Saturday, September 29, 2007

4+ Months Post Op - An Exciting Date

It's been a while since I've posted about my recovery. Not a whole lot has changed in the last 2 months however I do have exciting news - I have a date for when my braces will be removed!

First the boring stuff. My bite has been coming along quite nicely the last 2 months. My front teeth line up perfectly now. The elastics that didn't seem like they were doing their job actually did something useful and I also had a couple of small gaps in my lower front teeth which have been closed off now. The last thing remaining is to make my upper and lower molars touch. The trusty elastics are in place so we'll just have to watch and wait.

Knowing all of that, my orthodontist felt comfortable in giving me a de-bracing date. And the much anticipated day is... November 26th!!! I think I'll book a hygiene appointment a few days after that so I'll have a shiny new smile to sport before Christmas rolls around. Christmas will be a little brighter this year!

Upcoming milestones:
Oct 17 - Visit orthodontist
Nov 26 - Braces come off

Sunday, July 22, 2007

2 Months Post-Op - Surgical Anxiety Redux

I really shouldn't be posting right now since I'm going to miss my tee-time but I feel inspired!

I think I'm at 8.5 weeks post-op now, can't remember - it's such a great feeling to lose track of how long ago my surgery was! A lot has happened since my last post.

Firstly my splint came out. That was an interesting saga. I walked into the surgeon's office glad as could be. I walk over to the receptionist and she tells me I need to sign papers for my surgery today.

I say: "Oh no no, you've made a mistake, I already had my surgery. I'm just getting my splint taken out today."

And she responds with: "Yes, but it's a surgical procedure."

I nearly crapped my pants! I would prefer to keep the splint in than going through surgery again. She tells me I'm going to get local anesthesia and will have to sit in the recovery room and all kinds of things I didn't want to hear! Once I got called in, the nurses started taking my blood pressure and started prepping me for what looked like a surgery. And then Dr. Freidman walks in and says, "What's all this? We don't need anesthesia. I'll just take the splint out without it. He won't feel any pain." What a relief! In retrospect, I think it's just a nasty prank they like to pull off with their post-ops.

So the splint got removed. It reeked like an ogre. All kinds of food had crusted on the back of my upper teeth and it took 3 consecutive brushings to feel semi-normal again. My speech came back pretty quickly - about 30 mins to get used to talking and finally people can understand me again!

What else has happened recently? Dr. Freidman also cleared me to start resuming my regular diet but at 2 months post-op I'm not all the way back yet. My jaw isn't strong enough to take on the hardest of hard foods but I'm gradually getting there. It didn't turn out to be a big-bang now-you-can-eat deal so I didn't really get a chance to go for a celebratory post-op meal. I've had pizza 3 times since then though.

Other than that, I visited my orthodontist. The million dollar question I had for him was when I'll get my braces taken out and the million dollar answer I got was disappointing - "hopefully at the end of the year." He also slapped on elastics and wants me to wear them 24 hours a day so that was a colossal disappointment too. They don't seem to help either. My bite isn't any better than it was 1.5 weeks ago. We'll see what my surgeon has to say when I visit him next week.

Upcoming milestones:
Jul 25 - Visit surgeon
Aug 13 - Visit orthodontist
Dec 2007 - Braces come off (hopefully...)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

6.5 Weeks Post-Op - 2 days away from freedom

I'm only 2 days away from getting my splint taken out. Only 2 days away from freedom! Well, mostly... I'm still not allowed to resume my regular diet until another week but my jaw is feeling strong enough to already handle it - I'm going to be a good boy and wait it out though.

I've been getting a little more adventurous with my eating habits recently. Biting more and more meat everyday (although nothing more than ground meat and chicken still) and I also had a veggie burger at our company picnic on Wednesday.

I still can't decide what I'm going to have first when I can finally resume regular eating. I'm thinking something unhealthy that tastes really good.
  • Perhaps KFC fried chicken?
  • Pizza? (which I've been craving ever since the Thursday lunch meeting at work - thanks Matt!)
  • Or the peanut pasta and fried ice-cream at Thaifoon?
Not sure yet...

Upcoming milestones:
7 weeks post-op - splint comes off!!!
8 weeks post-op - resume regular diet
4 months post-op - braces come off (hopefully...)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

5 Weeks Post-Op - Posterized

I had another visit to my surgeon this past week. He noticed my bite was a little off - my left molars don't touch perfectly so he asked me to start using "poster elastics" on my left side. "Oh no, I've been posterized!" He said it was no big concern so I'll leave it to the experts to fix up.

In other news, I'm starting to get feeling back in my upper gums ever so slowly. The inside of my upper teeth also need a good scrub - just 1.5 weeks away until the splint comes off! I can't believe I'm saying this but I'm looking forward to flossing.

Upcoming milestones:
6 weeks post-op - one week until the splint comes off
7 weeks post-op - splint comes off!!!
8 weeks post-op - resume regular diet
4 months post-op - braces come off (hopefully...)

4 Weeks Post-Op - I can chew!

I hit the 4 week mark on June 19th. It meant I was allowed to soft chew! That felt like being a kid in a candy store.

Here's a list of things I've been chewing the last few days:
  • lightly toasted bread
  • fried rice (with ground pork)
  • pasta
  • fish and chips
  • muffins
  • timbits
  • chunky soup (with chicken chunks)
  • channa masala
I'm quite the happy camper these days...

Upcoming milestones:
5 weeks post-op - visit surgeon
6 weeks post-op - one week until the splint comes off
7 weeks post-op - splint comes off!!!
8 weeks post-op - resume regular diet
4 months post-op - braces come off (hopefully...)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

3 Weeks Post-Op - Prepare to be grossed out

I had my visit with my surgeon Jun 12 and I finally got to see what he did with my jaw. The procedure is called a "Lefort I Multi-Piece Osteotomy". The Lefort I can be 1-piece, 2-piece or 3-piece. I believe I got the 2-piece since they had to expand my upper jaw. In layman's terms:

2-Piece Lefort I Osteotomy:
  • makes an incision under the upper lip
  • fractures the upper jaw
  • completely separates the upper jaw
  • removes a wedge of bone
  • splits the jaw down the middle
  • re-positions the jaw
  • re-attaches the upper jaw with titanium screws and plates
  • sutures the incision
  • Step by step photos displaying incisions, blood and bones:
    • Lefort I (WARNING: Not for the faint of heart)
Diagrams showing the 1-piece Lefort I:

Diagrams showing the 2-piece Lefort I:

Diagrams showing the difference between a Lefort I, Lefort II and Lefort III:

Upcoming milestones:
4 weeks post-op - start soft chewing
5 weeks post-op - visit surgeon
6 weeks post-op - one week until the splint comes off
7 weeks post-op - splint comes off!!!
8 weeks post-op - resume regular diet
4 months post-op - braces come off (hopefully...)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

2 Weeks Post-Op - A week of disappointments

I'm way behind on blogging about my recovery from surgery. When I hit the 2 week mark (Jun 5th), I was plenty excited. I was back to work, my elastics were going to come off, I was going to start up on mashed foods and my splint was due out in just 2 more weeks!

And then I had my visit with my surgeon and orthodontist.

The Bite: My surgeon thought my bite on my jaw was lining up very well. No concerns. He put one of the x-rays up but I couldn't see the screws on it. I asked him to explain the exact procedure I went through but he didn't have the time for that either. He promised he would show me on the models next time around.

The Elastics: I thought finally, the elastics come off and he disappointed me, well, only partially. He said I had to continue wearing the elastics at night but I could take them off during the day. I can live with that.

The Splint: Here's the one I was most anxious to hear about. "When does the dreaded splint come off?" He thoroughly disappointed me on this one. "5 more weeks", he said. I have my appointment on July 10th. Hmmff...

The Bone Graft: I asked him about the stitch in my lower cheek and I was right. He took a bone graft from there. I guess that solves that mystery. He used it to fill in bone when he separated my upper jaw.

Nose Blowing: Leading up to the 2 week milestone, I was starting to look forward to blowing my nose. It was really starting to feel grungy and yet again, I was disappointed. He said, it was best if I waited another week. I guess there was something to look forward to at the 3 week milestone now.

Cleanliness: Both my orthodontist and my surgeon thought I was doing an excellent job keeping my teeth clean. Hooray! I'm not so concerned about cavities and gum disease now.

Braces: I had to ask my orthodontist when he thought the braces will come off. He said he couldn't really comment until the splint came out but he has to leave them in for at least 4 months to support my upper jaw while it completely heals. There could be some tweaking he has to do which may push it past 4 months but I won't know more until July 10th.

Upcoming milestones:
3 weeks post-op - visit surgeon, start blowing my nose
4 weeks post-op - start soft chewing
5 weeks post-op - visit surgeon
6 weeks post-op - one week until the splint comes off
7 weeks post-op - splint comes off!!!
8 weeks post-op - resume regular diet
4 months post-op - braces come off (hopefully...)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Google Desktop Feed Reader

I use Google Desktop to auto-update my favourite RSS feeds but every once in a while something gets messed up and I have to re-configure it. And then I go into the big wide world we call the Internet to find how to do it again...

It always takes me forever to find this site so here it is, once and for all, for my handy retrieval: Using Google Desktop as a Google Reader Notifier

It turns out the website creator has sneakily gone and changed his post and it no longer meets my needs. That procedure adds all your Google Reader feeds to Google Desktop instead of just specific ones. To add specific ones you need to do the following:
  1. Log into Google Reader
  2. Right click the feed you want to add and select "Copy Link Location"
  3. Go into the Google Desktop Web Clips Options
  4. Paste the address. It should look something like:
  5. Change "view" in the address to "atom"
  6. Keep your Internet Explorer logged into Google Reader