Thursday, November 24, 2016

One Year later...My Re-Arranged Face

Hi friends and family. I hope you all are well. Wanted to update everyone on my recovery from my double jaw surgery. Can you believe it's over a year already? November 2nd marked one year since my jaw surgery...time flies.

Overall things went very well. Earlier this week, I had my one year follow up appointment with my surgeon, and he said everything looks great.

The only issue is I still have is a some numbness. My bottom lip and my chin are numb on the right side. The amount of numbness seems to very slowly decline, and it tingles to the touch. It feels kind of like when your foot falls asleep and it is waking up. I also still have some numbness in my teeth, gums, and the roof of my mouth. This all makes things like brushing my teeth fun, and of course, sometimes I drool a little out of the right side of my mouth. Neat! The doctor said this could all last up to two years from the surgery and what ever is still numb by then is probably permanent.

The two most common questions I get asked are,

"Are you glad you did it?"

"Would you do it again?"

The answer to both those questions is without a doubt, YES!

My overall all jaw health is way better now. I can chew normally, and as a bonus I can breathe better. Why? Great question. It's because the surgery expanded my airway. I have noticed this the most when playing indoor soccer. I can breathe easier and have better stamina. Losing some weight due to the liquid diet after the surgery probably helps with that as well.

Fun fact, since today is Thanksgiving, and as I reflect back on my recovery from surgery, I remember having to blend and drink my Thanksgiving meal last year. Here is a picture of what that looked like.


I bet looking at that makes you jealous. I'm joking of course. It was very...strange. This year I am very grateful I got to enjoy my meal the normal way. Here is what my first plate of food looked like, yes I said first, I had two plates. I really enjoy food!  


It was a long journey and I'm glad I went through it. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and since I don't feel that I am very good at writing, blogging, etc, here are some pictures showing the day before the surgery and some we took on the one year anniversary of the surgery. Enjoy!

Before
After
Before
After
Before
After
Before
After
Before: March 2013, when I first got my braces on.
Before: October 2015, right before surgery.
After surgery: November 2015.
After: August 2016, the day the braces came off.
After: November 2, 2016.
What a difference a year makes! Thanks to everyone who supported me through this journey, for you thoughts, prayers, kind words, help! As always, thanks for reading my blog, I pray that God would bless you and your family greatly!


Monday, August 15, 2016

No More Metal Mouth & Double Jaw Surgery Update



Hi friends and family! It's been a while since I have written a blog update. Notice anything different? If you said, "Hey Tony, you don't have braces, (or something like that)," then you are exactly right! Today was a big day for me as I got my braces off. Rather than talk a lot about it, I thought I would show you. The pictures below detail the 3 1/2 year journey of being an adult with braces, enjoy. 

Oh and after these pictures, there's an update to my double jaw surgery healing. 

March 2013 - Braces were put on. 

March 2014 - One year. 

March 2015 - Two years.

October 2015 - Before surgery.

December 2015 - After surgery.

March 2016 - Three years.

August 2016 - Right before the braces came off.

August 2016 - Right after the braces were removed.

The next set of pictures below, compare November 1, 2015, the day before my double jaw surgery to today, August 15, 2016 the day my braces were removed. 




 








A quick update on surgery stuff. I am now nine months out from my double jaw surgery. I still have some numbness on the right side of my face on my lower lip and chin. Some of my teeth, gums, and the roof of my mouth are still numb as well. "They," say that it can take up to a year or more for all the numbness to go away. The Orthodontist installed a permanent retainer on my bottom teeth today and I will wear a removable one on the top for a while. To complete my smile/ bite I also need to have some dental work done, mostly crowns (four of them). Two teeth (top right molars) actually needed crowns before I got the braces on, but since they were in the back and in brackets we waited on those, so they would not have to be re-done after the surgery. I will also be getting crowns on two teeth next to the front middle teeth on top. Those teeth are undersized and the crowns will help maintain the space needed for my bite to be the best it can be, and it will help with my smile. Well, I hope you enjoyed this update. As always thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and until next time, may God bless you and your family greatly!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Recovery Week 8: December 21-27, 2015

I am now eight weeks out from surgery. Crazy when I say that out loud. Looking back now it feels like it has gone by really fast. My life has pretty much returned to normal at this point.

I am back to work, chewing as normally as I can, my hip area feels fine where the bone graft was taken, and overall I feel really good.

I still have some residual numbness in my chin, lips, teeth, and gums, but the surgeon said it can take three to six months for all those nerves to wake up and be back to normal.

I had an orthodontist appoint on Monday, December 28. They said everything was looking great as far as my bite is concerned. I now only have to wear a couple of rubber bands during the day, and a couple more at night. The best news is I don't have to wear that reverse pull mask anymore. I am convinced that is a tool of Satan.

This will be my last weekly post about the surgery as there is not much to tell at this point. I thought it would be fun to give you some interesting facts or things I learned about my surgery and recovery.

1. People tend to cringe when you tell them the gory details of double jaw surgery with a hip bone graft.

2. In some cases (like mine), they will attach wires (called skeletal wires) into your jaw during the the surgery for the rubber bands to be on. This will help pull on your jaw as the scar tissue develops and prevent the jaw muscles from messing up your jaw alignment.

3. If you have a bone graft near your sinuses, you cannot blow your nose for about four weeks.

4. In come cases (like mine), having your jaw, "wired shut"will actually be rubber bands that you can remove once a day for an hour to brush your teeth after eating...I mean drinking a meal.

5. When your lips, gums, and teeth are numb, you will drool and spit...a lot.

6. A kid tooth brush is not as effective as an adult tooth brush.

7. I lost a little over thirty pounds while on the liquid diet for the first six weeks. Doing my best to keep it off and lose more.

8. Being paid short term disability to stay home for six weeks and recover from surgery is awesome.

9. When you are told you are allowed to start chewing again, it is glorious news!

10. When you have chewed wrong for over thirty years of your life, it will be very strange to chew with a correct bite. I'm still learning and getting used to it.

Here are a few shots of my bite progression:

Before Surgery: March 2013 right after I got braces on and started the journey. 
Before Surgery: March 2014
Before Surgery: March 2015 
Before Surgery: October 2015 
After Surgery: November 2015
After Surgery: December 2015

Finally, here are some before pictures on the left from November 1, 2015, 
and after pictures on the right from December 30, 2015. 





If you took the time to follow along on this journey with me, thank you! I appreciate all the the love and support I have received through this process. I am not all the way healed and will continue to wear braces for a while, but the hard part is over! I am looking forward to my new jaw, bite, and smile! As always, if you took the time to read my blog, I pray that God blesses you and your family.  


Monday, December 21, 2015

Recovery Week 7: December 14-20, 2015

This was a really big week for me. My life started going back to pre-surgery normal. I went back to work starting Monday (December 14). It was good to get back to work and get to see my co-workers that I missed. I was worried I would forget a lot of stuff after being out for six weeks, but it all came back pretty fast. I was pretty tired at the end of each day, but I am sure that my energy will be back to one-hindered percent soon. 

After work on Monday, I had an Orthodontist appointment to remove all the extra surgery stuff added to my braces. I still have to wear some rubber bands, and that darn reverses pull mask for a little while longer though. Not really excited about that, but means to an end, and after about a year I should be able to get my braces off.

Here are some before and after pictures of all the stuff they removed (the top before, and the bottom after).

 
Now, on to the the biggest news of the week, as of Monday, December 14, I was able to begin chewing again! NO MORE LIQUID DIET!!!

It was kind of strange learning to chew all over again with a correct bite. Another interesting fact is, that my teeth are still mostly numb. So, when I chew, I can't always feel it. Imagine you went to the dentist, they numbed your whole mouth, and then you had to eat a meal. It's kind of like that. Good times indeed!  

My recovery is not over yet, but I took some really big steps this week. Other than a little bit of swelling on my right side of my face, the numbness in my chin, bottom lip and teeth, I am feeling really good. Here are some pictures of my face. 



As always thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I pray that you and your family are doing well and that God blesses you greatly!