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.