Am I a rule breaker or a Rule Maker 1 month 1 week Post Op

Im a rule breaker. Perhaps a non-conformist.  John prefers to call me a rule breaker. Please understand that I don't break the law, I'm not a criminal. I sneak cameras into places like The U.S. Open, British open, sneak video at concerts and sporting events. I snuck into the press box during the 2000 olympics to watch the women's final figure skate (I didn't get caught). I don't follow the rules for writing, I just say it the way it processes in my brain, (not much regard for the proper ). So you get my drift. I have been very good about following the rules as they pertain to my jaw surgery. I figure if I get to crazy I could mess up the whole situation. I did have my relapse on Sunday where I left the bands off for longer than I should have, quit taking pain meds sooner than I was told,  and today I booked the orthodontist 5 days earlier than my 6 week mark. There was a conflict to nail it down right at 6 weeks, I would have had to wait until my 7th week. NOT AN OPTION. So tomorrow I will go 5 days early and god willing, get these metal hooks and wires removed. I feel like it's Christmas Eve. the excitement is building. I am so anxious to hear him tell me that everything looks great and he will be able to tweak the teeth that are slightly off. I don't think I'm breaking a big rule, but had to make an executive decision. 

My best news came today when the surgeon told me that I only have to bind my mouth shut with rubber bands for 2 hours a day and then again at night. WASUP!!  Can I just say that I feel liberated and free. It's like going from solitary confinement to a regular cell with outside privileges and a job. The full release from jail comes when the braces are gone, and I can eat the Thick "Lauries buffalo gourmet" tortilla chips. He told me to "Talk and scream" as much as I want. I sang out loud in my car the whole way home. Such a good thing I was alone, ohh trouble. My numbness prevents me from properly forming all words gracefully, and I never had a voice worthy of an audience, but to have that moment all to myself was freaking awesome!! I sang Meredith Brooks "Bitch" my favorite song which names all of the archetypes that I resonate with!! YaY... 

I'll be strait up honest here. Im not loving the profile. I have lost 11 pounds since surgery and not putting it back on. I think the weight loss is making my profile look a little sunken. My cheek bones are much more profound. Looking at myself strait on is great, but every time I see a side shot I'm not crazy about it. Im sure that Im being silly and just need to adapt. Seriously there are bigger things to worry about. I've never loved looking at profile pictures of myself ever so there you go....

After today, this bite will shift and change. I am hoping to ditch the metal surgical hooks and get back to the regular ties that hold on the arch wire. The inside of my mouth feels like a battle ground. So raw and sore. Cheeks snagging poky wires. The porcelain brackets are sharp when there aren't the regular ties to soften up the edges. Wax has been a hassle. It gets stuck and pops out with the water pick clogging the drain.(k so a bit of an exaggeration but still...)  I have also swallowed several trays worth. So I hope that my post tomorrow boasts the same jubilee I feel at this moment. 

And a poem to honor the rule breaker in me. (or am I a rule maker?)

Birds are flyin' south for winter.
Here's the Weird-Bird headin' north,
Wings a-flappin', beak a-chatterin',
Cold head bobbin' back 'n' forth.
He says, "It's not that I like ice
Or freezin' winds and snowy ground.
It's just sometimes it's kind of nice
To be the only bird in town."
~Shel Silverstein~

Feeling sassy! 5 weeks post OP

Today marks 5 weeks. Most surgeries boast full recovery by now, however, jaw surgery takes the slow boat approach. My cheeks and under my eyes are spontaneously starting to recover. Im so excited I just want to dance.. It's not 100% but I would say for sure 50% returned. I think considering that Im such an old lady having this surgery, Im keeping up with the young ones! I am desperate to chew food again. I have not chewed anything for 5 weeks now. My food has to be the consistency of baby food. Im creative and come up with nice flavors, but ohh how I miss texture. I will have a large party to celebrate the time when I can chew again. 

 Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it." - Tori Amos

Some day's I have to dig a little bit deeper than others. But it takes courage to put one foot in front of the other when the face has been dismembered and then put back together. This process affects the core human functions that get taken for granted. For me communicating has been difficult. I have such gratitude for outlets like this blog, and facebook and recently just writing memoirs.  I will have days again that don't include rubber bands, special pliers, medical water bottles, moist heat wraps, medicated creams, light therapies, blenders, baby spoons, and soft food. I will look back and realize that I survived, I reached my summit, and the view from up there takes my breath away. The ending of this journey, will be the beginning of another and as each cycle has its ebb an flow, my soul stretches bigger, pushing against the boundaries, breaking the rules and growing wiser with each story. At week 5, my story is still unfolding and growing. Thank you for following along, offering support and loving me even when the pictures are ugly and postings seem random. My love to all...

Today I cheated, I was a wild woman day 35 Post Op

"Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman" 

Well said!  The whole woman was not being nurtured, so she had to put her face under assault in order to restore balance. I long for painless communication. The stillness has provided me with insights that will be in- valuable to me as I go forward. But the frustration in my ability communicate is in my shadow, even when there is no sun to cast it.  I have been a cheater today. I took the tiny rubber band teeth cuffs off, I left them off almost all day. Then I talked, and talked some more. The muscles in my face hurt, but at a deeper level, my soul is dancing because it spoke today for a very long time. Then I baked lemon bars and ate enough to make my stomach ache. Yes today I was a rebel, I was a wild woman running about with no bands to silence me and the sugar that is like a bad boyfriend. Good at the start but then turns on you.  As night falls, and I tie my mouth shut, holding my tongue hostage, I have no regrets.I had a great day and peered into my future where I am able to speak clearly, with a face and soul in right relationship to each other. Total alignment.  And able to chew and crunch my way through much more than a lemon bar..

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." 

I will never forget the change that has been required to get to where I am today and where I am headed going forward. This journey has been so much more than physical for me. So for today I offer gratitude for the heros journey, and the butterfly!

Gratitude for my San Diego team of Docs.. Day 34 Post OP

At 1 month and nearly 1 week post Op.. I reflected today with John about my journey so far, and how I got to this place. I describe it in the first few postings on this blog, but for today, I need to offer sincere gratitude to the Dr.'s and friends in San Diego who were key players. Dr. Al Lin is a client of John and one of San Diego's finest oral surgeons.  I had been suffering from a locked jaw, and TMJ along with migraines and other health issues. I was familiar with my options, I had consulted in the past and was told that jaw surgery was needed. I never fully trusted that it was worth it or necessary.  With my chronic jaw issues, I decided to go to a friend, someone who would give me a strait up answer no strings attached. That's really how it all started. Dr. Lin, was very clear that this surgery would be a great benefit for my future going forward. He assured me that my symptoms would continue to deteriorate and I was looking at permanent jaw joint damage that would be very difficult if not impossible to fix. He offered to do the surgery at a discount, and our orthopedic friends offered up their surgical center. These offers came at a time when insurance would not cover this very costly surgery. The combination of their offers made me reconsider, and I was put in braces by months end. Fast forward, I am in San Diego at my pre- surgical appointment making surgical molds, and getting the fine tuning measurements and such ready to go for surgery in 2 weeks. It all started unraveling after that, Dr. Lin wanted a blood donation incase he needed to transfuse. The Docs at the surgical center had growing concerns about the safety of their center. They do knees, hips, shoulders but not jaws and certainly not upper and lower jaws. In a final review of my case, they decided it was not safe and shut down the option. Imagine me, in SLC in braces with a bite so off I couldn't chew, no surgical center, no surgery date big stress. When im in crisis like that, something bigger kicks in and I was determined to put it all back together. In my obsessive attempts to figure it all out, I learned that my insurance DID cover this surgery with pre-authorization, and found the best surgeon by the end of the week. I had a surgery date re-scheduled in 4 weeks. So considering that the wall came tumbling down, they were rebuilt and rescheduled with only a 4 week delay. Insurance agreed that they should cover my surgery, I was able to recover at home instead of in San Diego. I would have never made it to this kind of miraculous outcome without Dr. Lin in March of 2010 telling me that this would be for the best. Dr.'s Brad Cohen and Jim Breid are also superstars in my story because with the "idea" that we would save a chunk of change using their surgery center, set the stage for what I thought was the "Best Case Scenario" come to find out, my best case was to get even better. Instead of a 30,000.00 bill, Insurance ended up covering it all. I would have never ever had the braces put on and started the journey without those 3 heros. Even though Dr. Lin ended up not doing the surgery, I would have never had it without him. So it is with deepest gratitude and honoring that I remind and re-cap the great value these men added. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!! 

As for today... no change, face is still feeling partially paralyzed, over all discomfort, but miles ahead of where I was 3 weeks ago. It is now a silent disability.  It will improve, but Im on the slow boat. Good thing time flies by..  signing off  day 34.

Fatigue is running amuck... day 32 Post op

My question when I look at this photo is will I have a normal smile after braces? My teeth get all hung up on the hardware and metal, and make for a funky smile...I had my hair done today, and spent the better part of 2 hours watching myself speak to my stylist in a large mirror. What I saw frightened me. There is still enough paralysis in the muscles around my mouth, that watching myself try to form words in a mirror was painful. I get the strangest looks from on lookers, now i understand why. I hope that feeling in the face returns at some point. I may need to practice speaking in front of a mirror to get a feel for it. I had to do that when I first got the braces.. Did I say my face has been under assault? I find myself in a bit of a pickle.  They say after you have a baby to not get dressed for as long as you can stand it because once you do, there is an expectation that you will jump right back into your role. I look one thousand times better, no severe swelling to speak of, and after a month I need to get dressed and wear make-up, accessorize. The presenting problem, is that the expectation to be totally normal looms.  I don't "look" broken anymore. Today, I "felt" broken.  I had to feel my pulse to make sure I was still alive. (k exaggeration) but I was down. I slept more today than in the past week and a half. I think my body's reserves were all being directed to my face, there is still a lot of healing that needs to take place, muscular, skeletal and sensory.  So I allow the space to rest, guilt free, accessorized, dressed cute, and makeup on. 

I went into the living room to check on Sydnie, this is what I found. Looks like fatigue is running amuck in my house. This is how I felt today. Ahh how good it feels. 
The saying goes, 'The sage rests, truly rests and is at ease.' This manifests itself in calmness and detachment, so that worries and distress cannot affect her, nothing unpleasant can disturb her, her Virtue is complete and her spirit is not stirred up.
Chuang Tzu (c.360 BC - c. 275 BC)

How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward.
Spanish Proverb

Accidental Raspberry day 31 post op

So tonight I was with friends, one plays the digeridoo. I accidentally did a "Raspberry" with my lips demonstrating the movement the lips make. An accidental "Raspberry" wow, Surprised for sure..It made my lips tingly and I realize that I have another baby step behind me. I still have the fake face feeling, but the pain is tolerable. Heat wraps are the most soothing. Waking up is still the hardest part of the day. It takes a while to get going and relieve the pressure that builds up at night. Im only taking a 20 min. nap every day now. Considering that my face, jaw and teeth have been under assault for over a year now I feel like there is hope in the near future. Its starting to feel like the worst is behind me. I will say that there is an underlying fear about the numbness and how much feeling will return. Its amazing to me that it takes such a long time to recover. Talking hurts. It hurts all the time. It's the worst when Im wearing the  rubber bands. People who don't know me like the checkers at the store and random people who make comments think im a freak. I sound strange, can't blame them, but I swear out of curiosity they ask more questions than normal to try to hear me speak. I do alot of nodding and "mmhumm's" And then it feels better to take off the bands and speaking is much clearer, but the jaw aches if I speak too much. My kids especially my smallest peanut totally take advantage of my disability. She knows if the bands are on there is a 50/50 chance she will get her way if she argues and asks one million questions. I just can't keep up and give in. (kick me when im down). This becomes a mental challenge to figure out how to get this part of life back to normal. Communicating is off and abbreviated due to the sheer discomfort. Im the type of person who wants to know how the clock works not just what time it is.. This is frustrating because I have to settle with the latter.  Having said ALL of that, take a gander at the picture of me in my first week of recovery. I don't even look like myself. A nice reminder of what a difference a month makes. Now if I can restore proper function to the mouth I just might be dangerous!!
Haa this is the photo where i look like the stone statues on easter island. Ohh how sad and miserable. I have compassion for myself. It wouldn't be a proper documentary if I didn't post the ugly... hands down the hardest thing Ive done so far in 41 years... 
Looks like a relative yes....

The itch that can't be scratched...30 days Post OP

I had a full day.. The sun has been gracing us here with warmth  and Ive had the "get the patio furniture out of storage" itch. So I spent a couple of hours hauling the furniture, decor and such to the back yard, creating my summertime space to chill in.. I also had to help my son with his Ecuador tri-fold report.. Can't wait for school to be out, the homework is killing me. These projects used all of my energy and reserves so I had to go down for a min to rest!! Speaking of itch.. we have all had a moment at least once in our life where someone takes a single hair and tickles your nose just inside the nostril? You know the itch right?? It will temporarily send you out of your mind until you can scratch and rub it away, wake you out of a dead sleep (you've all done this to a sleeping loved one for a laugh)... So one of the side effects from this surgery is this itch. It is no respecter of time or place, it will sneak up on you at any random moment that you would least expect. The problem with this post surgical itch at least for me and my numb nose, is that its phantom.. There isn't a scratch or rub that makes it go away. My eyes will water waiting for the phantom tickler to leave me at peace. Oh for the love.....I think it must be a symptom of the nerves returning to life. So because it is a sign of renewal, i will welcome my itch as a visitor who will someday return feeling to my nose.  On another note, Im less than 2 weeks away from my Orthodontist appointment. I have never been more excited to see him. I will beg and plead for him to remove the raw metal wires wrapped around every tooth, some with loops forming hooks , that poke and stab my tender cheeks and lips.. 

Check out my "pucker" This is a true milestone. I can feel my lips enough now to bring them together. YaY!  This allows for much more than kissing, I can suck from a straw, apply lipgloss without looking,  Im even able to rub my lips together to even out my freshly applied glossy goodness!! Appreciate your pucker people!! I thought it was gone for good, lips are alive!!

All teeth Day 29 Post OP

Am I all teeth or what?? I went to my Surgeon today, he is allowing me to remove my rubber bands 4 times a day for 2 hours each time, so essentially this is 2 hours on 2 hours off. I'm loving the break. He wants me to be able to open wide enough to swipe my thumbs turned sideways. My jaw isn't so flexible,  It will take practice to stretch it open that far. I was shocked to find stitches still falling out today, thought they were all gone.  Iv'e been sleeping upright propped up since surgery. I forgot to ask him last week if I could go back to my normal fetal position. So today when I asked him he said "your still sleeping upright?" yeah... "You only needed to do that for the first three days.." (followed by belly laugh) He said he was kidding about the 3 days, but found it funny that I was still all propped up like mannequin. In all fairness, I was worried that if I slept on my side, my upper jaw could shift and I would wake up with my front teeth positioned next to my ears... Can't blame a girl for taking the safe route.. He showed me my before pics and was thrilled about my after results, he pointed out my more pronounced cheek bones, and my upper lip isn't flat like pancake face. It was comforting to hear him so giddy about his work, He has maintained the most positive attitude in his office, I just appreciate it so much! Oh and I have permission to blow my nose. I know that sounds gross but come on... how many of you nose blowers take it for granted.. (haa)  First thing I did when I got ahold of a tissue!!

"A favorite quote....
"Though this universe I own I possess not a thing for I cannot know the unknown if to the known I cling"

One Month behind me 4 weeks Post OP

I Celebrate 4 weeks post OP! Thats one Month.. Wow! This double jaw surgery is a long recovery. Functionally I'm doing much better. I'm eating soft foods only, taking off the rubber bands 3 times a day for 1.5 hours each time.  (still can't chew) My exercise is to swipe my pinky fingers between my open bite as many as 10 times.  My jaw is still kind of tight and I can do the pinky, but not much more than that. I see my surgeon tomorrow and will be granted more privileges. My sensory pain is still a constant, the "edge" is definitely better. I don't really take any meds at all now. I figure my poor liver and kidneys need a break. My body does not handle drugs well at all. My activity is building each day, still take naps when I need them.  I knew going into this that it would be long and difficult, but you just can't get your head around it until your sitting in it. I think that Im doing exceptionally well considering that im 41. Dr's were sure to let me know that my age was not in my favor. With any other surgery, your still able to use your mouth and eat sooner rather than later. Having your mouth shut down and in pain for such a long time, requires a mental strength in addition to a physical one. There is discouragement with the numbness and tingling, but I never consider that it wont fully recover. I have more movement at 4 weeks than I thought I would. I can suck through a straw and drink from a cup, but Its uncomfortable and often dribbles down my chin.  
It's baby steps like that, that keep a recovering jaw patient optimistic. I can apply my Burts bees lip balm without a mirror and without covering my entire upper lip and nostrils, I can feel enough sensation to hit the mark YAY!!  I see my Orthodontist in 2 weeks and am very anxious to hear him tell me that he can make the fine tune adjustments needed to make all of the back molars touch completely. I choose to believe in success!! 
Progress for me has been measured in what I can now call the "thin space" as explained by Jeni Stepanek,  "it's a place where your spirit and God are in closest contact. Generally, we're all aware we have a spirit, an essence, that's deep inside us At your thin space, the veil separating your essence from your being becomes transparent enough that the spirit becomes undeniable, Instead of being a silent voice, your spirit more or less shows itself to you; you know it intimately rather than simply being aware of it." I found my thin space in my sanctuary that was created for my recovery. I was very aware that I was not alone in the process. I still feel this way now. So this journey and the forced silence that has been my companion, has been multi dimensional I am a survivor on a new level, I have gratitude that My face is in alignment and that my soul has survived and been seen!! This has truly been an adventure and is still continuing!! More updates, to follow. Im so glad to have a record of my experience, and if anyone has gained anything positive along the way then my gratitude deepens. 
In Munay, Me.....

I gazed upon Medusa and turned to stone... Day 28 post Op

Day 28 post op. What a day.. My youngest "little" Sydnie, had her Brownie (girl-scout) graduation ceremony today. Next year she moves into Jr. Girlscouts and a new green vest! Today was rainy and cold. Not a good combo if you are a post jaw surgery patient. Thankfully the park had a covered pavilion so we had shelter from the rain. This ended up being a 3 hour event full of fun activities for the girls. They hardly noticed the harsh conditions. It didn't take long for me to feel the effects.. As the wind picked up, It was if I locked my gaze with the cursed Medusa. I could feel the muscles on my face and lips slowly turn to stone. I could not smile, or frown.. nothing. Speaking was swiftly leaving me as well. The frigid cold damp weather had taken me hostage. I once again felt like my face was carved of stone, not a real face at all. I found shelter in my car, cranked up the heater and seat warmers and defrosted. Gradually the clouds parted and allowed the sun to visit for a spell.. Thank you, thank you!! Below are fun photos of our outing.

Dad and Connor building rockets for the "Flying Up" ceremony. So glad for the men today, I didn't have it in me to be mechanical. 

Iced Tea and Lemonade, I should have brought Hot tea and Hot Chocolate.. 

The ceremonial bridge, once they cross under the rainbow balloons, and reach the other side, they are given the green vest and proclaimed a Jr. Girl Scout..

They really are darling little girls.

Sydnie giving the girlscout handshake and being knighted a Jr.  Such progress little peanut.

Here she is, another level of service.

The girls wrote on a piece of tissue, their wishes, hopes and dreams and stuffed them inside the rocket. Once launched, the wishes go into the matrix of space and time and grant the letting go or bringing in,
whatever the girls desire. I love this practice it puts it in the believable place of the mythic where all magic happens. I asked her what her wish was, she looked at me like i was crazy... "Mom thats my secret if I tell it won't happen!" (silly me just being a mom)

Dad loading the rocket on the launcher...

And it's off.... Where will it land, waiting now for the desires of the tissue to manifest into reality!

And this tree played with the girls, It caught 2 of the rockets leaving a tear or two in the crowd. But a brave Dad climbed up the branches and freed the toys, laughter and joy erupted, and this tree smiled as if its dreams of playing with children had been a dream come true!

Me...well after 3 hours of the elements and a face that felt like marble, I was desperate to get home to my moist heat wrap and a cozy blanket. As I once again de-frosted and rested, i reflected on this fun day at the park with my kids.. I love the girl scout program, Sydnie has learned to do all kinds of service, and skills that any young woman should be armed with. Not to mention that once a year, our pantry fills up with those cookies,  so be on the look out for next year, you never know, a little blonde curly haired girl, wearing a green vest embroidered "Sydnie" may be knocking on your door with a form and a toothless smile asking if you would like to load your pantry as well.. Aww the milestones, aren't they great. Even when mother nature isn't cooperating. 

Sunny day 27 days Post Op

Well... I made it through the day with only 1 dose of tylenol. I never thought that would happen. Face still hurts, but I can manage it better. My nose seems ever  so slightly crooked. The right nostril seem a little bit higher. I don't know if its still swelling or the altar stitch?? ( hard to see it in photos, Im sure no one wants a close up of my nose!) Most of the swelling around the jawline seems better, my cheeks and under my eyes still feel a tiny bit puffy. But it's also numb there as well. Putting on makeup feels so strange. My lower eyelids are numb, the sensation of eyeliner is freaky, I hope that changes! We had a sunny day today!! So nice to get outside and set up the outdoor patio furniture. I love, love the warm summer days spent under the tent watching the birds. I will start to plant my garden monday. YaY.  Not much else to report today.. so Day 27 Post Op..Signing off!!

Happy Birthday Beautiful Momma... Day 26 Post Op.

Wow Day 26.. Now I do realize that at this point im not really looking much different from day to day, but in the future, I will be glad that it has all been documented. This has been my best day for pain. It's been really manageable, in fact, I only took pain meds this morning.  Is it another milestone? Ill know tomorrow.  

On another note... Today would have been my Mothers 63rd Birthday. She Died when I was a tender 8 years old. I was the oldest of her 5 children. My sister tami was only a year old. My Mother continues to be there for me and all of her children... I wrote a note to honor her today which was posted on facebook. I think it is appropriate to also include it here on my blog. I know she has been with me through this process of healing and recovery and want to honor her life...

You were born in 1948 you weighed 2 pounds 5 ounces. Not much larger than a soda can. The Dr. said you would not live. There was no NICU.. only an eyedropper full of milk feeding you drop by drop. There were not clothes small enough, they had to be made.. Your life had a purpose, you defied the odds you chose life. As you grew the Dr. said you would never bear children. This saddened your heart, because deep inside this is all you wanted. Again, you chose life... July 21 1969 you gave birth to me, your first born baby. I know without a doubt in my mind that I was loved. And then exactly 2 years later your first son Mikel joined your heart. Curtis was next, and your joy increased. Then Lane your rambunctious light that added much needed energy to the mix. And then sweet little Tami. You loved these babies each one individually. You understood how different they all were and was determined to honor their gifts. Then yet again another pregnancy. This one came with illness, a blod clot that needed attention.  I remember the day Dad carried you to the car and drove you to the hospital.. I would never see you again. Your time was complete your contract fulfilled. The aneurism took your breath away, and your unborn child with you. I know that there was an agreement that you would fulfill. You would die at age 29 and leave behind 5 small babies. But you would always be a part of their lives. You would continue to parent them from where you are now. I know this for sure as I have felt your intervention and protection countless times. Today, I honor you. The day you were born was a miracle. Your life has multiplied your legacy is tremendous! Your children are strong, your grandchildren are stronger. But you know this because you are always here, looking in and smiling. Being a motherless daughter has been a challenge, but I am a viking a warrior a survivor a mother myself. I love you and my love comes from that most fragile place in the deepest most sacred space inside my heart! Happy Birthday Mommie.. Im glad you chose life, because It meant that you chose not only me but your other 4 children, and from that your grandchildren. We honor you, we love you and we celebrate you!! Your birthday is our birthday... Love love love love.......

Finding Hope Day 25 Post Op

I "HOPE" you will all take time to listen to the video song version of "There's Hope" in the previous post. Its my theme for today. I cant say that alot has changed, I kind of feel as though im on the slow boat to recovery at this point. The things that encourage me are, simple. I picked my kids up from school today. Im wearing makeup again and accessorizing. My tongue is clean since i discovered the orabrush. I'm awake more than I'm asleep. I am cooking dinner, doing mild house work. I can feel my lips. Smiling hurts but look at my big smile! My bed tray is now a small little box. I am totally supported and loved. I can't ask for more. There's to all, sending encouragement and support wherever you may be along your journey. 

Best of all is I went from THIS too...............

This.....THERE'S HOPE!!!

Finding Hope along your journey!!

Take a minute and listen to one of my all time favorite songs. I chose this one so you can read along and take to heart the lyrics. I just love India Arie! It is my wish that you all find hope wherever in your journey you may be. Our challenges are all relative to where we are. May you all be blessed and find hope along the way is my wish for all! With love.... your tongue clean? Day 23 Post OP

"Rain Rain go away it makes my face hurt today." The cold weather is not my friend. It makes all of the nerve pain and tightness more intense. Thank goodness for heat wraps and hot showers! I managed to go grocery shopping today and then cooked dinner. I made food that I can eat for the next few days. Organic sweet potatoes and brown rice with cilantro and olive oil are a favorite. I also eat avocado and baked beets then pureed them. I crave Beets every now and again. They were delish!! I made a delightful gluten free grain hot cereal this morning with raspberries. I look forward to chewing food again some day, but for now im surviving and managing to keep it healthy.  I find mornings the hardest part of the day. It's really waking up that is the worst. It seems like my head is heavy and painful, I usually feel a tiny bit nauseous and dizzy. I can't say that Im noticing a huge amount of progress in the healing. Im doing more yes...but the pain levels seem to be about the same. I feel like im in a rut for a minute. Im sure that I will notice a rally soon and can report a more progressive level of healing. 

I have a great find for any of you who have had or will have jaw surgery. You must add this to your list. Its called the Orabrush. It is specifically made to clean your tongue. Those of you who read this blog to see progress, I also say to you give this a chance. One of the biggest complaints is the gross feeling in your mouth following this surgery. With a mouth wired shut, drugs, and a liquid diet you create a recipe for disaster inside the mouth. (the saline rinses don't help)  Once you are past your first week, the surgeon removes the bands that have been holding your tongue hostage. There isn't anyone who cant wait to do a thorough cleaning and brushing. This is the best brush made just for the tongue. Im only allowed to remove my bands that bind my teeth together in a vice grip 3 times a day and the FIRST thing i want to do is brush and clean my mouth.  A little bit of toothpaste and this brush is a dream. The best part is that it is flat enough to fit in the small opening post surgery!  When my daughter was in town over mothers day she told me about this brush. She went to 3 different pharmacies during her time here and couldn't find it.. But today, I went to Walmart and it is the only store in Utah that carries it. So everyone go out and buy yourself an Orabrush 90% of bad breath is due to a dirty tongue. (eww) Ive tried the other products. NOPE!!! This is the bomb... just sayin.... only 8 dollars for a 2 pack. Give one to your significant other.... Day 23 post OP.. a squeaky clean tongue. 

Sweet freedom and a bed buddie... day 22 Post Op

Sweet freedom. Feeling good enough to drive again!! YAY!!I went to the Dr. today. He was very pleased with my bite, and gave me exercises to start doing. The "Billie Bob" spaces between my teeth are continuing, something i'll have to live with until week 6 when I can get into the Orthodontist. I feel like Im all teeth at this point. The wire wrapped brackets and surgical hooks add to the hardware, and then the shifting of my jaws make the teeth feel front and center. We have had unusually cold rainy weather today. I think it aggravates the nerve pain. I used the warm compresses most of the day. It really helps with discomfort. The pain factor has surprised me. I would have thought that if your having your jaw sawed away from your skull, and then re-attaching it with hardware, that you would feel extreme pain in the jaw bone and incision sight.. Wrong. I can say that the pain in those areas is minimal. My worst pain is the nerves firing. It is the most annoying and uncomfortable pain, very intense. My chin, lips, and under my nose are the worst. I know that sounds like a complaint, (so a little) but in reality this is such a good sign. The pain means that the nerves are waking up and re-connecting. I do feel my lips and chin more and more. YAY!

I was able to drive my kids to art class today, I really love that Im able to step back into my mommy role. The kids like having that routine starting to take shape again. I stopped at Bed bath and Beyond and purchased a Bed Buddie. Now I realize that I already have a bed buddy, and he is great, but I can't wrap him around my chin for a warm soothing relief. I thank my fellow jaw surgery blogging friend Tina for the tip. It is a moist heat wrap that stays warm longer. It is delightful. So thats it for day 21.


Sis-in law Laurie. She and Daniel came to sit with John during my surgery. Thanks for offering him the support.  Mr. Martindale doesn't do well with hospitals, and illness....

Dr. Egbert! My surgeon. The best in Utah. He said it himself thats why I chose him. Loved his level of confidence in his work!

Pop AKA Daniel (bro in law)  AKA Mortician, dressed for work, thanks for being at the hospital, won't be needing your professional services, not this time!!!

Mr. Martindale husband Extrordinaire!! Thanks for staying with me through such a big surgery. I know that was beyond your comfort zone!!

Mr. Martindale and his sis.. such a sweet tender moment walking away from the big bad operating door. Thanks for being such a big Sis. he needed you that day!!

Jail Break!! 3 Weeks post OP!! ohhh yes.

3 weeks!! 21 days!! WOW... Is it real?? I busted out of the house and drove my car today (My family has been really protective, not letting me do much). I felt like a freaking 16 year old getting behind the wheel for the first time. Whew, sweet freedom. I went to the chiropractor who has been a tremendous help in resorting nerve function and stability to my body. There was a huge improvement today in stamina and strength. I had to take my sweet boy to the Dr. after that. It was so great to feel like a Mom again and do those things that Mom's do.  When I got home, I took a nap  and that felt great. I had energy to burn and a house that needed a little bit of cleaning. I have to say that it made me feel human to get so much done today. I beam with pride because I arrived at the corner up ahead and turned it!!  Now I realize that I still need to take it easy and evenly distribute those bursts of energy, I also know that I still have a long road ahead, but this is starting to feel like real progress. It is terribly awkward socializing in public with others. I had to communicate with the Dr. and his front office staff. My teeth are gripped shut with tight bands, and my mouth is still numb and not moving quite right, so my speech is obviously impaired. I didn't explain to the secretary my problem, just held that place of amusement within myself realizing that I must seem really messed up. As you can see in my picture, my smile is getting better. It still hurts but is not as difficult. The new placement of my jaws has also moved the way my mouth comes together. This is a strange and unexpected change that I will need to get used to.

I remembered a moment during my second week that I have to share more for my own sake in documenting this journey. My friend Sharon was taking me to my Surgeon appointment it was the 2nd one. I had taken Ibuprofen and a narcotic together for some reason so I was looped!! On the car ride there, She said I reached my hand out to be held and asked her if she knew how to stuff a hotdog!! I've been a vegetarian for over 25 years. I have no recollection of this conversation, but was not living in this dimension during those narcotic times. 
This was taken the weekend before my surgery, but I wanted you all to meet my beautiful boy Connor. He is my tender little man. He cried himself to sleep the night before my surgery, and was so relieved to come visit me the next day in the hospital. Every night he comes into my room and lights my candles. He  knows how much I love candlelight at night and he admitted that he loves the feeling in my room. I think its so great that an 11 year old boy understands the importance of creating a healing space and can appreciate it like he does. Now understand that under no circumstance will he kiss me when we are anywhere near a school or other kids, he sneaks a peek and if the coast is clear i get a swift kiss on the cheek, but if there is a peer in sight forget it. I just love my kiddos!
Hip Hip Hooray for 3 weeks!

Before and After profile Pix.... Day 20 Post OP

Day 20....Still some swelling around my eyes, cheeks and nose. My nose seems a little skeewampus. I hope that it is due to swelling. I can feel the altar stitch that was put in to help maintain the original shape of my nose, but ya never know.  I still have a really swollen gland on the left side, it really hurts, and radiates down my neck.  As you can see, smiling has gotten a little easier. My lips and chin feel like they might be coming alive again. I am totally numb with no feeling at all under my eyelids and surrounding cheeks.  I had a burst of energy today. With so many lovely friends bringing by dinners, and several shoppers coming and going, the refrigerator was starting to look a bit like a science experiment. I gutted the refrigerator, organized, sorted, and cleaned. Ahhh feels so good. I also felt more of an appetite today, this is a good sign. I really wanted mashed potatoes. They tasted great! Cream of wheat for breakfast, not so good..

Remember this "Before" photo. Notice how my jaw is forward, class 3 malocclusion. and also notice how the upper lip is flat.
AFTER!!  Strange for me to get used to. I think it will be a great improvement. 
And remember this "Before" shot. another great example of the underbite.
At the end of day 20, I have to admit that things improve ever so slowly. I've been ordered to wear rubber bands to keep my mouth totally closed. It acts as a splint to hold the new bite together securely. It is quite painful achey really to have the bands pulling so hard on the teeth. It makes speaking difficult as well. I'm allowed to remove them to eat 3 times a day for an hour.  My sleeping is better, but I wake up in the morning with a very heavy feeling in my head, I think the swelling and pressure increase during the night, so waking up is a little bit uncomfortable.  I see my surgeon tuesday. Anxious to see what comes next. Tomorrow marks my 3rd week. WOW!! Every now and again I wonder why I have put myself through this hell, but then again, I know that my life going forward will be improved. To be able to chew food like normal humans will be a gift I will never take for granted! What will tomorrow bring?