Monday, October 31, 2011

under the sea halloween

Thursday, October 27, 2011

the good, the bad, and the ugly

I am two weeks and four days post-op.  I will start by saying that lower jaw surgery is not fun.  Recovery is tough.  Recovery with two young children is really tough.  But two weeks really does make a huge difference!

the good
My family and friends have been amazing.  Beyond my expectations supportive.  Humbling.  Amazing.  So very appreciated.

My mom flew out from IL and took care of us for an entire week.  She was with the girls the day of my surgery.  She cooked and cleaned and shopped and made sure that I didn't have to worry about anything.  She also kept me company in the evenings and took me for my first outing - for a smoothie at Starbucks.  The girls had a great week and loved all the attention they got from Grammy.  I was able to focus on getting better and resting as much as possible.  It was wonderful!  I don't know what we would've done without her.

Chad has been incredible!  No surprise here.  He is amazing!  He took time off work to be with me at the hospital and get me back to the surgeon for a post-op appointment.  He dosed me with pain meds around the clock those first few days. He has done more dishes than I can count and made sure the house is not falling apart.  He has played with the girls tirelessly and patiently.  He has read every one of Natalie's bedtime stories.  He has gently reminded me not to over do it and makes sure I rest.

We've had meals delivered every other day.  When you can't eat, pretty much the last thing you want to do is cook a meal for other people.  But I have two growing girls and a husband who deserve to eat three meals a day plus snacks.  Finding the energy to shop and prep meals ... well, that simply wasn't going to happen.  Having meals provided has been such a tremendous help; I cannot even tell you!  While my main concern was feeding my family, I've also enjoyed some yummy meals, too.  My friends have been so creative and gracious, they've even managed to find recipes for things I can eat!  I've had smoothies and soups and pudding ... all of it wonderful and important for keeping me strong and healthy while my body heals.

Friends have taken the girls so I can rest.  When my mom left, I was still very swollen, taking pain meds around the clock, and barely able to talk.  Taking care of my girls all day really wasn't an option, and thankfully, I didn't have to because, once again, my friends offered to help.  Leanne took Charlotte to music class.  Deann had Natalie over to play all day, and entertained her with crafting and cooking. And then took her to run errands another day.  Jenny took both girls for me between nap and when Chad got home - she even fed them dinner.  I got the rest I desperately needed and the girls were able to have fun and be well taken care of ... by people who love them.

I also received very sweet care packages from my faraway friends.  Those boxes brightened my days ... and gave me useful things like trashy magazines, more baby food, and a new laptop case!

the bad
  • For the first 24 hours I had to suction blood (lots and lots of blood) out of my mouth, which I could barely open.  The taste of blood is just about my least favorite taste in the world.
  • For the first three days, I "ate" through a syringe.
  • My face was wrapped in ice for five days.  And refilling that stupid ice pack around the clock was a pain in the a$$.
  • The inside of my mouth is a mine field of sutures.  Hygiene is critical but darn near impossible.
  • I've been in quite a bit of pain.  To the point that I told Chad I would rather deliver a baby - 12 times - than go through this again.
  • I had to sleep upright for the first 10 days.  Do you know how uncomfortable it is to sleep in a sitting position?  Needless to say, I am tired.
  • I am still hungry ... all the time ... no matter how much baby food, smoothies, and soup I eat, I am still hungry.  I just want to chew something!
  • My face hurts.  My mouth hurts.  My chin hurts.  My head hurts.  My body aches.
the ugly
I cannot believe I am going to post this photo online.  It's awful.  It's ugly.  This is me one week after surgery.  Yes, that delightful shade of yellow is bruising.  There is still some swelling but nothing compared to the first five days.  At this point, I was still in constant pain.  Not really functioning.  Spending a lot of time in bed.

Let me reiterate that this {ugly} photo was taken ten days ago. Now I have very minimal swelling and no visible bruising. Stay tuned for a "more good" post with an updated photo :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

i'm busted ...

Here's hoping that writing is therapeutic ... because I feel like crap.  Please know that I should feel like crap.  This isn't unexpected.  I am currently recovering from lower jaw surgery, and well, as you can imagine, it sucks.  Because of my severe underbite, both sides of my lower jaw were broken and moved forward about 6 mm.  My underbite caused me pain and headaches for years.  I am so thankful my current orthodontist told me the only way to truly fix this issue (which should've been fixed when I was a teenager) was to do it right.   Of course, doing it right led to the jaw surgery and two other procedures. My already weak chin would've complete disappeared after the jaw surgery, so it was moved forward.  And my tight frenulum (flap of tissue beneath my tongue) was clipped.  I am busted.

I remember almost none of the surgery or night spent in the hospital.

Because of the swelling, my face has been wrapped in ice almost constantly since Monday.  I also have to sleep upright, which means I can't sleep for longer than about an hour and a half at a time.  And most of that sleep is drug induced and filled with crazy nightmares and sleep falling.

I can't eat anything but I am increasing my repertoire of liquid delights ... Carnation Instant Breakfast, chicken broth, mashed potato soup, smoothies, and baby food!

I am still taking pain killers, anti-inflammatory, and nausea medication around the clock.  The inside of my mouth feels like "ground beef" to borrow phrasing from a friend - referring to her girl parts - after she gave birth to an almost 10 pound baby.  The cheeks, chin, and neck are swollen and very bruised.  I cannot open my mouth more than about the width of my index finger, which makes talking nearly impossible - yawning, coughing, or sneezing are excruciating!   I am busted.

Having my mom here for the past week has been such a blessing.  There is no way I can care for the girls right now ... not being able to talk, the risk of their love hitting me in the face, and having just enough energy to make myself a smoothie before I have to rest.  I am busted.

The full recovery time is about six months - but swelling should reduce significantly in the first two weeks and I hope to be eating soft pasta in the same amount of time.  I also have plans to fly with both girls (by myself) in less than a month.  I am trying to stay positive and hope that I will feel better every day. 

Thank you to all my mama friends who are taking such good care of me and my family!

Friday, October 7, 2011

i don't wanna go to school ...

Typically Natalie jumps out of bed enthusiastically and greets us with smiles and hugs and questions of "What did you dream about, mommy?"  or "Did you sleep well, daddy?"

This morning I heard her before I saw her.  When I got to the doorway, I found her still in bed whimpering and saying, "I don't wanna go to school today."

My first thought was, "Crap, she's sick!  I knew this would happen with all the new germs she is exposed to at preschool."

When I asked, "Why?" her reply just about broke my heart.  She said, "Because I will miss you soooo much, mommy!"

I did my best to distract her and remind her of the fun things we had planned for the afternoon.  She thought that was all fine and dandy but she still was NOT going to school. 

I talked to her about the new friends she's made at school.  Again, everything seemed fine on the friend-front.  But she was still NOT going to school.

I told her a funny story from when I was a teacher {about a parent-teacher conference involving oatmeal}, which distracted her enough to get dressed and downstairs for breakfast - only about five minutes behind schedule.

Then I made the mistake of cutting her pancakes into bite-size pieces, as I do every time she eats pancakes, and she completely lost it ... all over the floor.  This can't be happening.  Her little world was ending.  Lost it.  And punctuated that tantrum by screaming, "And I am NOT going to school today."

Delightful.  At this point I did what all good parents in the midst of a dilemma do ... I posted to Facebook, "NHV woke up saying she doesn't want to go to school. Any advice?"  Within minutes {love social media}, I had insights and suggestions from several mommy friends!

Anyway, I don't remember how I solved the breakfast crisis but we got to the point where it was time to leave ... she was dressed, hair was combed, teeth were brushed, ... in my mind, we ARE going to school.

But she dug her heels in one.more.time.

What did I do?  I wanted to lose it.  But somehow I stayed calm.  And I pulled out a photo of myself at preschool.  {My teacher found me on Facebook and sent it to me a few months ago - how awesome is that?}  It's this 8 x 10 black-and-white of me and a few classmates having a tea party with my teacher looking on.  It's darling.  Seriously.

Thankfully, it worked like a charm.  Natalie thought it was funny that her mommy went to preschool, too!  To seal the deal, I told her the story of how I would cry when my mommy dropped me off at preschool (complete with a theatrical reenactment) and then I would cry when she picked me up.  She thought that was so silly.

The next thing I know, we're in the car on our way to SCHOOL ... and she had a great day!

Monday, October 3, 2011

meal planning ... again

it appears meal planning is a weekly endeavor.  however I hate it a little less today because last week was a success!  no five o'clock scramble.  no random trips to the market.  less stress and good meals.

so I am at it again ... whether i like it or not.

Here are the four meals I will make at some point this week ...
  1. Pecan Encrusted Salmon, wild rice, and veggies
  2. Chicken Tortilla Soup - I always add black beans and use the already chopped celery/onion/carrot mix from Trader Joe's.
  3. Fuss-Free Ravioli and Cheese Bake
  4. Sloppy Joes & Sweet Potato Fries (Chitown Momma's recipe)
  • Brown 1 lb beef, season as you like (s&p, garlic powder)
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • onion - I buy it in the frozen food section!
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp mustard
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • I add grated carrots and red peppers to sneak in some veggies!
It can be ready to eat as soon as you feel the ingredients are pretty mixed up (if you are in a hurry), but it does taste a bit better if it sits and simmers on low heat for a while (30-60min on stove or hours in a crock pot)  

Baking ...
I have bananas to use, so I am trying Banana Muffins with Butterscotch Chips
and because I adore Nutella, I want to try this recipe for Self-frosting Pumpkin Nutella Muffins!
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