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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 18...and 19! School in a week :/...and Orientation

Remember how every time the school year ends, the next school year seems so far away? Well that happened to me, like it does every year, and now im stuck at one week before school starts with tons to do and not a lot of time to do it! Although I have been off of the codeine for a while, I still find it hard to concentrate for long periods of time. I'm starting to think I might just have a lazy brain!

Anyways, back to the jaw stuff. My swelling doesn't seem to be going down at alll, and it even went up a bit on sunday after a long day out with my dad. It's back down to how it was before, but I start school in 7 days and I dont want to walk around looking like a chipmunk!

My jaw keeps cracking at night. At first I thought it just happened when I slept almost flat on my bed, but it also happens when I sleep upright in my recliner :( Yesterday I was feeling really sick and had an awful headache that wouldn't go away, but now my sinuses (aka right where I have 18 screws) just feel like they have a lot of pressure. I have another appointment with my surgeons on thursday so I'll see what they say! I really hope I dont have to go to the surgeons office weekly anymore because I do not want to miss a ton of school right off the bat.

Yesterday I went to go see the girls I coach at a pre-season scrimmage and they were so cute! They won 6-0 and I was very proud of them :) It was very hot yesterday so I was drinking a lot of water, and one of the girls asked "Atenas, are you only allowed to drink water after jaw surgery? Because you are drinking a lot!" It was too funny :)

The blogger uploader thing isnt loading my most recent pictures but I will try again later!

*Edit* pictures are up! and I'll add in day 19 also. Busy day. I was at school all day handing out schedules. I was stuck with "D" and "E" last names. Do you know how hard it is to make those sound different while banded shut? Then I had "C"'s. I kept asking "Chen/Cheng or Chan/Chang" and nobody understood the difference :( to I just had to go through the first names of all Chen/Cheng/Chan/Chang's until I found them. Fun stuff. I also got my schedule. Full IB/AP, whoop whoop! No life for the rest of the semester! Then after 7 hours at school I went out to get ice cream with my best friend who hadn't seen me since surgery. And I got to talk to her mom and sister, who told me that one of her co workers got jaw surgery at 60 years old and was still bruised and had tons of swelling after 5 weeks! I'm glad I got this surgery now and not later!

Sunday - Really bad swelling after a long day out in the heat!

Monday - Back to "normal"


Bruise is still lingering!

I love my new profile! 

Wednesday - I'm happy my swelling didn't go up after being at orientation talking to tons of people all day! Like the snowflake pajamas? I pull them out when it drops below 60 :)

Wednesday night - My midlines are lined up again!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 16: too tired to post!

Fun weekend! I will deff post pictures tomorrow. Just posting so people know I'm still

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 14: Has it really been two weeks?

Two weeks have passed and I couldn't be more happy! These have definitely been two of the hardest weeks I have ever gone through in my entire life. As of now I have enough energy to be out for a couple of hours at a time, but due to the setback I had with my jaw sliding back my doctor said I should stay home more. I feel like my swelling is at a standstill and has been for the past two days, hopefully it will keep going down soon! Right now I think I am at the point where if somebody didn't know I had had the surgery, they would think I just had a fat face! But I can feel that I still have a ways to go.

My father, who I got my jaw from ;) Don't worry, he doesn't always look this  weird!

I think I look mostly "normal" 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 13: Second visit with the Dr.'s

Today I had my second follow up with Dr. Egbert and Dr. Gauger. They just needed to make sure I was making progress in moving my jaw back to where it needed to be. I saw Dr. G first because Dr. E was delayed at the hospital for a bit. He measured by midlines with the bands, without the bands, and my jaw when I relax, as well as how far I can open my mouth. When I relax my jaw they slide back almost to how they were before :( Then Dr. E came and saw me open/close all that good stuff and said I had to come back  in a week! And to keep using the same rubber band configuration.

Today was also my turn to support my mom after she always helps me out being my nurse and all! She had to get some shots and I held her hand :) We then went out to our favorite persian restaurant for lunch, where we shared a yummy soup and ice cream. This was the second time I have eaten out and I did much better at not getting food all over my face than I do when I am at home!

My swelling has gone down a bit, but more importantly, I can smile now! My cheeks were sort of paralyzed since the surgery so my smile was very...strange, but now I can smile and look normal!

Lastly, Dr. E gave me the go-ahead to start being out more starting next week, so I can go to my schools back to school event where I will be volunteering... yippee.

Pictures now!

Still more swelling on one side. 

My new smile!

Almost there!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 12: day 2 in rubber bands!

Today was my second day in rubber bands! and they are doing their job very well :) my bite is only about 1/2 a mm off now, but it goes back a tad when I take the bands off. I had to start taking a stronger pain medecine again because I couldn't sleep. If feels kind of like the pain when you first get your braces on. Dull, but very strong and annoying. Im not sure if its because of all the pulling or what, but my swelling went down way more in the lower half of my face...but it moved into the top of my cheeks! Like next to my nose where I have 18 screws. It used to be more numb than swollen, but now i'm all puffy! And my nerves are all jumpy in my face, it only goes away with pressure, which makes it hard to type. I realized today that I have written more in my blog than I have in my essay that is due the week after school starts. uh oh. Can I just turn this in? ;)

New pictures!

Lots of swelling next to my nose

No more tape over the stitch, just a small scar where Dr, Egbert accidentally knicked me when I squirmed :) 

More bruising on this side than the other, but I just love my profile! 

Lopsided smile, the other side of my mouth is still a bit numb and immobile. 

ALMOST in line again! The up/down ones on the left side are "stabilizers". I guess they stabilize my bite? 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 11: Post op and new x rays!

Post op today, some good news, some bad news. Ever since 2 days after the surgery, my jaw has cracked at night (mentioned in a previous post). I total it happened three times! Very scary and I felt like my bite wasn't quite right after. My midlines seemed to be off, but since I was really groggy and dont remember much from the first few days after the surgery, I wasn't sure if thats how the doctor intended it to be. When I first got to my appointment I asked the Dr. my first and most important question, which was if my midlines were supposed to my lined up or not. He said they were not, and that he himself (not the other surgeon) had done my right side and he had had some trouble with it. The bone had cracked where it wasn't supposed to and he had to use a longer plate and an extra pin (hence the stitch on the side of my face). The other Dr. came in and said that if I waited any longer my bones/muscles would have stayed in the wrong place and I would have had to get another surgery! But instead he but my in a funky rubber band configuration that pulls my jaw to the correct side. Problem solved! Since this wasn't really supposed to happen I have to go in on Thursday so he can reevaluate and reposition my bands again. He said that unfortunately it will delay the amount of time I have to not chew. Hopefully I can still get my braces off in 3-4 months!

8 plates and 26 screws and pins later...

After! So perfect :)


A lot less swelling!

Sorry my lips look weird!
Dr. Egbert took the tape off the side of my face today where I had a stitch and he accidentally cut me when he was trimming the stitch.

Some bruising still left

Still can't smile :(
Rubber band configuration for the next two days, its very painful!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 9: Pictures

I spent the weekend at my aunt's house. My family went out of town and I wasn't really ready to travel yet. My swelling has gone down a lot and I have feeling back in my cheeks, upper lip and neck. I am able to open my mouth more so I tried eating pizza that was cut up super tiny, it was so good!
Trying to smile!

Stiched side

Bruises are fading!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 8, new pictures!

I realized through someones comment that I hadn't posted any pictures of my profile! My profile changed a ton so I dont know how I managed to forget. My nose looks smaller now and is lifted a bit. Overall I am feeling a lot better today than any other day. No pain at all in my jaw, only my neck. I am still sleeping elevated and I think that is why my neck pain wont go away. This weekend I am staying at my aunts house and for the first time I ate like a real human! My uncle made me an omelette, refried beans, and chopped up grapes, for lunch I brought soup, and then my aunt served me some ice cream and apple pie which I crumbled into the ice cream Cold Stone-style. I love eating real food. A shout out to Michaela, who has already started the long process of jaw surgery, good luck MK!

Feel free to ask me any questions!

A bit misaligned but its fixable. My jaw was right on after surgery but it shifted a bit, I think at night when I know my jaw pops.

My stitch where they put in a screw :/ Does anybody know if I can pull the layers of tape off? It doesn't come off in the shower and I'm not sure if that is the stitch itself or if there is a stich under there?
I still have a lot of black bruising under my jaw, but its slowly but surely going away! This is my biggest smile!I still have a lot of black bruising under my jaw, but its slowly but surely going away! This is my biggest smile!

My profile is unrecognizable! I love it! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 7: One week!

It has officially been one week since my double jaw surgery! Exactly 7 days ago, almost to the minute, I was WALKING into the operating room, more on that later :) But first a recap of the whole surgery day. My sister had to go to work, so we left home early and dropped her off, then headed off to Children's. My check in time was set for 10 am and we got there at around 9:30, we like to be punctual. My parents registered me and we were sent to the surgical waiting area where we waited for 15ish minutes and were then escorted into a triage room type thing where they took my vitals and I put on my super attractive hospital gown. We waited there until 12, then the resident came in, Dr. Gauger, and said that the other surgery had just finished up but that it would still be about half an hour.

Luckily about 10 minutes later the nice anesthesiology team showed up and I said my goodbyes to my mom and dad (no tears from anyone!) and I was taken to what I THOUGHT was going to be another area where they would put me to sleep and THEN take me into the operating room. AH MAH GAHD. No, I left the little room we had been waiting in, turned a corner, the anesthesiologist opens these big red doors, and when we walk through there are huge operating rooms on either side. I was still calm and thinking that I was already going to be asleep when I went into the operating room. Wrong again. The doctor stops, we turn, and I walk straight into the operating room, and another doctor says "hop on!". Let me tell you, these rooms weren't like the stuff on Grey's Anatomy. (ahh, I just realized my ortho's name is Dr. Grey! and she lives in Seattle, weird) Anyways, everything in this room is white and sterile, and SCARY! I was still fine as I climbed into the bed, but once they strapped me down I got sooo scared. Luckily they put me out right away and I dont remember anything after that.

When I woke up the first thing I remember asking is if they had done the surgery, and then I clarified and asked if they had done double jaw surgery. Yes, I was talking right away, and if you know me you know I wouldn't be able to keep my mouth shut for long! Then I asked the nurse if they had done a hip graft and she checked and said they hadn't had to. I dozed off for a while but woke up when they asked me to move myself onto the bed in my room. Didn't they know I had JUST had surgery? I moved myself over, which hurt really bad, but they gave me some morphine and off I went.

The first night was especially terrible but the nurses there were so amazing. The one that I had that night came in what seemed like every 10 minutes to ask if we needed something. I threw up lots of blood, but that happens to pretty much everyone.

The next morning Dr. Gauger came in while we were still sleeping and I think he thought it would be funny to wake me up by turning on my examining light. He was only there for a bit, but basically he said that I wasn't progressing fast enough and that he thought I should stay another night. My mom slept through most of it but woke up when she though I was talking to myself! But it was actually the doctor I was talking to :) The day was a blur of medecines, nurses, and sleeping. My nurses were amazing. My sister even taught one of them about Mac's!

The second night was way better because I wasn't hooked up to a line, but every 2 hours i had to take meds and every hour the nurse came in to check in on me! But the best part of my night nurse was that she had had the same exact surgery 4 years prior so she knew what I was going through! One of my day nurses also had a similar procedure but only on her bottom jaw.

I got a visit from Dr. Gauger in the morning and he said I was ready to go home! We left the hospital at around 10 and I slept ALOT the next 2 days :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 6: Swelling is going down down down down :)

My swelling has gone way down! my mother says I just look like her chubby faced child now :) I had a big scare last night, I had just fallen asleep and all of a sudden my jaw jerked to the left and made an awful sound. This isn't uncommon, It happened pretty often before the surgery, but I thought it would stop. Anyways it was very painful and ended in tears and my mommy consoling me as always :)

 I went out today for the first time to visit a friend and run some errands, and it was VERY exhausting. The grocery store was the worst part because all of the people made me really claustrophobic. One cheek is fatter than the other I think because on the fat side they put a screw into my jaw. ughhh. what happened to "there will be no scars on the outside"? Well I think I got off easy seeing as I have no splint or bands, so I'll take it :) 

On our way home my mother treated me to a banana split, YUM! but I only got through one small scoop before I got too tired to finish it. :(
I've been eating more now and am only losing a pound a day, the first few days I was losing 2 pounds :/
Overall a very good day with LOTS of improvement.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 5! ITS ME!!!

I'm back! I always get so frustrated when people don't post and here I was doing the same thing! My energy is still very low but I am doing much better that when I left the hospital on Sunday. I didn't walk around much until yesterday and I still get very tired after going up or down stairs. My swelling peaked yesterday but has not gone down, just moved around mostly. I havent been in much pain, mostly discomfort from the stitches.  My mom has been helping me with everything, and doing mostly everything for me. We are in the middle of a "hot" week in the PNW, meaning that it gets to a SCORCHING 78 degrees out ;) I don know if its because I was born and raised here or if its because of the surgery, but I am especially sensitive to the heat and have to keep icing my neck and head to stay cool! In regards to food, I have been eating fruit "crushers", they are little squeezable packs of fruit, Boost, mashed potatoes, mashed grilled eggplant, Yogurt with banana, beans, and odwalla juices!

Heres a picture for today:
This is from yesterday, day 4. I'm rockin the pensive look!

Swelling is pretty much the same today.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 2 after surgery.

I did it! I am finally home after two very long days at the hospital. The surgery went great, it took less time than expected; only 3 1/2 hours.  I am still very puffy but feeling a little better. I have to say that the first night after surgery was not fun at all, but the nurses were very nice and helped a lot.

Now, I'd like to introduce you all to my mommy! Since I am still not well enough to be at the computer for too long, she's going to write on my behalf.

Some good news before I go, right before surgery, Dr. Gauger told me that I might not have to be banded shut, but I would be splinted, but guess what? No splint or bands! yayyyy!

Letter from Mama:

I want to start by saying how proud I am of my daughter. Her surgery was at Children's Hospital so while we were waiting to be admitted, we saw many little kids in the waiting area. There was a little boy who was also going to go into surgery. He started kicking and screaming at the top of his lungs, "I don't want to! I don't want to anymore!" Atenas looked over at me and said: "That's exactly how I'm feeling right now but I'm holding it in. He's my spokesperson."

sometimes Atenas has a little bit of energy to reply to messages and check Facebook, but only for a couple of minutes, I think for the next couple of days mom and sister will continue to be 'personal assistants'
We spent two nights at the hospital and were surrounded by many wonderful nurses. Although it was great to have a lot of help, that meant we had very little sleep.

Now that she's done with the surgery and in her own room, everything is going much better. Being able to recover in her own home is going to help her a lot. Atenas and I took a long nap and she's feeling much more rested.

Sister found the perfect gift at the gift shop of the hospital!. Atenas' nick name is "hermit crab" because sometimes she is crabby and sometimes shy. Also because sister in Spanish is "hermana" so it kind of goes with hermit :-)  Atenas calls her sister Shish kabob (started as 'shistah')
I think the worst part is over but I also want to make sure Atenas takes it slow. Her big sister has been amazing as well, helping a lot and keeping her sister company.

I am not "cyber person" but when Atenas found that a lot of people write blogs about the surgery, I agreed that she should write her own blog for a couple of reasons, but the main reason is because we learned a lot  from reading about other people's experience. The suggested items to purchase have helped a lot (and it also gave some of our friends ideas to shop for gifts for Atenas -thank you!).

 I am a visual learner and I need to see pictures. Looking at other peoples pictures before and after surgery helped me a lot to know what to expect. Also the best tip a friend gave me was to "be prepared when you see your child after surgery, she is going to look very puffy and have bruises". I also shared that with friends and family who wanted to come to the hospital to see Atenas. Our visitors were very nice and sensitive and only stayed for a few minutes. I appreciated their visit a lot and Atenas was very happy to see them but I also know she was tired and wanted to rest as much as possible.

Food: be ready with multiple choices, some things taste very different after surgery.
Atenas and daddy
Atenas has been drinking a protein shake, a little juice, a lot of water and for dinner her dad made her roasted eggplant (her favorite) and blend it. She liked it but I don't think she was ready for that today, we will try again tomorrow, for now we will stick with apple sauce.

Items: have plenty of wash clothes and syringes. Atenas bought baby spoons but she is not ready for those either.

Pain management: Very important to stay in schedule with pain meds.

Thanks to our friends and family for all of their support. It feels very good to know that you are thinking of us and we appreciate your calls, messages and presents!

So proud of my baby!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Countdown: Surgery Day!

Today is the big day! I have to be at the hospital in 3 and a half hours, and my surgery is probably at 11 or 12. I had a great last day of food yesterday, lunch at Cheesecake Factory and dinner at Mazatlan. The  owner even made my favorite potato tacos that aren't on the menu :) I will update again after surgery!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Dun dun dun dunnnn. The final countdown has begun. I am really nervous and excited! A lot less than I was for my preop though for some reason. It has been a great week so far. I am coaching a soccer team and we had our first practice Monday, then we went to go pick up my mom's friend and her family from the airport! hopefully the rest of the week will go just as smoothly :) Tomorrow I am having my "final dinner" at my favorite mexican restaurant with friends and family, then SURGERY DAY!

Wish me luck!
Dinner on Tuesday

Soccer practice today!
Lunch with dear friends at Cheesecake Factory on day before surgery

Dinner with family and friends visiting from Mexico

my last Starbucks before surgery, check out the spelling of my name!