Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pictures from 2005 surgery

they're in chronological order from day after surgery to 6 weeks post op.

Jaw surgery in 2005

In June of 2005, June 24th to be exact I had reconstructive jaw surgery to move my jaw forward due to sleep apnea. I had been on CPAP for over 2 years, and I was going into my sophomore year in high school. CPAP pissed me off so much that I was so excited to have the surgery.
My surgeon moved my left side 20mm and my right side 16 mm, an average of 18mm total. He put in 9 titanium plates in my face, lower, upper and chin plates with lots of screws as well. (i can't find the pictures right now...) The post-op recovery was extremely difficult. Due to how much he moved my jaw, I was put in the ICU for 2 days post-op, with the bandages still on, until they were cut off right before I got discharged from the ICU and into the regular hospital.
I lost over 20 pounds while still in the hospital. It was extremely difficult for me to eat any food, through syringe or through anything because of the bandages and so much swelling due to how much he moved my jaw. I finally started eating liquids through my syringes about 4-5 days post-op, once the bandages were taken off and i could at least move parts of my face. I ate milkshakes and other juices through the syringe, while still getting IV fluids to keep my energy high. I did not have wires on my jaw, but my surgeon believed in using bands instead, but due to the severe swelling it felt that I was wired anyway. I also had the surgical splint in between my teeth so I had no room to move my teeth, jaw or anything to get anything but food shot through a syringe into my mouth.
I was finally discharged 8 days post-op with instructions to stay on the syringe diet for another two weeks until I would go back to my surgeon to get the splint removed.
After two weeks I finally went back to my surgeon and had the splint taken out and some of the thicker bands removed, but I was still put on a NO CHEW diet for another two weeks. This was almost as difficult because I still couldn't open my jaw more than a couple MM and that made it really hard to even drink anything, but still I was able to drink from a sippy cup that I bought at the baby food store.
After another 2 weeks the rest of the bands were taken off and I was finally put on a SOFT CHEW diet, which was a huge relief, I was finally allowed to eat "real food" but still it was hard, because I couldn't really open my jaw much any more that I could before, but I lived off AMY'S GF mac&cheese and food that didn't really need to be chewed so I finally stopped losing weight and started gaining a little.
Finally after another 3 or so weeks I was allowed to chew NORMAL food, and I went off to spanish camp the day after I saw him. Still extremely swollen I had fun eating and finally learning how to chew again. But still it was hard to get used to my new bite, jaw and everything else.
The worst thing was that on my first day of sophomore year nobody really recognized me because my face had changed so much and I was still so swollen, plus I had lost about 30 pounds in total. Most people thought that I was a freshmen who was my younger sister.
The swelling took about a year to settle finally, and I was completely happy with my face.
Of course in another post I will explain how my jaw moved back and why I am having surgery again.