Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Dr. Naples mentioned I should take a follow up sleep study to verify I was cured of sleep apnea about six months post surgery. The day after my surgery, I knew I was cured. The blue rings beneath my eyes were gone. However, I also had a nice oxygen mask probably helping that. I think the last six months, my body and mind have started to recover from a life of fighting to stay alive at night. I now dream and wake up refreshed. I wanted to close this two year chapter of my life with an official study and find out just how much better off I was.

Sleep studies are really an interesting experience. Take a ton of sticky medical tape, multiple elastic belts, a couple hundred feet of twisted wire, some plastic tubes sticking up your nose, then tape them all to your body and head, shove the wires through your clothes, and hook them all to some box near your body. After doing this, try and sleep! Good luck!

This is my third "split night" sleep study. The split night means that if they find sleep apnea, they need to put various C-pap masks on your face and dial you in until you sleep. I mentioned to the tech performing the study that if they came in the middle of the night and tried to put a C-pap mask on my face, be prepared for a fist fight. After a two year journey, three surgeries, four doctors, medications, five C-pap masks, and a lifetime of losing sleep, I wanted this done.

So here is the direct assessment from the report:

"The maxillomandibular facial surgery has done a tremendous job in reducing his AHI from 66 which is extremely severe with severe desaturations to an AHI of 5.4 with very minimal desaturations at worst. Technically, this patient has defineitely met the criteria of curative based on surgical criteria, not likely to require any treatment such as CPAP or oral appliance based on the numbers. This is a great success."

I really like the sound of that. I met with my ENT (Dr. Oscar Tamez) today to go over the results and walked out a very happy man. To get the remaining AHI down close to zero, I'll need to lose a few pounds. Time to go ride my new bike, listen to my body, and put this journey behind me. If anyone has questions, feel free to post comments or visit the Orthognathic Yahoo group.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Time Flies

Well its been awhile since I checked in. I wanted to let everyone know that I am doing well and my jaw is healing quite nicely. The only remaining part of this journey is orthodontics and waiting for the remaining numbness around my chin to go away.

I should have braces for another year and a half. Its weird as my teeth are starting to line up and I never really realized how crooked they were. I saw my orthodontist last week and he fixed four broken brackets (two from the surgery) and replaced my wires. Apparently, since they cut slightly above the roots of the teeth during this surgery, the teeth move much faster right after the surgery.

The numbness about three months out for me feels like I visited the dentist and had work done about a few hours ago. Most of the feeling is back, but I still don't feel food when its caught on my chin or lip. So you learn to wipe your mouth after every few bytes after this surgery so you don't look silly eating out with friends.

I spoke with someone I didn't know on IM today about my surgery. It reminded me there are still folks out there preparing for this surgery, with alot of anxiety, and wondering how things will turn out. They asked me if the surgery was worth it. Of course for me, the surgery was necessary as my health and well being were starting to get impacted by sleep apnea. A good friend of mine who had the surgery, and two follow up surgeries to clean up a post-op infection stated that if he had to do it all over again, he would. For my case, I almost did the surgery twice, except the second surgery didn't involve any cutting on my lower jaw. I am extremely pleased with my results and how my new jawline looks. I no longer snore and my concentration during the day has vastly improved.

Looking back, I wish I wouldn't of worried so much about the complications, insurance, how I would heal, what I would look like, what happens if something goes wrong, etc. Simply put, find a skilled, proven, and licensed Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon that has done this surgery for many years, several times a month, and its extremely likely you'll be pleased with the outcome. Get a second or third opinion from different surgeons. Could there be complications, yes. Know them, but don't let the fear of them paralyze you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I am completely unbanded now and I am slowly progressing up through the range of soft foods to harder stuff. I pushed the envelope with some harder tortilla chips yesterday and it was rather strange to chew again. Everything in you mouth feels out of place to what you've known your whole life. In addition, your jaw muscles have moved and been banded closed for over a month. Laura observed that I look like a baby that has just been given its first cherrio and is learning how to chew food. I chew slowly and have to think about what I am doing as my jaw muscles just don't seem to be as strong as they were before.

In addition, my speech is starting to return to normal. After talking like a ventriloquist for the last month through the rubber bands, I am starting to sound more like myself. My cheeks still seem to be thick and tight, so I sound like I have a few marbles in my mouth, but it gets better day by day.

Finally, the chin is slowly progressing each day, but it is still pretty numb. I've been told it would be about a year before I would recover complete feeling in most of my chin. I just got through a very annoying stage where my chin would tingle much like your foot when its asleep or you hit your funny bone. That lasted a few weeks and I am glad that stage seems to be gone. I am getting brave with a blade razor and starting to shave most of my chin now, which is rather scary. You almost feel like you might accidentally slice into your chin and not know it.

This stage after the surgery seems to be about patience. I am still very happy with the results but I am looking forward to being my old self again.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


After losing 20 pounds in a little over a month, I was permitted to eat soft foods today. In fact, it will be five weeks from my first surgery tomorrow when I last had anything other than liquid. I promptly came home from my surgeon's office and cooked up four scrambled eggs and a mound of mashed potatoes. They were delightful! However, after being tightly banded for nearly five weeks, I can only open my mouth about the width of my pinky finger. So I had to eat my food with a teaspoon which was a little slower than I wanted. I hear it will be about a month before I can open my jaws to a somewhat normal amount.

In addition, I only have to wear one rubber band on my braces, instead of five. This freedom was the best news of all. Perhaps I will start talking like a regular person instead of a ventriloquist.

Happy New Year everyone!