Saturday, October 11, 2008

8 months post-surgery

It's hard to believe eight months has gone by since my surgery. It feels like forever, making me wonder if it ever happened in the first place. But I need only look in the mirror to see my new chin and smile to remind myself that yes, it really did happen.

In good news, I went to my physiotherapist yesterday and we got up to 45 mm for the first time! I'm almost at the end of my range of motion, so that's incredibly exciting. I still have some work to do, though, because my muscle memory is interfering with my mouth opening properly.

When I open my mouth wide, my jaw swings to the right, because the muscles are remembering the way my jaw was positioned for 32 years (it was a bit asymmetric before). So, I have to start doing exercises using my hands to guide my jaw into the proper position while opening my mouth.

I've also noticed the muscle thing when I smile. My smile is still somewhat crooked because my muscles have been compensating for the asymmetric jaw. I have to start taking time each day to practice smiling in the mirror so my muscles can relearn what to do.

I have to spend hours in front of a mirror smiling at myself? How tragic.

In other good news, I have full feeling in my chin now - no more numbness! If I pay super close attention and use a very light touch across my chin and lower lip, I can tell that the feeling isn't 100% back yet, but it's barely noticeable (we're talking 99.999876%). There are still improvements every day and I am positive that I will get to 100% in the next few months.

In the not-so-good news department, I am one week away from getting my top braces back on to close a couple of gaps that opened up at the back.

Until then, I will be eating popcorn, corn on the cob, apples, and other crunchy "forbidden" foods to my heart's content!

Chow down!


stacy said...

Wow! It doesn't seem like it has been that long since your surgery. 45mm is absolutely amazing! I am so glad to hear you have done well.

ummul said...

Luar biasa! Sebentar lagi, Anda akan memiliki senyum yang indah! Selamat!

Great! Soon, you will have a beautiful smile! Congratulation!

(ummul - Indonesia)

Vivian said...

Hi I'm considering to go for a jaw surgery but I'm afraid of getting permanent numbness. Have you tried singing before you got your feeling back? Was your singing affected coz of the numbness? Thanks and congrats on your new smile!

Bella said...

Hi Vivian,

I was singing with my jaw wired shut ;) You can do pretty much everything while your chin/lip is numb, except you may get food all over your face, because you can't feel it. This was in the first few weeks after surgery. After that, the feeling came back pretty quickly, with just a little numbness left that gradually went away over the next two years.

Permanent numbness, from what I understand, isn't like having your face pumped with novicane or paralysis - it's more like a dead spot in the middle of your chin, or when you run your fingers over it, there's a bit of tingling.

I don't see why you wouldn't be able to sing with numbness, even in those first few weeks after surgery.

In my blog, I also talk about ways you can minimize or reverse numbness - like taking Vitamin B12 and going for acupuncture.

Good luck!


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