Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The First Month of Jaw Surgery Recovery

We have finally made it to the first month of jaw surgery recovery! I wouldn't say I'm recovered, not by a long shot, but its hard to believe just how much I've improved over the last three weeks. In that first week I was barely functional and considered it a triumph to not have to take three naps in a day or to be able to finish a yogurt in one sitting.

All that being said, I still do not feel right, at all. My energy levels continue to be horrific, my jaw doesn't feel like it fits on my face, and I'm constantly aware of what my teeth are doing at any given point. BUT... it is still all a significant improvement.

Talking of improvements, there has been one big one - as of my appointment last Thursday, I no longer have to wear the elastic bands for most of the day. So, I had seven elastic bands keeping my jaws tied together. For the first week I couldn't take them out at all, and after that I could to eat but had to aim to only keep them out for at most an hour at a time. Now my orthodontist wants me to start just wearing them for twelve hours a day - ie at night basically. He said from my appointment that I could start just not wearing them for the rest of the day but I was hesitant on this and wanted to cut it down slowly. This hasn't really happened to be honest, because when I've had stuff to do I just haven't bothered to put them back in. Obviously I can talk much clearer without them, and, y'know, I don't look like my mouth is full of elastic bands, but it is a bit more tiring. It also has the disadvantage that when I do put the elastic bands in again, they hurt a lot more.

I lied - two big improvements! I've started to be a bit more willing to be social again. I've hidden away as I have felt so awful and looked so ridiculous, but on Friday I met up with the first friend who hadn't seen me since early on in the treatment. And it was fine! He said he could tell that I was swollen, but that he only knew that because he was someone who already knew me - he said that if he saw me on the street and hadn't known what I looked like before, he wouldn't have thought anything was wrong. We talked for quite a few hours and then suddenly AGONY. It's interesting because you could tell the moment my muscles decided it had been too much because I stopped being understandable, haha. I think it's probably a good thing to be using them though. I still talk in a ridiculous way as my teeth pretty much stay close together, but I think it'll improve.

I also had my first time meeting and interacting with new people since having the surgery. I'm normally really confident with this and I picked it up again faster than I expected, but I felt super awkward at points - I think more than anything it's because I'm so hyper aware of the fact that my lips still bloody do not close, so my instinct is to cover my mouth a lot. I mentioned pretty early on that I'd just had the surgery so excuse any weirdness and that was definitely the right call to make as people just had a lot of questions about it and didn't mind that I was pretty much useless. You can also tell how much those two weeks of not eating properly have screwed with me as I quite happily sat there taking an hour to eat a doughnut with a spoon in front of people. Oh well.

I'm going to keep trying to catch up with people, but slowly. I still get really nervous about it and I do have to basically spend the rest of the day doing absolutely nothing as I get exhausted otherwise. And the more tired I am, the more useless my lips are, and of course the less understandable I am.

The swelling is still there, it still moves around, it isn't massively noticeable anymore. I can tell, and my friends can still tell, but it's no longer a ridiculous amount. My feeling in my lips is almost completely back, patches of my chin still feel a bit odd but I'm not completely numb anywhere anymore. My skin has mostly recovered - the underside of my chin is still pretty bad, but everywhere else has more or less cleared up again. My speech is pretty clear now - as mentioned above when I get tired it starts getting muffled, but otherwise I'd say it's really clear. I sound a little different, I think because I'm not opening my mouth to speak as much as I used to, but you'd be able to easily understand what I'm saying. I'm lisping very slightly on 's' sounds, but otherwise all my letters are back. Pain is still there and fairly consistent - it's usually completely manageable though I do sometimes get irritable towards the end of the day as I get fed up with it. Every now and then something new and random happens and hurts - ie. I was talking to my housemate and my jaw twitched to the side by maybe 2mm and resulted in me lying on the floor yelping in pain. This appears to be its new favourite thing to do, but only when I'm in a good mood.

In terms of eating, I'm all good there - I'm still not allowed to chew, but I've become a master at managing to swallow most things whole! I'm also starving all the time so I'm probably eating more than I used to, but that's not a bad thing. There are only two things I've had difficulty with - I find rice pretty hard work as it goes mad and escapes in your mouth and then it becomes quite hard work as some gets in your teeth and some gets between your lips and my tongue can't move properly to get it. But I am fairly certain that I'll have this down by next week. The other thing that I've found is definitely not a good idea is potato soup - even with the potatoes cut teeny tiny and boiled to death those things HURT to try to swallow whole. I still pull odd faces when I eat and it still hurts quite a lot of the time, but I'm getting better at it. I think it will be a while before I eat proper food in front of people as for some reason I manage to keep getting it all stuck in my teeth (amazing to me considering I DON'T USE THEM, but I think it's because I can't open my mouth very wide) but I think I'm going to be more comfortable with soup or whatever in front of friends than I thought I would.

Sleeping is still not great, but that's probably because my energy levels are all wrong. It no longer really hurts my jaw to sleep, but it does still hurt around my ears.

Finally, exercise - I asked if I would be able to start exercising yet, and was told that apart from gentle walks he still wouldn't recommend it. However...it's just hit four weeks and I have fitness tests in January, so I definitely went to the gym yesterday. Sorry, doctor. I just did the first day of Couch to 5K and I was actually surprised that my energy levels weren't as completely hideous as I thought they were and I managed to complete it easily enough. My face bloody hurt, though.

So, one month down! A long time to go, but a big improvement. There probably won't be a post on this next week unless something dramatic happens, but week six seems to be the beginning of the next stage - ie, you're normally allowed to start using your teeth again. So I'll make an update then or the week after on how that goes! As always feel free to ask any questions :)
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2 comments

  1. So glad that you're slowly improving, you're doing so well! I'm so nervous to go through this next year, but at least it's not long until you're functioning again! <3 xx


    nessiehere.blogspot.co.uk

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  2. I am glad to hear that everything is going well and that you're doing if only a little better ! Take care and may you continue to heal properly !

    Charlie xx
    http://charlieleschroniques.blogspot.fr/

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