Jaw Surgery Update – 8 Weeks Post Op

It’s been 8 weeks since my jaw surgery and honestly everything feels pretty much back to normal.

There are still some minor issues – still no full feeling in my bottom lip or chin area. It is coming back – I feel when I bite the inside of my lip and occasionally I can feel if there is water or food or something on my chin so it’s slowly getting there. It’s like the top layers of the skin have feeling back but it’s the deeper levels that still need to get it but this is common and a side effect I knew about so I’m not worried.

I do have a new side effect which is super weird but when I drink something cold I get two little cold sensations on both cheeks. It is really strange and I don’t like it.

I still can’t eat big bite items like burgers without having to use a knife and fork which isn’t so terrible. Even with just braces before the surgery I struggled and would at least cut the burger in half before trying to eat it. I have been lazy with the exercises I was given so I only have myself to blame for my bite size not improving as quickly as I’d like.

I don’t think I have any swelling anymore. I can’t feel any but I can’t tell as the skin around my chin where I’m still missing sensation feels spongy but I’m not sure if that’s swelling or just because I don’t have full sensation there.

I had my last appointment with the surgeon on Monday which again went for all of 2 minutes but he was happy with my recovery. I don’t have to see him again until August next year for my 1 year check up.

The orthodontist said to me a couple of weeks ago that there is a good chance I could have my braces off this year. Although that’s great news I’m going to keep expecting it to be next year so if it does happens earlier then great but if not then it’s fine also. I’m inclined not to believe the orthodontist because they do tend to underestimate timings for some reason.

I’m finally used to my face. It took me a while and to be honest I was a bit conflicted about it at first. I just didn’t look or feel like me but now I do. It’s hard because although your face is still your face, it’s incredible how much it changes with such a small movement of the jaw. Most people have been really positive about the whole thing – some exceptions but I’m not surprised by them, in fact they were expected.

But ultimately the whole experience has been a really positive one for me. I’ve had no issues and honestly my recovery has been a breeze compared to what some people go through. I don’t know whether it’s simply luck, researching great professionals to do the works, positive thoughts or a combination of all 3 but I’ve been really grateful that things worked out so well for me.

5 Things I’ve Learned About My Relationship With Food

It’s amazing how little food I actually need to survive. I know I overeat. It’s something that’s been with me since childhood and something that I’ve been working on ever since I recognised the issue. It was really reinforced during recovery from surgery when I couldn’t eat much and quite frankly didn’t really have an appetite to.

Here are some of the things I’ve changed about my eating habits

  1. Not eating out of habit
    I’ve always, when making myself toast or eggs, served myself two regardless of whether I wanted them or not. It was something that just always happened.  After surgery I realised that I was more than satisfied with just one and that I usually ate the other out of habit. If I’ve finished and want some more, I can always make more even though it can be annoying.
  2. Drinking water
    If I feel hungry, I drink a glass of water. When I’m working I can easily get my 2 litres a day but when I’m home I really struggle. I don’t substitute food with water but it does help me differentiate between hunger and thirst.
  3. Make my own junk food
    I’ve learned that it’s ok to have cravings but what’s better is if I can make healthier versions of what I crave. Chocolate and cookies are my biggest weakness so I make my own with ingredients like coconut oil, cacao powder, oats, honey, banana etc.
  4. Accepting that its ok to leave food
    This is the hardest one for me. I have a complicated relationship with food as so many people do and whilst I’m working on it, it still comes out. Leaving food is one of the hardest things for me. I became accustomed to eating everything served to me for a number of reasons and I just couldn’t understand how people stopped halfway because they were full. I realised after researching eating habits that I had grown my stomach to only be full after a lot of food, too much for what my body actually needs. So now if I feel full, more often than not I can leave food on my plate. I still struggle with this when I eat out because there’s the financial side of it but it’s improving. I do now manage to go to places that also serve take-away which means if I don’t finish my meal, I can take it home. Last night I still had a good 2/3 of my pasta on my plate once I was done so it was packed up and it is now my lunch today. If more places were allowed to do this, I think many people wouldn’t overeat when they are out.
  5. Understand that I can have anything I want, when I want
    I’m very lucky that as an adult, I’ve never gone without. I can basically afford to buy myself anything I crave and cook it that night. This is something that is a really big issue for me like point no. 4. It took me a really long time to understand that I don’t need to gorge myself on something just because it’s there because I can have it again tomorrow if I want.

These are all things that have helped me understand my relationship with food. It’s still complicated and there’s still a long way to go but it’s improving and for that I’m thankful.

 

Note – one book that really helped me with identifying my unhealthy relationship with food is Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. I re-read it at least once a year just as a reminder.

12 Ways To Make Yourself Feel Better In 10 Minutes Or Less

We all have days where our self-care game just isn’t on point. It’s ok, not every day can be a great day but there are ways to make the less good days seem a bit better.

I’ve had more bad days than good lately. I’ve been home sick a lot and I really don’t enjoy it. I had 3 weeks off recovering from surgery, was at work for one week and then off again for a week.

It’s the boredom that gets to me because I can’t manage to do much when I feel this way. If I do anything for too long I get a headache – sleep too long, read too long, watch tv too long, colour too long.  I still don’t have a lot of energy as it can take up to 3 months to recover completely from the surgery I had.

But I’ve found ways to make myself feel better, even if it is just for a short while.

Here are 12 ways to self care in under 10 minutes

1. Breathe

Its the easiest one that only requires you.  You can literally do it anywhere and no one will be any wiser because hey, we all need to breathe. There are many different breathing exercises that you can follow as well. I have a Fitbit Charge 2 that has a Relax mode and all you do is follow the breathing instructions for 2 minutes. It really helps when I need a me moment.

2. Freshen Up

Wash your face, have a shower, brush your teeth or do all 3. Feeling clean can really help your mindset if you’re feeling off. I know it’s tempting to stay in pjs all day but that can actually be counter-productive if you want to feel better.

3. Dress to Impress

But to impress yourself. Those days where I feel like shit and don’t want to do anything are the days where I know I need to get up and actually get dressed and not just in see through yoga pants dressed, I mean proper dressed.

4. Meditate

If you’re new to meditation or skeptical of the benefits, meditation will be really hard. It is called a practice because you need to do just that, practice, to benefit from it. There are apps you can use to help. Headspace have a 10 day guided intro to meditation but my favourite app is the Calm app. I use the free version and its great. My one complaint is that I wish you could buy certain features rather than sign up monthly but its a small annoyance. They have guided and unguided meditations where you can choose the length of time. I also use it a lot at night time as they have sleep stories to help you get to sleep.

5. Practice Gratitude

And not just the basic I have shelter, food and people who love me even though these are great. Something a bit deeper like ‘I’m grateful that I can buy a $40 umbrella cuz its raining and I don’t have to worry where that money came from’ or ‘I’m grateful that despite being caught speeding, I and no one else was hurt by my actions.’

6. Journal

Grab a notebook and write, draw or doodle for a few minutes. Don’t worry that its not all perfect. It doesn’t need to be. Just get out whatever it is you need to. It’s not about having an insta-worthy, perfect layout notebook/journal. It’s about having a space to let out what you need when you need to.

7. Write a to-do list

Even if your list literally consists of get up, have a shower, get dressed, eat something nutritious. I get it. Some days that’s all you can manage. And you know what? Its still an accomplishment. You did it!

8. Tidy something up

Whether its your room, your desk or your car, you’ll feel better once things seem to be in order. Plus it amazing how much you can accomplish in 10 minute slots.

9. Sing and dance to your favourite song

I have a playlist called Shower and its all the songs I love to sing and dance to in the shower. I play it at other times and it always puts me in a good mood.

10. Stretch

Its no surprise that when your body feels tense, you feel tense and when your body is loose, you feel loose. One of my favourite stretch/yoga sequences is only 7 minutes long but it makes a world of difference.

11. Water

Drink water. And keep drinking water. It can help with alertness and movement and has so many benefits to your body. Chuck in some mint or lemon too if you feel like it.

12. Physical Contact

Physical contact can drastically improve mood. It can foster greater intimacy and trust between two people and can greatly improve communication, bonding and health.

So there you have it. 12 different ways to improve your mood in less than 10 minutes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Fudgecream

Whilst recovering from jaw surgery I’d had cravings for sweet, junky food. Because I didn’t have much in the house and to start with, wasn’t confident heading out on my own, I had to make do with what I had.

I ended up making a sort of banana/peanut butter/coconut oil/cacao powder ice cream that wasn’t frozen but just put in the fridge thing.

Here is my concoction

Ingredients

1 Banana
1/2 Cup Milk/Water/Some sort of liquid
2 Tablespoon Cacao Powder
3 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
4 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoon Desiccated Coconut Shreds
1 Tablespoon Honey (or however much you like depending on sweetness)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence

Milkshake part

Blend a banana with a bit of milk/water/whatever liquid you want to use. I used my Kambrook Blitz2Go to do mine. Once blended pour into a bowl/large mug

Chocolate sauce part

Add peanut butter and honey into a saucepan and heat very slowly. My stove top options are burning hot or off so I heat up the element and once it’s hot I turn it off and then put the saucepan on the heat (side note, I can not wait to replace that damn stove top).
Add coconut oil and mix in.
Add cacao powder and vanilla essence and stir.

 

 

Once mixture is smooth, pour the contents into the bowl/mug with the milkshake part. The sauce will likely go down to the bottom so you will need to mix it. I find stirring doesn’t help so you need to almost fold it through.

 

 

Once mix is complete, pop in the fridge.

The great thing is that you can actually eat it straight away, or you can pop it in the fridge or you can freeze it so it’s like ice cream.

My mug normally holds enough for 4 snacks. I have eaten it for dinner before when I couldn’t be bothered cooking food as it’s quite yummy and filling. And most importantly, it does the trick to satisfy a sweet craving.

 

A New Season

With September starting tomorrow and with my surgery recovery being much quicker than anticipated, I want to get back into a routine with exercise. I lost it a bit during July and August but now I’m ready to start again.

Here are my September goals.

  • To exercise daily
    I am going to do the 30 day challenge on the 7 Minute App that I love so much
  • To do yoga 3 time a week
    Even if it is just 10 minutes at a time
  • To ensure the kitchen is tidy every night
    It makes my mornings so much better yet for some reason spending the 10 minutes tidying it up the night before just seems excruciating
  • To say no more
    To things I don’t want to do, with no explanation other than ‘no’
  • To make the ‘junk’ food that I crave rather than buying it
    I snack a lot when I’m bored but I have all the ingredients for most of the things I crave like peanut butter, chocolate and coconut things
  • To honour my hunger
    I want to stop eating for the sake of eating and eat nutritious, delicious food when my body needs it. This doesn’t mean that I won’t indulge from time to time but it does mean not eating something when I won’t enjoy it just because it is there
  • To organise my wardrobe
    I want to arrange it so that the things I wear everyday are more accessible than they are at the moment
  • To read more
    I have so many books that I haven’t read or have half read because it’s easier to watch TV or play on my phone than it is to read. I want to change that
  • To practice Spanish 10 minutes a day
    My Spanish isn’t great because I never learnt grammar. I want to improve it. I downloaded the Duolingo app ages ago but stopped using it because I felt I didn’t have time.

The main one I want to focus on is the wardrobe. I have a bunch of stuff in there that I’ve kept because I keep thinking I’ll fit into it again. I’m giving myself til the end of the year so I’m going to pack those items away, pop them in the garage and then in the new year I’m going to try them on again. If they still don’t fit then they go.  For some reason these few items have been really hard to let go of. There’s obviously an emotional/sentimental attachment to them but I just can’t quite let them go just yet.

These are pretty simple things but I feel like they’re going to make a huge difference and realistically, most of them will only take an hour out of my day in total.  The good thing is a few of them can become a bit of a night time routine if paired together.

Jaw Surgery Update – Surgery Day and Day 1 Recovery

Surgery Day – Thursday 17th August 2017

Update 1 – So I arrived at the hospital at 7.30am for an 8.00am admission. Did some paper work stuff and sat down. About 8.30am I met with the anesthetist who went through some routine questions and told me a bit about the surgery. Then back to the waiting room. Got called in the see the nurse where she took my blood pressure and asked me some questions that were missed on admission. At this point I taped my piercings up and she gave me some panadol and water. Omg it was the best. I’m still extremely thirsty at this stage. Now I’m just waiting. I have been given my gown, dressing gown, slippers and compression socks to change into so that’s what I’m waiting for. Hopefully will go in in about an hour. Will update soon.

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Pre-surgery selfie

Update 2 – Got called in approximately 11.15am to change and go into the pre-op room. Prior to this I went to the bathroom 3 or 4 times convinced I needed to go but nothing. Whilst I don’t feel nervous or anything – just really thirsty, my body is obviously telling me otherwise. The nurse and anesthetist assistant came by for more questions and I had to explain what a VCH piercing was because I told them I still had a metal piercing in. Neither had ever heard of one so I’m assuming people may just not mention it (don’t do that!). They left and I’ve been applying lip gloss religiously and in total I waited almost an hour. Lucky I had my book with me. I’ve been reading The Martian. I quite enjoyed the movie so figured I’d read it. Ooh looks like I’m off. Wish me luck!

Day 1 Recovery – Friday 18th August

Update 3 – Its now Friday approximately 5.07am. I’ve gone to the bathroom unassisted (whoo). Well the nurse walked me there as she carried my blood and saliva tubes and waited outside for me but I was able to go on my own so that makes me happy. I don’t feel too bad. Fairly clear headed which is super cool. Anyway back to yesterday after surgery, surgery went well but I was in post-op for quite some time. My blood pressure was really low – I think I heard 80/50 but I could have imagined that in my state. I was wheeled up to my room at around 4.00pm where my mum and fiance came to see me. I couldn’t speak but I used my fiances phone to communicate as mine wasn’t in the room. They could tell I was tired so left around 5.00pm. Since then all I did was sleep. I feel tired still as I’ve never been able to sleep on my back so I woke up every 20 minutes during the night which was really frustrating. But I’m now drinking water which makes me so happy and so far its not making me feel sick. I can feel my nostrils have a bit of dried blood but I’m going to ignore it for now and hopefully my blood and saliva tubes will be removed in about an hour. I think the surgeon said he’ll come by around 7.00am so will be interesting to see if I can speak once the tubes are out. Anyway I’m going to lie back and rest some more. Will update after I see the surgeon. I hope I can go home today.

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About 2 hours out of surgery

Update 4 – Well I can go home today. Surgeon gave me the go-ahead. I can try and eat whatever I like and practice speaking but I can’t take the strapping off until Sunday which is a bit annoying but its to help the swelling go down so worth it! Overall I feel pretty good. I had the tubes taken out and my gosh that was one of the weirdest sensations I’ve ever had. It only took a second and got me to that stage you feel just before you get nausea but only for a couple of seconds. My nose is feeling a bit stuffy and my ears feel like they are popping a bit but its from the pressure on my jaw. I’m having a little issue swallowing but no more than when you’re sick and have a sore throat. Now I’m waiting because I have more medication to take before I can go. I think the last dose is at noon but again I could be making that up.

About 7.00am on Day 1 recovery

Update 5 – Last medication is at 12.00noon. Its currently 10.45am and I’ve managed to take the pill and eat a tub of yogurt. Yay! Took me an hour for a 170g tub of Chobani but still. Made some mess but as I can feel my top lip it makes eating a bit easier. Fiance is coming to get me around 12.30pm so I can go home. I’m going to have a nap before my next lots of meds.

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My sexy compression stockings

Update 6 – I’m home. Its 6.30pm and I got home around 1.45pm. I’ve eaten some soup that mama made me, had a shower, put my piercings back in and had a nap. My face feels huge and my teeth hurt. I’m getting this weird itchy sensation on my lower jaw but I can’t scratch it because its numb. So strange. I’m drinking up some soluble paracetamol now and having another cup of soup. My mama gave me some more yogurt with jelly mixed in and that was nice. I’m not hungry but I feel very low in energy so forced myself to eat. I’ve had two cups of soup – blended pumpkin, broccoli and carrot and two cups of yogurt today.  I’m much more head-achy now.  I haven’t overlapped the pain meds but I don’t feel too bad. My jaw feels a lot tighter and there’s definitely more swelling but I’ve been talking a fair bit and trying to move my jaw around so it’s probably just being exerted more than it wants to be right now. One of the things that is annoying is that my tongue doesn’t quite seem to know where to sit. It’s old spot doesn’t work anymore because my jaw has moved so now there are teeth in the way but I’m sure it’ll figure it out sooner or later.

Anyway, I’m watching Veronica Mars from the start again and I’ll probably fall asleep shortly. Will update tomorrow.

Being In The Moment

I wrote a post about 4 months ago about a digital detox but I wanted to do another one. Not necessarily a follow up post but just another post because I think it’s important to reiterate how easy it is to spend mindless hours on your phone.

I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to my phone. I can usually go hours without checking it and in fact, many family and friends often express their frustration that they will call or text with something urgent and it’ll take me hours to respond – if I respond at all.

But usually this happens when I’m occupied elsewhere. If I’m reading, or watching tv, working on my blog, studying, spending time with my fiance, dog, friends etc. Like right now, I’m writing this whilst watching Gossip Girl on my day off. I actually don’t know where I’ve left my phone. But when I’m at work or ‘bored’ I’m on my phone. A lot.

‘But not that much.’ I always reasoned to myself and to be honest, in comparison to a lot of other people, I’m probably nowhere near as addicted to my phone but the point is I struggle to not pick it up when I’m at work and mindlessly scroll through Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest. And I’m starting to realise the strain it’s actually putting on my body. My neck and shoulder muscles are tight and I have to think about straightening up and lifting my head instead of hunching over.

When I wrote the initial post I had been scheduling regular ‘no phone time’ at work. Usually a half hour to an hour of not looking at or touching my phone unless it rang and then depending who it was I’d either answer it or ignore it.

So how did I feel whilst no phone time was in session? Anxious is probably the best way to describe it. I kept looking at my phone wanting to start checking apps even thought I knew nothing new has happened.

Its interesting that I felt and still feel this way because I’m not the type of person who needs to know things first. I’m not the type who has to post or comment on something straight away so I really don’t understand why I feel this way. It’s obviously a case of FOMO but I can’t quite pinpoint why I need to be in the know.

This feeling has prompted me to do more about my addiction to my phone. Ironically I downloaded two apps so I can check myself. One app is to track my usage, aptly titled App Usage – it tracks every move I make on my phone as well as how long I spend on each app and will provide a summary at the end of the day of how long overall I have spent and how often I’ve checked my phone.

The second is called Digital Detox where you can start challenges of not using your phone for x amount of time. You earn points throughout the challenges. You can also give yourself 2 x 5 minute breaks if you really need to use your phone for whatever reason. The only time I’ve used it is when I was transferring myself money and forgot that the bank sends the code to my phone.

I always feel a bit jumpy when my phone is on detox. It’s amazing how hard it can be when you know you can’t use it and how you feel like you are missing out on so much.  It’s also amazing how many things you think of that you ‘need to do’ but can’t because your phone is locked.

I’m hoping this app will instill in me to not check my phone all the time. To be honest I don’t need to be on my phone 24/7 – my job doesn’t require it, and there’s never been anything that has been so important that it couldn’t wait an hour. It’s also encouraged me to use a physical diary instead of putting all appointments in my phone. I seem to remember things more when I’ve written them down.

There are a couple more things that I’ve been doing. I’ve been turning my data off and only turning it on when I need it. I’ve also disabled all my notification for my apps so I won’t be teased with a little symbol telling me that someone has done something that I may or may not be interested in.

So far I’m doing ok with it. Some days are easier than others. My record one day at work was checking my phone only 56 times compared to some of my worst where I check it up to 200 times a day. I know, even 56 times seems like a lot but it made me realise how often I check my phone for something like the time, don’t even register what time it is and then have to check it again. Never mind that I wear a watch and when I’m at work I’m on a computer and also sit next to the office clock.

So I’m going to keep going. I attempt 3 hours of detox during work time and 2 hours when I’m home. It’s hard but it forces me to find other things to do. I’ve rediscovered how much reading I can get done, how much house work I can do, that I can spend that extra time with my dog and fiance. It’s basically made me rediscover all the things in my life that I love doing instead of mindlessly scrolling through stuff that I don’t even really care about.