A bump in the road

We are now somewhere between week 6 and week 8 of my recovery from corrective double jaw surgery. It has been a rough couple of weeks to say the least. Monday the 2nd of November saw me having a great post surgery appointment with my surgeon, everything looking great and virtually no pain.

A week later I began experiencing immense pain and generally feeling unwell. A call was made and straight away the surgeon had me in to see him the next day. By the time I met my surgeon I had been experiencing the pain coupled with extreme tenderness for 4, days as wells as being exhausted, nauseous and generally feeling quiet miserable.  My surgeon suspected I had an infection, this would have been the second one since surgery and began me on antibiotics, my third set since surgery and organised for me to x-rays at the orthodontist before returning to him a week later. It was also here that he prepared me for the worst; the possibility of having to have another surgery to remove a mental plate, which he was concerned, may have been infected if there had been no improvement. Rest and hope was all I could do because I really did not fancy getting another operation!

The pain persisted despite finishing a course of antibiotics and I began to fear the possibility of having another surgery might soon become a reality, but I guess I was lucky when a rash developed along the right side of my face as this meant no infection and no more surgery! The x-rays taken the morning of my 21st birthday (exciting, right?) also confirmed there was no infection. Good news I wouldn’t be getting more surgery but bad news that what was thought to be an infection is in fact shingles! We were told that I probably got the shingles as a result of the physical stress my body endured as a result of the surgery! So now, I’m currently on anti-virals and sporting a lovey rash on my face!

My rash which since taking this anti-vitals and using a
 prescribed cream seems to be improving quiet a bit

The past two weeks have been pretty miserable, I’ve just been took exhausted to do anything most of the time, I’m in constant pain and have been struggling with my appetite. Its been rough but mentally I’m doing pretty well and I’m somewhat surprised at that, usually when I’m not well physically I can get quiet down but not this time, but I have been taking things one day at a time trying not to get ahead of myself! With shingles now I’ve been out of athletics and college for the last week as well as noting being in work this weekend. Next week is looking much the same with scouts being a no go area also on Monday night! Hopefully I will being to be more like myself by Friday as I’m due to be heading to Wexford for the weekend to complete my final stage in my scout leader training! After the pain and the rash the worst part of shingles is not being able to be as active as I would like, I feel good and want to be doing things but I’m just not physically up to it, which is a bit annoying.

In other more positive news despite the shingles the feeling in my lower lip is slowing beginning to come back. I have been experiencing a lot of tingling in my lip and when I bite together my while lip tingles for a few seconds. I still have a long way to go in getting all my feeling back but right now, these little steps are big victories for me!

I have spent so long just starring at my x-ray.
Its strange knowing I have six metal plates in my mouth! Can you spot all six?

1 month post op

This day exactly one month ago I underwent my corrective double jaw surgery and now I finally have a correct bite! things have gone so fast, at the beginning of September I wasn't getting my surgery until next year and then at the end of September it was just weeks away and now I am one month post surgery! Things have happened so fast I don't think I have actually processed it all!

I have finally began to get back into a routine, last week saw me making an appearance at athletics in a coaching capacity, I'm still not allowed to do any throwing or running, I am allowed go for walks, start swimming and using a bike but very gently, nothing too strenuous is allowed. I made it back volunteering at the Friday night youth cafe in Lucan and yesterday I went back to scouts. having some sort of a routine in place really does make the difference when you're recovering from surgery and hopefully this weekend I will be back to work once I get my letter stating I'm fit for work and I will be back in college tomorrow!

Things have been going great! Swelling is pretty much all gone, some little swelling in my cheeks, I notice it more than others. Pain is minimal, some pain has been on my right side at night but nothing major. Throughout the day I get little bits of pain but no need for pain killers which is great. Numbness is still there, no change at all but again I'm not concerned with that, in time I should get all my feeling back. 

Finally after a whole month I began my soft food diet this week! After the first few days between the surgery, the pain, being in hospital and just in general being uncomfortable the hardest part of this whole things has not been eating. I love food and while I can be fussy at times I will eat almost anything that is put in front of me so not having solid food for a whole month was pretty hard. Soup was what I stuck to, the idea of blending meat and other solid foods made me feel sick! I was prepared before surgery though with homemade vegetable soup made and frozen awaiting my long and tedious month of liquid food. So far my soft food diet has consisted of potatoes, pasta, tuna, scrambled eggs, porridge and of course some chocolate buttons!Im trying some minced meat for dinner today!  Im not really sure what I was expecting when I started my soft food diet but I didn't expect it to be as hard as it is to chew. My gums are numb and when I bite my teeth together I can't really feel my teeth so chewing is difficult, not impossible but it takes time. even opening and closing my mouth to chew feels weird. One thing that is causing pain when I open and close my mouth is the inside of my cheeks keep getting caught between my braces so its like I'm biting my cheeks but hopefully in a few days that will settle down. I can't open my mouth as wide as I was able to before surgery but with more movement I will get there, slowly but surely.

Mentally I am great! Before surgery many people told me I had to mind myself and expect many bad days, that I could have difficulty getting used to the change in my face and overall during the recovery it could be very difficult and to expect low mood. I was pretty prepared I have to say, supports were in place and I was ready to deal with the bad days as they came. The bad days did come but not as many as I had expected with the worst being my second night in hospital as it finally hit me that i had finally got my surgery, all those emotions mixed with the pain, being uncomfortable and of course the pain medication I was crying my eyes out before I knew it. There were some self- harm urges that night and day also, not out of sadness or angry but because I had so many different emotions I just wanted them out, a bit of relief and I felt the only way to get it was through harming but thankfully I didn't and that was because the nurses in the hospital were amazing  and made time to sit with me and talk through things, if it wasn't for the conversations I had with some of the nurses I would have ended up harming.

Over the past week or so I have really began to start feeling like myself again and whats even better is that I feel happy! I have even been finding myself looking forward to things, social events that I would have usually avoided I want to go to, dinner in a restaurant was nothing something I ever loved but were heading out for a family birthday dinner and I am actually excited about going. Little things like when I look in the mirror I am not greeted with disgust but rather delight. I love smiling and looking at my teeth before my teeth were something I hated! My underbite was a huge part of my life and it will always be apart of my life but it wasn't until now that I really realised how much it controlled me, or rather how much I let it control me. This operation done more than just corrected a physical issue, it allowed me to feel confident, when I walk down the street now I don't feel like everybody is looking at my underbite, when I look in the mirror I like what I see, when I smile I actually feel good about myself and I am no longer scared to show off my teeth. This operation has done more for me mentally than I thought it ever could have! 

The difference from my pre-surgery smile 

 to my now post-surgery smile is amazing! 
1 Month Post-Surgery

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