How to survive a gum graft and frenectomy

download.jpegWhile I was recovering from my second (gulp, yes!) gum graft and frenectomy, I did a ton of googling and didn’t find a lot of reporting from patients on what to expect. Most of the things I found online were from periodontist offices, which is helpful, but I thought I’d share some of my survival tips for future oral surgery patients.

A little background first: I had a gum graft and frenectomy about a year and a half ago. When I went to visit my dentist for my first teeth cleaning post-oral surgery, he told me that the doctor didn’t do it well and I would need it to be repeated. Sigh. Not what you want to hear after 3 months of recovery! It took me another year to schedule the re-do because I had started a new job, but this past January 4, 2017, I went under the knife again.

It’s been about 2 weeks and I’m healing very well. I went for my follow-up today and I’m on the road to recovery!  Here are my main learnings from this second experience.

  1. You’re going to miss more work than you think.  Even though this is a routine procedure, it is still surgery! Give yourself about a week at home to recover, especially if you’re taking heavy pain killers like I was. I took almost all of the Oxycodone that I was prescribed because the first few days were tough. As a result, I was in no shape to work or do much of anything. My doctor gave me a note for work and it stated that it could take up to 10 days for you to be back to work. Take the time – you may need it!
  2. Stock up on shakes! For about a week, I couldn’t chew on anything. Period. I survived on Odwalla Chocolate Protein Shakes. They are very caloric, but you’ll need them to keep up your strength. Odwalla shakes are dairy and soy, so keep that in mind if you have any allergies. And, now that the dressing has been removed from my gum graft area, I’m sticking to soft foods and shakes for another few days.
  3. Mozzarella is the perfect post-surgical soft food! Enough said.
  4. Use the mouthwash. It’s going to be painful to brush so use the prescription mouthwash twice a day. It will save you from horrible breath!
  5. Stock up on Advil and Tylenol: You’ll want to switch between the two. One for pain, one for swelling.
  6. Re-freeze those instant ice packs: Get a few of those “break and turn cold immediately” ice packs for the day of surgery. Then, pop them back into the freezer to reuse all week. Life savor, and fairly cheap.
  7. Do not talk: Trust me, I talk more than anyone else I know. You’ll recover faster if you shut up.
  8. It will hurt, but it gets better each day: It’s surgery in your mouth – it is going to hurt! But fortunately, the mouth heals fast so I promise it gets better.
  9. No crunchy food: It will get stuck in your stitches and hurt very badly. Take it from someone who learned the hard way. Stick with soft foods for a long time!
  10. Grilled or roast chicken cut up into tiny pieces will become your bestie: Best solid food besides the mozzarella. Get a roasted chicken at Costco and cut it up into small pieces. I’ve been eating it plain, and tonight I make it with brown rice and melted cheese. All soft, tasty, and filling.

Good luck with your gum graft and/or frenectomy from one oral surgery survivor to another!

 

 

Intuitive Eating

Have you ever heard of “intuitive” or “mindful” eating?” It’s a great alternative to the diet mentality where you deprive yourself of certain foods to lose weight. Intuitive eating basically encourages you to listen to the cues that your body provides in order to nourish yourself.

On the website www.intuitiveeating.com, run by Evelyn Tribole MS, RD, they highlight the 10 principles of intuitive eating, which you can read in full here.

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I really like the concept of “honor your hunger.” I stopped doing that for years during my time with binge eating disorder. Now I’m working hard to pay attention to when I am hungry and what is my body craving. Lately I’ve been wanting peanut butter, which may be because I like the taste, it’s easy to eat, and it is filling. I’ve been stocking up on Nature Valley Peanut Butter biscuits. They’re portable and taste good.

I also really like “respect your fullness.” That is definitely something I’ve needed to be mindful about during my recovery. I used to eat so much and then be so uncomfortable. Now I try to eat a good-sized portion that will fill me up but not leave me so stuffed!

Can’t wait to learn more about intuitive eating as I move along the next chapter in my healthy relationship with food and the emotions I feel around eating.

 

 

Sugar Cravings Be Gone!

sugarFor 41 years now I’ve been a sugar addict. I love my carbs, I love my sugar. It can be in the form of fruit, bread, chocolate, cupcakes, ice pops. You name it. Delish.

Recently, I started taking a medication that helps curb my sugar cravings. It’s unreal. Today, I took one bite of this delicious chocolate cake at work, and thought my mouth was going to explode from the sugar intake. Like, explode in a bad way. I pushed it away.

Unreal, right? It’s fabulous. Fabulous, I tell you.

Europe: September 2013

Oh, where do I begin?

The last time I wrote, I was embarking on a journey to Europe and was sipping on a cup of espresso in France, waiting for my connecting flight to Barcelona.

I’m going to share the tale of my adventures in Europe through words and pictures. The words are excerpts from emails I sent to my family and friends while abroad. I think it does a good job of capturing my feelings at those very moments.

Paris, September 9: Email to mom

img_5798Chilling at airport in Paris.  My flight doesn’t leave for 3 hours – slight delay – so having an espresso & croissant.  And yes, I could taste the butter!

I don’t think it has officially sunk in yet that I’m in Europe!  Looking forward to a nice shower tho!

 

 

 

Barcelona, September 9 (later that day): Email to parents and brother

IMG_5845.JPGAt my “apartment” that I rented for a couple days. It is really nice!

And the most random thing happened at the Paris airport. I was chatting with a girl from New York online – – she randomly got online behind me – – and we got to talking and it turns out that she is from Lincroft and went to Middletown South!   She is 32 so we wouldn’t of known each other, but we thought it was really funny that we had to go all the way to Paris to meet someone from the same hometown.

I am going to shower and get some food and rest. Today is my reading  day.  Will hit the town tomorrow!

 

Rome, September 14: Email to close friends and family
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Greetings from my happy place – Rome. I haven’t felt this content and at peace in years.  The people in my cruise group are fabulous & I’ve  made a lot of friends.

You guys are going to laugh but the first night, I got propositioned by a 67 year old man from north Carolina.  Yes, “propositioned.” Everyone keeps making fun of me for it!  No, I did not accept the offer.  He said “no strings attached.” He could be my father!

Yesterday we spent the day in Positano, Sorrento and Pompeii.  Since I’d seen Pompeii before, I sat and had a coffee with an 85-year-old man from my group.  I hope I’m on a European cruise when I’m his age!  He is an attorney – still working – and we talked politics (he’s a republican for Hillary), socialized medicine, you name it. The tour guide gave me a big kiss for taking care of John.  I enjoyed it!IMG_5888.JPG

Today I’m wandering Rome.  I walked my 10,000 steps in 2 hours!  Now I’m relaxing at a cafe near Piazza del Popolo on my way to St. Peter’s.

Tomorrow I’m going with the group to Pisa and Florence.  I haven’t been to Florence in a long time so it’ll be nice to see it again & experience it through my new friends’ eyes – many of the people in my group have never been.

After Italy we head to southern France.  I booked a trip to Nice & Eze upon the recommendation of my colleague.  Then onto Marseille and back to Barcelona.  Now I’ll have people to hang out with in Barcelona.

Somehow I got a free drink package on the cruise so I’ve been enjoying a lot of free wine!  There is a Cirque de Soleil tent on the ship so a group of us plan to do that one night.

That’s pretty much it.  Off to stroll some more!  Ciao.

 

Cannes, September 16: Email to close friends and family

Hello from France.  Traveled from port in Cannes to Nice & Eze today.

In the last few days I’ve walked about 30  miles!  Not looking forward to sitting behind a desk again. Ate a crepe with Nutella today.  Ok…maybe 2 of them 😄

 

Marseilles, September 17: Email to college friend Jen after spending the day with her longtime pen pal, Lucille

IMG_6120.JPGIt’s like we’ve known each other for years!!  I think Lucille & I both know you so well.  I filled her in on your life!
Lucille, please come visit us.

 

Barcelona, September 18: Email to mom

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Sad to come home (followed by many sad-face emoticons)

 

Food Glorious Food

8256b56a968008a5aa7dc1bb54f480b6I did something really dumb today.  I didn’t eat anything all day.  Yep.  First meal of the day was after 8pm.  This means that I worked an entire day plus went to a doctor’s appointment with nothing in my stomach but two cups of coffee.

By the time I got home tonight – around 8pm before eating – I was a grumpy crybaby who was clearly hungry and very bitchy.  It’s not a good idea to not eat all day.  After I ate, I felt better.  Full.  Happy.  Not as bitchy.

Most of you know that I used to have an eating disorder, so going a full day without food is not a good thing for anyone, but especially someone like me.

What is my takeaway?  Eating food = less grumpy, less bitchy.

I have a 10:15am appointment tomorrow and I plan to eat BEFORE it!  What a novel idea?