Monday, June 25, 2012

Jaw Surgery - 6 Month Updates

     Well, it's been over 6 months since I had upper and lower jaw surgery procedures performed to correct an open-bite. I haven't posted many updates over the past 2 months because I really haven't had much new to say, and I've been really REALLY busy with other things. As far as my jaws go, the mentalis muscle(s) (in my lower jaw/chin) are still stiff but getting a bit more relaxed every day. I still have occasional aching, but I do not think it's in the bone or jaws, it's in the muscles around my face and this usually occurs after I've pushed myself to chew a LOT, or if I've talked a lot or really exercised my face muscles.

     My upper teeth have some sensitivity still but it's not anything I notice daily. I occasionally have sensitivity in one molar, but I will see my general dentist soon and ask him about it. I've been asked if I can feel the screws and brackets in my jaws - the answer is no. They ultimately "heal" into your bone so they become flush with the bone in your face and you likely will never feel them. I can, however, still feel the bone callus on the sides of my lower jaw, which is a sign it's still healing. The callus will smooth over time and that will likely be virtually undetectable (by me) within the next 6-12 months.

     I can chew basically whatever I want, but I still have braces and that limits some things. Meaning, I can handle things like pecans and cashews if I chew carefully, but Almonds are too hard. I can bite INTO food using my front teeth BUT if the sandwich or burger is too thick or too "solid" I may not be able to bite it but not because I "can't" simply because the braces restrict capacity. I did, one night, cook steak and it was slightly overdone and too tough for me to chew. 

     As for my braces, my orthodontist is finishing closing gaps. There is one space remaining between my bottom front teeth and once that's closed he'll neaten them up and prepare to finish and fit me for retainers. I don't really mind braces, but if I had a choice, I'd prefer to be without them haha

Atom is not a huge fan of his Mummy studying for the GRE....

     I have been really busy with non-surgery stuff. Work is picking up again, which is always nice. I've been studying to take the GRE so I can apply for a PhD program starting in Fall 2013. I don't know if I'll get into the program, it's pretty competitive, but it's worth a try! If I do get in, it'll provide me with a second Master's Degree (an M.S., I already have an M.A.) and a PhD, probably in Medical Psychology, but possibly in Medical and Clinical Psychology which would give me a lot of options afterward.
     I was sick for a bit with an ovarian cyst, which isn't really "sick" but I had to take some medicine to help my body fight it off. The cyst was over 7cm in size, which is larger than twice the size of the ovary it was stuck to. That medicine, however, made me absolutely miserable and I gained almost 17 lbs on it so.... that sucked. But I'm doing better now and able to workout again so I'm feeling MUCH better.

Acid-Reflux CURE?
     Anyone who follows my blog either by becoming an active follower (right column-->) or by following through email or RSS feeds, may recall me talking about having acid-reflux for over 6 years. I was suffering from a LOT of stomach issues in the early 2000s and in 2006 I was diagnosed as having acid-reflux. The doctor put me on Prilosec which worked for about 3 years. When I started having symptoms flare up again I was switched to Nexium and I continued Nexium at 40mg a day for another 3 years.

    When I was evaluated by my regular doctor after surgery, to help me recover from the anemia, he noticed that I had been on the stomach medicine for a long time. He asked if I had ever been checked for H. Pylori. H. Pylori, or helicobacter pylori, is a stomach bacteria that's is often the culprit when an acid-reflux diagnosis is made. I had never been tested for it.

The Nexium is continued throughout the antibiotics treatment.
I started out with Amoxicillin and Clarithromycin but the Amoxicillin capsules made me so nauseous I had to switch.

The only alternative was a chewable Amoxicillin tablet and in order to get the right dose, I had to chew 4 of them, twice a day. It was rough, but easier than feeling sick to my stomach.

    With a blood test, one of three ways they check for H. Pylori, I showed negative on the acute test but positive on a longer test. After a treatment plan consisting of 2 antibiotics (one for back-up in case the bacteria grew resistant), for about 10 days, I was given the go-ahead to begin weaning off Nexium. You can't just STOP Nexium, you see. You can't just stop any proton-pump inhibitor because what happens is your body goes back to producing NORMAL amounts of stomach acid which can cause symptoms similar to acid-reflux and make you feel just awful. 

    I developed a plan to wean off slowly, by first skipping every other day. One day with Nexium, the next day without, the third day with, and so forth. I have now been at it for 12 weeks. After running a month of every other day, I was able to move up to skipping 2 days. When I initially planned to move on to skipping 3 days, I found the sensation from the increased acid production was too strong so I continued 2 days off-1 day on for another 2 weeks. Then moved on. For the past 2 weeks I have been able to go 4 consecutive days without the Nexium and even though today I was supposed to take it, I decided to try skipping a 5th day just to test things out. So far so good!

Ultimate Reset Detox Plan

     I'm going to do a 21-day Ultimate Reset program with my husband starting July 1st. It's from Beachbody, a company I work with, and it's basically a 3-week program with a menu that becomes completely vegan in week 2 and 3. The supplements are provided in the kit so you take the supplements daily with a set schedule to first prepare you for the detox, then do the detox which releases toxins stored in your body, and then in the third week you replenish good bacteria that was also affected by the toxin release so by the end of the 21 days it's as if you have a completely clean slate to work with. I LOVE the idea, and I've had friends do it already who got great results - include pounds and inches lost - and so Nick and I are going to do it together in July. 
     I will likely post a lot about that as well, so if you're interested, feel free to "stay tuned" or if you're interested in doing the Reset at the same time, follow this link to my Ultimate Reset website, place your order and let me know you have. We can keep each other accountable! (**The orders are only available to ship to the U.S. and Canada, including U.S. territories like Puerto Rico or Guam**)

Other Blogs
     I'm also quite busy trying to keep up with some other blogs I'm running, including one for my Beagle, Jake, who is about 8 1/2 years old and a little overweight so we made a Diet Blog for him. He welcomes any and all support, if you want to follow his blog please visit Jake's Diet.

Jake gets Accountability Pics to help us both keep up with his diet and exercise plan.
Jake's blog is written in "his" voice... and he sometimes ties in some Beagle wisdom!

Atom gets cute pictures for his blog to help him tell cute stories from an Atom POV (point of view).

    Atom's blog is far less serious haha, his is Just Atom and he welcomes visitors, followers, and comments too.

    I have a TON of info to put up on my Japanese website, which has a link at the top of this blog. But it's time consuming, and I'm hesitant to post the info before I move the blog to my hosting account with another company so that might be another month before you see anything of value.

Jaw Recovery Playbook
     I have received SO MANY EMAILS about my Recovery Playbook website and my info from this blog, and I am so happy that the information I'm able to provide is helping other Jaw Surgery patients. I do apologize for the SUPER SLOW PACE by which I'm adding new content to the website, but I do have documents and PDFs to share via email so if you're looking for help, guidance, support for Jaw Surgery and the recovery process, feel free to visit the Jaw Recovery Playbook and send me an email - the email address is on the website's contact page. I'm happy to help any way I can!

    I also welcome appropriate questions about Jaw Surgery, Recovery, Healing, and related topics. By "appropriate" I mean "non-sexual" because I have a ZERO-TOLERANCE policy for deviant sexual behavior include, but not limited to, fetishes that involve braces, teeth, and related concepts.
Basically, if you're a Jaw Surgery patient, or a caregiver for someone who is a Jaw Surgery Patient, then your questions are more than welcome :-) And if it's long or if the questions will require a lengthy reply, please use the email address at the Jaw Recovery Playbook website to email me instead. Thank you!

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