The most significant question still remains to be resolved - did the surgery work? At this point, I don't know. Perhaps I'm in denial, or perhaps I need more time. While I still wake up tired, sleeping 5-6 hours a night, I do feel that I have more energy and can make it through most days without too much trouble. Yet, I still feel there is tremendous room for improvement.
During the past month, I've reintroduced both Bi-PAP and the "Silencer" oral appliance. While I could not tolerate the PAP treatment due to aerophagia, I was able to tolerate the oral appliance with minimum advancement . I worked closely with my surgeon to monitor progress. Perhaps there was some benefit, but the surgeon and I agreed that the improvement, (based solely on how I feel, not measured in the lab) was not enough to continue using either one. My surgeon has suggested focusing the next few months on the psychological recovery (relaxation, stress relief, etc.). He does not plan to do a repeat sleep study at this point since I'm not yet sleeping well enough where we will get significant data from the study. He expects a sleep study would tell us that I'm not sleeping better than before the MMA and therefore is not justified at this point in time.
I'm going to make a final attempt (at least for now) to improve my sleep by trying a device called the Aveo TSD. You can do a Google search to learn more about the product. It's basically a device used to prevent the tongue from collapsing on the airway. It looks like a big binky. We'll see how it goes...As far as the physical recovery, here's the "latest"
- Eating most foods, with the exception of very hard foods or foods that require significant chewing or grinding to eat
- Upper gums still numb and limited sensation in upper teeth, but slowly improving
- Lower lip and chin still numb. Hard to say if this has improved in the past month
- Lower teeth and gums feel "normal"
In the above picture, we are riding in a paceline on the 106 mile ride. I'm wearing the red vest. We rode the first 23 miles in just over an hour at a pace of 19.7 m.p.h. Drafting on a bike can be quite a thrill. (Riding on a flat road helped keep the average speed high as well.) It turns out that the October century was my second 100 mile ride since the surgery. As I've posted earlier, I rode my first century 8 weeks post-MMA. Cycling is truly a great way to recover.