I had my revision surgery on the 18th. The 12 days off of work leading up to it are a blur at this point. The whole month is a blur. All of the prep, the appointments, tests, xrays, scans, etc. All of the food....the glorious food. I always tell people don't feel bad for me when I'm banded shut and not eating, because I had a full on food free for all the last year or so, putting on the 20lbs I wanted to gain before surgery. But I had a few good "last suppers:"
The anesthesiologist asked what I remembered from the last surgery and I told him I remember waking up on the table when they were all done and saying that my gown was too bloody and they needed to change it. He was surprised, so I think he made damn sure this time I was full on knocked out. I don't remember a thing, and I was out in recovery for a lot longer before coming to. And a lot more is hazy that first 1-2 days post op vs. remembering everything and being super alert the first time. I was so alert I could have driven myself home the first time. I needed to be wheeled out of the hospital this time and I don't even remember the drive home...and honestly the next 48 hours is kind of a blur too. I am seeing facebook posts and messages that I don't even remember making in the slightest! Kind of scary!
Waking up in recovery was rough. Like last time, I wasn't sick in the slightest. Right away my mom, my husband, and a nurse was around my bed and first words out of their mouth was "It went great with no complications." Matt knew I needed that because I've had these nightmares of waking up and hearing there were all sorts of problems and they basically could only partially fix me because of them. I could feel right away I was a LOT more swollen than last time. It was incredibly hard to breathe. I could feel the difference in my top jaw right away that there was less strain with it moved back and the lower moved forward. Even through the massive swelling it was less strain, and in the mirror I could even see my cupids bow back on my top lip! Matt pointed out in the mirror that my midlines were dead on, and I didn't look slanted and crooked like last time. Everything was dead straight. I couldn't believe it. And I didn't want to get my hopes up just yet. I knew some time needs to pass, and I definitely wanted to see a post op xray. Anyway, the hospital experience was SO much better this time. Kaiser didn't even have a room for me. This place not only gave me a private suite with my own bathroom, but I had two nurses staffed just for me all night. They were super attentive, where at Kaiser I couldn't get anybody's attention and my mom had to chase a nurse down just to refill my ice bags. Here I got everything without asking for it. I had help going to the bathroom vs. last time almost passing out trying to get to the bathroom all night. I got proper meds without having to beg for them. One of the other differences this time is the amount of blood I had. So much blood! At least this time the nose bleeds haven't been as bad. They've been pretty consistent, but not out of the normal vs. the one I had after the nurse in the Kaiser hospital shoved the affrin tube way to far and hard up my nose and it gushed for hours after! Anyway, I've heard of people talk about having to suction the hell out of their mouth the first day or two, but after my last surgery I had ZERO bleeding. I didn't even have anything at my bedside for suctioning. This time I woke up with it in my hands and got shown how to suction, and I was basically awake all night doing this.
My surgeon came by at 7am to check up on me and approve me for discharge if all was well. Even though I was still way out of it, I was ready to go home again. And there is another difference from last time. My surgeon never even checked up on me last time. It was one of her residents. My surgeon this time did everything! My pre op work up, told my family how I was, talked to them after surgery, did my discharge the next morning. It was super comforting knowing I was in the good hands of my surgeon this time. I was also set up for a check up with him 5 days post op, and a check up with my ortho 7 days post op. Last time my surgeon didn't even lay eyes on me until 12 days post op, and then not again until 4 weeks post op. My ortho didn't care to see me until around 4 weeks post op. Another relief knowing I was getting the post op care this time that I didn't get last time.
Recovery was so much rougher this time. Those first few days are a blur to me, but I know I struggled. I think day 3 I had thoughts of going back to the hospital because I just couldn't breathe. I was SO swollen and gunky in my mouth with my nose clogged and I just couldn't get any air in, let alone try to get any liquids and nutrition shakes in. My surgeon had to cut through a lot of old scar tissue, grind out all the new bone that grew over my old hardware to remove it, and then make the fresh breaks and move everything and put new plates and screws in. He had his hands full with the amount of work he had to do, so I was expecting to not feel as great as my first recovery. I had more trouble managing the pain levels this time too. I have a high pain tolerance, so if I am complaining, you know it's bad. Despite the bad pain the first few days, I was still able to ease up on my pain meds by day 4-5 again. By day 5 yesterday, I took nothing during the day and then at night with my jaw spasming and clenching, I did take some vicodin and a muscle relaxer. Yes.... I slept well with that mixture ;) I also saw my surgeon for my check up yesterday. Again, we all felt so relieved that I was being checked on and cared for post op. I walked in and right away took the pano. The pano I dreaded taking and had so much anxiety over the last two years. To find out if I was right or not finally. They laid me back in the chair to get ready for the check up, and up on the main screen in the office, my new pano pops up. I immediately bursts out in to tears. My mom wasn't sure if they were good tears at first, and I was like "no no-- great tears. Everything looks so straight!! He did it!" I couldn't believe it. I am not a crier, especially in front of others, and I couldn't help but burst out in to tears for a little bit. Very happy tears.
I'm definitely over the worst of it now, but still have a rough month ahead of me. I am still pretty swollen as you'll see in the progress pictures below. The main issues I am having now is my antibiotic. It's REALLY rough. Usually I don't have stomach issues on antibiotic, but this one is getting to me, especially with the nausea. So funny because the first 4-5 days of recovery after morphine and vicodin, you can get constipated from that. On top of the fact that I am not eating, so not really producing much to go in that department anyway. But then to turn around and go from not going at all to the total opposite on the antibiotic... it's no bueno, especially when you need to be as hydrated as possible. Nobody likes to talk about TMI stuff like that, but in the interest of helping other patients out reading this, I'm just throwing it all out there. First few days post op try to get in as much fiber and everything that you can to go. I mixed fiber powder in with my water and drank apple juice. Prune juice works but I hate it and can't get it down wired shut either. If you have the same reaction to antibiotic I had, then switch it up and drink a probiotic powder supplement and drink some pedialyte or something to keep your electrolytes up. Coconut water was great for me too.
So, here is some of the carnage so far. This is by far the roughest hardest thing I've ever gone through in my life. I was telling my mom that theoretically speaking, if I had a kid and the kid got raped and the rapist could be punished by death or by this jaw surgery/recovery I just did, I would rather punish him with the jaw surgery and recovery vs death sentence. Yes, it was that bad. OK, maybe I am being a little dramatic, but you get the idea. I need to thank everybody again for all of their support. The community online has been great through all of this. My friends and family have been great through all of this. People at work have been amazing. I got get well baskets from two FAA departments at work. Tons of messages from people. Really means a lot to me and warms my heart.