Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day 64

Are You Better Off Now Than You Were 4 Years Months Ago?

A recurring theme in these orthognathic blogs is, "Am I happy I did it? If I had it to do over, would I still do it?" Overwhelmingly, people say, "Yes." I've been on the fence. In particular, I've been stressed about regaining feeling in my lower lip. I was warned that due to my "advanced age" (rude) that I may not get back full feeling. The idea of never feeling my lower lip again is upsetting to me. The idea of never being able to kiss? It seems unfathomable. And it's not just that I can't feel my lip. I don't know where it is. (Yes, reader, I'll look where I last saw it.) I just mean, it's hard to even kiss someone on the cheek – with the right pressure, to not miss, to not leave a mess. It's a big price tag in my opinion and one I wasn't sure I'd pay given a second chance.

The Good News

Guess what I ate today, reader. Nilla Wafers! I used to grind them up for my puree desserts and now I can eat them normally. Pretty cool.

I still see improvements still in my face. The swelling is still there. Still asymmetrical. I still sound muffled when I talk (and it still feels effortful for talk.) But it's getting there. The other day I was on the bus (feeling a bit crabby) and I thought to myself, "My mouth is closed." It was a little blessing. I couldn't close my mouth for so many weeks. In that moment, I was grateful that my mouth was closed. 

And I'm happy to report that I definitely feel more of my lip now. It's creeping in slowly. Keep creeping little nerves. Keep creeping.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 62

A friend invited me out to Smith & Wollensky for dinner. I had salmon. Delicious. I was, however, still disgusting while I ate. I really am looking forward to no more braces.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Day 60

Tiny bits of feeling are popping up in my lip and chin. Nothing dramatic, but definite, small improvements.

Today was weird. I started doing some work this morning and just saw that it's past 9:00pm. I never ate, never spoke, never moved from the couch. I just worked all day. The day went by in a blink. It made me realize I need to be more aware – of my diet and jaw stretching.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Day 59

"Dang, baby, you puffy as a Cheez Doodle!"

The overwhelming reaction to my face – besides "Mr. Gyllenhaal?" – is "You look the same. Just puffy."

Yeah. Yeah. Still puffy. Thanks, world. That reflective surface in my bathroom doesn't do enough to remind me that my face is still swollen. Thank you. Thank you.


Pains continue in my chin and around my lips. Lots of tingling too. Hoping that means that I can expect more feeling.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 58


Tonight, I attended a talk at my graduate school. I enjoyed it, but the highlight was seeing my professors and a few classmates who also attended.

They served some... um, cross-sectioned, rolled-up, wrap sandwiches. Oh, reader. I know there's some word for that. I don't have the energy – canapĂ©? roulade? You get the idea. There were also platters of a zillion different desserts.

Funnily, people see me eat and say, "So, you're fine. You can eat normally. Great." In reality, though, I didn't go near the sandwiches. I can't open my mouth that far yet. (Instead, I just open my eyes really wide like that will help.) I ate several small desserts – yum. Countdown to becoming really fat again has already begun. I'm back on the sugar hard, reader.


During the talk, by the way, I started to get shooting pains all though my face. I've not really had pain at all in my face. It really started to hurt. Dull stabbing pains in my poor broken, puffy face.

My classmates and I went out to Tavern on the Water for beers and chat. It was great to reconnect. They're really smart and funny. I needed that. I had a beer. I needed that, too.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day 57

Look at those puffy cheeks!

Today, I had an out-of-school training. So I ate lunch on a park bench by the entrance. I'm still very self-conscious eating in front of strangers, but it went fine.

Once More with Feeling

This morning I felt some pangs of pain in my lips and cheeks. Hoping that means things are waking up. I do feel the tiniest bit of feeling in the middle of my lower lip. It's not functional, but I'm happy about it. Some feeling may be creeping into my chin too.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day 56

Visited my old school to help orient the new speech therapist and pass over some files. The staff thought I looked the same although a few people thought my profile looked different.

I'm clearly still "puffy." (That was the word of the day.) You can also see that I'm still asymmetrical too.

OH! I almost forgot. This was the day when I hoped I'd look and sound normal. Well, not quite. I feel like I've been ahead of the curve for most of my healing, but maybe things are slowing down.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Day 55

Blogs are much easier to maintain when you're lying on the couch recovering. Now that I'm back to work everything is much more hectic. And I'm not even seeing students yet! I'll save the work drama for my other blog, "Why I quit Speech Pathology" (Due October 2012).


I'm still really dizzy when I lie down. At night, when I roll over, the room spins wildly and I (really) have to hold on. It's unpleasant.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Day 54

You Going to Trim Those?

"Self," I said. "There aren't enough up-my-nose pictures available on the internet." Soak in the glory, reader. The point of this was to show you my much easier elastics. Nutty, huh?


Also, you can still see that my upper midline looks off. I'm still swollen so I'm trying not to sweat it.

Poor Lips

My lips are sore – all the time. I lube them up, but they are sore. I wonder if I'm eating too much sodium.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Day 53 - Numbness Map 2

I'm so glad I did my first numbness map so I could compare. Definite improvements. I am very determined to get my lower lip back. I'd like to get my chin back too, but numb beggars can't be numb choosers.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Day 52

New Elastics

Went to see Dr. Murthy. He told me on a previous visit that I'd prefer his elastics over the ones my surgeon gave me, "They're easier." He also told me that in a month, I'll hit the magic three month point. That's when everything will be "stable." We'll do x-rays (for my 73rd dose of radiation to my brain) and remove the wire with surgical hooks. We'll also come up with the timeline to finish me up (read: Get rid of my braces!!!)

My midlines are looking better. The upper is off 1mm (instead of 2). But I'm cool with it. It may improve, but I don't look cockeyed anymore.

As for the new elastics? They now go from the inside of my teeth to the outside (to correct a new crossbite) and from the way back to the front. They are officially not easier.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Day 51 - Students Return

Students Return to Schoo'

The students returned and none of them said I looked weird. They definitely noticed though.

I still sound like I'm talking with a handkerchief in my mouth. That's funny for a speech therapist. Oh, well. I guess I'll work with the students on something other than articulation for a few months.

A friend invited me out to dinner, which was perfect timing. We went to a place called TRADE. It's good. I had rigatoni with lamb and it was delicious. My friend took a bite – two rigatonis on a fork. That was hilarious to me because I cut each piece of pasta into 3-4 bites. (My mouth is still a mail slot.) But it's so nice to eat in public and drink from actual glasses. The chocolate-hazelnut cake was also good. I better be careful not to pack that 30 lbs back on. There was one lady who watched me intently as I ate. I don't think she could figure out exactly what was wrong with me. Drink it in, patron.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day 50

Cello Strings, Phantom Hairs, and Second Fingers

The faint throbbing of nerves in my lips has come back – the cello strings as I like to call them. Occasionally, I also have a single point of pain above my lips. No complaints about pain – any feeling is good.

If I touch the side of my nose, I feel a long phantom hair on my cheek. I obsessively try to find it – brush it away. But it is simply nerve damage. Nerve damage saying, "Is that a hair? Is it? That was definitely a hair. You get it yet?"

There is one other one weird thing I've felt for awhile. If I brush my upper lip with my finger, I feel a nonexistent "second finger" doing the same thing under my eye. It's creepy, but addictive. I do it a lot. Um, all day. Don't judge, reader.

Also, today I was sure I had feeling spreading over more of my lower lip. (I have a spot of feeling on the right side.) Just to be sure I held up my mirror and brushed my lip with the edge of the ziplock bag from my lunch. Nope. I could see it touching, but I felt nothing. I think I feel something when I touch with my finger, so maybe I have more feeling deeper in my lip – not so much on the surface.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day 49

Back to School

Today was my first day back to work. No kids yet. They return Thursday. The day started with a two-hour meeting. (Ack.) And lots of colleagues looking at me oddly. They thought I had a tooth pulled or something. Honestly, I was suddenly-puffier again today.

Setting up my classroom involved a lot of furniture moving and bending over to look around/ under stuff. That still triggers my dizziness. The set-up is mostly done though.

I'll admit I was tired. I missed my couch. What was the Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo, up to? Did she miss me? Would it be weird to introduce reality TV into speech therapy? Ugh. School Tom is going to come back. Isn't he? He's no fun.

Day 48

Happy Labor Day

Spent the afternoon in Portsmouth, NH. It's a great town. The brewery there is a lot of fun.

Looking at my picture, there's some puffiness and it looks like some effort to have my lips close, but I felt normal. I had moments when I was not aware of my face at all. That's new. Usually my face feels heavy. I feel the weight of it. Today, though, it felt normal. I even ate a burger and fries. Not too shabby. Maybe my goal of "Normal by Day 56" isn't that far off!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Day 47

Off to Maine

Two old friends from DC invited me to Maine. I was a little nervous about debuting my face out on the town. 

When my friend, Mike, picked me up, he told that me he had orders to leave me on the side of the road if I looked too messed up. I guess I passed the test.

Let me just say, "Holy crap. What a difference each day makes!" When we got to the house, we were all hungry so we stood around the kitchen snacking. I had a hot dog (bunless and sliced, but a hot dog) and a Little Debbi Nutty Bar (dismantled into individual peanut butter strata). 

It was very... normal. It was great.

We also had drinks. The bar did not have a plastic cup, so I drank from a glass. After each sip, I dabbed my lips with a cocktail napkin. (Too bad I wasn't wearing a searsucker suit and sipping a mint julep for full effect.) The good news is, No messes! If I had a little "moisture" in the crease between my chin and lip, someone would signal me. But it was really no big deal.

In unrelated to my face news, can I just tell you that we went to see Sally Structhers in 9 to 5? Did you get that reader? Can you process all that? I can't. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Those Lips! Those Pillowy Lips

Day 46

You Almost Look Normal

Swelling continues to recede. My cheeks are still asymmetrical, you can even see it in my chin, which looks tipped to one side (like a rakish fedora).

Bumps, Tags, and Lumps

Oh reader, why do I subject us both to these things? I decided to get my little flashlight and "poke around in there." My sutures are gone so far as I can tell. I notice that I have a ridge in my cheeks – like an impression the perfect shape of my teeth. I also have this on the inside of my lower lip. It's like my less swollen face became flabby Play Doh. It's ugly. Add that to the list. Won't you, reader? Luckily, the bumps are mostly hidden.

The real drag is that I bite the inside of my cheeks when I eat and it HURTS. Like jump out of your seat hurts. Why couldn't that part of my face be numb? Oh well. I'm not going to complain about the side affects of less swelling. We're moving in the right direction. And we're moving... and we're moving...