Saturday, June 25, 2011

Surgery recap!

It's been four days since surgery and I am feeling a TON better than I did on the 21st!

Surgery Day - 6/21

Tuesday following surgery is a bit of a haze due to the anesthesia. Prior to surgery, the anesthesiologist loaded me up with liquids to make sure I stayed hydrated and provided a nice "cocktail" to make sure I was asleep and pain free during the surgery. When I woke up, I recall being asked if I wanted some pain relievers. I replied, "Yes" and then spent another hour or so sleeping. At 5:30 PM, the nurse came in and told me I should start getting ready to go. I couldn't believe it was so late! Surgery started at 12:30 so I expected to be on my way closer to 4:00 / 4:30 PM.  Once I got dressed, I made it home fine with assistance from my mom (I seriously felt woozy) and then passed out in my bed.

Day 1 - 6/22

6-22 Yes, this picture is scary. I am bruised under my chin and also have bandages on either side.

When I woke up on Wednesday, I wasn't in pain, but my face was super swollen, my neck felt stiff and it was difficult to talk. My checks, chin and lower lip were also numb. I did notice immediately that for the first time in my life, my teeth were actually in the right place. So many times I've woken up as my teeth tried to align themselves (and failed miserably). I found that my surgeon placed one rubber band in my mouth on my right side. I assume it's on that side to retrain my jaw to maintain it's new position since that's where my crossbite was.

On the day following surgery, I tried to talk, but the swelling made it really difficult so I just wrote notes out to my mom. We took a few short walks around the neighborhood since I had read that walking really helps with the swelling.

Day 2 - 6/23

On Thursday, I could talk a little more, but I was still feeling very swollen. I didn't make it out of the house that day and noticed my back felt really stiff.

Day 3 - 6/24

6-24 At the botanical garden. Slightly less scary.  I can open my mouth. This is my attempt at a smile.

On Friday, I woke up feeling tons better. I actually got a decent night's sleep, the swelling was down significantly and I could talk pretty comfortably. My lip and cheeks began tingling indicating that some of the feeling was returning. I went to the park with my mom for a longer walk and we ran some errands. I realized that I needed more liquid foods (soup, smoothies, etc.) since I can't eat semi-solid foods (purees, apple sauce, etc) with the rubber band in my mouth. Though I can make it work with lots of slurping. ;)

Day 4 - 6/25

6-25 Taking a walk at the zoo. Yes, that is a panda on my shoulder. ;)
The swelling is continuing to go down and the bruising is starting to move away from my face - my neck is now pretty yellow. Following my doctor's advice, I've been using Arnica (creme and tablets) 4-5 times per day and that seems to be helping with the bruising and swelling. My chin still has no feeling, but I do have more feeling in my lower lip. I seem to have full feeling back in my cheeks.


  1. Wow so glad to hear that you are well on your way to recovery :) Looks like your swelling has already gone down a lot too :) Wait, did you get to go home the same day as your surgery or did you stay in the hospital? My surgeon told me I will be in the hospital for 3 days but I guess thats because it's a double jaw surgery. Looking forward to more updates :)

  2. Hey Heather,
    My name is Taylor and I also have a blog outlining my experiences with braces and oral surgery. I just want to let you know that your story has been very helpful to me. I am almost exactly a year behind you in the process. I just recently had SARPE on May 27th and I just finished turning my expander today. I have about a 10mm gap now the only difference is I do not need another surgery, I am going straight to braces and thats it. I have been looking closely at your posts in 2010 which have kept me thinking positively about this whole process, so thanks so much for sharing your story, keep blogging!

  3. @Terra - Thanks for your well wishes! Since I only had one jaw done it's an outpatient procedure. If you have both jaws done it's an inpatient procedure so an overnight stay for your surgery makes sense. Hopefully you can come home earlier than 3 days though. :)

    @Taylor - Thanks so much! I'm glad that my blog has been helpful. Congrats on finishing up your expansion! That was probably the most difficult part of my experience. Are you hiding with wax or rocking the gap? :)

  4. Heather - I agree, your site has helped me a lot as well (I am 12 days post SARPE today). Your swelling has gone down a lot in 4 days...have you heard that eating pineapple helps clear up the bruising more quickly? Thanks for your sharing your story, it has been very informative...Maybe some of us newbies can carry the baton when you are thru - I will be going thru my journey for the next 2.5-3 yrs...Braces, Lower Jaw Surgery, bone grafts, implants, caps,
    Hoping your progress continues on the positive path!!

  5. @IvoryGrinder - I haven't heard anything about pineapple reducing swelling but it doesn't hurt. And besides, pineapple is delicious. After seeing your comment, I put some tips for reducing swelling in my blog post today. My chiropractor also suggested getting a massage to help get the lympathic system draining - I'm going to get one tomorrow and see how it goes! Congrats on making it 12 days past SARPE. I checked your photos and you look great so far - hopefully you won't get too gappy. :)