Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Surgeon and Neurologist

Well, this week has been full of appointments for me. Tuesday I had my 3rd post-op appointment with my surgeon. It was just a check up and to see if he would give me the "green light" to start chewing. HE DID!!!!! It's been just over 7 weeks without chewing. WOW, the time really did fly by. He told me that I am now on an "unrestricted" diet! But that I do have to slowly introduce things back in. Like, don't jump right to pizza crust or steak. Start off slowly and work the jaw muscles back up to it. But in a few weeks I should be back to eating what I was before. That's good, but it's also scary. I have lost 15 pounds, and I REALLY want to keep them off. So now that I am able to eat anything, I will have to be extra careful. I have switched to smaller plates. I'm the type that I will eat what is on my plate. So with a smaller plate it looks full with less food.

I also asked him about when I can get my implant for my fake tooth. He wants me to wait at least 6 months, and until the braces come off. So hopefully that will be at the same time. I'm still not sure if I will have my surgeon do the implant or my regular dentist. My ortho got me confused last time I was there. He said something about having less people in there, so I thought he meant having the surgeon do it. But then he made it sound like if the surgeon did it, my regular dentist would still be the one to make the implant. So I'm confused. But I have time to decide on that. And it's just an office procedure with local numbing, so it's not that big of a deal. I also had to ask when I could play volleyball again. He said he wants me to wait until I'm 4 - 6 months post-op. So that's only another 2 - 4 months. He said that the first surgery went so well; he would like to leave it that way! But I'm hoping that I will be pregnant by then, so I won't be able to go back anyway!!! We'll see though.

So I went to Wendy's tonight with my husband for dinner. I got a Jr. Cheeseburger. It was quiet disappointing. It wasn't nearly as enjoyable as I thought it would be. I still can only open less than an inch, so I had to squish it first. Then because I can't fit much in the back teeth I had to take the tiniest bites. I was actually missing my soup and mushy foods. This will definitely take some time to get use to. I was also noticing that I kept biting my cheeks. Has any one else had this problem?

Today I went to the new neurologist about my headaches and dizziness. WOW, he has to be the worst doctor I have EVER been to. First his "assistant" comes in. I HATE that. They ask all of these questions, and then the doc comes in and asks the SAME questions. Why are they wasting our time? But anyway... she asks me all of these questions and is mainly concentrating on my headaches. I have a constant headache. I honestly can't remember the last time I didn't have a headache. They are just ALWAYS there, granted, some days are worst then others, but it's always there. I can deal with those. It's sad to say, but I've dealt with them for so long, that I sometimes forget it's even there.

My main concern is the dizziness. Oh, which by the way was accompanied this weekend with total loss of short-term memory. I kept asking the same questions over and over and over and over. I finally just quite talking because I was afraid that I would just be repeating myself, and honestly, it scared me. Back to the doc (who I think got his degree out of a Cracker Jack Box)… The assistant keeps asking me the same question, just worded differently. I finally say to her "You just asked me that and my answer was ....." She gave me a dirty look. Well, then stop asking me the same question. It felt like she was trying to trick me. So I am trying to tell her about all of the different doctors and there diagnosis over the past 6 years. She doesn't really seem to care and keeps interrupting me and asking me different questions.

So she leaves and fills the doctor in. He comes in and asks me the SAME questions she just asked me multiple times. Ummm, hello, I'm going to keep giving you the same answer. He too seems to be more concerned with the headaches then with the dizziness. I tell him how I use to be on Depakote, but that I had to go off since we want to start trying to get pregnant. He tells me that I have migraines. NO SHIT, I told you that!!! He tells me that he would give me medicine for it, but that all of them are known to cause birth defects. I tell him that I don't want medicine, I want a diagnosis. And I don't feel that this is a correct and accurate diagnosis. By this time, I am starting to get a little emotional. I cry at the drop of a hat, and today was just not a good day. He asks me what I want him to do. I tell him that I have been dealing with this for over 6 years and it is starting to have a huge effect on my life. I just want to know what is wrong with me, is that too much to ask for? He has me walk over to the wall where there is a poster, and he shows me the signs of Basilar Migraines. I fit some of the signs. But the only way to diagnosis this is pretty much by eliminating other things. He again asks me "What do you want me to do?" I say, "I want you to care. Every other doctor I have been to just wants to shove medicine down my throat. As soon as I tell you I am not going to take any meds, you seem to want to brush me off." "Well what do you expect me to do?" is his response. I asked him "Don't you want to run any tests to make sure it's not something more serious, rather then just giving me a blanket diagnosis?" So he goes "Well, I can order you an MRI. You tell me what tests you want and what you want to be tested for, and I can order them." ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?! Ummm, last time I checked my degree was in Computer/Electrical Engineering, NOT medicine. Isn't that HIS job to figure out what tests to run and what to test for? Both him and his assistant asked if my thyroid was ever tested, and they were both surprised when I said no. But do you think that he wanted to test that? No. So I grab my coat and my purse and tell him that I am leaving. That I will find a different doctor that is actually willing to figure out what is wrong with me. So I go to check out (why I have to pay the co-pay for nothing is beyond me) and he wrote on my chart that he wanted to see me again in 3 months and he had an order for an MRI. SERIOUSLY? I told the receptionist that I didn't need another appointment; there was NO way I was coming back. I didn't care that there were other patients there that could hear me. They deserved to know that he sucked.

So I left his office crying and got to the car to call my mother. She was in shock. She has had some neurological problems since a fall several years ago, and she really likes her neurologist. I am tempted to drive over 2 hours to see hers. At least he is willing to figure out what is wrong with you, and not just brush you off. At one point he even said that my worrying about it is just making it worst. Basically that it was just in my head (um yeah, that's why it's called a headache!). And he told me to make sure that I get enough sleep and don't skip meals. Well, if he were to have read my record he would see that I am hypoglycemic, so there is NO way that I skip meals. I'll get shaky before I get a headache from not eating.

So, that was my lovely day! I now get to try to find yet another neurologist in my area. Everyone that I know has only gone to Neurosurgeons, and not neurologists. So I'm going blindly here. That pretty much ruined my day and put me in a down mood. I was so looking forward to finally figuring what was wrong with me... and I get this guy.

But on a happier note, if anyone is still reading this since I have written a book... Brandy gets her braces off tomorrow!!!!! Are all of us brace-faces jealous? I know I am. But she deserves it. She has been though a lot. I can't wait until I join her!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

First Post-Op Ortho Adjustment

I had my first post-op ortho adjustment on the 13th. It was interesting, to say the least. They are all still so amazed at how well I did. They actually thought that I would still be out of work. I was back for 3 weeks at that time! They were saying that the patients that they send to Dr. Lewis (my OS) always seem to heal much faster. He is just SOOOO gentle. Bob and I actually noticed that before the surgery. He is was just so gentle when he would look in my mouth. I would DEFINITELY recommend him to anyone! So if any one reads this and live in New York state, check him out. His website it under my “Useful Links”.

So I FINALLY got my arch wires changed! Which means that the surgical hooks are now GONE!!!! I had those puppies on for over 4 and a half months! It’s amazing how much better the teeth look without them... can’t wait to see how they will look without the braces! I still have the underlacing on. Which only sucks because I was looking forward to flossing without having to thread when they had the arch wires off. Oh well, I got a good brushing in. Which was the first time that I used an adult tooth brush since surgery. Still a little difficult to do that.

So after they took the arch wires off, they put a “button” on the back of my left #2 tooth. If you don’t know what a button is (I didn’t until then), it is like a little button that they put on the back of the tooth. Then they use this “rubber wire” that wraps around to the front to get it to turn out a little. I was actually noticing a few days before that it seemed to be turned in a little. Well, not anymore! I felt bad for the assistant. It took her 4 tries to get the rubber wire to stay wrapped around the button. The first three tries she was trying to be nice to me and trying to just tie the rubber wire in the front around the bracket. Well, as soon as I touched it with my tongue, it would come untied. So she had to do it the “mean” way. She has to force the rubber wire between my contacts (between my teeth). Yup, that hurt! But I think it had moved to where it needed to be by the time that I left the office! It hurt for a little bit, but it’s not like I can chew or use my teeth anyway, so at least I didn’t have to worry about that.

They also gave me some rubber bands to wear just at night. It hooks to all 4 of my “eye” teeth to try to “settle” the bite some. It’s not too bad since I only have to wear them at night. But when I wake up, I notice that my bottom lip and chin are all pins and needles. I wonder if it has to do with the rubber bands.

Oh, has this happened to any of you? I am a clencher at night. I don’t grind, just clench my teeth (yeah, it would wake me up after surgery because it hurt so bad. The surgeon said that a lot of people after the surgery don’t do it anymore, but not me!). Since my bottom lip and chin are numb, I will wake up and realize that I am actually BITING my lower lip. Twice now I have woken up and bit right though it and had a big chuck of my lip just hanging there. I guess it’s a good thing that I can’t feel, because it would probably be pretty sore for a few days after that.

I go back to the OS next Tuesday. Hopefully he will give me the “green light” to start chewing again! I have been trying to chew a little bit, but it just feels SO weird. And since I can’t open that wide, it’s not like I can get much in there anyway.

My volleyball team and spouses all went out for dinner last night. It was my first experience eating in public (other then at work). I was actually pretty proud of myself! I even used a REAL fork!!! I did bring my baby spoon in case I needed it, but I figured I would get some weird looks. I had some really good Mac and Cheese! Granted, in the time that everyone else finished there meals, I ate about 1/10 of mine, but that’s all I can handle right now. If I sort of guided the fork with my tongue, I was ok. I did try using a fork about a week ago at home. NOT a good experience. I ended up stabbing myself in my lip. Of course it didn’t hurt since it was numb, but it did draw some blood! Oops!

I will post some new pics later. Oh yes, I finally got my new camera. And my new car yesterday!!! A Nissan Murano! I LOVE IT!!! Had to trade in my sporty car for a more family friendly one. It was sad, but this means that we are getting closer to having kids!!!!!! I can’t wait.

I hope that everyone has a GREAT Thanksgiving! We are headed to my parent’s and my sister’s for the holiday. So it will be good! I love spending time with my family, that’s why this is one of my favorite times of year. And I want to let you all know that I am SO thankful for all of the support you have showed me. Having every one of you has made this journey SO much easier! THANK YOU!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Who would have thought a person's looks could go through all of this in only one month? The human body really is an amazing thing in how it heals itself.


5 days post-op

1 month post-op


1 month post-op. My lips ALMOST touch without me having to force them! The surgeon said after the numbness wears off and the braces come off, they will FINALLY touch!!!



5 days post-op

1 month post-op



5 days post-op

1 month post-op

Not much new on the jaw front, but SOOOO DIZZY

I am now officially over 1 month post-op! It's weird; it feels like my surgery was AGES ago, but yet at the same time it feels like it was just yesterday. But anyway...

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I have been SOOOO sick! I have LOTS of stuff wrong with me, and it's been taking it's toll this week. I have been so dizzy and nauseas it's not even funny. I am pretty use to this and usually I just go about my day and ignore it. If I were to stay home from work every time I was dizzy, I would NEVER leave the house. Well, it got the best of me this week. I had to have my husband drive me home from work on Wednesday because there was NO way that driving was safe for me. Which of course meant that I had to skip class, and of course we are having a test on Monday. I even ended up staying home from work on Thursday and Friday. TWO DAYS!!! That's A LOT for me. I decided to call my doctor on Friday and go in and see her. I use to take a daily medicine for my dizzy spells, which one neurologist said was a type of migraine. If I missed just one dose of this med, within 2 days I was SO dizzy. Well, I have been off of it for over 3 weeks now. I have to go off of it in order to get pregnant; it's known to cause birth defects. So I decided to go off of it when I was home recovering so that way if I got sick, I was already home. The first 3 weeks were GREAT. A few slight dizzy spells, but nothing to even mention. Until this week.

So my doctor wants me to go back to another neurologist and have more tests done. At one point they said that I had Chiari Malformation. Basically, the way I like to describe it, is that my brain is too big for my skull and it pushes on my spinal cord. Then another neurologist said that he didn't think that's what it was, that it was a heart problem. So I went to a Cardiologist who of course diagnosed me with Posterual Orthostatic Tachacardia Syndrom (POTS). The fix for that... beta blockers, which of course lower your blood presure, so he told me to eat more salt (he said it was the first time he ever told someone to do that, usually cardiologists tell you to eat LESS salt). Well, that wasn't working so well, so they sent me to an Ear Nose and Throat doctor. Of course he had to diagnose me with something too. He said it was Menieres Disease. What's the fix for that... a LOW SODIUM DIET!!! Are you kidding me? One doctor tells me to eat MORE salt, another one tells me to eat LESS salt. Needless to say I had my fill of doctors, so I just stopped the beta blocker and try to keep an eye on sodium.

So now they want to do more tests to see if maybe Chiari really is the problem. Of course how do they fix that... Brain Surgery! And I was all freaked out about Jaw Surgery.

It also could be withdrawal symptoms from another med that I had to get off, Celexa. If any of you out there take that, when you go off make sure you do it SLOWLY! I did it in about 3 weeks, but after looking it up, it can sometimes take 6 - 12 MONTHS to get off of it without withdrawal symptoms. I can stay on that and get pregnant, but I would prefer not to be on any meds if I don't have to be.

Anyway, here are some pics from Friday. My sister turned 30 on Friday and her husband threw a surprise party. So of course I HAD to go even though I thought I was going to die (there was NO way I was going to miss my sister's 30th surprise party!). Oh, and of course they live 2 hours away!!! That was fun. Excuse the look on my face. I was holding my sleeping 4 year old niece. Right after these pics were taken, I had to give her quickly to my father and run outside. If I was the throwing up type, that's what I would have been doing. My mouth got all water and stuff like before you vomit, but it never came out. I probably would have felt better. Oh well.

I wasn't kidding when I said I didn't feel well!

So on the jaw front... It's actually doing pretty good. Nothing really new to report. Still doing my exercises. Still on a "no chew" diet, still using a baby spoon. I probably could use a regular one now, but it just feels so weird in my mouth now that I am used to the baby spoon. I have to go to the ortho on Tuesday for my first adjustment. That should be fun! I know that they are putting buttons on my upper back teeth, so I can just imagine what weird rubber band configuration he will give me. I will update you all then!

Thanks for listening to me complain about my dizziness!

Oh, just thought of this. My sister and mother were with some of my sister's friends on Saturday that were at the party on Friday. We are all scrap booking freaks, so they were at a scrap booking get together. I wasn't feeling well, so there was NO way I was making it. But anyway, my sister's friends were saying how good I looked. They couldn't put there finger on it, but that I looked different! My sister explained to them that since the jaw surgery I have a rounder face. I always had such a LONG face. They were all surprised at how much of a difference the surgery made and how great I was looking for just having my jaw cut apart! It was good to hear that others notice the difference. It's hard to notice minor things like that on yourself since you see yourself everyday, and since compared to some of your surgeries, mine was pretty straight forward and didn't make as much of a difference.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

First week back to work, visit with surgeon, and a complaint about people!!!

Well, I am done with my first official week back to work. Yeah, I know it's only Thursday, but we just started a new 9/80 work week, so we get every other Friday off! Part of the reason I took that third week off, so that when I went back, it was just a short week! It was good to get back to work. I enjoyed my time off, and I did keep myself busy, but I needed more interaction with people.

It was nice to hear all of the compliments and shocks with the way I look. I guess a lot of people thought that I would still be all swollen and bruised. I'm not. I can still feel a little swelling, but it's not noticeable except to me. I was surprised at how little swelling I did have, but then again, I didn't have ANY swelling when I had my wisdom teeth pulled.

I think I only actually worked a little more then half time this week with everyone stopping by to see how I was doing. And of course running into people in the halls made a quick trip to the restroom take 30 minutes! But it was great to see how everyone cared and was thinking of me!

I had an appointment with my surgeon this afternoon. He took the stitches out, FINALLY! They were really only bothering me on the right side. I had a tooth missing on that side and the end of the stitches were poking though. And of course I couldn't leave them alone and had to keep playing with them. When he was cutting them out I could tell I was getting feeling back because just the tiniest touch KILLED! I didn't think it would hurt that bad, but it was quick. He also gave me some exercises to do. I have to look in a mirror when I do them, and I asked him if it was to make me laugh! It's just to make sure that I am even on both sides since I can't feel my lower lip or chin. Basically, twice a day, I have to say "O" and "E" and hold each one for 5 seconds for 5 reps. That one isn't bad. Then I have to open my jaw as far as I can before it feels tight, then force it opened a few more mm and hold that for 5 seconds, 5 reps. That one HURTS. But he said that I would be surprised how much more feeling and how much wider I will be able to open in just a week. So I guess it's worth it. I have to go back to see him in 3 weeks, right after Thanksgiving. He said that at that time, as long as everything is still going great, he will give me the "Green Light" to start chewing again (of course soft stuff at first, but hey, it's a start). I'm actually kind of glad it's after Thanksgiving that way I can at least avoid one of the big holidays that I put weight on! And I have my 10 year class reunion on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. And most people try to lose weight before a reunion, I have lost it, now I just need to keep it off. I actually am almost down to what I weighed when I gradated High School. Granted, I had more muscle then I do now, but that happens.

Ok, so my complaint about people... I'm curious if any of you have had this. I know that it's human nature to try to sympathize with people, but if I hear one more person compare this surgery to having there wisdom teeth pulled, I will SCREAM!!!!! This is WAY more involved then getting your wisdom teeth pulled. Yes, it's not like getting a liver transplant or anything, but it's more then getting your wisdom teeth pulled. Some people get put under for that, but that's in the office, for about a total of 30 - 60 minutes. They may have to cut the gum if it's impacted, but that is not even CLOSE to having your jaw sawed into many pieces and screwed back together! And being on a "no chew" diet for a few days is nothing like being on one for SIX WEEKS!!! And lastly, the numbness from novocain wears off quickly, where as this numbness could last FOREVER!!!

Ok, I feel better! Thanks for listening! Now off to research some cars! That's what my husband and I are doing on our "off Friday" tomorrow! Then going to get a new camera, so I'm sure I will take LOTS of pictures if I actually buy one (I research things FOREVER before buying them. I have an addictive personality. I was actually "sad" about a week after the surgery that it was done. I think my husband was ready to admit me to the psych ward. I now need to get pregnant so I have something new to obsess over!).