Monday, September 21, 2009

I can eat a steak

This past Friday night I decided to test out my jaw by eating my first steak since my surgery. Actually I wasn't really trying to test the jaw out, but steak was the only thing on the menu that I could actually eat since I do not eat fish or pork. I actually was able to eat the steak and had very little pain or issue chewing. I was so excited about being able to eat steak that I ordered it again the next night at Restaurant Iris in Memphis. The food at Iris was really great and the chef Kelly English was recently named Food and Wine's Best New Chef. I had bread pudding to wash it down and left feeling really happy.

One thing I forgot to mention was that last week when I went to the surgeon I told him about the pain I had been having in my jaw. He examined me and said he suspected it was just a muscle strain that was causing the pain and soreness and he gave me some muscle relaxers to take at night before I go to bed. I have actually only taken it once since he prescribed it but it really did help to alleviate the pain I had been feeling.

In some other good news, I finally have a week where I have no doctors appointments. Last week was killer with the orthodontist appointment, my annual physical and my surgeon appointment. I am glad to finally have a break from having to sit in a doctors office.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Achy Breaky Jaw

Today marks the 5 week since surgery mark. This past Monday I had my first real orthodontist appointment since surgery (the first one was simply an appointment so they could take some new x-rays). They took one x-ray and changed the bottom wires on my braces, but more importantly they took over control of the rubber bands on my teeth. The rubber bands they gave me were much less rigid than the ones the surgeon had been using and so it is a bit easier to talk and even to eat a little with the bands still on my teeth. The only thing that is kind of annoying is that the bands are placed on different teeth than before and it makes my teeth really achy and uncomfortable.

The other thing that has been achy is my jaw. I do not know if it is the fact that I am becoming less numb or all of the running I have been doing, or maybe just a combination of both, but my jaw has been really sore over the past week. I get pain up high in my jaw and it radiates down to my chin. I have a surgeon appointment today so hopefully he can give me an idea of why this is happening and maybe some ways to alleviate it (I am under the impression, however, that he is just going to tell my not to run).

Here are the week 5 pictures. My jaw is a bit more swollen than usual and I still have no feeling in my lower lip, chin or the insides of my mouth. Also below are the September 2007 and September 2009 x-rays of my mouth.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

One month

Yesterday marked one month since my surgery. It was also the first week since I had surgery that I had no doctors appointments whatsoever. I will, however, more than make up for it with 3 next week.

Not so much to report. The insides of my mouth are still getting irritated and really swollen from the braces and bands and it is has caused some noticeable swelling on along my jawline, particularly on the right-hand side. Still numb on the insides of my mouth, my bottom lip and chin and I have been having more frequent pins and needles feelings and warm sensations in my lip.

One thing that did occur in the past week was my orthodontist uploaded my original records to my online account so I have access to how things looked prior to even having braces. This should give people a pretty good idea of why I needed braces and then jaw surgery once the braces had done their job. As you can see from the first picture, I always had a pretty bad overbite so much so that my front teeth completely covered my bottom teeth when I bit down. For those who do not know any better, this should not happen. In addition to that my front teeth were not standing up straight, but instead were slanted back toward my bottom teeth as seen in the second picture. This slant combined with the overbite would have eventually cause erosion of my lower gums. The third picture is post iBraces. As you can see my teeth were straighter but my overbite had been accentuated by the fact that my top teeth no longer slanted back towards my lower teeth. And thus, the jaw surgery was needed to advance my lower jaw and teeth and correct my bite.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


There have been few developments since I went to the surgeon last week. Since he okayed me to run I have been running/walking about an hour and a half everyday which has greatly improved my appetite but also caused my jaw to swell slightly. I haven't been so good about doing my heat compresses but hopefully being more diligent about that will cause the swelling to subside.

One thing that is new is sores inside my mouth from the rubbing of my bands and my braces against my lips. I have these sores on my lip and on the inside of my right cheek. It actually doesn't bother me too much because I am still numb in these areas but I do notice that much of my swelling is in the areas where I have these sores.

As I mentioned above, the return to more vigorous exercise has caused me to be constantly hungry. I can open my mouth pretty wide without the bands and can chew a bit too so I have been eating like a pig. I have gained a couple of pounds back and hopefully I can get a few more on in the coming weeks.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Post-Op Surgeon Visit #4

Today was my fourth post-op visit with the surgeon and three weeks and a day since my surgery. As you can see below the swelling is pretty much gone and I have been feeling really great. The surgeon gave me the okay to start running again (I had been running a little bit for the the past week on the sly, but not more than like 2-3 minutes at a time in the middle of my walks) which made me really excited. I think he could tell how psyched I was when he gave me the okay, and he made sure to quickly remind me not to overdue it and he warned me again that I may begin to swell again the first week or so when I begin running. This evening I went to the gym and ran and walked for an hour, getting in around 7 miles. It felt good to run again and two hours later I do not appear to be swollen at all. My next surgeon appointment is in 2 weeks.

I still have no feeling in my bottom lip, chin or on the insides of my mouth and gums. A few times in the past week I have accidentally chewed on my lip or the sides of my mouth when I am eating causing them to bleed so I have to be mindful of this when I start really eating again. I have been able to eat more soft foods lately but I can only open my mouth a few centimeters and I have to cut my food up so small to get it in my mouth which it really time consuming. It literally takes me about 4 times as long as normal to eat a meal. I also get very sore if I open my mouth too much and sometimes it is just easier to drink my meals, but I try to get in at least one non-liquid meal a day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

So Gross

I kind of wish I had taken a picture of this, but it was so gross it might have made those with weak stomachs vomit. Last night after dinner we came back to the house we are renting and I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth. Since dinner was the first time I had taken my bands off this was to be the first time I was able to brush my tongue since I had surgery. Because I was only able to open my mouth a tiny bit even to eat I could not stick my tongue out very far to brush it but what I could get through my teeth contained one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen. I think the only way to describe it was to say that it looked like a very thick layer of mold was growing on my tongue. It took much scraping and a ton of brushing to remove it. Perhaps when I can finally open wide and brush the back of my tongue I will take a picture so you can see the nastiness that is a tongue that has not seen the light of day nor a toothbrush in weeks.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Post Op Surgeon Visit #3 and the Vineyard

Yesterday was my 3rd post-op visit with the surgeon. Overall he was really pleased. He said he was amazed that all of my swelling was almost gone only 2 weeks after surgery and everyone in the office was really shocked at how quickly I had healed. The surgeon said I could now begin to take the bands off when I ate and he taught me how to remove them. I thought that when I removed the bands I would be able to open fairly wide, however, I could barely open wide enough to get a spoon in. I asked the surgeon if he thought it would be okay for me to start running again and he said that because I had the infection last week he wanted to wait at least another week before he gave me the green light to resume running. Hopefully when I see him again next week he will give me the okay because I am getting a bit tired of walking for an hour and a half everyday to accomplish what I could with just 40 minutes of running.

As part of our anniversary, Jonathan and I are spending a long weekend in Martha's Vineyard. We got to the island at 7PM last night and decided to go out to dinner to see what kinds of foods I could eat. We ended up driving to Edgartown and eating at an Italian place called Chesca's. I removed my bands and ordered polenta and was able to use a fork in order to put some of it into my mouth. The biggest problem is opening my mouth wide enough to get the fork in which is fairly painful and causes me to get most of my food on my lip (which can't feel and thus do not know is there). So basically I put some food on a fork, try to get it in my mouth and then quickly with my other hand run a napkin over my lip to make sure I do not have food everywhere. It is really time consuming and requires a good deal of effort to get even a little bit of food in my mouth and ensure I don't look like a hot mess.

After the polenta we ordered a chocolate cake with mocha buttercream and ice cream for dessert. It was still difficult to get the food in my mouth but we ended up finishing the whole thing together and I, for the first time in two weeks, felt full, happy and completely satisfied.