Thursday, July 31, 2014

Day 1: I Don't Like Jaw Surgery

Here are pictures from today! I woke up to my mom and surgeon in the room. My surgeon just kept saying how pleased he was with the results. So that's good I guess!
For breakfast, I had some grape juice, orange juice, and I attempted some blended up pancake, but that didn't go too well.
Numbness: I'd say about 75% of my face has numbness in some sort of way. Pretty much all I can feel is my forehead, my temples parts of my cheeks, and half of my lower lip. 
Pain: under control
Discomfort: HOLY CRAP MAKE THE SWELLING STOP. My whole face is throbbing and there's nothing I can do about it. Except ice. And I'm doing that pretty consistently.

I hate these socks.

As soon as I was discharged from the hospital, Dr. Jenkins requested I go straight to his office for some x-rays and such. He was going to teach me how to take off my rubber bands, but as soon as he touched my mouth, it started bleeding, so he decided that was a no-go.

Flowers from  the orthodontist. How sweet right?

As soon as I got home, my two little brother (aged 12 and 6) started asking each other if they were scared of my face. I just rolled my eyes at them, and retreated to bed, where I've been ever since. Everytime my 6 year old brother comes into the room, he just waves and walks away. It's pretty cute actually. I just keep telling myself, "Just get past day 4," since that's the peak of swelling, but I FEEL LIKE IT'S COMING SO SLOW. I'm tired of just grunting to communicate.
I've already had people ask to come visit me, and I've been really hesitant so far to let anyone come see me. Maybe after the swelling starts to go down.
Welp. I think that's it for now.

Day 0 Photos

I hope you all enjoyed my mom's guest post yesterday.... Here are the pictures from yesterday.
This is my fancy surgery get-up

How I long for these less swollen days... sigh.

If anyone knows why these are called "Bair Paws" please step up and explain. I mean "Bare Paws" would make more sense, since you're bare and stuff in the back. But Bair? Not so much.


My very own jaw bra!!!

This is my face now.

This was the view from my hospital room. Isn't that a lovely helipad?

Nothing was on TV except Arthur... don't judge. It's a quality TV show.

Apparently my eye kept opening during surgery, so It might've gotten scratched or something. It hurt like none other though.

Look at that chin. Woo buddy!

As far as my 3 biggest fears went, only one came true: the catheter. But it wasn't too bad considering it went in after I was asleep, and came out before I was awake. Day 0 was full of morphine, and sleep. Keeping my eyes open was really a struggle. My nurses throughout the day were all super nice and helpful! But the only thing I was really able to eat was some peach nectar. To be honest, the worst part of Day 0 was really my eye hurting. The swelling was minimal and manageable. Pain was managed. And I'm alive.  I'm just so glad this is over. So incredibly glad. On to better days!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Surgery Day

I'm Isabel's mom, and she asked me to post an update on today's events.

Our day started in the wee hours of the morning; we had to check in at the hospital (30 minutes away) at 6:00 a.m. Geh. But the hospital is in a more rural area, and the smell of hay and cows on the journey had restorative powers.

As we were signing the many forms and filling out paperwork, we found out Isabel's surgeon's middle name is Gustaf. Somehow knowing that gave me more confidence in his abilities. After Isabel got in her glorious surgical gown (photos forthcoming), they administered her IV, which wasn't easy. Apparently Isabel has disappearing veins; in fact, after surgery the IV had magically switched from the right to the left arm, so the surgical team must have had additional problems.

She was then wheeled into the holding room, where we met her anesthesiology team and the nurse who would be assisting. Everyone was kind, but once they made her don her lunchlady surgical cap and hideous tan polyester surgery socks, the nerves set in and she got a little teary. Seriously, those socks would make a Navy Seal weep. Deep breaths, I kept telling her. Deep breaths. They sent me packing to the waiting room (since my "deep breaths" mantra wasn't of any help whatsoever), and her surgery got underway about 7:30 a.m.

Three things I learned about Mountain View Hospital in Payson, Utah, while I was waiting: 1) it has pleasant courtyards, with plants, fountains, and shady pergolas, where you can read Alan Bradley mysteries in comfort; 2) the hospital gift shop carries a large selection of shoe horns ("I'm so sorry about your appendectomy. Here's a shoe horn."); 3) the cafeteria closes at 6:00 p.m., although I didn't learn that until I went down to eat some dinner at 7:00 p.m.

About 9:30 a.m. a lovely nurse came out to tell me things were going well and it would be another two to three hours. At about 12:30 p.m., the surgeon emerged. He told me the five-hour (!) surgery had gone well––that the whole team was "ecstatic" with the outcome. They widened the upper jaw, tilted and rotated it, and shortened it a bit so her smile will be a little less "gummy." (These are not the technical terms, I know, but as a nervous mom, this is what I heard.) They then moved the lower jaw forward about 9.5 millimeters and moved the chin with a genioplasty about 6 additional millimeters. Sometimes noses tend to widen with this surgery, but he somehow stitched her nose in place to minimize any widening. (Isabel's nose is so cute, it would be a shame to mess with it.) All of the incisions were done from inside the mouth.

The surgeon will check in on Isabel late tonight and will look at her again first thing in the morning. When she's discharged (hopefully tomorrow morning sometime), we're supposed to head over to his office for x-rays and post-op instructions on elastics, mouth/teeth cleaning, etc.

Isabel spent most of the afternoon conscious but in a pretty hazy state. Her first coherent directive to me was to REMOVE THE TAN SOCKS (communicated through caveman grunts and violent gestures toward her feet). The nurses gave her doses of morphine for the pain, ibuprofin to help with the swelling, an antibiotic of some kind to prevent infection, and nasal saline spray to help keep her air passages clear. She was bleeding for about 5 hours after surgery, but the nurses kept a suction tube close so that we could suction most of the blood away and she wouldn't have to swallow it. After about the 5-hour mark, we were suctioning mostly saliva. She had a few nosebleeds, but she's prone to them anyway (and being intubated and cut and stitched doesn't help). She also either got something in her eye or her eye got scratched somehow during surgery. That may have been the most annoying/painful thing about the ordeal. The nurses got some eye drops to try to flush it out, but they didn't help much.

Her swelling has been pretty moderate so far. Her upper lip is quite swollen, especially on one side, but I think she looks amazingly good. I realize swelling will peak three to four days after surgery, but we're hoping the trend will continue for minimal swelling and bruising. We've been faithfully switching her in and out of her "jaw bra" ice packs every 20 minutes, on doctor's orders.

Isabel felt nauseated really only once––the first time she tried to get up and use the bathroom––but she never did throw up. The hospital didn't have any feeding syringes, but they rigged up one with a large syringe and some tubing. She was able to drink a little bit of nectar for dinner but didn't feel like eating or drinking much else.

Because her jaws are "wired" shut with the elastics, she has had to communicate via grunts, gestures, and a whiteboard her grandma gave her. Isabel knows ASL, but the rest of us don't, so her attempts to communicate with legitimate ASL signs have been futile. She subtly rolls her eyes, secretly thinking we're all imbeciles.

Isabel's dad is out of town, and she has younger siblings at home, so I had to leave her at the hospital at about 8:45 p.m. She'll be on her own with the nurses tonight. I'll drive back through the pre-dawn air, redolent of cows and hay, to meet with the surgeon again tomorrow morning.

Photos are forthcoming! I'm just a blogging novice who doesn't know how to upload them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


 Oh man. That's pretty much what's being going through my head 90% of today: the word TOMORROW. I just can't. Physically I'm prepared for this surgery, but mentally? Somewhat.  Emotionally? Not really at all. Socially? Eh. I did hang out with friends/cousins today and yesterday, which was good. I think it'll last me til two-ish weeks, when I start to get some energy back.

Today has been the day of lasts. All day I've been saying to myself...
"This is the last shower with this jaw!"
"This is the last time I work with this jaw!"
"This is my last french fry with this jaw!"


I got surgical hooks on today! Only four, cause most of my brackets already had them.
So that was a thing

And I (and when I say 'I' I mean my mom) took a bunch of pre-surgery photos.
*Note: notice they aren't laptop photos, or selfies. (That's one of my mom's biggest jaw-blogging pet peeves)
Smiling front

Relaxed front

Closed front

Smiling side

Relaxed side

Closed side

Smiling other side

Relaxed other side

Closed other side

Aaaaaand my open-bited-over-bited-loveliness

And here's a few randoms...

This is a cool trick that has entertained many-- making my chin disappear. Probably no more of this after tomorrow. Tragic day.
And I had my last supper. Cafe Rio salad. And the sad thing is, I wasn't able to finish it. So now I just have leftovers in the fridge that'll never be able to be eaten. 
Me and my last supper. Aren't we cute?

Right now... the biggest fears are
1. catheters
2. throwing up blood (throwing up food I can handle... I don't know about blood. But if it happens it happens)
3. Waking up in the middle of the zombie apocalypse

But these are all things I could probably get over easily.

The end.
See ya on the flip side. 
This is from LOST. Just so you all know.

Monday, July 28, 2014


I just went and saw The Fault in Our Stars for the second time! It's a sad movie. So sad. Too sad.
But anywho, when I got back, my mom came into my room and said, "The office called, they said since your teeth have moved, they're gonna have to postpone surgery." And I just laid on my bed like, "Ok." and then two seconds later my mom said, "JUST kidding! They said everything looks good." and I just kinda curled up on my bed and asked why she would do that to me.



My mom just called the surgeon's office, to reaffirm that surgery is going to be this Wednesday with none of that postponing business going on. Dr. Jenkins wasn't in, but the receptionist said as far as she knows the surgery is still on, she said she was going to call Dr. Jenkins just to double check. Waiting for a call back..................................................

ALSO: Beth made it to the other side (1 week ago today) YAY!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Previously on...

Previously on this blog...
I had a date. But not a hospital.

Now, I have the same date, and a hospital!
July 30, 7:00 a.m. My hospital is about 30 minutes away, as opposed to my original hospital which was only 5 minutes away, so that's a thing. But it's whatever.

Also. Last Monday, Dr. Jenkins called and asked if I could come in for an appointment because something was up with my models. When I got there, he explained that the models some of his helper-ladies had taken made it look like some of my teeth had moved, so he just wanted to see if his helper-ladies had made a mistake, or if my teeth really had moved.
After lots of humming and haa-ing over my mouth and models (I even got to try on my splints!), Dr. Jenkins concluded that some of my teeth had moved.
And he said, that because of this, we might have to postpone the surgery.

This made me kind of frustrated, because I really haven't been able to get a straight date. It's always been, "Well maybe this..." or "Maybe that..." and I JUST WANT A FOR SURE DATE.

Now last week, I was at Girl's Camp (it's a church thing, and I had a blast!) and I was up in the mountains with no cell phone reception (or a cell phone...) so I had no way of knowing if my surgery was postponed or not til I got home. When I got home, one of the first questions I asked my mom was, "Is my surgery postponed...?", and she said the surgeons office hadn't called, and she hadn't had time to call them.
So considering that my tentative surgery date is two days away... I'm thinking no news is good news? Or at least I really hope so. I've already told everyone I know, and gotten three weeks off work, and I don't really want to have to be like "Just kidding! Not getting surgery yet!" to everyone. That would just be awkward and make me sad.
PLUS I've already been practicing sleeping elevated. #surgerynerd

On a side note, everyone I know has been so nice and supportive of this surgery. Haven't really gotten any "But isn't this plastic surgery?" questions. Maybe because they know me, or maybe just kind of the type of community I live in, but anywho. My grandma lent me her whiteboard for the first few days when I can't talk. One of my leaders at Girl's Camp offered to let me borrow her Gilmore Girls DVDs. Everyone's just so nice and it makes me so happyyyyy :)

On another side note, as far as nerves go, there aren't really any. About three weeks ago, I started kind of really freaking out, but now I just feel really calm about the whole thing. I mostly just want to get it over with.

Two days. Most likely. GAH.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Okee Dokee

I kinda have a date?
Wednesday July 30.
There's this stupid thing with my insurance, and they won't cover the surgery if it's held at the hospital my surgery was originally scheduled at?? Even though it was on their approved list of hospitals... I don't even understand... but anyway, we're trying to get my surgery scheduled at another hospital for the same date.

I had my million-measurements-and-models appointment with the surgeon on Thursday. It went fine, except for the models. The surgeon ladies doing my models weren't exactly as efficient as the orthodontist ladies. I guess they weren't used to doing them with braces, so they put wax over my brackets! Dr. Jenkins wanted two top models and two bottom models, and they probably ended up doing about 6 total? And then I still had to come in the next day, because the ones they got still weren't what they were looking for!

Here be my x-rays

And here be my face after models. Look at all that rubber gunk stuck to my lips! Dang.

In other news, Dr. Jenkins and Dr. Christiansen consulted and apparently it was determined that my face also as a little bit of asymmetry so Dr. Jenkins will be moving my jaws in every way possible!  Up, forward, to the side, and rotating. Why is my face so messed up? He said the most precise way to perform this surgery is CT guided, so I had to go get a CT scan too.

The countdown is on!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Oh also,

This picture has helped me in an infinite amount of ways. It's been encouraging me to do everything, including jaw surgery!

No News

I don't really have any big news,
but I had an orthodontist appointment this last week where I had one final adjustment and my ortho told me that he was going to consult with my surgeon and talk 'bout stuff.
And my ortho also said this would probably be my last appointment before surgery, unless I need to get surgical hooks on, which I don't know about yet.
I STILL DON'T HAVE A DATE. I find this very weird, because most people get their dates MONTHS in advance. My surgery is about two weeks away and I don't have an exact date!
But I have my pre-op appointment with Dr. Jenkins this Thursday, so I'm thinking it's safe to assume I'll get a date then?
Really though, surgery's 13-15 days away.