Monday, September 16, 2013


An explanation.

My mouth is filled with stitches.  I've been living on a diet of ice cream, mashed potatoes, yogurt, nutri-bullet shakes (which was a failed attempt to include some healthy nutrients in my diet).

Last week, I had oral surgery.  Sounds like a tooth extraction or perhaps a root canal except, it was real surgery.  With real anesthesia, real stitches and the real deal pain meds.  I have a post op appointment on Thursday.  I'm still in pain and I'm still using hard core pain medication.

The low down?

My upper jaw bone was disintegrating.  I wrote about this in passing several months ago.  The surgeon attempted to use what they call "bone in a jar" to perform a graft.  It was a successful procedure but only to a point.  The synthetic bone was able to compensate for about half of the bone loss.  In other words, I still needed a second graft and it would be as extensive as the first one.

The difference?  This time, real bone, my own bone, would be necessary to afford the best opportunity for success.  I had a CT scan and the sliced imaging told us that my sinus had fallen into the abyss where there once was bone.

The surgery was about two hours.  My bilateral mastectomy with tissue expanders and two surgeons was three hours (just as a point of reference).

The nitty gritty?  I had to have a "sinus lift."  Then, bone was removed from my lower jaw to attach to the area in my upper jaw where the bone was missing.  THEN, three dental implants were inserted into the new bone.  The graft will solidify around the implants.  A temporary bridge is covering the area.  It will be months before the procedure can be completed.

The bottom line?  Pain.  Pain.  And more pain.  I knew it was going to be bad when I was numb up to my eye socket and the pain was excruciating.  Two vicodins did nothing.  Pain management advice from the west coast (Thank You, Thank YOU) got me past that moment and I never let the pain get ahead of me.

Antibiotics three times a day which I've cut back to twice a day.  The nausea was unbearable.  Some antibiotics wreak havoc on my system.  I can't do three times a day for ten days.  I have a special rinse to use twice a day and nasal spray that is also used twice daily.  Presumably, these are topical germ killers so I'm less concerned about that 3rd pill I stopped taking.

Vicodin, yes, is now a staple in my diet.  By Saturday, my face was so swollen, it appeared I had a small orange tucked inside my cheek.  I can only open my mouth half way.  Everything is still sore, still swollen and I'm still rather incoherent from the pain meds.  Yes, I'm still in pain and I still need the pain meds.  The frequency has decreased and so has the dosage.  I'm not a hero.  When tylenol works, I'll switch to tylenol.  For now, the hard core drugs are the only ones that do the trick.  Disclaimer.  I've always had this extreme sensitivity when it comes to mouth pain.

I expect I'll be getting a bit better with each passing day.  Soft foods are on the menu for another week. The mashed potatoes and the Haagen Dazs works wonders to coat my stomach which helps with the nausea from both the antibiotics and the pain medication.  I'm sure they aren't working wonders on my hips but I'll deal with that when I activate my FitBit for the Step By Step Study in which I am enrolled.

The big pay day will be several months from now when I will be the recipient of a new bright white smile compliments of the caps that will become permanent fixtures across all of my top teeth.  I'm anxious of for that pay day but I suspect the oral surgeon and the dentist are even more excited about their pay day.

Yeah..... can't be sure exactly what CAUSED the bone loss but I have a few good guesses.  The problem?  Try convincing the health insurance company that my mouth problems are medical fallout, collateral damage.  In other words, this out of pocket expense is a bloody fortune.  Literally.

Last but not at all least.... a BIG Shout out and HUGE thank yous..... Sending extra love to some very special friends who knew I'd be out of it and made sure I would have a steady supply of food delivered to my door.    

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  1. Anne Marie. I'm so sorry to hear all of this. Yeah, I can shoot a few guesses about the connection here. To hear you are in pain is terrible. I hope it reduces steadily, and eat all the ice cream you need. Screw the hips, ice cream is curative in its own right. ~Catherine

  2. Ow, ow, ow! I can't imagine. Try some organic yogurt with the live bacteria in it to help coating your stomach and help with the nausea from antibiotics. It can make a huge difference. Big hugs.

  3. oh, anne marie,

    there is no pain I fear more that tooth, mouth pain. to have your sinus cavity also involved - well, that's just total suckage. good for you for keeping ahead of the pain; I find here that there are always lots of promises about that, but they all lie - gotta do it yourself or suffer. I am so very sorry for the pain, the extensiveness of the damage, and the long haul you are looking at.

    I hope if i'm thinking what you are thinking caused the terrible bone destruction, you will have a good chance of a winning argument for insurance coverage.

    please keep us posted on how you are feeling and progressing. sending you much love, and warm hugs, and very positive vibes for healing and comfort. my cherished friend,



  4. I didn't realize it was this extensive. Family member had similar surgery...will follow with email...Thoughts and prayers going your way now.

  5. AnneMarie I am so sorry you are going through all of this. I am also sorry that you have had so much bone loss and such a complicated procedure which I can see is still going to be followed up with more work. I have had to have extensive dental work especially after chemo and I hope like me that you have no trouble with your implants and all goes smooth.

    I don't envy all of the work with the insurance company as I am sure that's a another whole mess. I am sure you are icing the swollen areas as that can help keep the swelling down.

    Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers and I hope the pain keeps diminishing. Hugs and xoxo - Susan

  6. Stupid chemo.

    Been there, done that, Annette, although mine wasn't quite as extensive (bone grafts in each of two quadrants, and the application of a biologic in the third; no sinus lift). It sucks mightily. My only suggestion to you is that you also take Advil, because it reduces swelling and inflammation, something that neither Tylenol nor Vicodin do. I was mostly able to avoid the Vicodin (or maybe it was Percoset; either way, I don't do well with hydrocodone) by taking Advil. (And ginger might help the nausea. It works for most other medicines.)

    I hope you feel better really soon.


  7. Don't like hearing you're in pain! Feel better, AnneMarie. Sending good thoughts!

  8. BUMMMMMMER SWEET AnneMarie! Thinking of you and sending love ... although another Vicoden might be more helpfiul.


  9. AnneMarie! I had no idea you were going through this. Sending you a million healing {{{hugs}}} and: Remember to take your Colace AM and PM!

  10. Did not read this yesterday and I am sorry I did not mentioned it last night. Hang in there, use this time to relax and get better. Sending prayers your way for less pain.
    Love from Texas


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