I did have elastics on for 6 weeks and that first week was tough any time I yawned or coughed I could feel the pulling and pressure in both joints.

    I have been chewing, but still eating a lot of soft foods. I have some sensitivity in the teeth on the upper left so sometimes chewing hurts, but I expect that will get better in time also. I have eaten some chicken, but it's about as tough as I can manage. 

    I'm not complaining, though :-)  I happen to be quite skilled in the kitchen and worked before as a professional pastry chef and cake decorator in several bakeries. I've been cooking since I could reach the counter and "help" my Mom and Grandma. 

     Some things I've eaten...
The first time I bit into something with my FRONT TEETH in at least a decade...
A Whole Grain Fiber One English Muffin with Peanut Butter & Co.'s White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter and 100% Fruit Raspberry Jam

English Muffin Pizzas... I figured, since the English Muffin seemed okay to bite into for Breakfast,
I would try this -- all shades of delicious :-)

Probably the most amazing Lunch ever!
Spinach Ricotta Ravioli with sauteed Vidalia Onion in 1 tsp. light butter with a little crispy bacon (crumbled), a TBSP of Creme Fraiche and a TBSP of Half & Half with garlic powder and fresh ground pepper for seasoning, topped with a little Parmesan....
It took like 15 minutes including the time to boil water and cook the raviloi ;-)

I made these gluten-free cookies too... first time ever...
They were better than I expected. From people talking about gluten-free recipes I expected these to be a little tough, dry, not quite as "classic chocolate chip cookie" as I'm used to.
I wanted to try this coconut flour I had though, and I mixed it with rice flour to make these... 
My husband liked them a lot!
I could chew it, but it took me about 3x longer to eat one.

I was able to chew grapes and strawberries... :-)
My mood is always best when I get a variety of fruit, vegetables and flavors in my diet!

And I'm still thoroughly enjoying these high-protein smoothies!
I will probably drink these forever (or as I say "fah-evah")
A medium banana, 1 Chobani Greek Yogurt (any flavor, really) a little milk (any kind) and sweetener if you like - I use eihter sugar-free syrups from Torani or Splenda w/ Fiber or
Truvia or Sweet Leaf Stevia drops... depends on what I've got the most of ;-)

I also took a russet potato and cooked it up Portugese-style, topped with sauteed red onion and a little organic sour cream sprinkled with pink Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper in a colorful medley of different types of peppercorns...

     Can you tell I LOVE my phone?!!!  My husband gave me an iPhone before Christmas, before surgery actually, so I could use it for the Speak It! App, rather than lug around the iPad. I can't believe how much fun that camera is! I take pictures of everything... 
Like my nails with pink gel, little pink star rhinestones and tiny round clear rhinestones :-)

But a lot of pictures of Atom... 
Because Atom is just awesome...

This one is one of my favorites: Atom vs. The Crustacean

Bonus Appointment!
    Even though my surgeon was done with his portion of my treatment at week 6, I still had questions. I didn't know they were DONE at week 6 so I wasn't prepared. I started to harass him with emails but after a couple of them I just suggested maybe another appointment would be best so he can just answer my questions, I can get copies of my pictures and x-rays, and then I can be "done" too...

   I feel bad because the time they gave me is time other patients might have used, but I'm so grateful for the appointment.... he answered all my questions, and that helps me feel a lot better so I'm not distracted thinking or wondering about that stuff. I talked about the Q&A in a set of videos I posted today:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four (end)

And I got my pictures from med photo...

Haha more pictures, right?
This is my "bag-o-research"
I bring it with me whenever I think I have to wait for a while somewhere
(e.g. appointments, car repair, salons...)
It's basically full of articles, journals, publications of all sorts, corresponding notebooks for me to keep track of stuff in, plus some Japanese for when the science stuff starts to STOP making sense :-P
Haha WHO uses JAPANESE as a "break"?! 
I'll be okay... eventually :-)

   So now... I feel like that's DONE. They were done at week 6, I needed 4 more haha....

Website Updates
    I started to work on the design of my new website then I did the dumbest thing ever... I rearranged the files in my computer without thinking to fix their corresponding links then I updated the site and it got all messed up.... I tried to do a quick-fix for the time being but it's going to take more than that. 

    This is what happens when you multi-task before you're 100%  >:-(

    I'm hoping to fix the design FOR GOOD this weekend... then I can start adding the content. A lot of the stuff that's up on the site now is just filling space. 

   I do have my recipes typed up in a PDF for anyone that wants them in the meantime. That PDF will be updated as I add more recipes because after going through recovery I see a lot of things now through "recovery eyes" in a sense... so I'm constantly adding more to my recipe list.

    I did have these made, though:
My orthodontist had asked if I'd have cards to hand out for his other patients, and I said yes.
Well, by saying "yes" I had to come up with some, so I made these.
The back has a little info about the site too and they're about the size of postcards with a glossy finish 
I'll bring some to the hospital next week when I have to go for my labwork so the surgeons there can have them for sharing also...

Interesting Podcasts
     Because my ears still ring (tinnitus) I sometimes have trouble falling asleep so I listen to earphones quietly. I was listening to old radio shows, and my favorite is one called "I was a Communist for the FBI"... basically, it's just awesome! If you grew up before the Cold War "ended" (ha!) or if you have an interest in that stuff, it's really entertaining... I love the dramatic propaganda added, though, because it was made in the 1950s :-)

     When I listened to the radio shows so much I was bored with them, I went looking for something else. I thought that perhaps a science podcast from iTunes U would be "boring enough to fall asleep to".... I downloaded this series of A&P podcasts from ETSU (East Tennessee State University) recorded in class lectures by Dr. Allen Forsman. 

    Sometimes... he cracks me up and I just can't stop listening and fall asleep haha

    I had most of my science classes (way more than I needed, because I changed majors so many times haha), and so this stuff is sort of "review" which I thought would keep it boring, but Dr. Forsman is pretty funny and very entertaining so it's tough. I highly recommend it if you're even remotely interested...
Creepy "Bastids" 
    Apparently there are quite a few people out there that have a creepy attraction to orthodontics treatment. I personally find it disturbing, but my graduate degree is in Forensic Psychology and I had to study deviant sexual behavior, including fetishism, as part of that curriculum. And YES, finding orthodontics appealing on that level, to the degree that you feel the need to ask such questions when clearly they're inappropriate and unwelcome, that is a type of deviant behavior and it is not welcome here or anywhere I post things.
     I don't care who watches my videos or reads my blog, obviously, because I leave it public.... BUT I do care about certain etiquette. So I comment on that in the 4th of those videos (above). 

  • If you can't compliment my smile without using qualifiers such as "metal" "silver" "braces" and the like, then do NOT compliment my smile.
  • Braces are temporary. They are NOT a fashion statement, and I do not find them appealing. Respect that. They will be gone soon.
  • My fillings are my business. Whether or not I have fillings, what type of fillings they may be, how many fillings, and similar questions are considered "inappropriate" because they do not relate to either my jaw surgery or my writing and work. So don't ask.
  • I do not have elastics, I'm actually allergic. Don't ask.
  • I do not need headgear. And if I did, it's irrelevant to this blog, my videos, my websites and my work... so don't ask.
  • Do I need to go on?

All others are always welcome....

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