Tuesday, May 7, 2013

One year post-op....

I couldn't help but think over the past couple of weeks that it has been a whole YEAR now since my jaw surgery (3 piece Lefort osteomy on the top and BSSO on the bottom)! A year ago today, my diet was getting a bit better, but I could not really handle much more than a milkshake!

What a year it has been though....my first-born was born in August of last year, roughly three weeks prior to my braces coming off for good! Needless to say time has flown by!

I thought I would document any remaining symptoms I have from the surgery given that it is now one year later. Happy to report: NONE. At first, everything in or around my mouth (i.e. cheeks, nose, chin) was numbed, but the feeling came back gradually (some areas took longer than others). Today, the roof of my mouth is still a bit sensitive, but I wouldn't call it numb. Everything else is normal as far as I can tell! I have full range of motion with my mouth, meaning that I don't feel like my mouth is being restricted in any way when I try to open it as wide as possible.

Again, my braces came off around five months after the surgery. I was given a permanently fixed retainer on the inside of my upper six and lower six teeth (essentially just a piece of wire glued along those teeth to help keep them straight). I was also issued a removable retainer which I had to wear 24/7 with the exception of meals.....which, after nearly four years with metal in my mouth, was FINE by me! Soon, the retainer will be for night time only, and then by this time next year, I'm expecting I won't be needing it at all!

I do have a before-and-after picture below. I realize I have not been posting my immediate post-op pictures, and I'm not sure I want to. Seeing those pictures on other blogs did nothing but scare the hell out of me, and while you WILL look like a wreck, you won't feel nearly as bad as you'll look! And by the way, I was back to working from home after one week, and back to the office after two. After the swelling peaks on day 3 or 4, you'll see a RAPID decrease in swelling to the point where you feel like you can go out in public!

Not much else to report on!

Best of luck for anyone currently or thinking about undergoing the treatment. Any time you have a question, please let me know.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Before and After picture

Hi everyone,

For those out there who are thinking about whether or not this surgery is the right idea for you, here is my before-and-after comparison.

The "before" was back in April 2009 - the night before my SARPE (which is why you can probably make out a little bit of metal in my mouth; that's the expander). Incidentally, this is a picture that has already been posted in my 2009 entries (I used to put up many more pictures, so feel free to go back there and see!).

The "after" was taken yesterday, March 13th, 2013 - almost four years later. Yeah, got a little less hair now, some new glasses as well (with one other pair inbetween actually!), but I suspect that isn't the part of my head that will draw your attention!

Is it really a debate whether or not I should have invested four years into this? Didn't think so.

Friday, February 8, 2013

1,107 Days and....DONE!

This post is almost five months in the making, but I finally have the opportunity to announce that MY BRACES ARE OFF! All over with! This happened back on September 21, which was my 1,107th day with braces. Unreal. Just over three years with them on, plus the six months of SARPE, plus the three months of wearing the expander PRIOR to the SARPE surgery, plus all the prep, etc etc. In total, the entire process was four years and four months long. That was the first time I visited the private clinic and the orthodontist - Dr. Metaxas - told me to come down to the U of T clinic, something I will always be extremely grateful for!

Anyway, it was a whirlwind summer! My wife and I are the proud parents of our first-born, a boy named Owen. I couldn't be a happier Dad....it is actually difficult to imagine what life was like before he was around! He's happy and healthy, so you can't ask for much else. His Mom is completely fine as well - she's off this year with him. I'm jealous some of the time, because I have been putting in some long hours at the office recently. When I'm away from him even for a day, he looks bigger the next time I see him! Not only is he our first child, he is also both our parents' first grandchild, her grandparents' first great-grandchild (would have been the same case for mine as well had they been alive!), first niece/nephew for our siblings....I'm probably going to have to keep this kid grounded, because he's going to be one spoiled bugger! And yes, we have already given some thought to how his teeth will turn out! Hahahaha!

He was born August 29th, roughly two weeks after I visited the surgeon for the last time. My bite had been progressing perfectly; I had no range-of-motion problems with my jaw, I wasn't in any pain, I could eat everything.....so I was discharged! I had been seeing the surgeon - Dr. Holmes - since the SARPE, so it was definitely one of those "parting is such sweet sorrow" type of moments. He's an excellent surgeon, but I'm happy I'll never have to see him again - at least in my capacity as a patient.

Then two weeks AFTER Owen was born, I visited the clinic for my regular appointment. My teeth were aligned exactly as they wanted. My orthodontic student - Dr. Ford - was pretty sure I was done with the braces. I was cautiously optimistic that was the case (if you have read my blog, you know that I have some stories in regards to 'timing'!). But sure enough, when Drs. Marko and Metaxas came over to take a look at me, they said I was done!! They signed off on the paperwork and my braces were coming off three days later! For some reason, I thought they were maybe going to come off right then and there, but three days after waiting over 1,100 was nothing!

I went in on that third day, and got the braces off! Unreal feeling. I didn't have much time to take it all in though. As soon as they were off, I went down for x-rays, and then went back up for photos.

X-rays were taken, photos were done.....and so was I! They fitted me with the retainer that will be a major part of my life for the next few months, in addition to the permanent retainer they fixed to the back of my front and bottom teeth, but the retainer is REMOVABLE, so for meals, presentations, etc., I have to say - my teeth look like a million bucks!

Soon after, I had a full examination done with my regular dentist (who first recommended me to Dr. Metaxas over four years earlier!). He was amazed. My braces had caused NO DECALCIFICATION STAINS! None. In fact, he said that he normally recommends a whitening for his patients after braces, but said it was not really needed in my case unless I wanted it because the teeth were in such great shape. We had a look at my x-rays from 5 years ago to now, and he was amazed with how far it has come!

And that's pretty much that! It's been a long while, but I can honestly say it was completely worth it. The surgery - for those of you considering it - is a scary proposition. And I'm not going to lie, the first few days are rough, but at no point was in unbearable! And once the swelling comes down, I have no doubt you are going to be extremely happy with your result, as I am with mine, and as most bloggers who have had this surgery will tell you! As of today, which is almost 10 months since the surgery, feeling has almost completely returned. The roof of my mouth is still a little sensitive, but I have noticed progress, and have no doubt it will be completely back to normal soon enough. Besides, you don't really notice it anyway!

If you have any questions for me, feel free to drop me a line anytime at paulkennedy1982@hotmail.com.

Take care!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 987 - 27 Days Post-Op

It's been 27 days?!? They're going by fast now!

I woke up this morning thinking about how I was one month ago today. In short - I was a wreck! The surgery was only three days away, I was scrambling around at work to finish stuff up, and I was nervous about what I was about to go through. Very nervous.

But, here I am a month later, a month later and feeling better and better each day. I'm pretty much eating everything now - even things that require a SMALL amount of chewing (i.e. last night I had a hamburger for the first time.....no bun obviously!.....the hamburger meat falls apart easily enough with some light chewing, so it was all good!). There is still a good amount of swelling inside the mouth, but I don't think the swelling is noticable any longer to an outsider. The numbness is still there - I've accepted the fact it will probably be like that for a few more months at least.

The one new thing I've noticed is a little discomfort in my left cheek when I bite into the splint. I'm going to ask about this the next time I go in for an appointment, but I'm speculating that I'm feeling this discomfort because I'm working some muscles in that cheek that simply have never been worked before! The left side of the jaw - as you know from my pre-op photos - has never been functional, and now all of a sudden it is theoretically perfectly functional.....so the muscles that control my bite are getting a workout they have never had before. Again, this is just me speculating! As long as it's nothing seriously WRONG with me, I'm sure it's fine whatever it is!

Nothing much else to report on. I do not see the surgeon again until next Wednesday. And the Wednesday after that is the day the splint is removed! Needless to say that I am looking forward to this!

I'm sorry about the pics.  I will get these online very shortly.

Take care all,

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 979 - 19 Days Post-Op

I am probably the worst patient to wear a splint! I'm eating EVERYTHING I can get my hands on as long as it's small enough to fit! Hahaha. Eating so many solids means that things are no doubt getting lodged in that splint, but right now, I don't care! I'm loving the food! In just the past three days, I've had spaghetti and meat sauce three times, several bowls of meatball soup, chili, pancakes, toast, scrambled eggs, chicken, french fries (made soggy with gravy!), etc. Holy. I may weigh MORE now than I did three weeks ago! Hahaha. I definitely bought too many Boost's and Ensure's!

So my tone should convey that I'm in good spirits, which is kind of strange considering I'm going back to the office tomorrow! Honestly, my work has been very understanding and supportive of this process. I have been working from home for the last week and a half, and never once did I hear a complaint or anything in regards to the time away from work I was taking.

I'm still swollen, but it's going down. Stitches are starting to fall out of my mouth...kinda gross, but whatever! I also shaved my goatee off. I hated that thing. It was a weird feeling to shave an area of your face that's completely numb, but I felt MUCH better after. Ugh, how did I once have a goatee for five years????

Now that the swelling is fairly minimal, I can really get a good look at the actual teeth. Wow. They line up! Left side and right side line up with each other! No gaps. However, I'm still concerned I have a crossbite. The surgical hooks between my two front and bottom teeth do line up perfectly, but I'm concerned that the hooks themselves are not QUITE in the middle of the teeth. In fact, I think the top hook is skewed a little to the left, while the bottom is skewed a little to the right, creating a crossbite. That would SUCK if this was the case, but at this point, I can't do anything about it. I'm going to ask Dr Holmes about it again this week.

I spent the weekend away from home this weekend and went to see my parents for Mother's Day. It will be the last Mother's Day before my wife becomes a Mother herself, so I figured it would be a good opportunity to see her. I also got to spend time with my brother and sister. My sister's off to university next year. Hard to believe. I feel it wasn't THAT long ago that I went off to school. But it has been 11 years. We're all getting older. It's starting to get scary.

Anyway, I promise to post the post-op pics in the next couple of days. Twenty-two days left with this splint!! Woohoo!

Take care,

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 973 - 13 Days Post-Op

So today marks the second post-op appointment with the surgeon. I have no reason to think things will go bad – I can tell I’m healing up day by day. Things are still more uncomfortable than comfortable, but there have been a few breakthroughs in the last few days. First, I’m off the morphine. I decided I didn’t really need it anymore. Instead, I’m just taking Advil when needed. Advil’s a good drug to have because it acts as an anti-inflammatory in addition to a painkiller, so be sure to have Advil if this is a surgery you’re going through! Second, I’m eating FOOD again. Okay, not all foods. Not even close to all foods. But I’m managing to eat soft foods such as pasta. As long as the pieces are small enough for me to swallow them whole, then that’s good enough for me! Most of the time, a small piece of pasta may get lodged in the splint, which is kind of annoying, but I have so far been successful at flushing out the splint after eating.

Cleaning my teeth is getting easier and easier. It generally takes up to 10 minutes to do, and every time I eat, I have to do it, so it takes a good portion of my day, but the food is worth it! I use a baby toothbrush with toothpaste, and then again with baking soda. I use the baking soda because a side-effect of the medicated mouthwash is stained teeth. My teeth are definitely not as clean as I normally would keep them – I use an electric toothbrush usually – but I’d say I’m doing a pretty good job so far.

Reintroducing food into my diet also means that the weight loss is probably going to stagnate for a while. Right now, I am at 12 pounds lost – which isn’t nearly as high as I thought it would be (good thing!). Still, those 12 pounds make me the lightest I’ve been since my third year of university (that was a bad year for me!). In the three years since having the SARPE, I am down nearly 45 pounds.

My pain has been managed pretty well. Like I mentioned, I am off the morphine, but continue with the Advil as needed. I will probably take a couple of them before leaving for the hospital for today’s appointment (I am on my own for today!). My left cheek, chin, upper jaw, and area of my nose between the two nostrils are the numb areas on my face. The left side of my face is still pretty swollen, but I think it’s going down every day. Overall, I think the recovery is going very well. So well in fact that I decided I was well enough to start working again. Luckily, my work affords me the ability to work from home – so I have been doing just that since this past Thursday. My plan is to continue to work from home this week, and then return to the office on Monday. Also, I did some socializing this past weekend. A friend of mine who I used to work with stopped by on Friday. She brought some soup with her, and I managed to talk for a few hours without being in too much pain. The day after, we went up to see my wife’s family (who I had already seen the week before, but still) for lunch. And finally, I capped off the night by seeing another friend of mine to watch the Mayweather/Cotto fight. While it is important to allow yourself adequate time to recover, I think it is important to try to get back to your normal daily activities as soon as you are able to, or at least some subset of those daily activities. I think it can help speed along the recovery process.

Anyway, again, I’m sure everything will go fine today, but I’ll be certain to update the blog again after today’s appointment! Four more weeks with this damn splint!!!

Take care,


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 968 - 8 Days Post-Op

The first week post-op is done!

Now that it is, I can officially tell everyone that, overall, the week BEFORE the surgery was actually worse than the week AFTER the surgery. I was suffering from the anxiety of the surgery for the week leading up to it, and that takes a toll. Note that I'm comparing the WEEK before and after surgery. Had I been comparing, say, the two days before and after surgery, the post-op was worse since those first couple of days were rough.

I had one of the worst sleeps last night. I kept coughing and coughing....but it's hard to really let the coughs loose because of the broken jaw. I think I was just very very phlegmy (gross, I know), and I spent a good portion of the night coughing and coughing. Luckily, the movie Vertical Limit was on TV. I saw that movie in the theatres when I was in high school (one of my fonder high school memories actually!), and it's a great flick. Finally got to sleep around 3:30am, but was able to stay asleep until 9:00am.

I also decided that I'm now well enough to do some work from home. I have an office job, so it's not like I'm doing anything physically strenuous. I basically spent the morning catching up on my emails (not done yet actually), and letting people know I'd be working from home for the next little while. If the recovery keeps going this well, I think I'll be able ot get back into the office a week from Monday. I'm still fairly weak, which is keeping me away from the office right now. The weakness was re-confimed yesterday when I decided to take a walk to a Starbucks for a coffee. It's just over a kilometer away. I didn't even make it to the half-way point before turning around and walking home. Too much. Ah well. I'm going to go for another walk today, but only to get some air. I'm not going to try to make it all the way to that Starbucks just yet!

Not much else to update on. The swelling still persists but is receding and I THINK the bruising may  be receding as well (tough to tell - it could be just starting!). Hopefully this recedes a bit more by Monday.

I finally took a look at my post-op pictures....they ain't too pretty. In fact, I'm not too sure I want to post them. When I saw other people's pics, I'm not going to lie, they freaked me out a little bit....probably unnecessarily so. I certainly did not FEEL as bad as I looked, but still. I'll probably still post them, but I want to be clear that EVERYONE'S experience is different, and again, I didn't feel nearly as bad as it looks.

Take care all!