Saturday, August 30, 2014

Day 72: Just walking through life.

I can't quite chew yet, but I've been pretty much eating anything. My jaws are still pretty tight and I can barely open more than one finger wide.... but hopefully with daily jaw exercises, things will loosen up and get better. My lip has been stinging quite a bit recently - especially when I am worked up about something and speak in an upset/angry tone. I guess it's stimulation that affects the nerves.

Yesterday, I felt as if something was stuck at the back of one of my lower molars (or that it was some gross plaque that was building up) so I decided to be a little more thorough with brushing around that area... and I don't know what I did, but when I rinsed my mouth out, I found that I had a considerable amount of blood in my mouth. It took me quite a few mouth rinses and it freaked me out quite a bit because the water kept running out a copper blood-stained colour, but I think it clotted up soon after. But gosh! Not fun.

Been in a very much reflective mood recently. The stress of work and life has been getting to me, and it's not very healthy. Part of me feels like I've lost myself somewhere these past five years - with entering the business, losing one of my best friends, the big break up, depression, surgeries, issues with work... it's just been a bit too much for me I think.

Part of me is just so tired of life right now. Overwhelmed, maybe.
It just feels like I've lost a big part of myself for a long time and I don't really know where I am at or who I am/want to be. It's like I just need a breath of fresh air of life, or a holiday by myself or something.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Day 62: Bands and Hooks are off!

Pain Level: 1 - Was pretty bad at Orthoman's when he was doing a lot of work on my teeth, but the pain has now dissipated down to just the little electrocutey zaps on my numb lip area and a little aching in the back of my jaws.
Swelling: Apparently going down by the day according to my staff.
Sleep last night: Went to bed REALLY tired.
Other weirdness: I think most of my stitches have dropped out though I think some are still in hiding somewhere. The other day, one of my stitches dropped out in the middle of an important meeting I was at. I figured I couldn't imagine holding it in my mouth for 2 hours, so I swallowed it. Yay fibre. =_=
Mood: Contemplative.

So I finally got to see Orthoman yesterday (after missing the appointment last Wednesday) and it made me a really happy girl. :)

At a little over 2 months post-op, my bands are off! And now all I need to focus on now is

  1. Getting my jaws to open wider by exercising and stretching my jaw muscles
  2. Getting my nerves in my chin and lip to heal back into full operational ability

All bands, surgical hooks
 and thick wires off. :)
The appointment with Orthoman was a pretty painful one though as there was a lot of stretching and pulling. What he basically did was take out the wires that he had banded in pre-surgery, as well as removed the surgical hooks. I never knew how sensitive my chin, lips and some of my teeth were till he had to do so much work on them! I could somehow feel everything so much more! And once, he pressed down on something that really hurt, I couldn't help but wince and made a pained sound. I guess Orthoman heard me, and he whispered a gentle "sorry", and that totally kept me alright for the rest of the process. It's amazing how a gentle apology and indication of genuine care totally carried me through the whole process - pain and all. I'm such a softie :). But I'm totally thankful for Orthoman. :) <3

So my bands, wire holds, and surgical hooks are off...and I think he also changed out my main holding wires (the main ones that bend around the teeth). No more snapping or digging into my cheeks and creating ulcers! Yay! I guess this is a good place to be.

On the softer, more emotional side of things, these days I've still been struggling with getting back on track in life.

I somehow seem to have lost my sense of drive and determination regarding work and life in general. I've been headed into the office, but with a lack of passion. I've been going to meetings, but with a lack of follow up. I've been talking to people, but with a lack of commitment. I have been trying to get some exercise in, and to regulate my sleep patterns, but with a lack of discipline. It's pretty frustrating. Part of me wonders if I'm carrying a low-grade depression that I refuse to acknowledge. It's really easy for others to judge and say "just force yourself to do this and that", but it's really much harder (or at least it feels like it) when you're on this side. And I guess it's especially knowing that there will be people who will judge and say nasty things, that people who struggle choose not to express or tell people about their depression - which really isn't healthy.

Today, I'm home from work to focus and try to overcome this. Perhaps it's just a matter of cleaning out my environment and just getting things in my scheduler and being able to see into the next few months ahead.

Okay post-surgery depression, I'm going to overcome you!


Oh, and regarding the alumni gathering. It went alright. I was pretty brave that I even dared to take pictures. Even a selfie with a friend. :) As so:

We got some hats at the photobooth and just had to take a photo. :)
It amazed me how many people knew about my surgery and asked me how I was. :) Thank God people have transitioned through with me! I am so thankful! And thank God for the reach of Facebook. I've also recently changed my FB profile pic to a new post-op one too...I suppose I'm starting to accept the changes. And based on the fact that people actually like the photo, I've been encouraged that this post-op transition is going to be alright. :) I am humbled and thankful.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Day 57: New Haircut! :)

Pain Level: 0 - No pain. :) And jaws are a lot less sensitive.
Swelling: I don't really know anymore, but I'd like to think there's more to go down.
Sleep last night: Only slept at 630 this morning as I got too excited about work. :) But got something like 5 hours after... and under-eye circles. :(
Other weirdness: Been snapping bands like no one's business. Yay eating. :)
Mood: Happy. :)

Nothing much to report...except that I happily went to the hair salon and got a haircut today! 

A new haircut was supposed to be Month 3's reward, but I just had to do something about my hair to prep for my event tomorrow. I was so glad to see my hair stylist and visiting the salon always makes me super happy. Next Hair Salon at Holland Village has THE BEST hairwash in Singapore (at least that I know so far in all my life). :) I did have a weird creepy experience with my hairwasher this time though... In the middle of the hairwash, whilst my eyes were closed, he leaned in and kinda said in my ear "Am I too hard?" (referring to the pressure of the massage that is part of the hairwash) with a weird deep was creepiness central, but other than that, the hairwash was still awesome. :) 

I love how awesome my stylist is. He just makes me so happy... there's just something about getting my hair cut and blown well. :) I was a bit hesitant about getting bangs...especially when my stylist made reference to Taylor Swift, but I'm glad I just courageously did it. I think it was a pretty great decision.

Gonna see Orthoman tomorrow morning! Can't wait!

Just another happy day at the salon.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Day 56: We're almost at two months! :)

Pain Level: 0 - Incision sites just feel more sensitive.
Swelling: Slowly going down a little more.
Sleep last night: Slept ALOT. I woke up at 1030 today (even though I woke up at 4:45am but forced myself back to sleep). Hurrah! Sleep!
Other weirdness: Tingles still happen.
Mood: A little stressed about an alumni meeting on Saturday, but looking forward to some work stuff tomorrow.

We're almost at the two-month marker of my post-op journey and I can hardly believe time has flown by so quickly. I've not been posting as frequently now because I somehow find that I haven't had much time, energy, or fodder to write.

These few days have been a lot about work and about sorting things out within myself. I have been thinking a lot about the future and where I should be and where I want to go... it's been quite the struggle - this big debate within myself about wanting to be a simple girl with a simple life and family versus wanting to make a big difference to the world, go work in the Amazon or in rural India... it's complicated inside me like that.

Recently, I put up another profile comparison picture on the FB jaw surgery group as I was really upset last weekend when some people couldn't recognize me at a wedding. It was kinda distressing and I thought a lot about my identity and all sorts of weird stuff like that. I'm really so thankful how encouraging the group is... it's amazing how a group of strangers going through a similar situation in life can truly be some of the greatest support groups for such phases in life. I really trust their comments (because they have no social equity to be worried about) and I'm more convinced that my face has really changed quite a bit. One of the ladies mentioned that she didn't understand why therapy wasn't part of the jaw surgery process when so much adapting needed to take place. :) I guess that's pretty true, but I think therapy is not an option for me... I think all I need is time.

I've pretty much stopped keeping track of my food intake here too because eating is back to normal and I needn't worry about caloric intake anymore... in fact, I've been stress-eating a lot to the point that I've put on weight! >_> I've still be eating salmon at least 4 times a week and keeping to my supplements regime of Omega 3, Vitamin B, Calcium+Vitamin D, and a hair supplement though. :) Feels a little weird to be popping so many pills a day now (compared to NONE two months ago) but I suppose it's for the best whilst my body needs to heal up. I think I'll keep this up for the next 4 months till the 6 month post-op mark.

Bands still on...
I <3 you bands.
Thank you for making me feel safe.
Nothing too major has been happening with the jaws except that the teeth somehow feel a lot more sensitive nowadays and sometimes my jaw feels like an external part of me. I can still feel the incision of my upper jaws where my stitches have dropped out... it still feels a little raw. The tingles still come and go and I think that's probably why my jaws feel a little funny now - because the nerves are waking up and so I'm just starting to feel what has been numb for the past few weeks. The chin and lower lip is pretty much still numb now. I hope they wake up soon!

I still can't bite or chew anything without feeling weird though so I'm still chopping things up into small bits and swallowing them whole. The bands are still on too. Orthoman says I might be able to take them out soon... but yeah, I need to check in with him. I've actually grown quite attached to the fact that I have bands on - they somehow give me some security that everything is held together and is going to be alright.

Saturday is a big day considering that I'm headed for an university alumni gathering. I don't know how that's going to go. Looking at the mixed reviews that I've been getting - with a majority of people not recognizing me so far, whilst a few others can, I think a lot of people may or may not recognize me (I was pretty active in clubs and all sorts of extra-curricular stuff in my university). I think I need to be a little mentally and emotionally prepared for that. Part of me is really hesitant to go, but I think I just need to force myself out and meet more people so that it'd get easier over time. It's either sooner or later anyway.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Day 50! Milestone! :)

Pain Level: 1 - Weird pain in my lip where it's numb.
Swelling: Was pretty bad this morning, but better now.
Sleep last night: Better than the past few days.
Other weirdness: Read below.
Mood: A little celebratory... it's day 50! :)

Wow! I can't believe it's already Day 50! I'm just 10 days-ish shy of 2 months post op! Time does really fly.

Just another one of my recipes
I posted on my IG... :)
Considering how much I'm eating nowadays I think I'm going to stop reporting on the things I'm eating. :) I'm technically supposed to be sticking to a soft diet/liquid diet, but ever since the day that I discovered that I could actually use a small spoon and suck things through the small gap between my teeth... my diet has gone awry and I've started putting on weight! NOooooOOOooo....

I've been eating pretty much everything from roast chicken, leafy greens, various types of quinoa, bread, pizza even! All cut into little bits and sucked in through the little gap. It's pretty amazing.

The weirdest things that have been happening are that 

  1. The part of my lip that was numb has been having weird sensations the past two days. Most of the time, it feels raw and swollen - as if I scalded it - and other times there's some weird zap that goes through it... it almost feels like I had some really small caterpillar crawling a little distance on that area or something. There's just no other way I can seem to describe it.
  2. I still need to sleep on an incline. This morning, I woke up and found that I was lying flat on my bed. My face felt as if it were completely waterlogged or something. It felt as if my face had gone back to Week One levels of swollenness and was pressing against my teeth. It didn't look as bad as it felt, but the pressure was really uncomfortable. It went away after a few hours (and water and walking around), but yeah, that was pretty unexpected especially at Week 7ish.

Other than that, life seems to be almost back to normal. I'm slowly getting back into the swing of work, I'm eating almost anything...well, at least anything soft enough to swallow and doesn't require chewing or biting. I'm also now a lot more courageous and comfortable out in public (which is a BIG improvement compared to the first week where I would cover my face with a scarf).

On other notes in life, today I found out that I've been selected to participate in an International Women's Day Forum and I'm super excited about that! I'm feeling so blessed and really looking forward to it. Just praying that I'll be well prepared for that.

And for no good reason, and every good one, here's a random picture of me and my ability to stick out my tongue.

I considered sticking out my tongue a BIG achievement as I couldn't do it at all for a few weeks. It is amazing being able to lick things off a spoon least with little licks now. :D

Monday, August 04, 2014

Day 46: My first Official Post-Op Profile Comparison Shots

Pain Level: 1 - Small electrocutey feelings that come and go again in my chin. I really don't mind these though, as long as it means that my nerves are coming back to life! I really don't want to be stuck with a numb lower lip and chin.
Swelling: Still there I think, though everyone has been saying it's been going down.
Sleep last night: Pretty good. Didn't feel like enough though.
Other weirdness: My teeth and jaws feel weird and sensitive especially when I try to bite together. It almost feels like some of my teeth are loose and it freaks me out quite a bit. My bottom lip and chin are still numb. AND I put on 2kilos in a week! OMG! 
Mood: Tired and stressed.

Eating patterns today weren't too good, I felt especially terrible after a curry puff at lunch. My whole throat became dry and uncomfortable. I think it was something they put in it. My body absolutely cannot tolerate MSG or processed foods now. :/ Either that or it was the nutella. I need to stop indulging in nutella. :/

I had one dizzy spell again today... that surprised me because I've been taking iron supplements. :( Not to mention that I've been eating SO much (to the point that I've put on weight)... so it really can't be my nutrition. Maybe it's my poor sleeping patterns.

Today's happy lunch of
Herb-smoked Salmon
with a triangle of cream cheese
and a dash of paprika. :)
Ergh! I really dislike it when I write depressing sounding-ish posts! Okay, I need to discuss something positive! 

I didn't break any bands (elastics) today! I kinda failed trying to transit back to my syringe... though I did use it once or twice today. It's just somehow a lot faster to eat via my tiny spoon now. #^_^# Also I think I'm starting to find it a joy to upload food photos to my IG account...there's just something about creating delicious meals that I find some pleasure in. Tomorrow, I'm going to make a pesto baked salmon. :)

As I approach Day 50 post op, I've decided that I should just go ahead and upload progress pictures whilst I'm at it... Parts of me kinda misses my "old face", but I think I'm slowly accepting that the surgery needed to be done and I just need to accept where I'm at now. It's a little tiring getting through the entire story repeatedly with people I meet nowadays.... about my dentist telling me to get x-rays - discovering my crazy jaws-shock about arthiritis and jaw joints being worn out - having to choose between doing it now or later (where bone healing may be much slower and there may be more issues). And worse still when they direct the conversation into plastic surgery and stuff like that after that. But hey, at least I know my heart was in the right place and it was a totally rational decision to get it done. And considering how major it was (I recently stumbled upon a live jaw surgery video which shocked the heck out of me. Please do not click into the link if you're faint-hearted), I'm actually really proud of how brave I was to go through with it.

So, for the first time finally after my surgery...this is me now...
Still can't quite smile properly as my cheeks are still swollen and I don't quite have full control of my face yet.
There are two groups of people's' opinions with regards to my face - people who think I look the same/not very different, and people who can't recognize me anymore. It's weird, and judging by the varied reactions of people as well as my day-to-day uncertainty of how I look, I cannot quite be certain if I really look very different. I think I've given up trying to figure that out.
I kinda miss my older stronger/more-defined jaw.
The first time I saw my new side profile, I felt completely like an alien. I didn't like anything - from my missing jaw line, to my upturned nose, to (what looked to me at that time) what looked like an overbite.
I've learned to accept it over time... and I can't wait for more of the swelling to go. Maybe my jawline will come back then.
Can't believe how bad my teeth were at the start...
I miss the longer tapering of my face, but I trust my surgeon did what was necessary for me to right my jaw.

Food Report

2 tbspn smooth peanut butter with black sesame and almond milk (Apparently peanuts are not paleo so I'm going to stop eating PB after this... I'm not that big a fan anyway)
Supplements: HiOmega3, CalcD, Vitamin B

Herb Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese and Paprika
2 little white rabbit custard paus
1/2 Old Chang Kee curry puff (Without the crust, but this was so bad for me. :()
Some nutella, no more than a tablespoon, or two teaspoons I think.
Supplements: Redoxon+Zinc, Floron Iron Tablet

3 bowls of seaweed and egg soup
Little bits of fish and vegetables 
1.5 cups of rock melon juice
3 tbspns Nutella with Almond Butter and Unsweetened Almondmilk (stress eating. :()
Supplements: HiOmega3, CalcD

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Day 45: Getting back to discipline

Pain Level: 0 - Not that I can really remember.
Swelling: Patience...
Sleep last night: Better, because I was at the retreat, but not great.
Other weirdness: My stitches have been dropping out. I used to have three prominent (and initially painful) ones on my gums right above my two front teeth, but they have all dropped off now. It's interesting.
Mood: Still tired. I think I just need more sleep.

Just got back from a strategic planning retreat today for one of my networks, and there is so much that I have to think about. I intended to come home and straighten out my "life" a little - considering that all my administrative life, and room environment has been so far neglected and left in disarray - but I ended up cooking, eat, and watching cupcake wars and other food shows.

I think part of me is confused about the route I'd like to take with my life right now and that's causing me to avoid all "progressive steps" to whatever it is I want to do. I don't know how to explain it, but it feels like there are two sides of me warring with each other. One which just needs to stop and process a lot of things - whether I've really gotten over things (after two long years =_= and so much pain), all that has happened so far with the case, the jaw surgery and all the physical changes and psycho-emotional effects... - and the other who just wants to pick up and get going with all that life has to offer me. It's like constant battle now. I suppose that battle has been the main constant thing in life now... on the periphery, have been things like trying out new syringe-friendly and soft-foods recipes, and thinking about dreams that I have and just might want to achieve. But thinking doesn't do diddlysquat. I've got to do something about that.

Just another rebel meal.
Had a good reality check
after this one though.
Time to get back to
Ever since I ate that chawanmushi the other day, I have been rebelling against my syringe and pretty much all pureed foods/soups for the past week. I've been eating almost ANYTHING that I can crush/squish and fit into the tiny space between my teeth. I broke my bands THREE times. The first time they snapped, I totally freaked out and didn't know what to do. I sought help on the FB group and Orthoman fixed it the next day, but it snapped the day after Orthoman fixed it (I was eating some solidish food). The next two times they snapped, I think I literally thought "Oh whatever, I'm eating anyway". I have been a semi-good girl though and haven't quite chewed on anything... well, I suppose I tried it out on two occasions and regretted it so much (because they were painful and felt like little bits of food were going to get stuck in between my molars - where I can't brush properly now!) that I stopped the attempts. #^_^# I have now been given a whole pack of bands (also known as "elastics") from Orthoman to bring home...which I had such a tough time figuring out how to put on. At my recent visit to Orthoman, he mentioned that in two weeks, we might be able to stop the banding... which I had, and have, mixed feelings about. I somehow feel a lot more secure with the bands on. There's just something about knowing that there's something there to hold everything together.

My strength training regime has also fallen off the bandwagon ever since I started getting back to the office and getting busier. I somehow need to bring a little more discipline and self-control in my life - in terms of controlling my eating, being disciplined with my strength-training, and committing to my walks or something. It's something I just need to get back in line in my life.

Okay, I'm just going to stop thinking and head to sleep now. I think sleep needs to be one of my top priorities in life now... next to exercise and good nutrition. Then comes family and work.

Food Report (Saturday)
I can't remember what I ate the rest of the day, but I ate SO much at a wedding dinner I attended. I ate a little of EVERY course - including roasted chicken, fish, vegetables, abalone, fish maw soup, chilli crab with a fried mantou, and yam paste! And yes, I did bring my tiny spoon. I just can't do real adult-sized cutlery or chopsticks yet.

Food Report (Sunday)
  • Half an Egg Tart, Half a Custard Puff
  • A handful of mashed blueberries
  • Supplements: HiOmega3, CalcD, Vitamin B, Redoxon+Zinc, Floron Iron Tablet
  • A quarter of a pandan waffle, a little morsel of pistachio & raspberry cake
  • 1 bowl of ginseng chicken soup with Quinoa
  • 6-8 thin slices of herb smoked salmon
  • 1 bowl of Spicy Olive Quinoa
  • 2 Tbspn of Nutella with Black Sesame and Almond Milk, some Almond Butter and Coconut Oil
  • Supplements: HiOmega3, CalcD

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Day 43: What sugar BAD.

Pain Level: 0 - Not that I can really remember.
Swelling: Patience...
Sleep last night: Still not too good... maybe 2 am? Woke up for work at 9am though.
Other weirdness: Still ravenous this evening.
Mood: Tired and a bit frustrated that I ate SO much.

Tonight I went to a party and it was an interesting experience. It was my first time meeting up with some people since the surgery and a lot of them hadn't seen me since. It was a big risk, but I knew I would have to get out some day. For one, I decided to go with a closer friend of mine because I was a bit nervous about meeting people again. What I remember was that she hadn't seen me since the surgery, and what I didn't expect was that totally couldn't recognize me. :/ Later in the evening, I even had a guy whom I knew from the sports union in my university (because I was a fencer) ask me about my reasons for doing the surgery... and went on to talk about veneers and plastic surgery. =_= 

I left the party wondering if I was happy with now looking quite different. I didn't quite have an answer... guess I'm still a work in progress and that this stage of acceptance is still ongoing.

I totally believe what the Primal Living says about carbs and sugars now because I went nuts after my Nutella mix this evening... I can't believe all that I ate tonight. I came home thinking "I'm hungry" and battled with the "I think I might just shower and sleep... either that, or eat". And "eat" won out... TEN TIMES over. I was so hungry, just kept going. And half the things I didn't even really like! Nor was it pleasurable to eat! :( I honestly don't think that I would have stopped if I didn't just say "No, enough." I can't believe just a couple of weeks ago I was freaking out about my lack of food, and now I'm freaking out about how ravenous I am. It's ridiculous.

I have a retreat on the weekend and I needed to prepare for it, but I haven't packed and I'm so tired. :/ I don't know if it's stress, or that time of the month, or what else it is that's going on with me, but I can't wait to get over this phase!

Food Report
  • 1 egg salad sandwich (white bread. :()
  • Supplements: HiOmega3, CalcD, Vitamin B, Redoxon+Zinc, Floron Iron Tablet
  • 2 scrambled eggs with Almond Milk with a tomato, a few bits of onion and carrots
Dinner (Went berserk after the Nutella!! :((()
  • 2 Tbspn of Nutella with Black Sesame and Almond Milk
  • One Char Siew Pau, 1 Steamed Prawn Dumpling
    (Really didn't have to have this. I could have stopped here.)
  • Half a cup of Quinoa with 3 slices of smoked salmon
    (The salmon was good, but the Quinoa went EVERYWHERE in my mouth. I usually would just stop because I would panick about the stitches, but I didn't today. :()
  • 4 chicken drumsticks
    (Considering I just tore bits and pieces and stuffed them through the gap in my teeth and swallowed the pieces whole, this wasn't very appetizing to eat. The spices were nice, and the fats were nice, but it generally was pushing the limits for me.)
  • Half a yam puff, Half a siew mai, 2 pieces of rice noodle dim sum
    (There were hard bits. This tasted so bad. :()
  • Supplements: CalcD, Hi-Omega3