Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Turning a corner and some 'after' pictures

I began writing a post last night and wasn't able to finish, but now that I come back and re-read it, I decided to erase it all.  The difference between yesterday and today has been so drastic.  I haven't meant or wanted to complain - at least for complaining sake - but I've just wanted to be real.  After re-reading the post, however, it sounded like a lot of complaining.

So, let's start again.  Today has been good.   Beyond the tug on my heart of missing my kids, I feel like I've turned a corner. My energy is slowly returning.  I felt pulled to want to go DO something, anything other than laying in bed.  Today was my first post-op appointment with the surgeon, so I had a reason to put real clothes on and at least brush my hair (no brushing teeth yet, though - not for another week.. kinda gross).  So we packed our bags (it was our last day in the hotel) and off we went to the doctor's. 

Until today, I've had some surgical tape pulled across my face to hold my cheeks in place (now that's kinda wierd, eh?  At least I thought so - more crazy info on that in a bit) and made me quite self conscious.  It was the same piece of tape from immediately after surgery, so I'll just say it wasn't very pretty.   So having that taken off today also took a layer of self consciousness off with it.  They also changed the bands holding my jaw closed (with the screw - like a Philips screw - stuck in my upper gums and a hook stuck in my lower gums) allowing me more room to move my jaw making it much easier to talk. 

On my way out of the office I was able to talk with two other patients - one having had the same surgery 3 months ago, and another having had it 29 years ago.  I received so much encouragement and kindness from them and reassurances of how good I look, I finally allowed Jon to take the 'after' picture of me he's been asking for all week (which I will also 'reveal' as you've probably already seen below).

Oh, I wanted to explain the cheeks - apparently the length of my face was shortened so much during surgery that Dr. Gunson decided that my face needed a little more definition in my cheeks, so he took some of my own bone, removed from my upper gums, and grafted them over my existing cheekbones, to give me just a little extra.  I learned today that cheek grafts can be "manipulated" (just the thought of that gives me the shivers) for up to 8 weeks.  And today, he manipulated them.  I'll just explain the sound of it - it sounded like loose gravel being ground into - or maybe like two pieces of sandpaper held scratchy sides together and being firmly turned back and forth.  I didn't feel much pain, but just hearing the sound was enough to make me feel lightheaded and have to sit down (he 'manipulated' while I was standing). 

The biggest breath of fresh air today, however, came with arriving at our friends' house.  They have so graciously allowed us to stay with them for the remainder of the time we have to be here.  Being here for the few short hours we have been has been like being in the midst of life again.  Their three kids are only a little younger than hours and I'm so thankful we can share our time here with them.  (We didn't know they lived so close to where we would be having surgery until after we had scheduled it.  SUCH a blessing.)

And Skype date tonight?  Hands down my favorite part of the day.  Finally I felt able to talk and interact so much more with the kids and I don't know what happened to Landen, but he was all about talking on the computer tonight - complete with several " Mommy loves me!" inserted into our conversation.  My heart was full and every moment of watching cartwheels and seeing Emerson's new library book and watching Braeden give the others many hugs and kisses completed my day. 

So yeah, what a day.  I'm glad to be past the dreaded 'week 1.'  I'm glad it's over.  Now onto counting the days until we're homeward bound.

And the reveal pics.   Again, energy level low = no fancy hair.  My face is still very swollen (leaving things looking slightly uneven) and very numb from my upper lip down, so though it's hard to tell, I'm trying to smile.  :)  Oh, and excuse the oiliness.  Apparently when one swells so much for so long, their body produces extra oils to protect the skin.  Still a ways to go, but seeing the difference.


(If you look at the post just before this one, or click HERE, you can see the pictures I took before surgery)


Stephanie said...

So proud of you! You look beautiful! I long to hear those moments when you're the one offering others the encouragement needed. So glad your kiddos were sending the love your mama heart needed, soon you'll embrace them...continuing this prayer journey.

Anonymous said...

Lookin gorgeous and doing great! Keep getting better for those babies! We are praying for you and ur fam!
Jessica Smith

Anne said...

Wow! Is it just me it does everyone notice how much you can see Braeden in that sweet, smiling face?


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