My Double Jaw Surgery: The Prep
Prepping my grill: A week prior to surgery I had to go back to my orthodontist and turn in my old invisalign retainers for new ones. These had cut-out areas for buttons which were going to help hold the upper splint into place and would also help to hold rubber bands. You can just barely make out these buttos in the photo below. This was a bit of an adjustment, as the buttons are somewhat pokey, and would irritate the inside of my cheek. Not quite bad enough to deal with constantly covering the buttons with orthodontic wax, but close.
We rented a hospital bed, as I was told I was going to have to sleep upright for 10-14 days. This was a good move, and not too expensive. We found multiple vendors, most of which ranged between $100-$200 for an electric hospital bed for 1-2 weeks including delivery, set up, and take away. Here's what my set up looked like:
Diet: If you've followed any of this blog, it won't take you long to figure out that my diet is generally low carb (LCHF - Low Carb High Fat), but I went strict low carb/keto about a week in advance in order to prep my body for the fasting that I was likely to endure. Fasting is much easier when your body is already used to running on ketones as its main fuel source. You can see my post about a previous fasting experience here. I started taking additional collagen 2 days prior to surgery. I would have added a lot of supplements into the mix, but my anesthesiologist asked that I not take anything for 3 days prior to the surgery, so I begrudgingly obliged. Unfortunately I did not sleep well the night prior to surgery, and in hindsight wonder if it would have been a good idea to ask for a sleep aid or benzo (like valium or halcion) for that night.
Supplements and meds: I organized a whole basket with them, and kept them up high where my little ones couldn't get into them. Here's most of my basket:
I'll go through a brief description of everything here going from left to right
NASAL PRODUCTS: Nasal decongestant, Xlear, and Restore Sinus Spray. These are all useful after any maxillary surgery that affects the sinuses. You can't blow your nose post-operatively for about a week, as it can cause air embolism. And there can be a lot of congestion after a procedure that involves the sinuses. So the decongestant is obvious, but should not be used for a long period of time. I preferred the Xlear and the Restore since they are non-pharmaceutical. The Xlear is a xylitol spray, and xylitol has natural antibacterial properties. Restore is water with trace minerals, and is used to cleanse, soothe, and hydrate.
Polyphenomenal - you can probably guess that this baby is pumped full of polyphenols, which we don't get enough of in a standard diet. Even in a more thoughtful diet it can be difficult to get an adequate amount and enough diversity. These are important anti-oxidants for cell protection and immune response, and during the post-surgical phase I want my cells at their strongest.
Vasayo Essentials - this is a multivitamin that uses a liposomal delivery system, so your body is able to actually use much more of what's in that capsule than you would find in a standard capsule or tablet.
Methyl B12 - essential for DNA synthesis. Involved in healthy brain cells and nervous system. This is one I just take on a daily basis anyway.
Methyl Folate - Involved in DNA, heart, and nervous system. Again, this is one I just take on a daily basis anyway.
Vitamin K2 - important for bone metabolism, as it helps to direct calcium out of soft tissues (where we don't want it) and into hard tissues (where we do want it).
Vitamin D3 - multifactorial. Especially important where I live and considering it's winter. See my longer post on it here.
Zinc with Copper - for immune function and to help with oxidative stress.
Iodine - for immune function and thyroid support.
Glutathione - master antioxidant used in detoxification and immune support.
Hydroco/APAP - aka norco. A narcotic for post-operative pain. Makes me nauseous, so I use it sparingly.
Hemp oil with CBD - this is a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory, and can also help with sleep. It does not cause a "high".
Ibuprofen (motrin is a common brand)- NSAID
Tylenol (this is the name brand of acetaminophen) - pain reliever
Note that you don't want to use an ER (Extended Release) version of any med that you may need to crush, as those meds are specifically meant to be taken in their whole form. I had children's motrin and children's tylenol just in case I wasn't able to swallow pills. But in hindsight these did not work well, as even though they are liquid, they are too thick, plus you need to take a lot of it, which is really challenging at first. I found it easier to mash up the adult pills and mix into water or bone broth.
***Not included in this photo is Magnesium, Vit C, and Fish oil. These bottles were too large to fit into my nice little basket.
Magnesium - Important for bone metabolism. Plus helps with constipation that the narcotics cause.
Vit C - Important for bone metabolism. Also a strong antioxidant. Essential for repairing and creating connective tissue. Can speed surgical healing.
Fish Oil - Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory.
Do I have expensive pee? You betcha.
You can see that I used a lot of supplements to help my body decrease inflammation, support immune function, But I would rather support my body during it's time of need and let my body excrete anything it doesn't need.
Bone Broth: Another critical pre-surgical move. This is loaded with the proper building blocks to help your body heal, especially collagen and minerals. Plus, it helps soothe your gut whilst enduring a lot of pharmaceuticals. We had a crockpot-full on the stove the night before so that it would be fresh and ready to go. For my super-basic recipe, click here. Plus, I drank an ample amount of bone broth the night before surgery, as I figured it was a good pre-op move.
Prepping my young children: We got a couple of kids books about going to the hospital. We talked a lot about how "mommy has surgery soon and her face will look different as it heals, and she might not be able to talk very well". Whenever our kids get hurt, we stress to them how amazing the human body is that it has such a great capacity to heal. And we stress that the majority of the healing comes while we sleep, so it is important to get extra rest when we are hurt or aren't feeling well. This helps them to trust their bodies and be confident that things will go back to normal soon. I think this also helps them understand that it will be okay when they see their loved ones going through a difficult time. We told the that I wouldn't be able to read to them for awhile and that daddy would be putting them to bed by himself for at least a few days.
Last but not least: Attitude. It's very easy to get wrapped up into the scariness of the procedure - I have to admit that there is something extra intimidating about having your face worked on. But instead of looking at it from a scared standpoint, I kept trying to re-frame this into an exciting next step on my journey to health. After all, sleep quality is SO important! Another aspect of this was gratitude and visualization. I tried to focus on the feeling of gratitude, that I was in a position to be able to try to fix this airway problem for good, all while being under the care of such an amazing team. I focused on visualizing a quick healing process, and I told myself I would heal twice as fast as expected. Mindset is so crucial to maximizing your bodies potential!