Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 45: Profile Picture

To add a little adventure and excitement to the monotony of my work day, today I ventured to the new bathroom across the office.  It was a beautiful brass-furnished bathroom complete with an octagonal mirror through which I could see every single angle of my face.  I must have spent twenty minutes just standing there fascinated by the ability to scrutinize each and every facet of my post-surgery profile.  The changes are indeed subtle, but definitely significant!  I can't help feeling that this was the way I was always supposed to look-- I love seeing photos of my profile now!

I'm still very malar-deficient, but there's not much I can do about that.  It's an amazing feeling to have the most difficult parts of surgery behind me and to be enjoying the results. :)

Day 44: Olympics & Numbness

This morning I awoke with considerable energy so I rolled out of bed, put on my workout clothes, and.... spent hours watching the London olympics.  They are just too addicting!  I'm fascinated by the heavily-muscled athletes who appear to breathe commitment, focus, strength, and willpower.  It is a raw, emotionally compelling event as well: the feeling of breaking a new record or advancing to finals seems to be the purest form of joy.  A few friends and I just finished watching women's gymnastics, marveling at their devotion to the sport-- if only I could have that sort of passion for something!

In jaw surgery-related news, I'm starting to regain the tiniest bit of feeling back in my gums!  Up until now, the gums holding my upper teeth in place have been completely numb since surgery.  Now it hurts a little if I poke certain parts- yay!  The surgeon warned that the nerves may not regenerate, but I'm hoping that this means they will.
Also: splint removal date confirmed for August 14th-- YES!  This means two weeks until splint freedom.  I cannot wait!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 43: California Sunshine!

It was a true blue sunny California day.  A friend and I visited the US Open of Surfing, a massive event consisting of hordes of bikini-clad beachgoers, booths on booths of unnecessary free stuff, and of course, surfing.  The place was peppered with photo-ops which I avoided as much as possible.
My friend did manage to snap this candid shot:

Shoes meant to be signed hang from strings around the event because why the hell not.

My profile looks so... normal!  I am relieved/amazed to not see my chin poking out.  After awhile, my friend finally persuaded me to take a photo with her, despite my reservations about my splinty smile.

From far away, it just looks like I have braces!
Because everyone likes comparisons, here's a photo of us before surgery:

It's a little difficult to see an enormous difference from these pictures, but it's definitely there. :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 42: Splint Close-Up

Oh how I love feeling normal again!  Tonight consisted of going OUT to dinner, The Dark Knight Rises, and hours spent just hanging with friends.  One of my favorite types of nights-- and the splint hardly interfered.

Now that I have regained full mobility of my jaw, I thought I'd post a picture of my splint for those wondering what it looks like.  I recall not being able to find many clear photos of the thing while researching surgery, so here's mine: 


As is evident from the photo, the splint extends all the way to the back of my palate with a small opening through which I can touch the roof of my mouth.  I imagine this is what a horse feels like with that metal bit in its mouth.  Ugh.  Can't wait until I'm free of this awful thing!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 41: New Splint Removal Date?

A bit of good news on the jaw front today: there was an opening at a different office to undergo my splint removal a few days earlier!  Although it has yet to be confirmed, August 14th would be the new date rather than August 17th.  A few days may seem negligible but I will gladly take any opportunity to have a little more time without this massive, annoying thing in my mouth.  It has just been so long since I've actively wanted to go out, enjoy myself, meet new people, try new places.  That's who I've always wanted to be, not someone who is content to stay in, avoiding others night after night.  I'm itching to regain confidence but it feels like a fruitless effort when I'm spitting all over the place.

I am absolutely relieved that the weekend is finally here-- my first full week of work was exhausting!  Tomorrow I am seeing the friend I spoke about yesterday and I am eager to offer my support in person. We're all still reeling from the news, but the situation is optimistic and hopefully this is an isolated instance that won't give her trouble again.

It's so interesting to read about those whose blogs I follow who just had their surgeries!  Those first couple of days were a hellish blur for me, days that seem to have taken place years ago.  I am grateful to be thus far in my journey and am wishing those new patients all the best!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 40: Perspective

Life is often a frustrating, unpredictable animal.  While at work today, I received some awful news about one of my best friends: someone I grew up with and love dearly.  I won't publish too many details, but in short-- she has a family history of cancer which has possibly now manifested itself in her.  Cells that were initially regarded as harmless have now progressed to the point where she requires an operation to remove them.  Though it was caught early and not widespread, this news is terrifying.
She and I spoke nearly every day up until a few days ago: we have always been very open and supportive of one another.  Lately I sensed that she had been less responsive but I never expected to hear anything like this.  I was in shock.  I'm still in shock!  Someone my age, so young and so close to me?  Unbelievable!  I'm floored.
She, two other friends and I form a close group of four that has been together for the majority of our lives.  Although we all scattered to different high schools and colleges across the country, we are never out of contact.  We support, listen, and care for one another deeply throughout our varying experiences with life:  I would be absolutely lost without them!  Upon hearing the news, we all called each other to discuss our friend.  We concluded that the most we can do is offer our utmost love and support, as we are uncertain as to what the future holds for her.
She was with me all throughout my own recovery, hanging out with me frequently though I was all puffed up and unable to talk.  She's the first friend I saw after surgery and the first I visited after my bands came off.  Every step of the way she's been with me, as I will be for her now.
My own issues, meanwhile, pale in comparison.  I voluntarily accepted the risks and consequences of this surgery, a privilege she is unable to have.  It has really put this whole process in perspective.
A statement becoming more and more true each day: the only constant in life is change.  Our greatest skill lies in acceptance, adaptation, strength, and the ability to support the ones we love.

Day 39: Good Luck!

I would like to take this post to wish fellow bloggers Rosa and Erin the best of luck on their surgeries tomorrow!  As well as using this site as a medium to tell my own jaw surgery story, I have, since day one, been engrossed in the stories of others.  Everyone experiences this differently and it's fascinating to live through so many different perspectives.  I love the community of bloggers as well- everyone is so supportive of one another! It's so comforting and validating to know that I am not alone in this endeavor.  It's strange to think all the way back to the emotional roller coaster that was the night before surgery.  I couldn't understand my own emotions: it was an uncomfortable mix of excitement, nerves, restlessness, and anticipation.  I have come so far since then, stomaching the process with a blend of will and overwhelming support.  Kind words from others gave me so much confidence!  A little encouragement goes a long way during something like this, so I will say it again- good luck you two and stay strong! <3

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 38: Communication Issues

Meeting new people used to be one of my favorite activities: I loved taking the opportunity to learn another's perspective and begin to build a relationship with a potential friend.  Now I dread it.  A new intern arrived at work today and greeted me with a friendly smile, which I returned with my metallic one.  I was conscious of choking on my words as I introduced myself through my splint.  I hastily explained that I had just had jaw surgery, and she considerately asked about the details.  But as the day went on, she could not for the life of her understand me.  In one instance I had to say the word "music" three or four times before she got what I was trying to say-- how embarrassing!  Even though I can talk again, communication is still a major issue.  Your mouth is just the worst place to have tampered with!  I could never be a dentist.

I'm thinking about making another YouTube video where I say funny words that are difficult to say with my splint.  Maybe sometime if I'm bored enough!

Day 37: Breakable

"Have the courage to be imperfect."  I read this bit of inspiration on a friend's Facebook status (hi Claire if you happen to be reading this!) and began to rethink my post I wrote a few days ago.  Using this recovery time to begin to pick apart my other imperfections is definitely not the way I wanted to approach this situation.  Accepting exactly who and what you are is so essential to being happy, even in a time of these confusing, frustrating changes!

Now that I'm gaining more and more mobility in my jaw, I've been doing my best to ignore my splint and try to eat normally.  At the same time, I'm paranoid that the chewing I've been doing will somehow fracture my palate!  There are so many activities, such as riding a bike, that are now inaccessible for fear of breaking some of that fragile thin bone up there.  Even after the splint is out, my parents and surgeon have advised me against doing anything that may put my jaw in danger.  The last thing I want is for this surgery to grant me more limitations.  Hopefully in time, jaw surgery will not always sit uncomfortably at the back of my mind!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 36: Cephalometric Scans & Diagnosis Details

I will begin by saying that today welcomed a much better mood than yesterday.  I spent the day at the beach with a friend and went out for sushi: my first meal in a restaurant since surgery!  Eating presented a bit of a challenge, but in small enough pieces I can pretty much eat all foods now.  I was definitely embarrassed having to speak with waitresses and such in my near-unintelligible splint-voice, but overall I am happy to be feeling a bit more normal little by little.

Today I received my cephalometric scans as well as additional information on my condition from my oral surgeon.  The "ceph" is a lateral view of the skull, a scan performed by placing the patient's head in a large robotic torture device that consists of metal plugs that rest uncomfortably in her ears to keep her head steady.  The scans are then analyzed for fixed bony points in the skull.  Lines are drawn between those points, measurements are taken, and angles are compared with a series of norms to determine the severity of the patient's condition and establish plans for surgery.

Here is the analysis of my underbite:

And here was the projected outcome:

From these scans, my oral surgeon determined my diagnosis to be a class III malocclusion with a maxillary hypoplasia.  He could also discern that my mandible was in a proper position and therefore it was only my maxilla that needed advancing.  The exact plan for my surgery was as follows: I required a two-piece segmental LeFort I osteotomy to correct my transverse discrepancy in a 5mm advancement and midline correction.  The e-mail I received also contained some god-awful "before" mug shots that nobody will ever see because they are the most hideous, repulsive photos I have ever seen of anyone ever.  

So that's it!  If you were ever curious about the details, there you go!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 35: Frustration

I came home from work today all pissed off at my situation and everything and everyone.  I was going to spare any readers of this blog this information, but the day just is no longer complete without posting.  The major reason I decided to write this diary-style is due to this blog, which is one of the first and most helpful jaw-surgery related blogs I read before surgery.  Because hers was daily, I found it valuable to be able to compare what I was feeling at each point in my journey to her similar experience.  This surgery requires so much more than the necessary information concerning eating, banding, bracing, or before & afters.  The emotional component, at least from my standpoint, is huge.
So as to why I'm feeling all pissed off: I'm beginning to question whether or not all of this was worth it. Of course it's too early to tell, given I still am far from a final result, but I can't help thinking that I would have fared just as well in life had I not chosen to go through with surgery.  And of course I can't do anything about it now.  I am just sick of all this.  My optimistic self assures me that this is a learning and growing experience that I will be glad to have weathered in the end.  My short-tempered, impatient current self is completely exasperated and fed up with feeling like an idiot with all this hardware in my mouth.
I've always felt so imperfect, a patient who needs to be fixed.  My jaw isn't my only issue, as I've addressed briefly in other posts: instead of looking forward to a worry-free future, my mind now gravitates towards the other surgeries I need.  Orthognathic surgery may be the most major, but it is nowhere near the panacea for the other functional issues to which I have learned to adapt.  Making matters worse, I sense my own tangible negativity and self-pitying.  My issues are minor compared to those of many others, yet I sit and complain about every unfavorable thing rather than just shut up and be happy.  It's just one of those days I guess.
And plus there was that awful shooting in Colorado today.  (Lets just make this post more depressing)
So ANYWAY I hate to end on that note so I will say that I made plans to go to the beach and see a movie this weekend with some friends- I'm sure I'll cheer up with activities that'll get my mind off surgery.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 34: Work Again & Ortho Visit

I'm typing this blog post through itching, burning, aching, squinting eyes.  After such a long respite from alarm clocks and responsibilities, I'm absolutely exhausted from my first day back at work.  It's not that my work is very demanding-- I am just interning from the summer-- but the project I am working on involves long energy-zapping intervals of staring at the computer.  Everyone was eager to ask about my surgery and how I was feeling-- I tried not to spit all over the place as I told them.  My boss told me he was glad to have me back!

My fatigue was not helped by having to go directly to the orthodontist after work, where I learned that I will have to remain in metal braces for at least SIX MONTHS after the splint is out.  When will this nightmare ever be over?  Granted braces aren't all that terrible, but I am just astounded by the length of time this whole process requires.  Because my orthodontist doesn't want to take any chances that my thin jawbones may splinter if I bite down too vigorously, he cannot rely on Invisalign to do the job.  So, braces it is.

I can now open my mouth about two finger-widths wide which means I've been more adventurous with foods.  If I am careful, I can pretty much consume anything within reason by lightly chewing with my splint.  Though I am so grateful for this, everything still has to be cut into small pieces so that food takes ages to consume.  I'm still trying to learn patience-- 28 days until splint freedom!

Day 33: Jaw Surgery Reflections

I have spent more time indoors this summer than ever before.  Ordinarily, I delight in taking the opportunity to travel: I am always thrilled to immerse myself in a new culture and language, see the sights, have adventures.  Today I spoke with my best friend via Facetime, someone I've traveled with each summer for the past four or five years.  Her adventure for the season ironically coincided with mine again, however now she is on a two-month excursion in Bolivia while I am here in a two-month experience in jaw surgery.  While she is becoming fluent in Spanish, I am becoming fluent in patience.  And Netflix.  I don't want to sound bitter by any means, but I guess I'm just becoming a little restless.  I'm so eager to go out and grab life by the horns while I am still young and able!  Regardless, I do believe I will come out of this that much more appreciative of each moment I don't have to spend struggling to talk, having wires tear the inside of my mouth, or sucking Ensure out of a syringe.  I may not have been able to see much of the world this summer, but I think this experience has deepened mine.

Tomorrow I return to work, which should be interesting.  As much as the I really should feeling is tugging at me, I am still so reluctant to see and talk to people who aren't close friends while I am in this state.  I also have an orthodontist appointment in which the man will once again attempt to bend down the wires in my gums (the assistant was unsuccessful the first time, I'm pretty sure it's impossible).  Also, I am eager to ask about the next steps to follow once the splint is finally out.  How long do I have to remain in braces?  Is it at all possible to switch to Invisalign?  I don't really understand what the difference would be between metal braces and Invisalign post-surgically-- if the objective is to hold the teeth in their new bite, can that not be done without wires and brackets?  I'm not sure if it's possible, but that would be absolutely amazing to have every scrap of metal (besides the plates holding my jaw together) out of my face by the end of the summer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 32: Returning To Normal Life?

Splint-filled life is slowly beginning to resemble regular life: I'm feeling less like a patient and more like a person.  Today consisted of hanging out at the beach with a friend, watching Breaking Bad on Netflix and eating mac and cheese, pumpkin bread, and various other normal foods!  Though I can chew a little now, I still spit and stumble when I speak.  I am still reluctant to completely rejoin society as I am obviously self-conscious about the splint, but feel a strong obligation to return to work.  My boss has been more than accommodating: because I have to be able to talk for the job I haven't been in the office for this entire month!  I've decided to go back Thursday.  It will be strange to go out in public like this, but I keep telling myself that I need to be eased back in.  Life doesn't stop with jaw surgery, as nice as it would be to go to some island and chill there for another month until all of this is over.

My friend's dog helping the healing process.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 31: One Month In Pictures

Since I figure the majority of the swelling has now gone down, I thought it would be interesting to compile all of my progress pics over the month in this post!  Prepare to scroll:

Aaaand in profile:

There's definitely a little swelling around my lips and cheeks still, but I think I'm more or less at my final form!

I learned today that my appointment to get my splint out has been made for August 17th.  Another month from now.  Ugh.  Sometimes it seems like this process will never end-- my whole summer's shot!  I must have been too optimistic going into surgery, thinking that I would have a little free time without all the hardware in my mouth.  Nope.  The wires under my gums on the bottom are serving no purpose, staying in for the sole reason that taking them out requires the complete sedation that will accompany removal of the splint.  I wish I could tear them out myself, but I am powerless to do anything but wait.  I anxiously await the day when jaw surgery isn't always on my mind!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 30: New Obstacles

Eating has proved to be equally, if not more, of a challenge now that the bands are removed.  Liquids are infinitely easier to consume, but I am desperate to graduate to more normal foods.  Unfortunately, attempting to eat solids is excruciating.  I tried scrambled eggs this morning, and due to the limited movement of my jaw, could only scoop in tiny pieces at a time with a spoon.  The process took ages: I felt like that Buddhist prince who tried to achieve nirvana by eating a grain of rice per day!
I was successful with a Cup of Noodles though, which was amazing.  However, the way I ate felt disgusting: it was a slobbery display in which I used my tongue to maneuver the noodles into my mouth then mashed them around in an attempt to chew.  Regardless, I ate those noodles. And did not have to puree them.  YES.  Also whenever I'm hungry, the image of a syringe pops into my brain and I constantly have to remind myself that I am done with those horrible things for good!

Now that my mouth is gaining more feeling bit by bit, the pain of extended talking is near unbearable due to the thick metal wires under my gums that stick the inside of my cheeks and lips.  My tongue, which has finally escaped from its prison, can now feel the tender, torn flesh.  I layered dental wax on the worst offenders, but the wires seem to be sticking out everywhere.  Sometimes a lip gets caught while talking and-- OUCH.  Not a pleasant experience.  The stitches under my upper lip are also coming out, which I asked my surgeon about.  His response was dismissive-- apparently they are supposed to dissolve?

Here's a close up of what's going on in there (kinda gross, sorry!): 

The white stuff is wax, don't worry!

The splint is that clear plastic thing that fits over my upper teeth-- it extends all the way back like a retainer.  According to the surgeon, the epoxied brackets were not strong enough to hold my jaw in place during surgery, so he fashioned the wires on the bottom around my teeth and under my gums.  Those things are the worst.  

I'm not sure if it's evident from this picture, but my bite is now perfect!  Once all of that crazy metal is removed, my teeth will fit together quite nicely.  At this I am so relieved-- this lengthy ordeal is proving to be worth it.

Day 29: The No-Band Smile!

A friend came to visit today, and we snapped this picture!
Big metal-filled smile!

And here's a similar photo we took pre-braces:

We looked a lot tanner back then!

Here I was exercising my classic turn-the-head mouth-slightly-open pose in which I could most comfortably smile.  Smiling involves a lot less effort now, though it includes a lot more pain due to the bits of metal tearing up the inside of my mouth.  Most everyone who has seen me say they see little change in my appearance, which I guess is a positive thing- being unrecognizable would be awful!  

Friday, July 13, 2012


BIG DAY TODAY!  I arrived at the surgeon's for my appointment hoping for the best, but honestly expecting nothing.  He had assured me that I would be in fixation for a solid six weeks, today's appointment being only to loosen the bands holding my jaws together.  However, when the surgeon strolled casually into the room as he always seems to do, he nonchalantly remarked, "Have we cut those bands off yet?  What has it been, six weeks now?"  I instantly was shaking with excitement- was today going to be the day I would be able to eat and talk again?  He bent down and squinted, examining my teeth.  He nodded.  "Okay, try not to move your jaw around too much, you're going to be sore after," YES IT WAS!  
Opening my mouth again was a strange, almost alien sensation.  I was instantly a lot more conscious of the big plastic splint in my mouth, and the fact that it smelled.  Awful.  I practiced trying to talk in the bathroom mirror, the voice coming naturally, but painfully due to the metal wires jutting into the inside of my mouth.  However, on the car ride home, I was overcome with joy: I CAN TALK AGAIN!  I excitedly began to speak with my parents, called friends, and took some pictures:

My tongue can finally see the light of day!

I was STOKED.  My first order of business as soon as I got home was to EAT SOLID FOOD.  My mom made me some pasta, and I quickly realized that I was biting off more than I could chew. (HA!) My mouth can only open so far, and my joints were giving me a head and neckache from the chatting.  I could only eat via swallowing one pasta shell at a time whole, which was excruciating.  Unfortunately, I will have to hold off on solid foods for a little longer.  But still, it's a HUGE step towards normalcy.  We happily threw away all the syringes that have littered the house for the past month and broke out the baby spoons.  YES!

Because it's my first opportunity to talk, I also decided to record a video so that readers of this blog could more easily visualize my face and hear my gargly voice:

That's an attractive thumbnail photo.

It's strange to suddenly be granted speech again.  After such a long period of silence, I have to actively remind myself that I'm able to articulate the thoughts in my head.  This blog has been my voice for the past month, writing and art my means of expression.  I felt like a monk, exploring my thoughts, feelings, and capabilities while under a vow of silence.  It was a unique experience, one I never would have undertaken had I not been forced to by this surgery.  Though I learned a lot, I am definitely grateful for the silent stage in my life to have ended.  There's still a long way to go, but today marked a massive milestone in my journey!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 27: Insurance Worries

Wrestling with insurance coverage is a topic central to most other jaw surgery blogs I've seen, and I realize I haven't talked about it at all!  Initially, we encountered a lot of trouble trying to get my insurance to cover my surgery.  My secondary health care plan denied coverage on the basis of... nothing.  Seriously, nothing.

Wait what?

Bottom line: the second highlighted bit that says orthognathic surgery jaw alignment is covered.  I guess what happened is that whoever reviewed my case did not understand anything, and thought I was getting jaw surgery as treatment for sleep apnea.  My dad hastily wrote an appeal to this decision, stating that I what I was getting was orthognathic surgery, a functional necessity that should be covered under insurance.  This morning, I received this letter: 

Covered -yay!

Phew, that saved a couple thousand dollars!  Surgery's still not free, and my parents had to pay a deductible, but this sure helped a lot.  Insurance companies are annoying things-- I'm so fortunate to have parents in the medical field who know how to deal with them!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 26: Flexibility

Excitement for the day: I was having some chocolate ice cream after dinner tonight when the syringe just absolutely EXPLODED.  Everywhere.  Chocolate got all over my face, the couch, my clothes, just UGH everywhere.  #liquiddietproblems.  And this isn't the first time this has happened: I'm still finding dried applesauce all over the kitchen!  I will be so happy when I can eat normally again!

Other than that little fiasco, today mostly consisted of trying to stay limber.  My muscles have been unusually tight lately and my back has been in spasm from inactivity.  (In addition to the whole jaw problem, I also have moderate to severe scoliosis, but that's a whole different story-- I got the best genes I know)  So, I picked through YouTube to find yoga and zumba videos and spent the day keeping flexible in a sports bra and spandex!  Now I'm feeling so much better!  I'm just itching to be active again, but it's difficult if I can't open my mouth to breathe.  One more day till my appointment with the surgeon!  Crossing my fingers that he'll be in a good mood and take off my bands.

What I was up to today!

OH and also a bit of good news: I had this muscle in my face that's been so painful to move whenever I tried to smile that now doesn't hurt anymore!  I still experience weird sensations when I animate, but it's mostly feelings of numbness and soreness.  No more pain woohoo! :)

Day 25: Silent Expression

I woke up today feeling artsy as HELL.  The morning consisted of downloading a plethora of new music which I then listened to all afternoon while sketching on the patio in a wifebeater and pajama pants!

Look at how happy she is without braces... 

Losing my voice has steered me towards alternative modes of expression, namely writing and art!  I've become so much more in touch with creativity now that I've had all this excess time to myself.  This I am grateful for and appreciative of, but the aftermath of jaw surgery still sucks.  I guess I'm just still seeking out positivity in the midst of all this shit.  Things have been stable for so long that I need to actively remind myself that I will not have to be silent or foodless forever.  I've almost become accustomed to this lifestyle.  Maybe some small part of me will miss not feeling the obligation to go out or speak-- it's an opportunity to learn more about oneself.  Though I still see friends, it's usually to just to watch a movie or show (I can't do much!).  It might even be strange to readjust to my previous life of talking, eating, smiling.  What if I can't remember how?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 24: Syringes On Syringes On Syringes

If you've ever wondered how I've been feeding myself for the past three weeks, it basically looks like this:

Enjoying some fruit juice!

As I've stated in other posts, the only spaces that food/drink can get through my fixed jaws are the small gaps behind my teeth.  Therefore, I need to have long rubber attachments on my syringes so that I can get back that far! 

Dissembled syringes everywhere.

I am so fervently hoping that I will get looser bands on my teeth at my appointment Friday-- it would be amazing to start to try and fit small bits of real food in!  Liquid just doesn't hit the spot.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 23: Girl With A Pearl Earring

Maybe I'll become a psychiatrist after all of this.  In my state of being unable to talk, I have spent a great deal more time listening to and understanding others.  Last night while hanging out with a close friend, she remarked to me that the best friends are those who can exchange no words without any awkwardness or feeling of obligation to speak.  If nothing else, I really have learned through this experience just how fortunate I am to have such wonderful people in my life that love me no matter what condition I'm in!  And after college, an environment in which I am constantly surrounded by a large variety of people, I have now come to appreciate solitude and self-reflection time.  I have also acquired a lot of patience.  Also thanks to some Youtube videos that some friends and I watched one night, I now know several dirty words in sign language. hahaha.

I took this photo of my profile today:

Channelling Vermeer's Girl With A Pearl Earring?

Day 22: Post-Surgery Food List!

Opened my fridge today and saw this:

I've taken over the refrigerator!

And I realized that although I addressed it briefly in this post, I wanted to make a definitive list of all the liquid-type foods I have been eating while in fixation!  If you're getting surgery in the future and need some suggestions on what to stock up on, I recommend:

GoGo Squeezes: All the little green pouches of applesauce in the picture!  I absolutely love these because they are delicious and easy to eat.  Apple-cinnamon is my favorite!  The only problem is they don't fill you up all that much, not that any of these foods really do. 

Ensure Plus: For getting in those calories!  Lots of protein and vitamins and minerals and all that good stuff.  I like the taste too: a lot of protein shakes have a grainy, medicinal texture, but this just tastes like chocolate milk.  Also good for mixing with ice cream!

Naked Juice: Yummy in the mornings, and fills you up more than you would think!

Bolthouse Farms Protein Plus Shakes: I'm big on chocolate, and this shake is chocolate-packed and contains lots of protein and other nutrients!

V8 Fusion Juice: To get in those servings of fruits and veggies!

Graduates Grabbers: Applesauce similar to GoGo squeeze.  There are a lot more flavor options, but not all of them are fantastic.

I did not like the taste of: Muscle Milk (ew), or Myoplex original (more ew).  
In addition to these foods, I mostly eat blended soups, melted ice cream, and smoothies.  I also take an iron supplement which can be mixed with fruit juice.  I can only eat what fits through the syringe, which means I can't have any little chunks that easily get stuck.
If your surgery is coming up in the near future, make sure to determine what you like and get a lot of it! Liquids hold me for a little while, but I get hungry very quickly and frequently.  It's been a challenge to keep my weight up (I'm still at about five or six pounds less than where I started), but the protein shakes help!  It's crazy that I've survived like this for so long.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Wow, three weeks since surgery--  so hard to believe!  It feels great to have the worst behind me.  I've been venturing out in public a little more as well: a friend and I went to see The Amazing Spiderman today!  I definitely felt a little awkward not being able to talk- she had to buy my ticket for me and I just had to nod to everyone.  I've had to miss out on a lot due to recovery, so it's nice to get out and do something normal once and awhile!

Sent this to a friend while in the car-- silly.  My dad won't let me drive because if I get pulled over I won't be able to defend myself!

Because it's been three weeks, here are some progress pics:

My swelling's nearly gone from my cheeks (it's there on the right) but it's still around my lip area. It's not that visible from these pictures.

When I bite down, I feel as if my teeth touch more on the left side than the right.  I'm not sure if I'm imagining it or not, but it's something I'm going to bring up with my surgeon when I finally see him!

I also jogged a little for the first time since surgery, which felt amazing.  My legs had been withering away from underuse, my muscles were aching, and I've been very lethargic.  Because I can't vent air from my mouth, I have refrained from exercising too strenuously.  Regardless, it's so important to try to move those muscles during recovery!  I'm embarrassed at how out of shape I must be, it's gonna be hell working myself up for track season again!

I know I keep saying this over and over, but I miss food.  So, so very much.  I had never been one for fine dining in my pre-surgery life.  On the contrary, I ate very little, taking only what I needed to satisfy hunger and then not caring to finish the rest.  Food was never at the forefront of my priorities; rather, it always lingered in the background somewhere as a boring necessity.  Now food is all I think about-- maybe I'll develop an interest in cooking or something after all this!  Oh, what I would give to bury my teeth in a soft, savory, sweet turkey burger right now.  My stomach is audibly groaning at the thought!  Someday we'll be together again, food my love.  Someday.