A blog detailing the key triumphs and the details of pain and other side effects I was experiencing post orthognathic surgery.
As from my previous blog entries it can be seen that there is a vast amount of information to share with you about my journey through orthognathic surgery. Due to my up and coming operation (06.12.12) to have my titanium plates and screws removed, I will provide you with a brief outline of my recovery after orthognathic surgery. I will continue with the story/ extended version when I have recovered from the plate removal surgery.
- Day 1-4 First 4 days I was on water and liquid pain relief administered through a syringe. Unable to sit up or lay down. Unable to sleep. Unable to walk about or lift my head unattended, due to face, back, neck and shoulder pain and stiffness. Excruciating and horrendous pain. Numb from the eye down. Swollen face and neck. Sore eyes from surgery tape. Covered in iodine. Bruising on my face and back of neck.
- Day 5 the first day I was able to have some food through a syringe. I had half a can of soup (warm not hot) and half a cup of watered down mango juice. Normal juice was too strong and stung the inside of my mouth. Still had not slept and could not move independently. My lips were really dry and had lots of excess skin on them. Very sore and uncomfortable.
- Day 6 my airways were blocked. Finding it hard to breath in and took my asthma pump. My tongue was swollen and I had a really itchy nose. I weighed myself on a trip to the toilet and I had lost 7lbs in weight.
- Day 7 I was able to move my neck a little and mum helped to wash my hair. This was a really traumatic experience as I could not lean my head back or forward. Mum used baby shampoo on my hair while I sat in the bath and used a jug of water. I hated the feeling of the water on my face and got really stressed and upset. I was still completely numb from the eye downward but in huge amounts of pain. Still on maximum liquid pain relief every 4 hours through a syringe.
- Day 8 I went to the hospital for my first check up since being discharged. My friend Aash took me in the car up to London. I took my v shaped pillow for the car, my bowl for spitting and my towel in case I got anything down myself. I wore a large v neck jumper that was easy to get over my head and face. My friend’s mum drove slowly as every bump or sudden breaking hurt my face and neck. I had my first drink from a plastic party cup, which I found difficult as I could not feel my lips. I got it all down myself. People were staring at me. My face was incredibly swollen, bruised and distorted. I was worried about people in the street or the hospital knocking into me and my face. I held my hands out in front of me and mum helped me to walk as I was very weak. Although it was summer I wore a scarf as I did not like the feeling of the breeze on my face. I wrapped the scarf around my head. My orthodontist changed my elastics and the surgeon checked inside my mouth. They are happy with my hygiene and progress so far. Bite was good. I came home exhausted and rested in bed for the rest of the day.
- Day 9 my facial muscles and mouth were very sore from being pulled about the day before at the hospital. I had a sore throat and numb tongue. The numb tongue meant that I could not feel myself breathing and it was quite alarming. My face was still very swollen and I was taking maximum pain relief. One of my surgical bands broke and my friend Aash came around to replace it. I was unable to do it myself and ended up crying with frustration. I had very limited opening at this stage only 1finger and I was in a huge amount of pain.
- Day 10 I felt hungry for the first time since having the surgery. My taste was coming back slowly. My palette and tongue were now very painful. I was still having syringe liquid and I had my first half cup of milkshake and half a tin of soup. Neck was still as bad. I was really stressed about changing the elastics so I did not bother.
- Day 11 joint clinic at Guy’s with my dad. I had feeling on the side where the nerve was broken. Result. Then I had my exterior stitches removed. It was ok and only stung a little. Was more a pulling motion then painful. The surgeon advised that I keep the wound clean and moisturise it to allow the scar to heal better. I was a little less stiff and I was able to gargle for the first time with my mouthwash. It was a messy experience. I still had very limited opening and was unable to brush my teeth. I was relying solely on the antibacterial mouthwash provided by the hospital. Maximum pain and taking full pain relief.
- Day 14 finally on a lower dose of co-codomol 15/500mg x8 through a syringe. I was still in pain but it seemed to be improving. I was still unable to sleep. My tongue had regained feeling and my taste buds were fine. I was still pretty numb from the eye down but was getting feeling in certain areas of my face. Both my lips were still fully numb but would have episodes of tingling or itching. The excess skin on the lip was starting to peel off and I would moisturise my lips and face a couple of times a day. I was a little more mobile but still extremely stiff. The dissolvable stitches were still visible and the inside of my mouth was every sore. Food was still being given through a syringe.
- Day 15 back at the hospital for a check up. Went by train. That was very stressful as I was worried people would knock my face or I might fall over. I started drinking from a plastic cup. I bought a hot chocolate from McDonalds but I was unable to drink it as the cup was too big for my limited mouth opening and it was heavy to hold. I was still using ice packs for the swelling. My jaw would hurt a lot and ache if I over used it. I would get tired very easily.
- Day 18 I got a rash all over my body. We figured out that it was due to the excess amount of ibuprofen. My neck and back were still stiff and painful. I was still having terrible trouble getting any sleep. I was still using 5-6 pillows. Any less would put too much pressure on my face.
- Day 21 the last of my stitches fell out when I was cleaning my teeth. They just dropped off into the basin. It was gross but I was happy they were finally gone. I started using a toothbrush on this day. YAY!
- Day 22 my first meal. I used a small plastic baby spoon and had a bowl of mash with gravy. I had to wrap a towel around myself like a bib as I would make a mess. I also had to hold a mirror up so I could see where I was placing the spoon. If I did not use the mirror I would have had mash potato around my chin and nose. I was still dribbling due to upper and lower jaw numbness. My teeth were sensitive and sore where I had started to brush them. My gums started bleeding and looked as if they had shrunk.
- Day 23 I had a dizzy spell, my legs went wobbly and I fell over. Luckily I fell onto my bottom and only had bruises on my bum and back.
- Day 28 still eating soft food with a baby spoon and mirror. I was able to eat… egg, mash potato, mashed swede, cheese sauce, yoghurt, mashed vegetables, gravy. I had limited opening so had to take small spoonfuls. This made my jaw ache. I would rinse with water as the puree food would sometimes get stuck in my mouth. I was unable to suck through a straw as it was painful and I could not wrap my lips around it.
- Day 30 Guy’s joint clinic. Happy with my progress. They told me no chewing of any sort for the next 6 weeks. Continue to change the bands and keep good hygiene. The braces should be removed by Christmas.
1 Month Mark
- Day 33 I went out socially with a friend for a drive and a walk. Wrapped up warm and covered my face lightly with a scarf. I still did not like the feeling of my hair touching my face, so I wore my hair in a ponytail. Jaw was painful after being pulled about at the hospital. Felt like my pain levels were getting worse again and I had some more swelling. Upper lip tingles but mainly both lips numb.
- Day 35 took the bus to the doctors. Energy and mobility a little better. Still limited mouth opening. I managed to sit on my lap top for a little while job hunting. I painted my nails. I was still not sleeping and I was still getting dizzy spells.
- Day 42 Guy’s hospital joint clinic. I went by train. Everything is fine and they changed my brace wire. Starting to get more feeling back. A lot of tingling and itching through the whole of my face. I used to sit and feel my face lightly. The feeling was like rushing water continuously running down my face. Very odd sensations. Sore lips and mouth. Ulcers and receding gum line. Sent a picture to my orthodontist who told me to use fluoride toothpaste and not scrub so hard with my brush.
- Day 45 still have restricted body movement and painful muscles. Still having dizzy spells and falling over. On 15/500mg co-codomol liquid form. I was managing to change the elastic bands.
- Day 46 jaw started clicking every time I changed my bands. I was worried and thought that this may be the restart of my facial pain. A little upset and praying that I do not get TMJ disorder.
- Day 48 I went to the snoop dogg concert. I tried to put makeup on for the first time. It really hurt my face and felt strange. I was able to stand and walk. I was in a lot of pain after the concert. I drank through a straw briefly and it was really painful. My swelling was bad this week.
- Day 50 I had pins and needles in my face. I was unable to sleep and my joints had started to hurt since the braces had been changed. I was still having problems changing the bands as my mouth was very swollen and painful. I had 3 fingers worth of opening which is not ideal at this stage of recovery. The first few days after the concert I did not talk much as my muscles and jaw were too painful
- Day 54 I went on my exercise bike for 10 minutes. Swelling was bad. I was upset as my best friend and boyfriend had both been very uncaring this week and I felt like a freak unable to do very much.
- Day 56 mum is still helping me to wash, dry and straighten my hair. My shoulders are still really bad and restricted. Able to bath myself now though and get around a lot more. I was still having syringe medication. I was still using ice packs for the swelling. I was still eating a soft diet using a baby spoon. My jaw, neck and back still very painful. Unable to sleep for more than 2-3 hours a night. Very tired. I still have bad ulcers and sensitive teeth. Still mostly numb.
- Day 60 made an appointment at the opticians to get my eyes tested and get new glasses. My old ones would no longer fit my face, as my face shape has changed a lot.
2 Month Mark
- Day 61 I went to the dentist to get some advice on my receding gums and I was given prescription fluoride toothpaste to strengthen my teeth and gums. My teeth were very transparent and weak. My gums were very pale and my dentist advised taking some iron tablets and going to the doctors to have a blood test to check my vitamin and iron levels. I went to the supermarket and purchased a multivitamin with iron anyway.
- Day 63 started taking pills instead of syringe liquid medication… wayhay. I went to get some tyres for my car and drove for the first time since the operation. I had my car MOT tested. I went to Guy’s hospital to have my braces adjusted. It was very painful and I remember crying.
- Day 64 I went to the doctors to have my blood tested. Still getting bad swelling and facial pain. Still stiff on my neck and shoulders when I have over done it. I keep biting the inside of my mouth since the braces were adjusted. My mood was a little better as I felt more independent now. Still on a soft diet and drinking out of a plastic party cup.
- Day 70 eating better and more regularly. Pain is actually getting worse again. I have noticed that my jaw, neck and shoulders are very stiff after driving. I tried using a small metal spoon. But unfortunately it was too big and caused me a lot of pain. Not very happy with my teeth being so sensitive. Started to get pain along the jaw line where the plates are. However, I am thinking of going back to work. Purely for financial reasons. So I went back to see my manager at Compass offices. I did say about going back 5 days a week but mum advised me not to. So I started off doing 3 days a week.
- Day 77 I was back to work. My face pain is getting worse. Feeling very stressed and run down as I am still not sleeping and I am unable to lie on my side. I have to try to sleep lying on my back. The driving is making my face feel like it will explode from the pressure. My shoulders and neck are really playing up again. I am managing to do the 3 days but still can not lift anything. Feeling drawn and exhausted. Unable to eat at work at lunch time as there is nowhere to clean my teeth and I can not use a baby spoon in front of my work colleagues. I work in a different site every day and there are not always suitable facilities. Finding work very difficult. Speaking a lot was difficult and smiling would make my muscles ache.
- Day 84 had to work on my own this week. Jackie my work colleague was off sick. I was really tired and had to do a lot of talking for the monitoring visits. I was unable to lift but did try to which made my pain worse. I went for my first meal out… I took my baby spoon and my mirror and had Chinese rice. I had King’s hospital this week. I saw one of Mr. Matthews’s team and they took an x-ray to investigate the pain I was having along the lower jaw. The x-ray came back fine and showed good healing. However the scar inside my mouth was still very tender and looked new and fresh. It stung a lot when they would pull my mouth around.
- Day 85 I get a cold, feeling congested and I have a sore throat. Feeling crappy and worried about how my sinuses will react to a cold. Hoping that I do not sneeze much as it will hurt my jaws.
3 Month Mark
- Day 91 I had to go to the doctors. I was feeling very unwell. I had really bad congestion caused by the cold. My neck and shoulder pain was incredibly painful and I went to see if I could be put forward for physiotherapy. The surgeon agreed I was allowed to do it, so the GP referred me. I was then prescribed Sudafed.
- Day 92 I went out with Sophie my best friend. I also went to see the nurse as I had been on my period for over 6 weeks. She advised that I tried the combination contraceptive pill to regulate my periods. I was really drained and in a lot of pain. I was still working 3 days a week but finding it hard. Feeling tired and swelling is bad. Still not sleeping more than 3 hours a night. Still unable to sleep on my side. Still drinking from a plastic party cup and on soft food diet of mainly mash. Still taking 15/500mg co-codomol x8. I also have to take my asthma pumps regularly as my peek flow has gone down from 460 to 380 since the operation. I find my breathing to be restricted sometimes but the congestion has not helped. My top palette has been very painful and my face feels like pressure is building up inside of it.
- Day 98 I went and picked up my new prescription glasses. I had my eyebrows waxed for the first time since surgery. The girls in the salon were shocked at how much I had changed and said how good I was looking. I was still doing 3 days a week at work. Jaw, shoulders and neck were still really bad and would get worse after driving. Still waiting for NHS physiotherapy appointment. 15/500mg co-codomol as and when required.
- Day 105 I had Guy’s hospital and Dr Cobourne booked me in to have my braces removed on the 19th December… just in time for Christmas. I went to the new Westfield shopping centre in East London 10th December. It was very busy and I was worried about people knocking into me and my face. I was also conscious that people may stare at me as my swelling was bad.
- Day 113 My hair started to fall out and my nails were very brittle. I made a doctors appointment as I was worried. Same level of pain when I over did it. On less pain relief as I am coping better but still needing to take co-codomol and ibuprofen daily.
- Day 116 I had an appointment at King’s hospital in the morning and Guy’s hospital in the afternoon. I went to Guy’s to have my braces removed. Was painful and tiring. It was a relief to get the braces off after wearing them for 3 years. My teeth were quite stained but I was hoping a good clean by the dentist would solve that problem. My teeth were very sensitive afterwards. I found my swelling in my face reduced dramatically and very quickly. The retainers I was provided with were really stiff and hard to get in and out. I had to wear them all of the time, other then when I was eating or drinking.
- Day 117 I went to the doctors about my hair falling out. The doctor believed it to be stress related.
- Day 119 the retainers are still awkward to put in and out. I used a piece of kitchen towel to help grip the edges to remove them from my teeth. I went and had my hair and nails done for the first time since the operation. I went to the dentist to have my teeth fully cleaned. They are looking good but appear to be very large.