Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Smile pre-braces!

I tried to find some pictures of me for the "before/after" shots.  But low and behold, I'm not in very many pictures!!  I'm usually the photographer!  This is actually a pretty good picture of me and my friend Krys on one of the many Breast Cancer 3-Days walks that we did.  The teeth look pretty good here, but you can only see the top set, the bottoms are recessed.  I guess Ill have to get out the IPhone and do some "clinical" before/after shots!
(I'm on the left)

Jaw Surgery Shopping List

Stuff I have purchased special to get through surgery:

  • Notebook: to keep track of meds and to communicate
  • Small white board to white quick notes to hubby
  • Magic Bullet Deluxe: to prepare smoothies and grind food.  It comes with several small glasses  so I won't have to keep cleaning the blender. There are also containers you can blend and store in, and lids that strain, as well as "on the go" lids!
  • Squeeze top puréed organic baby food. Mostly for the fiber content.
  • Soy milk in vanilla, coffee, and chocolate!
  • Aquaphor: for super stretched lips and dry skin after surgery
  • Boogie wipes: pre moistened towelettes to clean my face (found in the baby section of the grocery store) they look pretty ingenious !
  • Saline spray*
  • Afrin*
  • Sudafed*
* these items were on the surgeons list of stuff to aid in recovery

If I think of anything more ill let you know!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On your mark - get set.....!

Things are starting to move a little more quickly this week.  I have managed to keep myself occupied by working long work days, vacationing, and visiting haunted Bed and Breakfasts in Tennessee! (Really - a haunted house - not just one of those things that people dress up at and jump you from behind with a chain saw!! check out the Thomas House on Ghost Hunters weekends!) Diversion is very good!  The problem is that I have done so much prep at work and home, I am now left to my own demise and imagination!!  Not a good thing!! 

I received a call from the hospital yesterday and they just needed to verify my surgery date and insurance information.  "Ms Murphy", Yes, "Are you coming to see us Friday?", yes, "Can we verify your insurance information?", yes, "Can we get the remainder of your out-of pocket payment prior to you coming in on Friday?", no - the surgeon has first dibs on that!, "Okay then, we will bill you." Great - thanks.
That was the extent of it.... warm and fuzzy all over.  After that I got a little shaky with little butterflies in my stomach.... now its real!   Yesterday afternoon I went to the surgeons office for my pre-surgical everything;  x-rays, bite molds, information and disclaimer forms, AND a "free" plastic cup, special mouthwash and syringe, feeding syringe, and a handful of prescriptions for everything from narcotics, antibiotics, to anti-nausea stuff!! 

Dr.Jo was very reassuring and reviewed the entire procedure with me again.  After he was done I felt pretty good about the entire ordeal.  He is still hoping that I will be there just one night, when I wake up I will only have 2 little rubber bands holding my bite closed, If he gives me the green light on my follow up appointment on Monday I can graduate from "non-particle" liquids to fork soft foods as tolerated!! (In order to pass his inspection there can be no sign of any infection and I have to keep my mouth as clean as possible).  He did say I will have the splint on my upper jaw for 6 weeks to keep it stable (because he is splitting it in two!)

He then followed all of that with, "Now, because of your age (I cant believe he is still saying this!!!!) and that you are a re-do (because of the prior surgery in 1985) there are a few things that you need to be aware of that may happen."  Here it comes.... (the sound of sinister music filled my ears as he continued).  Because of the previous surgery he may not be able to split the bottom jaw as neatly as "usual", therefor he may have to use larger screws and plates - resulting in two small poke incisions on the outside back of each side of my lower jaw.  This will be where he places the larger screws. Ok - I can handle this!  They will heal invisibly!
Also, depending on the integrity of the bone (because of my age and prior surgery) I may wake up to being hard-wired shut.  The chances are slim, but greater than an "ordinary" case.  There may also be some numb spots on my lip and chin that never come back.  Great!  Lastly he said, "Hey!  Did you know you have a heart murmur??", Why no - I didn't!  He said it was very faint and nothing to be concerned about, but if I went to my GP to mention it to them and "tell them your Dentist found it!"  He said this with a little smirk on his face that was quite amusing!  They loaded me up with all of my instructions, notes, phone numbers, prescriptions and off I went. 

Today I dropped off all of my prescriptions at the pharmacy and called the hospital for my pre-surgical assessment.  That is pretty much the end of what I need to do other than show up in Atlanta Friday at noon!  As I said, I left the Dr's office feeling pretty good - almost a false sense of calm.  Last night I started thinking there is no time to get everything done prior to surgery, and then realized... its all done.  Now what?  So, tonight I'm going to get my nails done and go to Target or Walmart for Boogie Wipes, tube baby food, Aquaphor, and a couple of the OTC nasal sprays that I am going to need! 

So - this may be it until after the surgery!!  If I think of anything else that I can post I will - or if you can think of anything I need to know... please tell me!!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Well, today is "surgical hook" day!  I go to the OD this morning and they install the hardware... Not looking forward to more hooks! The ones that I have had since the beginning of braces have started bothering me over the last three months.  I think it is just because of ten way my teeth have shifted.  No pain, no gain - right?

Other big news! My wonderful husband went to Costco yesterday and picked up a Magic Bullet Deluxe for me to use after surgery! (who needs jewelry when you can get appliances!)  really, I'm very excited about this.  I have read several blogs that have mentioned that this is just more convenient than a big clunky blender. It comes with several smaller "cups" that. An be used to blend, drink, or save for later.  It also came with a couple of "to go" lids just like on my favorite to-go Starbucks mug!!

That's it for now!  To keep myself busy this weekend my friend Krys and I are headed to the north end of Tennessee for an overnight at a haunted Bed and Breakfast!!!! I've never done this but she is a pro! We are going with about 5 others, so if nothing else it will be fun just to be with this wacky bunch!!

My time line so far:
October 1985, both upper and lower jaw surgery to correct sever open bite, over bite, and receded lower jaw. This was after 3 years of braces!

February 2011: braces back on! Seem to be much more modern than the thick wires of old! Much less pain than in the "old days"

August 2012: OD said I was ready to see the surgeon an schedule!  Met with the surgeon, and due to some scheduling issues on my part, set the date for September 28th!

September 2012: September 19th- surgical hooks go on, September 24th - final. Consultation with OS.  At this appointment I will be having final models made, get all of my medicine prescriptions, instructions, and will be able to ask any questions that I may think of last minute!!

Starting to get a little nervous - but not scared... Yet!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

On your mark - get set - ALMOST GO!  The dates are set!!  I go to see the OD September 19th for sugical hooks (yeah)!  Presugical appointment with OS on September 24th - Surgery September 28th!  Im really glad to have the dates in the calendar, but now it makes it real.  Im just trying to figure out how to get everything done by then.  You see, Im self employed which means no 6 weeks medical leave so I have to carefully plan income.  I am taking a major certification test the first week of September and I am in constant study mode for that.  I have a vacation scheduled for the week of September 9th, but I can actually make this a working vacation by bringing my computer with me. And I have a "ghost hunt tour" on September 22nd with my crazy friend Krys! This should be a lot of fun... I think we are driving to Kentucky or Tennessee, staying overnight at a haunted hotel(?) and then driving home after a short amount of sleep!  It is probably a great thing to have going on the weekend before surgery to keep my mind off things!! 

I've been asked if I am scared or nervous.  I can honestly say "no" at this point, but that is not to say that I am not concerned.  Having gone through this before, I sort of know what to expect and I have excellent preparation skills!  By the time the surgery rolls around I will have my recliners all equiped with "stuff" such as blistex, boogie wipes, towels, pillows, etc.  All of my blenders will be ready and waiting.  The pantry will be stocked with high calorie, high protein, well balanced stuff to liquify!  (I actually read where you could add silken tofu to smoothies for added protein!) 

I think my husband, Mike, is more concerned than I.  When I don't feel well, its a good idea to leave me alone unless I let you know that I need something. He likes to help - it's his nature where I am concerned.  Sometimes I get a little grumpy when Im under the weather..... you get the picture!  So Mike - I am apologizing in advance for being less than my happy cheerful self :)

This brings me to my only big concern - only 1 night in the hospital??  Really???  I would love anyones thoughts on this.  I'm a pretty tough girl, so I hope this is right - but I dont want to go home and not be ready to be out of the hospital setting.  Does this sound like a reasonable concern??  I think so.

My next task on the blog is to figure out how to upload pictures!  I would like to add a shot of pre-surgery from 1984, what I look like now, and post op 2012~!  Until then  - keep smiling!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Well, It looks like the surgery will be scheduled for September 28th!  It would have been as soon as August, but one of the critical post-surgical follow up appointments would have fallen during a vacation week, and I will be out of town.  (I wasn't about to interrupt vacation!)

My first appointment with the surgeon will be this Wednesday.  He will be reviewing my records and re-taking all of the measurements and re-doing his assessments.  It was March 2011 when I last saw him, and I was only 1 month in braces at that time.  My orthodontist will be sending him my recent impressions from July 3rd to look at for my appointment Wednesday (they are both in the same building - makes it VERY convenient)!  Then, as far as I know, I don't see the surgeon again until the Monday before surgery.  But who knows what will go on before now and then???  I know that I have 2 appointments with the OD in August for molds and last minor adjustments and I guess they will decide when to put the surgical hooks and wires on.  I am assuming that they don't need to do this much sooner than the beginning of September!? 

So- we are off and running... sort of!  I have a feeling it will be 2 months of hurry up and wait.  I plan in using the time to get into pretty good shape to better weather the pending assault on my body!!  I'll also use some of the time to figure out how to post some pics on the blog - and start a photo journal!!

Until next time.....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Well here I am, age 50+ (a girl never gives her age!) and getting ready for my second major jaw surgery!  The first was back in 1984 when orthagnathic surgery was in its infancy, so to speak.  At least compared to today's standards.  Back then I was in braces for over 4 years... not the relatively comfy ones I am wearing today, but the big wire, big bracket, big PAIN ones of yesteryear!  I remember having monthly adjustments and taking Percocet for pain - after each!! My surgery was both top and bottom jaw along with palatial expansion.  I was diagnoses with "long face syndrome".  my surgery was 8 1/2 hours long, 3 days ICU, 2 more days regular room, wired shut with a plate for 6 weeks!  The good news was that it was relatively pain free (except for the staff infection I contracted in the hospital!!)

I changed dentists 2 years ago to a wonderful woman who's office is not far from my house.  On the first visit she bluntly stated, "I don't like your bite."  To which I replied, "are you kidding?!  This bite cost about $30,000!!"  After my second visit with her she told me she still didn't like my bite (not that I had done anything to change it) and strongly suggested that I see a highly recommended orthodontist for an evaluation.  You see, all of my molars have crowns except 1 as a result of an open bite - only contact being my back 2 teeth.  I also had a recent episode where I dislocated one side of my jaw (almost 2 years ago now).  So - her concern was that things were getting worse, not better. 

Fast forward - OD said treatment would be 18-24 months and surgery would be required.  It seems as though my jaws, teeth, etc had decided that it wanted to try and work its way back to where it was 25 years ago (don't we all want to do that!!).  They don't know if it was failed surgery or just slow relapse.... we will leave it at that! Had a consultation with the surgeon last March and he agreed with the OD.   The exciting news was (a) 1 night hospital stay - usually, (b) not wired shut - only rubber bands, (c) eating soft foods ASAP! - usually.  The only thing he kept saying (over and over) was "at your age"... REALLY?  At your age healing is slower, at your age you may have to stay an extra night, at your age there may be more complications!  OK - enough!!  I called him on it, and he almost seemed slightly embarrassed - but upfront non the less!  Now my turn:  At my age:  I have hiked the Grand Canyon twice since my appointment with him last year - once rim-to-rim, and this may Havasu Falls.  I have walked the Breast Cancer 3 day walk several times and still walk a zilliion miles!  I eat healthy and am in GREAT shape - for my age!!!!

To anyone who may follow my "new" blog... Let me apologize in advance.  I have never written a blog but I have seen Julie and Julia, and I have read many!  So here goes!  I will try and post regularly with the procedures and progress in hopes that it will help someone else out there!  I have found so much info and help with some of your blogs, that I almost felt obligated to give back.  What I did not find much of was info on people going through this AT MY AGE!  Will it be different?  I don't know.  We will find out....

My next appointment with the OD is on August 7th for molds, August 14th for an adjustment.  i am waiting for the OS orthagnathic coordinator (who knew?) to contact me to begin the process of doing whatever they need to get done.  I was preapproved with the insurance company last year, but because of the time that has passed I am sure they have to resubmit an update and do all of their presurgical stuff: molds, x-rays, measurements, etc....

So - when I know something new - you will too!