Thursday, June 26, 2014

Day 7: Trying to be productive. Trying.

Pain Level: 2 - Still just numb. Though! I did try to exercise my upper lip today by trying to "flex" it a bit, and it hurt SO BAD! I forgot there's a long tight stitch there. :( Lesson learned: Don't move your lips anymore than necessary.
Mood: Tired, but trying my best to be productive. A little depressed and anxious today about physical appearance too.

I'm going to cheat today on the blog and just copy and paste from an FB note that I finally completed today which will give you a run down on pretty much everything related to how things have been going so far.

High point of the day:
Eating 70mls of watery porridge for breakfast, and getting some milk in for lunch. Yay!
Low point of the day:
Worrying a lot about physical appearances and being unable to focus on work. :( 

The rest of the day looks like it's going to be spent trying to get some work done...and sleeping. I've decided that I'm now going to try to stay away from mirrors and from the weighing scale. I'm not going to allow things to get me down. If the swell goes down a bit more tomorrow, I might just go for a walk in the morning. I need to beat the blues!

POST-SURGERY UPDATE (as posted on FB to help my friends and family transit)

Thought I'd write an update for the many questions people have. Thank you for your concern and prayers. They have helped tremendously and though my answers below may seem a little... depressing, I'm actually doing quite well compared to several other jaw surgery patient journeys that I've read. :) So, thank you. 

For the retrograde "How did..." and "How was..." questions...

The SurgeryWent pretty well according to my surgeons. No complications, no use of my autologous ( whole pint of blood I could have kept!). The surgery took 4 hours. Thank you for praying.

Coming homeIt's okay. I'm now convinced getting patients out of the hospital as soon as possible is one of the fastest roads to recovery. Somehow being around so many other helpless sick people in hospital makes you feel very helpless too. But when you're home and life feels somewhat normal, you tend to just psyche yourself out of it and get back on your feet quicker. :)

For the many current "How are you" and "How is..." questions...

It was the worst on Monday and it seems to just be keeping constant now... maybe it's going down by the day. My face literally looked like the shape of an upside down acorn at one time. It's pretty depressing. But it's getting better.

The highest "pain score" ("0" meaning no pain, and "10" meaning unbearable severe pain) I ever had was when I was just out of the OT and got to ICU. I was an absolute 7... but since then, my pain score has been pretty low (in the 1s and 2s). I've been mainly feeling numb more than anything.

Was pretty bad the first few days. Now I just taste blood at times. Apparently it's old blood I'm tasting that has pooled in my sinuses and drains down my throat. Blood in the stomach can make one feel very nauseous. It's just not natural to have blood in your stomach, but I can't quite spit it out though cause I can't quite cough nor open my mouth wide enough. I haven't had to throw up though - I think mainly due to self control, which I really thank God for because I've read of other patients who were constantly throwing up during their recovery. Not fun. I'm not going there. I'm determined not to go there. :)

This is the worst for me I think as it can be really labourious. My surgeon says that it's because I have a deviated septum on the left and that blood is naturally pooling in the sinuses but it is supposed to clear out over time. My upper palette is also really swollen and that and my tongue is pretty much taking up all the room in my fact it feels a bit like my tongue has been pushed back. Breathing nowadays is pretty shallow and I think I get sleep apnea a couple of times at night.

Hindered breathing has pretty much affected every other normal function for me. I have never appreciated the ability to breathe so much till it got so annoyingly difficult. Breathe in, breathe out. Seriously, appreciate your life like never before. :)

Very disrupted. I was able to have a proper 7 hour rest the first two days, but these 3 days have been bad. I don't quite get past 4 hours, and generally wake up after 2-3 hours of falling asleep. The past three days, I've averaged waking up 3 times a night - mainly from coughing, choking, or not being able to breathe. And having to sleep in an upright/incline position is really uncomfortable. But breathing is more important than sleeping.

Eating & Nutrition
Next to breathing, this is probably a little of my more worrisome bits of life now.
I have developed a fear of putting things in my mouth for four main reasons
1. Phlegm & Breathing
2. Fear of Cavities (because I now cannot brush all my teeth. :()
3. Swallowing is tiring
4. Nauseous feeling that comes and goes because of the blood in my stomach

The "peak" of my "eating days" was maybe about 300mls of some liquid (usually split between water, juice, and a bit of milk) on Tuesday or something (which averages about 100mls a meal). But most meals peak at 60mls. I'm drinking a little more water, but I can't seem to get past half a litre a day. Yesterday, I had a "work appointment" which I actually had to travel out for (yes, all swollen and fractured and all), and I actually got hungry and craved porridge. It was my "appetite highlight" of the week. Breakfast this morning was probably the most substantial meal I've had for the past few days - 70mls of blended watered down Maggi's Instant Duck porridge. 

And if you're asking why I'm measuring everything in milliliters, that's cause I have to eat/drink through a syringe. Not fun. It is true when they say there is pleasure in the act and ability to eat. Mastication is pleasurable. Believe it.

Energy Levels
I was pretty okay the first day I got back, but on Tuesday I was in and out of sleep like a light. I totally felt like a very old person. I think it's also cause of the breathing difficulties that I get tired just climbing my silly flight of stairs to the second floor at home (which I technically only do twice a day now to brush my teeth). But yeah, I get tired pretty easily...and that's annoying cause I prefer my life to be a little more productive. It sucks quite a bit when you cannot concentrate for long.

Motivation & Activity
This is very highly correlated to energy levels, but I have very little motivation for work and activity these days. Doesn't help that I can't breathe very well either. It's really a "spirit is willing, but flesh is weak" thing. I've literally embarked on activities (open document, open email, read, begin to reply), and found myself very quickly sapped of energy and somehow just very quickly falling back asleep. It's a huge battle between my need to be productive, and my silly lousy body. Even this post that I'm writing now has been written in chunks over the past 4 days... hopefully I'll be able to finish it today. Rawr.

I couldn't talk at all for the past couple of days, but forced myself a little bit yesterday...especially when I saw that my dad was starting to talk to me in sign language. =_= I guess it helps that I'm not naturally very talkative, but it has been a little annoying cause it makes one seem a bit... helpless? If you guys know me, I'm not a fan of "helpless". So yes, I'm making random sounds now through my jaws that can't quite move. I still can't pick up calls though. Trust me, it will be a waste of your money for me to pick up your call unless you intend it to be the only one talking. :) Please don't call me singing though. I'm still allergic to awkward situations. Haha. :)

Do you look different?
To be honest, I have a little fear of looking in the mirror too long. But so far I haven't noticed much of a difference. It's a little early to say... cause I mainly look like Mr Potato Head due to the swelling, but apparently the top profile of my face (which is not swollen) is the same. The siblings say I look younger and that my face shape will change a bit, but I'm not expecting anything too drastic. My househelper says I look like a little girl now though cause my face is quite a bit shorter... which is really frightening for me cause I still eventually have a team and company to run (I like my fierce look! :)). I'm just hoping that "reading" comes from my swollen puffy cheeks. Hopefully things won't change too much! :(

Can I/we visit you now?
Thank you for the love, but I'm currently going through a time of transition. I'm really swollen and can't really tell if I look different and how much social, psychological, and emotional adjustments I need to make. Not to mention that my energy levels are not constant and I don't want to be all "Hello! Thanks for coming!" (which will sound like random sounds from me), then suddenly be "Zzzzz". You will literally be sitting on my couch twiddling your thumbs and sitting in awkward silence whilst my body decides when to get back up from the temporal coma. It will be awkward. :) Do text/whatsapp me though. It's kinda my only form of communication to the world now and it's really appreciated. :)

I'll try to be more open next week, promise.

How can I help?
Thank you SO MUCH for the love, I guess maybe right now it's just prayers. The help I need now is generally beyond human help - breathing, sleeping, energy levels, adjusting... unless you have some secret formula to getting me to eat more. Haha. :D Maybe pray against infections too cause they can cause major complications. My surgeon seemed quite concerned about me catching some bug...especially cause of my almost non-existent appetite. 

But honestly, the encouragement and the love shared has been something that I have been so thankful for already. (Oh, thank you for the flowers too! You already know I really appreciate them tremendously!) Just knowing that we might all be okay transiting together is all that is enough for me to be thoroughly grateful for. :) Thank you. <3

Oh yes, for the friends who have followed the dramatic things that have been happening at my workplace too, if you could cover that in prayer, it would be greatly appreciated too. Things are not quite resolved and I have to still keep watch over it and we're still praying for breakthrough. I think about it often, and it kinda sucks for me to not be 100% on-form. Please cover my staff and my parents (who have temporally taken over the reigns of the company again now that I'm down). I'm so thankful for them and it's a season of growth for all of us. Pray for wisdom, love, unity, health, courage and tenacity.

Other random questions/statements

"Oh man, I want to do this  (/my nose, my eyes....) too!"
STOP. Go for a walk. If it's not a medical issue (TMJ pain, bone problems...), trust me, you do not want to do this. Honestly, looking back, after all this rubbish, I may have even chosen otherwise and waited it out for the pain to come later, considering this was a preventive surgery for me. 

You are beautiful the way you are. Beauty is from the inside. You can change how you look drastically on the outside, but the soul doesn't change. You might only be forced to discover a courage/confidence in you, but it was always there in the first place. (Although discovering insecurities and fear, instead of confidence, is just as probable a result too.) It's too much risk, too much pain, and too much time wasted. Invest it all instead on building who you are on the inside - and discovering that your identity is not on how you look, but who you are. :) 


Okies! Done! Can't believe this post is finally done!
Okies, have a beautiful day everyone! Enjoy breathing and eating and normality in general! You were uniquely and wonderfully created! :D

With all my love <3,
Claire Ariela

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