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My Double Jaw Surgery: Day 2 After Surgery

I woke up feeling like my face had been broken apart and put back together in a different location. Oh wait, it had.

We'll just call this my ouch day. Or a giant-chipmunk-ate-my-face day. You decide.

As you can probably imagine, this is not a great feeling. I do have to admit though, that it is less painful than several other things I have gone through in my 4 decades. A severely herniated disc that had pieces of fallen-apart disc lodged into my spinal nerve takes the cake, and unfortuntaley I dealt with that pain for months prior to surgery, and with a different sort of pain for months after the surgery. And then there is natural childbirth, which is hard to compare to anything, as it is a unique type of pain, plus it gets over quickly and is amply rewarded.

So, it was a not a big surprise that 24 hours after surgery my pain levels were floating between a 6 and a 7, despite being on a strict regimen of 600mg ibuprofen (motrin) every 4-6 hours (I just tried to stay at or below the daily limit of 3200mg) and 500-1000mg acetaminophen (tylenol) every 6 hours (again, trying to stay at or below the daily limit of 3000mg). I tell my patients to expect the majority of pain and swelling to peak at the 48-72 hour mark. So hopefully this is the worst of it.

CBD oil was added into a bit of water to help with pain as well. And I added in the narcotic (norco) when I felt like my stomach could tolerate it, and only after getting a bit of food in me, which was not very often.

I ended up partially fasting. "Food" at this point was constituted by bulletproof coffee and bone broth. For bulletproof coffee, see the official recipe here. I follow this recipe exactly, but then doctor mine up with some special additives.

For post-surgery, here's what I added to 16 ounces:

  • 2 scoops of Bulletproof Collagen Powder, which is 22g of protein.

  • 2 drops of peppermint essential oil

  • 1 teaspoon of Lakanto monkfruit drinking chocolate

  • 1/2 teaspoon of ceylon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon NewChapter fermented turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon NewChapter fermented aloe

This combination tastes great, mainly due to the peppermint and drinking chocolate, but still has no sugar. Plus there are detoxifying and anti-inflammatory effects from the cinnamon, turmeric, and aloe, as well as collagen protein which is needed in the extensive repair process that my body is undergoing.

Something else I noticed right around the 24 hour mark was that my swallowing improved. I had a bit more tongue mobility and it wasn't nearly as painful to swallow. So I was able to drink my bulletproof coffee in the morning, which helped me feel a bit more human. This was nice, because every time I looked in the mirror, I was reminded of Planet of the Apes.

Granted, I still drooled every time I tried to swallow something, but this was because I still had severe numbness of my chin and lower lip, and moderate numbness of my upper lip.

I had a one-day post-op scheduled with my surgeon, so that was my big outing for the day, hence why I have a hat and jacket on in the above photo. Forget a shower or makeup, it just wasn't happening. Even this short appointment took a lot out of me. Plus it's psychologically difficult to go out in public when your face feels so big and throbby. But I made it there and my surgeon was very pleased with how everything looked, and reported that I had less swelling than average. Was this due to all the icing, sleeping in a hospital bed, taking the arnica, or my positive attitude? No way to tell for sure, but I like to think that all of these things played a role.

He asked me if I felt that my airway had improved. I told him that when I was sleeping last night it did indeed feel better and I was able to breath through my nose most of the night. However, I was sleeping sitting up in a rented hospital bed, so it's hard to say at this point; only time will tell. And the CBCT (3D imaging) that they take in 11 days will be able to evaluate the airway space as well.

He gave me a little more detail about how the surgery went, and informed that I should have no long-term mental nerve damage. This was a big relief, because the mental nerve can be right in the line of fire in this procedure depending on individual anatomy, and it supplies sensation to the chin and lower lip. So permanent damage can feel mimic dental anesthesia, which feels like a fat lip and chin, and entails a lot of drooling. He did report that my palatal nerves were unable to be kept intact, so I will likely have long-term to permanent palatal anesthesia. At this point, I'm really not sure how big of a deal this is. I've done procedures on patients that I expect long-term palatal anesthesia or parasthesia, and I've never had a patient complain about it, but a few did mention it in passing. I've seen studies that state that patients typically do not complain about this issue affecting their quality of life. So I am hopeful that this will not affect mine. Plus, once I can actually open my mouth and get the laser energy aimed towards my palate, I will biostimulate the area, as I have heard anecdotal accounts of this being effective treatment for damaged nerves.

He reminded me that I should not blow my nose because of the risk of air emphysema, which can cause severe swelling under the eye. Sniffing air in forcefully is fine, but the risk comes with heavy nose-blowing, so it is advised to take a nasal decongestant. I also added xclear (a sinus spray with xylitol) and Restore sinus spray into the mix.

He was confident that I would start feeing better in a few days, and be back in the gym in 2 weeks.

After coming home and taking a nap, I realized that I regained a bit more mobility and it would be a good time to see if I could swallow a small pill. It took about a minute, but I was able to get it down the hatch and this seemed like such a huge accomplishment, because the previous method of crushing the pills and taking them with bone broth in a syringe was not only time consuming, but also tasted terrible and the acidity of the pills would burn my mouth. Pill swallowing was a definite win in my book. By that night I could medium sized pills down and added in all of the things I had wanted to start taking yesterday: Magnesium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K2.

My husband took the kids to school, then took them out after so that I could have much rest as possible. When they did see me they were very concerned for me and very sweet. It is hard to be around them and not snuggle and tickle them, but it's just not a good idea to do that at this point. They move so quickly and erratically that they could easily knock their heads into my jaw or flail their arms and feet into my face. So a little distance at this point is appropriate. And that means daddy gets to put the kids to bed for the next week or two. Because I'm temporarily off kid duty and full time on momma-heal-this-face-duty...

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