Day 38

Getting the splint out this morning resulted in a whole mix of emotions. I didn't really know what to expect when getting it out, but it turned out to be a less than pleasant experience. They cut all of the wires, and then yank them out the sides above my brackets. The wire on the right side was really irritating the roof of my mouth and it hurt so badly when they pulled it out! There was more blood getting this splint out than I dealt with after surgery. Really, it was like a horror movie! I haven't read any blogs of people who had the same type of splint that I had, so I didn't know what to expect at all. Anyway, after brushing my teeth THREE times and using mouthwash twice, my mouth finally stopped bleeding. Blegh, so gross, sorry to be so detailed, but it was not fun! The only pain I experienced was just the one wire that had been digging into my mouth, but other than that, it was just a bit of pressure to pull out all the wires. Anyway, now the roof of my mouth feels SO strange. It is slightly inflamed around the teeth because the splint was constantly pushing in these areas. The areas along the inside edges of my teeth are very red and you can tell that's where most of the blood came from. The splint left the roof of my mouth all bumpy and it feels a bit mangled, although I know it's not, the completely abnormal surface the splint has created is almost nauseating. I am going to start up my salt water rinses again until I feel like it feels more normal. Dr. M said it would take a few days to heal, probably 3-4. I realize all of this sounds totally terrible, and it's NOT, I am not in pain and the areas that were bleeding are only a little tender, but are not painful.

Now after all of that, I am absolutely not saying I am not THRILLED to have the splint out, I AM. I am so happy to be free of it! It just feels so yucky and strange to me right now that I am not loving the here and now. Eating makes me feel like I am going to gag sometimes, because the roof surface is just gross feeling, and it's weird to move food around it. HAH, I bet I am really grossing everyone out now, sorry!

Dr. M said he thinks I still have swelling around my chin area, which was really great to hear. I am not feeling great about the way my chin is looking at this point, and I am hoping for at least a little more definition there.

My boyfriend and I are having a cupcake baking, Harry Potter 7 Part I movie watching date tonight. Eating cupcakes will be SO much easier now that they won't get caught in my splint!

I stopped in to the ortho office to see if there was any way they could squeeze me in today rather than waiting until my appointment on the 6th. I am a bit worried now that the splint is out and two of my teeth don't have brackets on them. They had me sit in a chair and check me over, but there wasn't any time to actually do anything today, ugh. Now that I am over obsessing about getting the splint out, I am now obsessing about getting my surgical hooks out.

Terrible pictures, long day. Sorry, momma isn't home to take them for me.

Day 37

I am nearly positive the splint has made my tongue swollen. I know this sounds totally odd, but I'm serious. My tongue ring has been pretty sore for probably the past 5 days. This has never ever happened to me before. When I pinch my tongue, I can feel that it is slightly swollen around the piercing, and once again, this has never happened before. It's not swollen to the point of being noticeable/making me talk strange or anything like that, but just swollen from irritation. I find the most discomfort when it hits against the splint, and I think that 5.5 weeks of it resting against a hard piece of plastic has caused it to be sore. It doesn't have the soft tissue of the roof of my mouth to sit against at night time, and I think just moving around and scraping along the splint has made it sore. Anyway, it's been pretty uncomfortable to eat at times in the last few days. Tomorrow morning the splint comes out! I am praying this piercing issue doesn't persist. I have already lost one of the two piercings that I had to remove prior to surgery and I am not going to lose another! Haha

I realize this isn't an issue most people can relate to, but I thought I would share anyway.. haha.

Day 36

I feel like my anticipation for Thursday is like the anticipation for an upcoming holiday or break from school. I have never been so excited for an appointment with my surgeon, ever. I am SO incredibly excited to get this stupid splint out of my mouth! It will bring me that much closer to complete normalcy. 2 days 2 days!

If you're feeling up to it, try to get back to the gym or to your normal workout routine after about 1 month post op. I can feel such a huge difference in my energy level after spending a few days at the gym, and it is making me feel so much more NORMAL. I am so close to being back to my regular life. I love it! Once this splint and the surgical hooks are out, I will really feel like I am working my way to the home stretch.

I think I have said this before, but all of my front on photos are taken with me biting down, relaxed face. You can see that at 5 weeks post op, my lips still do not meet without force. It certainly has improved over the week, but hopefully things start settling further so that my lips will finally touch! Tina/Tresa- both of you may have mentioned this, but remind me, do your lips touch at rest now, and when did this happen?

Ratty hair and no makeup- letting my hair air dry in this beautiful sunshine that has finally graced MN.

Day 35

5 weeks post-op! I am so excited to be so far past surgery, but am also bummed to know I have spent so much of my last college summer bumming around and recovering. I know in the long run, every moment of my recovery will be worth a half wasted summer, but right now I am a little sad! I have to take a three week course in a town 2.5 hours away from my house that begins in August and will be spending those 3 weeks staying there, so I really only have July left to run around and enjoy summer school free. Darn.

I woke up this morning and it hit me how much the stiffness has faded. It is definitely still stiff around my lips and chin area, but it no longer feels like my face is fully covered in a mask when I wake up every morning. Even though the healing process has definitely slowed down, it is really helpful to continue noticing the little things.

I know my posts are slowly getting more and more boring, but I still feel like blogging, so I am going to anyway. I think it will help people see what I am capable of doing at this point in my recovery, so even if it's such basic things like being able to have a completely normal day with friends or what I am eating, I am hoping someone may get something out of it. I do hope to continue to take pictures each day until Day 60. In Graham's blog (go take a look!), he did photos until day 90, and I was blown away at how much change there was still to see around day 50! Although the changes are gradual, it is so crazy to look at how much change there is between day 30 and day 54.

Day 34

It's Pride Week this week, and I spent today at the Minneapolis Pride Parade with my best friend Carey. Drinks, dancing, making friends and running around posh hotels with my favorite wingman was the perfect way to spend my Sunday :) Now I am home to write a paper due tonight, blah.

I haven't been in any casual pictures since the surgery, they've all been ones I have taken of myself to post on here, so I thought I would share a few. I really don't like the top one (other than my goofy face! haha). When I look at my chin compared to Carey's, it brings back that initial feeling that I had of having a massive chin/jaw. I still don't know how to smile so the bottom one is a bit awkward too, but I thought I'd share anyway. Carey has braces too! We are quite the pair :) She actually really doesn't smile with her mouth closed very often, but you can see her grill in the other two. I included the last group picture of us, although I think I look terrible and it looks like an awkward family, it's proof that she's a brace face too :) We are such foxes.

Today's pictures

Day 33

I knew from the beginning that it was going to take me a while to get used to my new look, but I think I really underestimated how long 'a while' was going to be. I adore all of the sweet comments I have been receiving, and I know that they are truly coming from an honest place in everyone (at least I hope!). I am not worried that people are telling me I look great when I really look terrible, I am just struggling to get used to the new face. It's not that I miss the old jaw line, that is far from the case, I just miss the ability to REALLY recognize myself when I look in the mirror. I know I am still the same person, and I see ME in my eyes, but I am so far from used to my new jaw/chin, and it's starting to feel like time is really dragging, and mentally, there is not much progress being made. I know that everyone is telling me I look great, but when I don't actually FEEL like I look great, it's difficult. I don't look in the mirror and think 'I hate the way I look', nor do I think I look bad at all, it's more just like 'I wish I could hurry up and recognize this face as mine'. Although I certainly had cosmetic flaws pre-op that I hated, there were times, especially when I would get all dolled up, that I really felt pretty! You know those days, when you feel like you really do look good? I miss those days! I don't want any of this to come off as I feel like I look ugly and I hate my look, it's more just I want to wiggle around and dance at the bars and drink with my friends and feel good about myself while doing it! Hahaha. Anyway, this journey is the biggest test of patience I have ever encountered. I KNOW there is an end to this journey and I will continue working towards it, no matter how long it takes :)

Another 6 am picture... I was exhausted and rushing off to work.

Day 32

The splint is kind of driving me nuts. It's starting to hurt the roof of my mouth, on the left side right above my teeth. It feels like the wire, which runs through the splint on each edge, is pushing against the roof of my mouth. It's really sore and I am getting so antsy to get this thing out of my mouth. I considered calling my surgeon today and asking if there was any way I could get it out a day or two earlier than I had originally planned, but the day I have planned is only 5.5 weeks post-op, which means I'd be asking to get it out at 5 weeks, and that's probably not the best idea. Uh, trying to suck it up, but it's not easy!

I went back to the gym for the first time since having surgery, and it was so great. I lost a serious amount of stamina that I had built up. I think I was able to make it through 1/2 of my normal cardio workout! I was pooped! This is only to be expected though. There were times my jaw was a bit achy. I know during intense cardio there is a lot of movement going on and I think just having my body pulled in different directions and the up and down motion of running causes my jaw to be sore, but it wasn't anything that lasted longer than the time I was at the gym.

First smiling photo! I still look so goofy, but at least I can FINALLY smile!

Day 30

I had the intention of making a video today, but somehow the day got away from, so it's just photos today. I will try to shoot for tomorrow!

My lips are on fire today, hence the insane amount of aquaphor on my lips. Sorry I look a little dead, it's been one of those days!

Day 29

Yesterday was 4 weeks post-op, and I didn't even realize it! My brain has been thinking one month rather than 4 weeks -- grr, I am sad I missed it and didn't have my few moments of celebrating!

I decided to make a video to show my progress at this point... BUT after uploading it, I realized I forgot to turn my mic on. Darnit! I will re-do it and post it tomorrow !

I walked into my managers' office today, and one of them goes 'you are GORGEOUS!' . He made sure to follow up with 'I hope that's okay, I mean, don't take that the wrong way.' Haha he's like the third person whose been worried about being border line inappropriate for making comments about my looks-- hehe I love my coworkers!

Day 28

I have been trying to do facial exercises to get some of this stiffness out of my face. Dr M never recommended anything to me at this point, but I feel like stretching it and moving my lips around has definitely improved things. I am not sure why this is happening now and never happened before, but the surgical hooks on the bottom teeth are absolutely destroying the inside of my lip. They have caused the deepest indentations all across the lip, and are now actually beginning to break through the skin, causing it to be painful. The 'whistle face' exercise is not going to well, every time I purse my lips, it causes the hooks to irritate the sore areas further.

My sister had a consultation with Dr. M. today. She doesn't have any structural jaw issues, but she has a very little chin, and is looking into getting a genioplasty done. I went to her appointment with her and had a few questions for Dr. M. myself. I asked him if the surgical hooks on the bottom were still necessary, he said not really, and for a split second I thought he was going to let me make an appointment with Dr. S. to get them taken off early, but poo, he decided they should be left on in case Dr. S. ends up needing them. He checked my bite again, and I voiced my concerns about my midline, but he said everything is perfect. He said if the midline does move around at all, Dr. S. will be able to fix it with ease, so it's nothing to worry about. I talked to him about getting the splint out at my next appointment (next Thursday) and he said I could. I am thrilled!

I think the splint is driving me crazier by the day. It doesn't bug me while eating, but now that the numbness is going away, I feel the splint more and I don't like it. It feels like it is pushing up so tight against the back of my front teeth, and it makes them feel sore. It gives the same feeling of having a new wire in, where your teeth feel so tight and locked in place.

How long after surgery did you/will you get your surgical hooks off? I don't remember Dr. M/Dr. S ever giving me a timeline as to when I would get mine off.

You can see in this photo that my upper lip is still weird. The middle portion just seems to be continuing on with whatever it wants to do.

Day 27

I miss lipstick. and chapstick. I can't wear either when I don't have the ability to rub my lips together. I can't wear lipstick when my upper lip is so thin and weird, and I can't wear chapstick because without rubbing my lips together to be able to smooth it out evenly, it feels like it just starts to dry on my lips and feels caked on. Not a fan. I am not a constant lipstick wearer, but I love putting on a splash of pink or coral lipstick once in a while, especially now that it's summer.

I am counting down the days until I get my splint and surgical hooks off. But each day closer to that is one less day of my summer vacation, so it's kind of a tough trade off. I think I am putting too much emphasis on the future, and not enough emphasis on the here and now. It's difficult though. I should be focusing on enjoying my summer all the time, but a lot of the time I find myself thinking 'I can't wait for 2 weeks from now!' Every time I say something like that, I need to remind myself it's just the same as saying "I can't wait to be two weeks closer to going back to school!"... That outta fix me from getting too excited about the future :-P

I went to Buffalo Wild Wings with a group of friends last night, and it was so great to get out! I did eat bits and pieces of my boyfriends bbq wings, but I just ordered a basket of cheesy potato wedges; easy to eat and filling! I also had some of a friends spinach artichoke flatbread. I wouldn't say it was the most attractive thing to eat, there was a lot of sauce and cheese on it, and tearing it with my hands and putting pieces in my mouth probably didn't look great, but no one really paid any attention and the food was delicious so I don't really care :)

What are some of your favorite, easy things to eat right now? Any healthy food suggestions? I have been eating a lot of eggs and yogurt+fruit, but I also find myself going to things like pizza, hotdogs and chicken nuggets because I have the ability to eat them now, even though I shouldn't be (at least not TOO often). I am looking to replace some of these unhealthy options with healthier options, but I need some suggestions! My normal go-to, spinach salad, is not an option anymore!

My momma is back, and therefore my pictures won't be so shotty anymore :)

Day 26

Last night before bed, I started checking out my bite and noticed that my midline seems to be a tiny bit off. It was PERFECT after surgery, but now it doesn't seem that way to me. I may be over thinking it, and it really is only the tiniest bit off so I am sure it is nothing to worry about, but I started obsessing over it last night! I am currently wearing two bands, the one on the right goes from the surgical hook that's over the tooth behind my canine tooth, and then connects on the bottom second to last molar. On the left side, it's just a straight up and down configuration from the canine to the tooth directly below it. I feel like there is so much more strain on the left side than the right, like the band is pulling more. For some reason, the stretching across multiple teeth on the right seems like I have more leeway. Anyway, I know the ortho knows what he's doing, but it's odd to me to wear different configurations on each side and I feel like things are going to get messed up. SO before jumping into bed I decided to move the right elastic to have the same configuration as the left. It made it feel much more secure, but it also felt SO tight and uncomfortable. This is a configuration I have had on both sides before, but for some reason, this time it felt like I had the strength of 4 bands pulling my teeth shut. My whole mouth ached ALL night, and I really got the worst nights sleep that I have had since my long nights right after surgery. I woke up constantly, aching and totally uncomfortable. When I took the elastics off this morning, it felt like my teeth could fall out, they were that sore! I still can't figure out what made last night such a weird night, both pain wise and sleep wise, but I gave my teeth a little break this morning and left the elastics out for 2 hours.

My lips are weird. I mean, they aren't my normal lips. My upper lip changes sizes throughout the day, but one really odd thing I have noticed is that half of my lip seems to be folded under. When I put my finger on the edge of my upper lip, near the creases, and lift, more of my lip is exposed. It's like half of my lip is hidden. Am I making any sense here? Haha

There are starting to be OTHER things that are taking over my mind, and not just solely jaw surgery, which feels great. I am on a 'kick' of about 20 different things. I am on a 'House Hunters International' kick (the show on HGTV). I am on a Starbucks kick. I am on a shopping kick. I am on a blog-reading kick, but not just jaw blogs, every sort of blog- fashion, photography, health, etc. I am becoming obsessed with things besides jaw surgery, and it's awesome! That doesn't mean I am not still obsessed with jaw surgery, but I can feel the absolute beginning stages of it fading. This doesn't mean I will stop blogging though, it gives me an outlet and it really helps me sort out my thoughts-- tt just means you may see other topics popping up in my blog, not just surgery related things, such as random questions like this...

Has anyone tried any peanut butter type substitutes, such as almond butter or sunflower seed butter? I managed to become allergic to peanuts when I was 16, and life without peanut butter sucks. I am looking for a substitute, any suggestions?

My boyfriend and I made the mistake of baking red velvet cupcakes with absolutely no occasion to be baking them for, and therefore we ended up with 24 cupcakes and the two of us to eat them. They were of course, left at my house, and now there is one person to eat all of the cupcakes. So, the weight hasn't stayed off as well as I had hoped. I think now I am sitting about 7 lbs down from my pre-op weight. Now I just need to keep it that way.

I am playing around with my blog layout, so just a warning as it may change a few times in the next few days until I can settle on something I really like!

Sorry for the deer in the headlights look. It really is much more difficult to take the photos myself! Does my face shape really look normal to you guys? I feel like my chin is so weird, and like my mouth is too high up, leaving me with a huge chin. I don't know, I just can't figure out if I like it or not. I took this picture at 6 am, and you can see how my lips are more swollen are in the morning.