There’s a popular song out right now called “Wake Me Up” by Avicii. One of the main lines in the chorus is “Wake me up when it’s all over, when I’m wiser and I’m older,” and this has become my theme song within the past week or so. Wake me up six months from now when my bones are healed, my military contract is done, and I’m relaxing on summer vacation before starting graduate school. I’ve been dying to post an update for awhile, but this first week back at work and school has rendered me useless. I had thought I’d be prepared to start 10-12 hour work days since I had almost two months of rest, but let’s just I was SADLY mistaken. But when I really thought about it, the thing I miss most is getting lost. I love getting lost in a moment, a conversation, a story, dance, or nature, and since the surgery my “lost” moments have been few and far between. Most of my outlets for stress have been temporarily suspended from my life, and when I do get a chance to let loose, the pain rushes to my side to put me in check. Don’t get me wrong, I have had a WONDERFUL past two months, but sometimes it’s hard to shake the disappointment when I’m reminded of my sore bones, damaged nerves, and sensitive tissue. Here’s a quick recap for you:
I’m fairly certain there’s an invisible donkey that follows me everywhere, and sometimes he decides to be an ass (hah!) and kick me in the face. Since my orthodontic adjustment last week, my teeth have ached with a new ferocity I hadn’t thought possible. After 8+ hours of talking at work my face is usually hot, pulsing, and puffy. There is good news though! I see some small progress everyday. Also, I don’t have ANY of the TMJ pain I had in the past! I’m very hopeful that this has gone away for good.
Apparently I’m in the stage of healing that my friend has named “the zombie stage.” During this phase, my jaw muscles like to twitch and try to clamp down on top of each other. Or sometimes they actually try to twerk. And then I have to remind them that they ARE NOT Miley Cyrus and it usually stops after a few seconds. These sudden movements are very painful, but luckily the pain doesn’t last too long.
I remember the excitement I felt right as the splint was removed, I could chew again! Really? THAT was a blonde moment. I couldn’t chew jello if I tried. I started with soft foods and many napkins, and now that my jaw muscles have become a little more accustomed to my face, I don’t end up wearing ALL my food. However, I would say it’s one of the most frustrating aspects of the healing process. For example, I have to cut a banana into about twenty pieces to eat it. It takes me at least four times longer to eat something than you. Now I know this sounds fascinating to watch, but even observers halfway through my eating process are exacerbated and just want me to finish. It’s like I’m running a marathon or tackling a shark. Come on Rachel just get it down!
Luckily the feeling has just about returned to every part on the OUTSIDE of my face. However, I still can’t feel any part of my gums, which makes flossing…interesting. Hopefully I’ll get my next cleaning like this, gum numbness makes a dentist visit sound way more enjoyable.
Well, I’ve seen the orthodontist three times in one week, which must be a record somewhere. Luckily she hasn’t had to make any adjustments since removing the splint nor has she had to put bands in. She’s just been checking my progress. One big concern for me is that only my left side touches when I bite down, but she says this is “normal” and will adjust it with the brackets. The Saturn wire on my top jaw is in place to keep the teeth widened, so they don’t crowd each other and impede bone healing. I go back 28 January for more torture and fun!
It’s not a tumor!
I also discovered that the lump under my left jaw is bone, NOT swelling. The oral surgeon said it should heal within a few months. Hmm…I not sure how normal this is because the bone seems a little lost….shouldn’t be ON my jawline?? Apparently it’s not an issue, but I plan to keep a close eye on it.
Another strange phenomenon has also been happening recently. For some reason, my bottom lip likes to chill behind my top teeth, which isn’t the most flattering thing in the world. I’m hoping once the teeth are better aligned my bottom lip will know where to go. Example A (left side is relaxed, and right side I’m forcing my mouth closed):
Also my scars are healing much faster now that I’ve switched to using cocoa butter. Look at that jawline!
I do have one confession to make though, looking at my profile head-on is still somewhat of a shock. I’m very blessed and happy with the way I look, but I feel somewhat uneasy when I look at pictures of myself. I’m not disappointed, just apprehensive for some reason. I know other mouth cripples say it takes some time to adjust to your new face, and they were definitely right.