Friday, June 14, 2013

3 Months Post-Op

Wow.  It feels weird to even type 3 months post-op, but that's what it is.  I feel like I've missed so much in the jaw surgery blogosphere!  It's been fun catching up on all your progress.  Congratulations to everyone with surgery dates!  I remember how good it felt to just know the date. 

Like many other bloggers, updating you guys months into recovery becomes harder and harder to do, because ... Well, because you're simply not as obsessed with jaw surgery as much as you were before you had it.  Life goes on, and with it come all the other things that you're left to obsess about.  For me, that's been work.  I didn't really tell my new boss or fellow co-workers that I had just had jaw surgery either--- the HR department knew, but I didn't want to be "that girl" at my new workplace.  Not being able to talk about jaw surgery 24/7 made not think about it either. So, I've been ridiculously busy trying to keep up pace with the new job, and in the interim, had to stop paying attention to my face, and thus stop blogging--- for a bit!

So, how is my face doing these days?  Well, my swelling has really gone down.  I can still feel it when I hold my hands up to my cheeks, but most people (including me) can barely see it anymore.  Also, I can now open and close my mouth without that horrible, jarring, TMJ clicking and popping pain.  It used to freak me the hell out, but I don't even have the slightest sensation of that anymore.

I can also open wide enough for most foods now (pretty much 3 fingers--I'm about half a finger away from 3).  I still have to smush down sandwiches a bit in order to fit the whole thing in my mouth, but they get in there!  I also still chew kind've slowly--- or at least, I mean I can't chew as fast or as much food as I used to in one bite, but I think it's a matter of time before I can chew like I used to. 

I went in for my 2nd to last braces adjustment 2 weeks ago, and my orthodontist continues to be impressed with the results, and most especially my recovery (he digs how wide my mouth opens).  At the moment, he's closing all remaining gaps in my teeth.  My next adjustment is July 3rd, and he said I'd only need the braces for 3 more weeks after that, and then be done.  I'm just a LITTLE bit bummed that I won't be out of braces before July because my birthday is on the 9th, but I'm seriously not stressing it. I've waited this long, what's a few more weeks?

As far as my appearance before and after; there's a definite noticeable difference.  My parents think I look really different--- they love the results, but they're still adjusting to the changes.  Friends think I look younger and that my face looks more "angular."  I guess that makes sense.  My surgeon did work to make my lower jaws and chin much more symmetrical, and coupled with the fact that she pulled my lower jaw "out" to address my recessed chin, I could see how my face looks more angular to people. I can see it myself in some recent photos I've taken with friends and family.

Speaking of which, having my picture taken is weird. Old habits die hard because I still find myself angling my face to the camera to "hide" what used to be my lower jaw asymmetry, and I still find myself wanting to "control" how I smile, so that my gums don't make a glaring show of themselves, but then I remember I've had surgery, and that it's okay to just let loose and SMILE!  I'm loving even some candid shots people have taken of me.  Yet, I feel like I have to practice "picture smiling" all over again--- like I need to learn what my "new" best angles are and how wide to smile depending on what look I want to give the camera.  I try doing this in the mirror sometimes, but I think I'm only going to relearn my "picture face" by taking lots and lots of pictures with friends, family, and even some selfies! This is something I would've dreaded before, but now I'm pretty excited about creating tons of new memories that don't include how self conscious I felt WHILE having the picture taken.

Lastly, I've attached a video for you guys.  I don't know if it's just my laptop or if the video's audio really is out of sync, so let me know if you wouldn't mind,  and I can try to fix it.  I'm sorry I haven't posted pictures in forever either!  I promise to do a time-line post of pictures.  I find these illustrations fascinating on other blogs! Might as well see what mine looks like.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

6.5 Weeks: Lovin' My Grill

I'm starting to like this VLOG thing.  :)  Hope you enjoy the video.  I reveal the BEST news!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Week 6: "Allowed" to Chew Again!

Yesterday was my 6 week mark, and I'm now, theoretically, allowed to chew most foods.  My doc asked me to slowly ease in to chewing "chewier" and/or crunchy foods.  This won't be hard.  The fear of more headaches has been keeping me in pretty good control of this.  The headaches themselves have really gotten a lot better in the last few days.  In fact, I don't think I've had one in the last 24 hours, so I'm optimistic that my muscles are even more comfortable with all the light chewing and stretching exercises that I've been doing.  Which means they're getting stronger, too.  I had an acupuncture appointment today, and had him focus on the the right side of my face and head (where I get the headaches, and the side on which I have the weaker muscles in my face), and I feel it made my brunch after the appointment a whole lot more enjoyable.  I decided to go "all out" and have a ham and gruyere on a croissant.  The ham was a bit chewy, but cut into small pieces it was easy to get down without much chewing necessary.  Normally, I'd be prepared for a headache afterwards, but it's been a couple hours and still no pain. 

Also, at the 6 week mark I'm still able to open 2 fingers wide into my mouth, and three if I physically pull my jaws apart. It's still definitely a little hard to open wide enough for the 2 fingers because I can feel my TMJ muscles really stretching and pulling on the other muscles in my face, but I feel like this gets better everyday.  Each day, I feel I can open (just a lil bit) wider than the day before with less and less discomfort.

I have my first orthodontist visit next Tuesday, and I'm looking forward to it because I've noticed my teeth have started to move!  I pointed this out to the doctor, and she said that this is very common, and is mostly due to the pressure of the pulling on the bands.  I can't wait to see what my orthodontist thinks of everything when he sees me.  My surgeon has told me that once I see my OD, I'm to follow his instructions regarding bands, and I'm off the hook with her own orders.  I'm looking forward to getting some of these hooks off and getting back on track with orthodontic treatment. 

Between weeks 5 and 6 I've ventured out to see some friends.  I really wasn't expecting the surprised looks I got, but I guess I should've.  I think that as I get used to my "new face," I forget that for people that haven't seen me, it's quite different from when they last saw me.  However, they've all been very supportive and remind me that despite the swelling I still see, they think I look great.  I'm looking forward to getting out even more to socialize.  I've been cooped up long enough! 

Swelling remains in my cheeks, my upper lip and around my chin/jaw line, but my friends and others barely notice.  They swear there's none, but as you'll see in the profile pics below ... it's still there.  I guess, I haven't been helping.  I ran out of supplements last week.  I have TOTALLY indulged in a few cocktails a few times over the last few weeks, AND I've stuffed myself with sugary foods (Hello, my old friend, Red Velvet cake).  All of which, I'm sure have not aided in my swelling recovery.  I'm trying to get back on track, but I'll admit, it's exhausting to try so hard to get well. 

Anyway, now for the update photos.  :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

5.5 Weeks: Back to Life!

It's been 42 days since my surgery.  I still feel very aware of the fact that I recently had major surgery because I can still "feel" my face healing, but I'm otherwise feeling great.  My energy is definitely back, and I think it has to do with how much I've been eating. 

I was cleared for soft/mushy foods at week 3, and I really went at it.  I found that I was able to "eat" so many different kinds of foods without really much of a problem, and even caught myself chewing a few times.  After a while of accidentally chewing down on food, and not really feeling any pain or discomfort, I kind've "graduated" myself into a soft CHEW diet after week 4.  I also broke my vegan streak in order to have some Cuban beef filled potato balls from Porto's.  They barely needed chewing.  It was a melt in your mouth and swallow kind've meal.  I've also had fish tacos (with very mushy cut up tortilla), grilled (VERY soft) veggies, pasta, potatoes, beans, rice, and my favorite, avocados.  I told my Doctor all of this at my appointment yesterday, and she wasn't exactly thrilled.  But, after that, she looked in my mouth, asked me to open, and was shocked at how wide I could open.  I'm able to fit 2 fingers in without me pulling my jaws apart, but when I use my hands to pull them apart for exercises I can get them to open wide enough for room for 3.  She asked if I was still doing weekly acupuncture, and I am, and she's wondering (like I am) if that's helping my cheek muscles along, thus allowing me to open so wide. 

My midlines are still nice and straight, and I am now allowed to wear my bands only at night to sleep.  This is a great relief because the bands make my teeth soooo sensitive, and now that they're not banded all the time, I can feel their sensitivity calming down a bit.  It's still weird that I can't feel my top gums, but my doc told me that I could go as long as a year without feeling them.  Hmmm... I hear people get used to it, so we'll see.  However, I am getting feeling back on that small portion of my top lip.  It's probably at 25-30% right now.  My doc seemed pretty pleased that I had 100% feeling everywhere else.  I certainly am too, but I still wish I could feel my gums even a little.

I still have swelling on both sides of my nose, my upper lip, and chin area.  My cheeks also remain a little swollen, but not too much any more.  I've gone out a couple times to see a couple of friends, and they saw the difference right away.  They think I look pretty different and stared at my mouth a lot while I talked--- they were fascinated.  They didn't see the swelling that I do, but I know it's there.  I can feel it, AND I know what my face looks like when it's not swollen.  My doctor agrees that I'm still swollen in all the same places I stated earlier. 

The only pain I've been getting recently are muscle aches in my right cheeks and up onto my head--- like all the way at the top of my head on the right side.  They're not headaches in the traditional sense.  I can actually feel that what hurts are the muscles on my skull and not my brain.  I think this is from all the stretching and "soft chewing" I was allowing myself.  Sometimes, the pain is stronger than tolerable so I take a couple Ibuprofen and it calms down.

Finally, today was the day that I was supposed to return to work, but there's been a change of plans.  Last week, during my week 4 of recovery, I got called in for a final interview in what had been a long application process for an amazing job opportunity that I had been coveting.  And on Friday of last week, I was informed the job was mine!  In case you're wondering, I kept my bands off for the interview, and just hoped that they wouldn't notice anything "off" about me, and I don't think that they did.  I decided that the right thing to do would be to go into the office early on Monday to give my boss a face to face resignation (after all, they had been so kind to give me 6 weeks off for recovery!! I didn't have that much vacation or sick time).  I now have an extra 2 weeks to add to my at-home recovery since I don't start the new job for another couple of weeks.  I'm soooo glad that I'll have had 2 months of recovery time before having to start this new adventure. I already feel pretty great lately, I can only imagine how much stronger I'll feel almost 9 weeks into recovery. 

Speaking of strength, I forgot to mention that my Doc also cleared me for exercise!  She asked me to take it easy at first, yoga, LIGHT jogging, but that if I felt like I could handle it, I could gradually increase the intensity.  Believe it or not, I actually really look forward to working out again.  I was feeling so good from all the working out before surgery, that I actually miss it.  Weird to say, weirder to actually mean it.  ;) 

Pictures/Video coming soon! 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Week 4: Surprise! VLOG Update

Hey Everyone,

So yesterday was my 1 month mark, and I'm finally beginning to see the real results of the surgery.  While I could post more pictures, I figured the best way to illustrate some of the progress I've made would be with a video. That, and I got super lazy and didn't feel like organizing my thoughts into a proper blog entry----shhh!  I'll let the video speak for itself, and my apologies in advance for the 12 minute length.  I'm new to making vlog's and I didn't realize how easy it is to go off on a tangent, and then forget your original point.  If I make another vlog, I'll do my best to keep them under 5 minutes.  I also forgot to include a close-up of my bite, and profile shots, but I'll upload some new pics to illustrate those in a future blog post.  Hope you enjoy my vlog update!

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Nitty Gritty of Recovery

I just wanted to create a quick post to let you guys know about some of the "smaller," yet annoying issues/problems/consequences as a result of surgery.  I'm now a little over 3 weeks post-op, and so I may update this particular post as more time goes by and I notice some more issues pop up throughout my recovery, but for now I figured I should type these out before I forget them as they slowly go away.  :)

Holy Pimples, Batman!

So, about a week post-op, when the majority of my swelling went down, I began to notice TONS of whiteheads begin to pop up along my upper lip, the edges of my nostrils, my chin, and even my cheeks.  Before surgery, I'd get the occasional pimple or two (about once or twice a month).  However, when I went vegan in January (2 months before surgery) I noticed that I wasn't even getting the occasional pimple anymore.  So, imagine my surprise when I woke up one day (about 8/9 days post-op) and I saw them all over my face.  I knew this was normal, so instead of fretting, I simply bought some really good acne toner and ointment, and began to apply it at night before bed.  It's worked quite well.  I still have zits popping up every couple of days (almost 3 days in), BUT the ointment and toner help keep them small and under control.  I have this horrible habit of picking at my blemishes (yes, that's an embarrassing thing to admit), but I knew this time that simply wasn't an option.  First because there were too many.  Secondly because I'm not keen on itty bitty scars all over my face, and third because it hurts too damn much to put that kind of pressure on my healing flesh and bones.  

Ear Popping

I noticed this around days 4-10 the most.  It was off and on, and usually when I'd get out of the shower in the morning.  I kept thinking I was getting water in my ears somehow, even though I wasn't allowing my head to get wet in the shower those first 7 days.  This was particularly annoying, as it was already difficult to communicate through clenched teeth and a swollen face, and not being able to hear clearly (and instead hear my own echoed mumbles) made me particularly uncomfortable.  It never lasted all day.  Like I said, it was on and off again.  Now that I'm 3 weeks post-op I've noticed it hasn't happened in the last  5 or 6 days.  I'm hoping that's the end of it.


Bloody Nose

So, this only happened once and it was only for about a minute, but it was my own fault.  You know how the Doc says don't blow your nose for 3-4 weeks?  Well, the reason they say that is because your sinuses usually still have a lot of blood in them post-surgery for those few weeks, thus the breathing issues that many patients have after surgery.  I have been fortunate enough not to have had ANY breathing problems during my recovery.  I know that this is a common issue for most people, but I swear I never felt the need to blow my nose.  My doctor warned that if I did blow my nose it would cause an excessive (and maybe even projectile) nose bleed.  However, sometime a little after my two week mark, I had had enough of the ear popping. All I wanted to do was pinch my nostrils together and blow in order to pop my ears open.  So I did; VERY gently, and yes, my ears "popped open."  At first, nothing happened, but then about 2 minutes later I felt the drip drip on my upper lip.  CRAP!  I was afraid I'd opened the flood gates.  Luckily, this wasn't the case.  I had a very minor nose bleed for about 5 minutes (I didn't even need more than a tissue to stop the drips).  BUT, my lesson was learned.  I didn't want to risk having a worse nose bleed if I kept trying to pop open my ears, so I haven't tried that again.  As a side note, I really think that the reason I haven't had sinus/breathing issues is because of the Bromelain/Quercetin that I took before and after surgery.  Ask your doctors about taking these supplements if you're interested in taking them.  Some docs are very strict about what you can and can't take before and after surgery.  Mine was completely fine with it. At my 3 week post-op visit, I was officially given the okay to blow my nose if I need to, but happily, I haven't needed to.



I started yawning about a week into recovery.  At first it was REALLY weird. My mouth was trying to pull itself open, and of course, couldn't because of the bands that were tightly holding my jaws together.  I got a great tip from a fellow blogger about leaning my chin into my chest to help with this, but unfortunately I couldn't really do this much because I had a chin implant put in, and it still hurt to have my chin make contact with anything.  So, I had to learn to yawn slowly and carefully.  My mouth still fights the bands when I try to open, but I can "control" the yawns much better now.

Sneezing was another weird and uncomfortable feeling.  I had my first sneeze on day 7.  I completely freaked out.  I normally sneeze between 5-6 times in a row (sometimes more).  Believe me, if I could get them all out in one big sneeze I would, but I can't.  I've been this way since I was a baby, and so I've just gotten used to the weird stares (and gazillion "bless you's") I get from people when it happens.  That first sneeze on Day 7 came when my tight bands had already been removed and replaced with 2 loose bands on either side of my mouth, so I was able to open my mouth a bit when the sneeze came.  It came out sounding like a dog bark because I instinctively sneezed from my throat more than my nose.  I freaked out because I thought for sure 5 more sneezes were to follow, but only the one sneeze came. Before week 3, while I was still in tight bands, I learned to pinch my nose to kinda make the sneeze "go away."  Now, that I'm in loose bands, I can let the sneezes come, and while they're still a bit uncomfortable, they're easy and come out more naturally.


Sore Cheek Muscles

Part of the reason for my chin implant was to help balance out my asymmetric lower jaw.  While I was in tight bands the first week, and as my swelling decreased, I got more feeling back in my cheek muscles, and my goodness were they sore.  The muscles were fighting the position that the bands were forcing them into.  This is why when I got put in looser bands for week 2 my midlines started to shift-- my stubborn cheek muscles wanted to go back into pre-surgery position.  The Doc's solution was to put me back in tight bands for another 2 weeks in order to give my cheek muscles more time to adjust to their new position.  THIS has been the most painful, annoying, and uncomfortable thing for me to deal with.  Imagine having to make a muscle with your bicep and holding it 24/7. I took pain meds a couple times just to get some relief for a few hours. Then I switched to Children's Tylenol because I really didn't want to keep reaching for the pain meds prescribed to me.  It helped a little.  Then, I decided to start rubbing arnica cream on my cheeks 2-3x a day, and I noticed better than usual relief in the soreness.  It got even better when my mom came home from some grocery shopping with something called Traumeel.  It wasn't cheap (about $20 for a tube of cream), but hot damn, that stuff is like miracle cream.  Traumeel is arnica based, but it has other stuff in it too that I swear made the difference.  It literally provided relief from the soreness within 10 minutes of rubbing it on.  I haven't had to take pain meds or Children's Tylenol since.  I rubbed it on 3x a day all during week 2.  It does leave my face even more oily than it already is, but I don't care.  I'll gladly deal with the resulting acne in order to keep my muscles from screaming at me.  As of a couple days before week 3 I felt my muscles "easing" into calming down.  In fact, since being put in my loose bands this past Friday (my 3 week post-op), my cheek muscles haven't hurt at all--- not in the constantly-sore-angry-cheek-muscle kind of way.  I was only applying the Traumeel as needed for pain, but I haven't used it since being put in looser bands. 


Can You Feel the Hardware?

This seems to be a common question, and the truth is that yes, sometimes I can feel it.  Not all of it, but I can definitely sometimes feel the hardware on both sides of my nose.  I started to really feel it around week 2 and it intensified everyday until just about the 3 week mark.  This tends to happen at night, and it's not painful.  I can feel the long pieces when I'm rubbing cream (and acne medication) on face with my fingers.  But I can also feel them from the inside of my face.  I get these light pulses of feeling that kinda "flash" up and down the sides of my nose.  Again, not uncomfortable, just a feeling that makes me aware of something foreign in my face.  I haven't had this feeling in the last 2 days, but I bet it's not the last of it. 

Tooth Sensitivity

As the feeling on the "inside of my face" has started to return, so too has it to my teeth.  My bottom teeth are particularly sensitive to either very hot or very cold liquids.  This was really intense during week 2, and it did get painful sometimes.  I stopped drinking/eating very hot or cold liquids, and I tried really hard to  keep my teeth from accidentally "bumping" against my top teeth.  Now, before you wonder how this can happen if my mouth was still banded shut, let me explain that as the days go by and my jaw got stronger and more accustomed to opening thanks to the yawning and some "talking" (even through clenched teeth my jaw SLIGHTLY pried open if I got too excited while talking), sometimes my bottom teeth would bump or rub against my top teeth.  This is a short, intense sensation of pain.  It's always enough to immediately shut me up, and hold my hand over my mouth for a minute or two.  At my 3 week post-op I told my doctor about the tooth sensitivity and she explained that most of it had to do with the fact that my teeth had been banded shut for so long. Now that I've been in loose bands for a couple days into week 3, I've noticed the tooth sensitivity decrease dramatically.  They're still sensitive, but not nearly as much as during week 2.

Sleeping and Waking up

Surprisingly enough sleeping hasn't been too bad since surgery.  I've definitely had a few nights that weren't easy.  The first week it was because of nausea.  The second week was because on a couple nights I had trouble getting and staying comfortable.  Now, in my 3rd week, I'm noticing that I have trouble sleeping because of pain.  I've always talked in my sleep, and that hasn't changed since surgery.  On a couple of occasions I've woken up to pain in my jaw from my mouth actively trying to open to talk (even in tight bands).  Usually it would only wake me up for a second and then I was able to get right back to sleep, but now that I'm in looser bands, my mouth is able to open for talking much more while I'm asleep, and it doesn't seem to know when wide enough is enough because this time I wake up with a sharp, shooting pain through my jaws all the way up to my TMJs.  This is agony when it happens.  I've woken my mom up for the last 2 nights at least 3 or 4 times yelping in the middle of the night because I've just woken myself up from trying to talk in my sleep, or even from my lower jaw "dropping" open while my head lolls back onto my pillows.  Each time I wake up in pain, my mom immediately asks if I want to take some Tylenol. I didn't take any the first 2 nights after the 3 week mark, but I did finally take some on the 3rd night, and it really helped.  I only woke up once, and it was more because I was getting that "swelling" feeling again, not so much because of pain.  

Mornings have been hard the whole way through, and are only now getting better (in the last 3 or 4 days).  I generally woke up in some level of pain everyday, extra swollen, and with my braces/brackets/hooks PLASTERED to my upper and lower inner lips (ouch).  3 days into week 3 and I'm still waking up with some extra swelling (but definitely not as much as earlier), and mostly soreness now from the pain I've been having in the middle of the night from trying to talk in my sleep.  BUT, I'm able to get out of bed much more quickly, "hop" in the shower, and get dressed for the day.

Alright folks, this post is long enough, but I made it because I thought it would be nice to have ONE entry that discusses some of the more noticeable issues I've been facing while in recovery.  That way future jaw surgery patients checking this blog out don't necessarily have to read every single post if they don't want to.  After all, I'm realistic, I know most people just want the facts, the nitty gritty of it all.  I can't speak for others, but the above info has been my nitty gritty so far.



Sunday, March 31, 2013

3 Weeks and 3 Days (Day 24)

I'm so sorry folks! I must've hit "update" instead of "save draft," on this particular post.  I wasn't finished typing it up, or adding the pictures.  I just noticed.  Here is the finished post along with pictures. I've changed the title of the post to account for the extra day it took me to post (and because I made progress with sleeping on night #3 and thought you should know about it).

3 Days Into Week 3

Some quick highlights about week 3 so far:
  • I can open wide enough to fit a real, adult spoon and fork into my mouth, and I've managed to use both just fine in the last 72 hours.  (I've used a baby spoon and/or sipped my meals out of  a dixie cup since day 1).
  • I ate huevos rancheros for breakfast today!! At least, I ate the jaw surgery patient version of huevos rancheros.   My mom warmed a tortilla for me, then topped it with scrambled egg, refried beans, and salsa (sans chunks, she only really sprinkled the "juice" of the salsa over the beans so that I could get the flavor).  The tortilla was just for decoration, we knew I couldn't eat it.  HOWEVER, I was able to eat every other last bite of that meal WITH a fork, and in under 10 minutes.  I simply cut the scrambled egg into smaller pieces, then dipped them through the refried beans and salsa mixture, and "popped" them into my mouth with a fork.  I was able to mash most of it up against the roof of my mouth, but I was also pleasantly surprised to find that I could use my back teeth to chew even a little bit more than I could yesterday!  Again I didn't try to overdo it, I mostly just wanted to "test" the feeling out.  So far, it's really only difficult because my teeth are still pretty sensitive, but there is also some discomfort in pushing food back there because the back sides of my cheeks are still healing and bits of food find their way back there.  Normally, the instinct is to use your tongue to get at these bits, but my cheeks are  still sore, and rubbing my tongue back there hurts (and feels weird because I can actually feel some of the scar tissue!).  So, I kept the "chewing" to a minimum.  But this was an amazing MEAL, and I was really pleased with my progress in how far I can open my mouth, how easily I can use real utensils, and with how quickly I was able to get the food down. Success all around! 
  • I've gotten really quick with removing and putting my bands back on to eat, brush, and exercise
  • Exercising my jaws HURTS.  I like being able to take my bands off because it feels great, but actually trying to practice opening my jaws little by little a few times of day is quite painful.  I never imagined that muscles were capable of such stiffness, but my cheeks are so stiff they feel "broken."  I just can't believe how much it hurts to open wider than I can--- it borderline feels physically impossible to open any wider, but I suppose I am seeing some progress even in just the last 72 hours.
  • My energy levels are almost completely back.  I was able to help my mom paint my kitchen, cook a delicious brunch (hence the huevos rancheros), and even enjoy a mimosa (or two), and I wasn't EXHAUSTED afterwards.  It was a busy day, so I was tired at the end of it, but I was happy to not feel like I needed a nap.  
  • Sleeping gets easier every night in week 3.  During the first 2 nights, I couldn't get comfortable on my sides because I could literally feel whichever side of my face I was resting on begin to swell pretty quickly.  Last night (Night 23) I took a couple Tylenol to help with the minor discomfort while sleeping, and it worked pretty well.  I only woke up once because of the discomfort/pain of being in one position for too long (my right side).  
    Finally, some pictures! I had completely forgotten that my mom took some quick pictures of me with her phone while at my 3 Week post-op doctor visit.  So, here you go folks... Week 3 Pics!  I think the swelling decrease is coming along nicely.  I can feel my face muscles beginning to really loosen up.  The most stubborn muscles are the ones above my upper lip, below my nose.  The kissing/lip exercises are really helping, so I'm able to smile wider and wider everyday.  My cheeks are starting to deflate a bit more quickly these days.  For the record, it FEELS like my right side is more swollen than the left about 70% of the time, but it's actually my left side that's usually more swollen.  This makes sense since this is the side that my implant was put in, and it's also the side where I had my cant (thus where I had more of my upper jaw removed to even out my smile).  As always, feel free to ask any questions you might have.  Thanks for following.  It's my hope you're finding all this info useful.