I feel like sea weed finding my color correction...9 WEEKS POST OP!!

Saturday night was a true delight. Our friends had us over for a dinner party by the pool. We have done this many times before, and it is usually a BBQ swimming, and an all around great time. This party was over the top with Chef Joseph catering the evening, and a most elegant presentation poolside near the cabana. And if all of that wasn't enough, they planned a special catered dinner for me, gluten free, and soft to chew. Chef Joseph catered dinner for 23 and then did a separate catering to accommodate my post surgical situation. As I check on others progress, I wonder why chewing is more difficult for me? It's getting better, but Im still gravitating to the soft textured foods.  The host of the party is also a plastic surgeon who in his early years, had experience with jaw surgery. I was so nervous for him to see my face, not sure if he would find the results pleasing.( I am still struggling with the profile shot where my cheeks seem way to front and center.)  After a full inspection, he gave his approval, and let me know that  my OS did a great job. Whew!!  This was such a perfect getaway for my 2 month anniversary. I have been running myself ragged every single day and have such gratitude for the thought and consideration that went into the planning of this party, and for the invitation to be there! 

Chef Joseph, I thank you for hard work, and special care as you customized an entire meal, taking into consideration my dietary needs. Such acts of kindness make such a big difference. Thank you, Thank you! (what's up with my dorky smile here? this is what joy looks like on a grill full of braces.)

Walking along the pier, This bird was rooting around this dripping faucet, waiting to taste the droplets of fresh water. Just 8 weeks ago, I felt much like this little fella. On a liquid diet that was siphoned through an oversized syringe with a rubber hose attachment. Seriously, the water  dripping through the faucet on this dirty rinsing sink may have tasted better..  Again, Chef Joseph, I thank you for food that make my palate sing and my eyes brim with tears!! 

And it kept getting better.. What a beautiful day for a walk along the beach. I was craving some ocean time, and wow! (Ask and ye shall receive.)  John and I went to pacific beach for a stroll along the boardwalk, It did not disappoint. The breeze, the fresh air, hot sand between my toes. Delicious!! 

When the ordinary becomes extraordinary.  This seaweed is beautiful. I love photographing nature, and this could not be passed by. This is what a jaw surgery patient feels like. Seaweed on its own typically is very ordinary, but once enhanced and color corrected the results bring a new level of extraordinary to the once common, perhaps even broken. So many of us who have survived jaw surgery, do it for reasons of function. I know that correcting a bite that was so far off, will bring a new level of extraordinary moments into my life. To be able to totally chew and enjoy food without pain, is like a color correction in my life. Every day as I get better, I find gratitude in that deepest place of my soul knowing that I now view my life with new perspective through new lenses, and baby, it's looking beautiful out there!

Crystal pier was off in the distance, and I knew I had to make my way under it. I knew from the boardwalk, that magic awaited me if I would take a closer look. This little spot, felt hauntingly delightful, the sound of the ocean crashing into the pilings, created an echo of mystery. I smiled from the inside out with every photo, wondering what stories the pier had to tell. What moments were witnessed under the legs of this 1400 foot wooden plank? 

Moments like this... A recovering Mother and wife, on a break from the kids finding a new level of healing and soul connecting. And spending time with an amazing husband! 

And this is the gift offered when you go above and walk a long the old wooden planks. Miles of ocean and waves and beaches full of people all relaxing and unwinding. 

The green flash.. with a patio overlooking the ocean, many green flashes have been witnessed here. If you are lucky, when the sun is setting and conditions are right, you will see a bright green flash on the horizon only lasting a couple of seconds. A photo I intend to capture before I die!

And we cant ignore the palm trees that let you know you are in a a costal region. I had an amazing but short break away from life, and am so grateful to good friends that made it all possible, chefs that not only fed my body, but fed my soul. And the astounding beauties of nature that tell stories, and help me understand that feeling better comes in the places one may not think to look!! 


Sitting on the beach reflecting.. Love my life 8 weeks 6 days post OP

Im on my first trip away from home since surgery. In Sandiego my second home. I originally had planned to have my surgery here and recover. Im glad things worked out the way they did. Im sitting at Solana Beach, with no kids and John is in a client meeting. It's just me, my computer and the ocean.  I have had such a busy week it's nice to decompress and reflect about everything that took place over the last several days. I've been going on fumes and can feel it. It's easy to forget that in many ways my body is still healing and recovering.  Tuesday and Wednesday, we participated in the memorial services for my  sweet cousin. What a beautiful 2 days of reflection. She lived such an active and beautiful life as she survived cancer every day for 8 years. It puts into perspective the level of joy we can muster despite physical challenges. I admire her courage to live!  This is a photo of Connor and I.

Connor and Sydnie take classes at an art institute and they had a booth at the Utah Arts Festival, ranked 11th in the nation. The three of us volunteered at the kids art park and assisted little children in making pin wheels. It was a great opportunity for my kids to offer community service and feel the joy of making others so happy. They truly enjoyed this experience, Im so glad I was able to have the energy to make it all happen. My sister came from Idaho with 2 of her 7 children to attend memorial services and spend the day at the arts festival. This mini cooper car was totally crotched so awesome.

Syd kissing a paper mache dragon

My little cuties and I in our booth. I love this photo so much!! Pure joy and fun. Im so lucky!!

Miss Sydnie running the pinwheel project. So many colors and fun.

EYE SEE YOU. I love that my reflection is in his glasses. Connor is such a cool customer with his mirrored aviator sunglasses. Love this kid.

Earth ball. I will make one for our trees outside. Fantastic!!

At the graffiti park, a true art form in my opinion as long as its not on my fence or house thank you very much!! We got home at 11:00 pm. I was beyond tired. The hardest part of the entire day was eating. Im still eating softer foods and settled on crepes. Not a vegetable or fruit all day.. 
On Friday morning, I had to wake up at the crack of shmack to go to the OS. He was thrilled with his work and raved about how perfectly my midline matches up. Now If I can get the Orthodontic part whipped into shape.  In the afternoon John and I boarded a flight to SanDiego for the weekend, and had the most amazing dinner at a restaurant since surgery. We went to little Italy and had dinner at indigo grill. Highly recommended if ever in this part of the country! 
The presentation was beyond fantastic.. this is the Roasted butternut squash soup with cilantro pesto, roasted corn, beet puree, creme fraise. So good it brought a tear to my eye. My diet has been so generic and this made my palate sing!! Laalaala..

This is the oven roasted veggies, potatoes, beets, turnips carrots and onion. With a hint of spice, I have never been happier to eat!!!

This is Johns selection. Snapper with roasted veggies. I wasn't expecting the whole fish, but he loved it!

I did a lot this week and have a full weekend, but I have to say that im miles away from the bed bound swollen, numb, miserable shell of myself just 8 weeks ago. I've had a big week of reflection, and find myself looking at the ocean with emotion on the surface in the deepest gratitude for life, love health and family. As difficult as it is to recover from this jaw breaking surgery, I cant help but feel the deepest thanks for so many things in my life that are good!! 


Inviting the devil to the table, 2 months 1 day post Op

Im finding it interesting to compare the before and after photos. In searching for "before" photos, I realized that there are not tons to choose from. Why? Well, Im the family photographer, I have 23,000 photos on my computer and only a small fraction of those are of me. One more reason to give thanks to this blog. If I die now, at least there will be photos (although 90% of them are not at all attractive, swollen face and lips haa) Oh well. This picture below is with my bestie Becca. We were in Vegas just a couple of weeks before my surgery heading off to a Celine Dion  concert! I really notice that my jaw is "off-set" in this one. And I know that it's not bad. Just amazing to see the change. It's probably more dramatic for me because I've looked at this mug in the mirror for 41 years, so yes, it is a big change to get used to! 

This is my little sister Tami. She drove from Idaho to Utah today to attend the funeral service for my cousin tomorrow. We went to the visitation tonight and visited with the family. It's a sad day to loose our cousin. Her mother is my mothers sister. She was the closest thing to our Mom that we knew. There are many fond memories of our sweet Shauna, she will be deeply missed. 

My sister brought her 2 oldest children, and I had mine. They were starving, my Connor even considered eating raw vegetables to soothe the ache in his tummy. That's when I knew for sure that he was not kidding. You can imagine the joyous sounds in the car when the kids spotted an IHOP, with a Krispy Kreme next door, and a solid red light meaning free donuts. They thought they won the Vegas jackpot. Not my most favorite dining, but seriously they must have the best menu for a post surgical jaw patient who is re-learning how to chew food. The menu is full of soft textured items. Eggs, crepes, pancakes, omelets.... 
I don't eat sweets, actually I try to stay away from sugar, or anything that turns to sugar quickly like white starchy foods. Why? Major contributor to my battle with migraines. I learned that If I watch the sugar intake, along with other remedies, I can keep them at bay. There is nothing like food deprivation to make a girl crave some SUGAR! All I could think about at IHOP was my free doughnut at krispy kreme. They closed all of the stores within 20 miles of our house, and so this was killing me to be yards away from the factory. A hot glazed Donut hot off the press, "move on over people, there is a food deprived crazy woman coming on in!" I felt like I was running in slow motion to the front counter, I didn't knock over any small children as I made my way to my free Donut Whew! I was in such a crazy daze, I told the kids to order a dozen. They were beside themselves, the thought of 12 sugar coated, maple glazed, cinnamon dusted, candy sprinkled, stuffed with filling Donuts I thought their heads would spin off.  I couldn't get the warm glazed fluffy puff of delight into my mouth fast enough. Ahh, It just melted in my mouth, "Oh lover, where have you been?" It's a gift that I can't chew fast, it forced me to enjoy every single bite. As I was licking my lips, and noticing the glaze flakes stuck to my semi-numb chin, my sister threw salt into an open wound, she scratched the record, put a knife to the heart...."Um do you know how many calories are in one of those donuts? " I sheepishly said "no (head down no eye contact) It was as if she blurted it out in a holy church service, turning heads in our direction, invited the very devil to our table.... "550 calories in one!"  For a split second, I felt a rush of blood to the head, (or perhaps sugar) I just ate more calories and sugar content in that one donut than my meal at IHOP.  Almost as quickly as grief struck and the devil was looking me in the eyes, I swiped the last bit of glaze from my chin, licked it off my finger, and offered the devil a selection from my dozen. I didn't let the offending numbers overtake the pure joy I had for that one moment. In fact, In honor of my cousin, whenever or wherever I may be, If there is a Krispy Kreme with the solid red light on, I will run in slow motion towards the counter to claim my free indulgence and remember that in a day full of sadness, there is also extreme joy and goodness!! 

Medicine for a heavy heart,  "just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down"

Ohh and a shout out to Lisa McElaney. Hello your Dunkin Donuts coffee would have tipped the scale. 

P.S. how do you spell Doughnuts/ Donuts? I kind of did both. : )

2 month anniversary, check out all of my faces!!

Today marks 2 MONTHS!! I now have 2 months behind me. I remember when my cheeks were swollen and so hot, I thought my face might blow up. It was tight and felt like a cement brick. Totally numb from the bottom of my eyelids down both cheeks, nose upper lip and all of my chin. My tongue was held hostage behind the locked down teeth, with partial numbness it felt huge and claustrophobic. The ice packs were never cold enough. The liquid food meant to keep me alive tasted like it was being filtered through a garden hose. And the liquid medicine made me violently ill. My pupils were dilated for 9 days when I cross contaminated them with the sea sick patch. There was one day when I looked at my photo, I resembled the stone statues on Easter Island.  When I tried to kiss my kids, I could not feel their cheeks. That made me the saddest. But look at me now only 8 weeks after having my face broken and put back together again.  And now for my tricks, the pictures below are not attractive, but I must show off my new skills.

Check out the flexibility of my lips, if you look even my chin is starting to move along. This would have been impossible even 4 weeks ago! High five for the ugly face!! YES!!!

My lips are touching and Im doing the raspberry thing, lips can pucker as well!! PROGRESS!! YES?

I swear my teeth look ginormous. I hope I end up liking this look. I feel like I have horse teeth. He advanced and lowered my upper jaw and now Im showing those Danish teeth. WOW! This is my BIG smile. I can tell you that the first 2 weeks of surgery made me wonder if I would ever smile again. Go back and have a look. Big teeth or not, I can smile!

And this is me now... So happy to have 2 months behind me. Tonight when I tuck my little ones in bed and kiss them goodnight, I will be able to feel their squishy little yummy cheeks. I can feel the entire surface of my skin, but still have a little bit of deeper numbness in the chin. I can pull all of the funny faces, pucker my lips, use a straw, blow my nose, eat from a spoon. 

It's far from perfect, I still have a ways to go but seriously, for an "Old lady" Im rocking my 2 month anniversary. I had a fire, and invited friends over. I knelt in front of it and one by one, poured out 6 bottles of liquid narcotic pain medicine and burned it! I let go of the past, with the deepest of gratitude for  an experience that taught me life lessons I could not have learned any other way. In place of letting it all go, I called in total healing, asking for 100% of feeling to return. I have no doubt that this will happen. There are still rough days ahead but today its all about the progress!! Yay for 2 months!!

Buhh bye pain meds. 

Migraines, My painting, saying goodbye... 7 weeks 6 days post op

Arggg... for the love... The migraine curse is back with a vengeance. 4 days in a row. I have required the prescription Maxalt to kill the brain thumping. I only take it when Im totally desperate. I had hoped that the jaw surgery might relieve this pesky predator, but it seems to have failed.  I do clench my teeth at night, and even throughout the day. Perhaps once the orthodontics are completed I will find relief. My surgeon did comment that jaw joint pressure lasts for a while post surgery. My ability to chew is getting slightly better. but the advancement of the upper jaw seems to have brought my cheeks in closer contact to my teeth. I have to be careful when chewing or I bite into the cheeks ouch.. The orthodontist will be narrowing my upper teeth very soon this may help create more room inside my mouth full of teeth. 

I've had a very busy week, good and bad have knocked on the door. I have added pictures below to chronicle my last couple of days. I have been so grateful that I have documented this process. As I look back on older postings, I know that I would have never remembered all of my moments. What a gift!!

2 of my besties at a summer solstice celebration. Oh what fun we had. 
This is a story.. The photo is the Swilcan bridge. The 18th hole at St. Andrews golf course in Scotland. A famous landscape that has been graced by the worlds finest golfers. In July of 1997,  John and I were dating, and we went to Scotland to see the British Open held at (Troon) that year.  We stopped at this golf course, and it was raining sideways. I was freezing, bone chilling cold and John asked me to walk over to this monument with him. I had to say no. I was frozen solid and miserable. What I didn't know then was that he had plans to propose on this bridge. I felt badly for years once I knew, but as time went on, I realized that this bridge was the beginning of the story and a main character. John did propose on that trip but it was in Belfast Ireland, on the haypenny bridge at the 3rd lampost over the liffy river. My Dad is an artist and paints with Oil. When I was visiting with my kids a couple of weeks ago, I asked him to help me paint this photo for John as a fathers day gift. His eyebrows scrunched together and he felt overwhelmed by the detail and wasn't sure. Eventually he gave up and told me it was to difficult.  I was disappointed, but not ready to give up. I decided what the hell, Im a jewelry artist, it's in my blood Im sure I can figure this out on my own.  Now please know that I have had no formal art training and so if any of you happen to be accomplished artists, be gentle in your critique. I broke every rule Im sure, but after all I am a rule breaker, and in the process managed to paint this 18th hole at St. Andrews and present it to John for fathers day. 
This is my first painted and framed work. I didn't use a technique, I just used my intuition to put it together. He loved it, and it may not be perfect, but Im proud anyway. Sometimes breaking the rules pays off!!

Sydnie giving John her gift. Happy Fathers Day to the best Dad around!

And the sad... This is my beautiful cousin Shauna. She lived for 9 years with terminal cancer. Her spirit is now free. Only 34 years old, but a life lived to the fullest each day. I will remember her as a survivor and an optimist. She has a miracle daughter who came to her during the early years of her diagnosis. Her body needed to rest, she made every minute important. You will be missed sweet girl, but I know from the deepest place inside my heart, that you are not gone. I know you will be around loving those who miss you so much.  I hope to make the most out of my moments, and appreciate always the abundance and love that surrounds me every single day. This jaw surgery journey has been so much more than a physical experience for me. I have learned deeper lessons as I have struggled through the days that required raw survival. I know that there is always a great lesson to learn in what may seem like the saddest and hardest times. Knowing this for sure, I honor with deepest gratitude, every single difficulty and impossibility that has graced my path. I didn't come to be a viking warrior by sun bathing, It takes a dark night of the soul experience to rise from the ash as a phoenix and soar from above with new perspective and growth. Thank you for teaching us how to live, even when you didn't feel like it. Thank you for teaching courage, by never giving up. You have a legacy that will not be soon forgotten. Sending you the deepest love and gratitude. I love you!

Before and after smiles, "Oh my what big teeth you have" 7 weeks 4 days post op

I see these photos after surgery. As the swelling has gone down, and I sport a nice big smile, I notice a huge difference. I think I may be all teeth. I was curious and so added a photo taken prior to surgery to compare. I look different right?? It's not all in my head. I want to say something like "All the better to eat you with my dear!" (although i don't look like the wolf please say no...) And my cheek bones look different.

This photo was taken 2 months before surgery at my oldest daughters wedding. I don't show as much tooth here, and the upper lip is much flatter. One surgeon called it "pancake" face. So what would one call it now? Im at a loss for something clever.

I've had trouble getting decent profile shots,  this is a tiny bit blurry but my so called "pancake face" seems to be gone and the symmetry is finally starting to show now that most of the swelling is gone. Yay!

This has been my project. Creating my outdoor living space for summer. Nothing better than fires and candles, good food and friends on those luscious summer nights!

My kids live in front of this fireplace. A roasting stick in hand loaded with marshmallows, their diet is Smores, smores, and more smores. Love the back yard in summer. We have birds butterflies, dragon flies humming birds, blue birds, and a Quail family of 10 that come for dinner every night at 6:00.