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26.3.13

My Underbite Experience. (Post-Surgery) Days 11-21

 Hi everyone! I thought it was about time I brought you all back up to date on my post-surgery progress. (If you're new to these posts, you can read my pre-surgery post here and post-surgery Days 1-10 post here.) I'm finally on Week 3 of my recovery, which has come at long last. The days and weeks are dragging on, mainly due to the major annoyance playing a part in everything; food!  I'll elaborate more on that later. However, I'm doing fine! My head is completely back to normal, which does get a slight bit confusing at times due to my face and body not being quite up to scratch just yet. I sometimes forget how I look physically, and get a fright when I look in the mirror! I'm also still quite weak, which is driving me bonkers as you can imagine. 
Physically, the changes in my appearance have slowed down and aren't as dramatic-looking. I'm still quite swollen, especially around my jawline and around the sides of my nose. The "chipmunk" look went at around the two week mark, so I started to look a little more like me by the day. Due to the wires still being attached to my teeth, it's quite hard to hold my face in a neutral position. The wires automatically shut your mouth and lips together, so you end up with your mouth always slightly open or with a trout pout! My bottom lip is still completely numb, so that makes everything that tad bit more difficult too. Oddly enough, a coating of skin has formed on my numb lip over the last few weeks. It's impossible to gently exfoliate off, so I've left it alone. It makes my bottom lip looks significantly paler than my top one, but it's not big deal. One side of my face is less swollen than the other also, which is a common occurrence for most people. I can talk, slightly. Still muffled words, but it all sounds a lot clearer than my week one ramblings. 
I'm continuing with the same liquid diet, that I talked about in my previous post. Although, I tend to favour certain foods over others now. Weetabix has become my current go-to meal, it doesn't make me feel ill and a few sprinkles of sugar give me the yummy sweetness a lot of the soups and such lack. I haven't gone near protein shakes, as they make me feel queasy at the mere thought of them. Instead, I've been drinking fatty shakes from McDonalds and Eddie Rockets when I get the chance. The trick to the liquid diet is fat, fat and more fat. Add as much fat and calories to food as you can; it prevents further weight loss and gives you energy. Instead of mixing milk or water in with a soup, mix in double cream! I'm still taking my iron and calcium supplements, along with small multivitamin and iron tablets. After nearly three and a half years, I also decided to stop being a vegetarian last week - see my full post here. I've started introducing meat soup and liquidised stews into my diet, and already my energy levels have gone up because of them. If you're a vegetarian going through with this, expect meat cravings like CRAZY! I even dreamt about chicken for a whole night, during week two. The liquid diet by far, is the worst thing about this. If you're a food lover like me, you'll find it tough. I'm counting down the days until I can have a bowl of Mac and Cheese and crispy garlic bread! Mmm.
Pain-wise, it's barely there. I've been off of my painkillers for just over a week now, as I don't need them. The biggest annoyance for me currently, are the constant pins and needles I have all over the numb areas of my face. The numb areas I mentioned in the last post, are still numb - this is completely normal so I'm not too worried about it. The pins and needles occur mostly in my chin, and it's a sign of "life" coming back to the damaged nerves. No painkillers have been able to stop the pins and needles, so it's one of those things you have to just suck up and get used to. They're extremely irritating when you're trying to go asleep in particular, as they distract you from it; I've had many sleepless nights because of them and my sleeping pattern is completely backwards now. I'm able to sleep on my side now, as opposed to sleeping on back - which I hated! I still sleep propped up with 3 pillows behind me, and tend to lean more on my temple rather than on my cheek area when lying down, so I don't add any unnecessary pressure to my healing bones.
My wires were loosened on my second post-op visit; instead of three tight bands across my front teeth and two at the back, I now have one at the front and two at the back on each side. I can open my mouth more; which makes everything from breathing, talking, eating and drinking a lot easier. It's less claustrophobic. I've been able to introduce thicker substances to my diet, such as the Weetabix without having to liquidise it. I still rinse my mouth at least 5-6 times a day with cool boiled water and salt, along with rinsing my mouth morning and night with SensiKin mouthwash. Thankfully, I'm able to brush my teeth with a baby toothbrush now, so I feel a lot cleaner than before. Practically my whole mouth area is still numb, so brushing can be daunting at first as you can't see/ feel where you're brushing past the front teeth. It does get easier as the days go on though.
I'm glad to be officially on Week 3 of recovery, although the last few weeks have most definitely dragged on for me. The majority of jaw surgery recoverers say the time "flies by", but I won't lie and say that's been the same for me! Netflix, Weetabix and Tumblr are currently my saviours. My life currently revolves around the day in which my elastics are taken off and I can begin a soft diet aka. REAL FOOD! I've estimated that date to be the 12th of April (6 weeks post-op), but of course that could differ depending on what my surgeon says. My first appointment back with my orthodontist is this Wednesday, and I'm excited to show her the results. I still haven't gone out-out yet, apart from heading to the hospital and quickly heading into a video shop with my Dad. I don't have the confidence to show my face yet, and I'm nervous incase anything happens - it takes 3 months for the broken bones to fuse back together completely, so I'll be extra-fussy until then. I plan on going out for the day for my birthday next week (4th April), and I'm nervous about it. My wires and swelling make me paranoid, but it's something I won't pressure myself into doing if it doesn't feel right yet. 
Like I've said before, the surgery and this transformation are a big deal for me. It's currently my life, and something I've to deal with 24/7. If you're going through this, be prepared for people to jeer the way you look post-op and to tell you to "shut up" talking about it. Ignore them! At the end of the day, this surgery is life-changing for most; talk about it until your mouth falls off if you want. It's an exciting time for someone, as well as a tough and challenging time. If someone can't empathise or be simply nice towards you because of it, delete/ block/ ignore them. You need to be as positive and as stress-free as you can during this time, trust me. It's tough but it'll be worth it - keep telling yourself that!