Thursday, December 11, 2008

10 months post-surgery

It's 10 months since my jaw surgery. WTF?

In good news, The Jaw Master Grand Pouba of Physiotherapy with Thumbs of Steel has signed off on me, meaning that I don't have to go every week to get my jaw stretched anymore. My range of motion is somewhere between 42-46 mm now (depending on the day), which is well within normal range. Though he did mention that he expected that I would be a "long-term intermittent" patient of theirs.

I'm okay with the intermittentness, seeing that each appointment costs me $42 and doing that weekly for almost a year (on top of my many other appointments) has gotten pretty expensive.

Right now, my regular physiotherapist has me coming for TMJ classes, where I learn stretches for my jaw that I can do without her. She wants me to do them everyday for a period of time, with our sessions to evaluate whether I'm doing them correctly. Then, the responsibility will fall on my shoulders and I will only go to physio when the pain/tension gets really bad, due to stress, etc.

My braces are still on (having been taken off for three months and then put back on because my upper teeth relapsed), which causes some tenderness. Since they've been back on, I've noticed that my joint has been kind of crunchy and poppy when I open my mouth really wide. I hope that the joint is just settling and adapting to the new position of my teeth and that this isn't going to become a long-term problem.

In not-so-good news, I've been continuing to have problems with fatigue and depression. I haven't felt physically well since my surgery. I've tried to be upbeat and proactive about everything, but the stress of the long recovery and anemia seems to have taken its toll on my body and mental health.

It took a long time for my doctor and me to figure out that this is a depression, because there were so many other things going on with my body, and because the symptoms I was experiencing were very physical - headaches, aches and pains, fatigue, exhaustion, etc. I also have a family history of this kind of thing, so it's not too surprising that this is my body's reaction to something as intense as major jaw surgery.

So, I'm off work for awhile to rest and get this fatigue/depression taken care of. I'm optimistic that in the next few months, I'll get back to my old fabulous self, with a winning smile that I can't help but show off.


Saphira said...

Your strength always amazes me. You are a fighter! Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

So good to hear from you. Your posts are consistently thoughtful, honest, and deepen my thinking about what to expect with my upcoming surgery. Thank you for that. Appreciate your discussion of fatigue and depression post surgery, and hope you will continue to raise this concern in your forthcoming blog updates. Depression and fatigue are two matters that I am worried about because I already struggle with these difficulties. Would appreciate learning more about the strategies you have used (or that others have used)
for managing fatigue and depression after surgery.
Bella, take good care, and thank you again for blogging about these post surgery challenges. By the way, do you have sleep apnea? I do, and this is
one reason I am having the surgery (need my upper and lower jaw each advanced 12mm plus tongue advancement surgery too (ouch). Am currently enduring the torment of metal braces on all my teeth, and should be ready for surgery, at the latest by next July).


Anonymous said...

Hi Bella-- Hang in there! I hope you continue to heal, thoroughly and well. I appreciate how hard it can be, dealing with depression, plus fatigue. Worst part, I think, is that depression can be insidious and largely invisible, even to oneself.
It has been immensely helpful to me that you've shared so much of what this experience has been like for you. I'm having lower jaw advancement in 6 weeks.
Take care,

Bella said...


I'm sorry it took so long to get back to you with an answer to your question. I'm working on it and it will be up later today.

As for sleep apnea, it wasn't a problem for me, but my lower jaw only needed to be advanced 4 mm, as opposed to your 12, so I'm sure you'll see a huge difference. Good luck!

Bella said...


Thanks for the supportive comment. It's a bit difficult to write about depression, but everyone's responded so positively to me putting it out there that it's encouraging.

Good luck with your recovery. I hope it's going well!


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