Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 32 - My One Month Anniversary! - Photos!

One month of jaw surgery recovery down!  It feels good to say I have the first month behind me.  I'm now a third of the way through the recovery process, as its supposed to take about 90 days.  I think that the first month is the toughest though, so I'm planning on relatively smooth sailing from here.  When I had reached the one week point I felt that I had come a long way, but the one month point is an even longer way.  Life is so much more normal at this point than its been the last few weeks.  Its still crazy to say I haven't chewed food in an entire month though.  I challenge all of my non-jaw surgery readers to do that!  I'd like to see you make it a week. =P  I'm kind of wondering how much longer I have to go without chewing though... 


Today I kind of tried to gently chew a noodle, just to see what happened, and I found myself unable to.  My poor, feeble jaw simply lacked the strength to penetrate a noodle.  That might be even more ridiculous than my inability to bike for an hour.  On a side note, I paid the price for that biking today. My jaw was quite sore for the first time in about a week and I had to take some Tylenol 3.  Anyway,  I still have a long way to go in regaining strength in my jaw.  I can't imagine what would happen if I tried to chew a steak if a noodle is too much for me. Overall energy...I'll put it around 80%.  I'm pretty much back to normal unless I do anything that resembles exercise.


The swelling has mostly subsided, most people probably wouldn't even notice it.  I don't even think about it that much anymore because I'm just used to looking at my face everyday, but my cheeks definitely haven't gone back to normal size yet.  The other day, one of my coworkers who hadn't seen me in a while or know that I had jaw surgery asked if I had been stung by a bee on the right side of my face.  Now, my mother has been stung by bees on her face recently and my face is no where near as swollen as hers was, but I guess mine are still kind of puffy if you look close enough.  I definitely feel puffy when I first wake up in the morning.  My face is kind of stiff and its a little harder to talk, but the swelling goes down by the afternoon.  I've been told to expect slight swelling for the first 2-3 months.


Is my chin still numb? Yup.  I'm pretty sure the feeling on the far right side of my chin is thinking about coming back soon though.  If I touch it, I don't feel anything, but when I tap it, I know that my chin is being tapped and thats more than I can say for the rest of my chin.  The feeling in my in my palate is about 90% at this point.  Once it started coming back, it came back in chunks each day.  I'm hoping my chin will do the same thing..But I'm not exactly sure what to expect.


I'm not sure if the rubberbands deserve their own section, but I am still wearing them.  They really don't bother me that much.  I've only worn two this entire time, so really not that bad.  My surgeon told me that I was allowed to take them off during the day for a couple hours if I wanted, but I've been wearing them 24/7 anyway.  I just haven't felt very adventurous.  I'm no longer scared of brushing my teeth though! I take the rubberbands off without suffering from any emotional trauma and I can open wide enough to get my tooth brush in my mouth.  This is wonderful for hygiene purposes.  As far as speech goes,  I think I'm 90% back to normal.  My S's might sssssound a little like that ssssnake in Jungle Book, except not that bad.


here are some photos of my wonderful new smile!  A little cheesy perhaps...but with these nasty surgical wires on my braces, I either have to smile really big or barely at all.   I'll vote for big and cheesy every time.

well..thats not really a smile... but you can see my underbite is no longer!

grrrrrr! fear my teeth!

no more underbite!!!!

(click any photo to view a larger version)

I'm excited for month #2!  I have my 6 week follow up appointment with my surgeon coming up on the 17th, and then my surgical wires will be removed by my orthodontist on the 21st... So I have some things to look forward to!


  1. Hi!! My names Danielle Im 16 I had looked up drinks and things to attempt to eat after Jaw surgery and ran across your blog! I love it I had my upper and lower jaw done and im about to be at the point of my 2nd week! My surgery and the recovery and everything sounds exactly like yours! My chin and lips are still numb though! Thanks for posting this love reading it since I haven't been to my 1 month or even my year yet!

    1. hi, did your numbness ever go away? I'm 10 months out and still have a numb spot in the corner of my left lip and wonder if it will come back.

    2. All of my completely numb spots came back for the most part, even though some areas are not back 100%. You may still see some slight improvements over the next 6 months, but i think they tell you that whatever feeling you have a the 1 year point is what you can expect to have permanently for the most part. But some people just take longer to heal than others so don't worry yet!

  2. Thank you, there's surprisingly little information out there about this. I have feeling there as I can feel touch and feel the heat of a hot chili pepper and the cold of ice but it feels a little inflated and heavier like as if by a balloon. It's not major and the surgeon said all my nerves are intact but I want improvement so as you say, there's hope.

    I've been taking vitamin B-6 and 12 to possibly help. I'd love to know the mechanism of the numbness after this surgery. I had an ultrasound liposuction on my abdomen a few years back and that process strips the fat sheath coating off the nerves but feeling eventually came completely back. I had your exact same surgery with the lower jaw pushed back and upper forward. I wonder just what do the nerves do once the jaw is moved. For practical purposes the nerve is a string in the jaw bone. Once the lower jaw is shortened what does that string do, bunch up or shrink. I may look up some facial nerve anatomy and physiology books and find out more. I may go visit my surgeon again and bomb him with questions.

    My surgeon probably has the most experience of any practicing surgeon out there. He told me just before surgery that if he made two small incisions on the side of my lower jaw on the outside it would make it easier for him to work around the area of the nerve and decrease the chance for nerve damage so I let him do it and I have virtually no visible mark outside my face now but there is a big internal scar on the inside of my mouth on one side that is giving me problems. Time will tell and I'll update your blog. Thanks for the info.

    This is interresting
    Nervre Injuries

    Several types of nerve injury can occur. These include:

    COMPRESSION of the nerve by fragments of bone or tooth, scar tissue or foreign material such as bone fixation screws, wires or plates, or dental implants.
    STRETCHING from manipulation during surgery or traumatic injury.
    Partial or complete SEVERANCE causing interruption or discontinuity of the nerve, or the development of a neuroma (a disorganized mass of nerve tissue which can be quite painful).
    BURNS from caustic substances such as root canal filling materials or medications.

  4. HEy Rebecca, my names Kevin, I just stumbled upon your exciting blog a lil while ago, i couldnt sleep due to being so dam uncomfortable, figured id search the net and see who else had to go thru this little wonderful adventure, anyways i had basically the same surgery but mostly my problem was a lovely crossbite,im about 3 weeks post now, but anyways id just like to say i think you look amazing, it gave me a lil confidence seeing that your surgery went so well for you, but i was wondering how much you had to pay all together out of pocket, i read that one post it seemed a little unclear to me or i just read it wrong, but if you could get back to me id appreciate it.

    1. Hey Kevin! thanks for reading! If you're 3 weeks in, I'd say the worst is probably behind you. :) Its a rough road for sure though. I realize that my insurance post could probably stand to be re-written a little bit... haha basically though, my insurance paid for everything except a a couple thousand I wish i could remember exactly how much it was now... but again, extremely minimal (like 3 or 4k?) and more to do with the hospital stay than the surgery. Let me know if you have any more questions! :)


  5. Hey Rebecca, its Kevin again, thanks for that info 3 or 4k isnt bad at all hopefully mine will be somewhere around there. Im kinda freakin out a lil, i went to hug my aunt the other day and her shoulder kinda bumped me a little bit on the side of my face right on my jaw bone I really hope nothing has moved or shifted or anything, but I just read someone elses blog and they said that they had their plates and screws removed after nine months, mostly due to the fact that the guy just didnt want them in and he said he felt tightness when he gave a good smile. A few other ppl commented and said they also had their hardware removed, one lady even said after 20 years one of the screws loosened and was giving her alot of problems, so she had to have it removed. When i hear stories like that it really makes me uneasy, have you heard anything like that or do you have any information regarding leaving the hardware in or out, or problems or whatever, id like to hear your input so when you get a chance get back at me.


    1. I personally have not had any issues with the hardware in my face... My surgeon told me once a blue moon somebody will have an issue that necessitates having them removed, but it was extremely rare. Another factor could be the quality of surgeon. Unfortunately, they are not all equal and someone with less skill may not put the hardware in properly. Luckily I had an absolutely amazing, first rate surgeon at Mayo, like i said, i havent had any issues and even if something developed in the future, while it wouldnt be very fun to have them taken out, I dont imagine its a very major surgery and definitely wouldn't make me change mind about having jaw surgery in the first place. I wouldnt let it worry you too much. :)

  6. Hey Rebecca, its Kevin again, im almost 7 weeks post now and my face is still really fat looking and my lips are still pretty huge as well, and i just feel big and swollen overall still, is this normal at this point or is there something else going on, getting nervous, i dont have any pain but i still do feel pretty lethargic and just kinda sickly, never really got my strength back and my lymphnodes are kinda sore and swollen a bit. I work in construction and i havnt been back to work yet but times passing and i gotta get back to work, and the way i feel dont really feel all that possible. Also my surgeon is sopossed to be the best in my area, and i was curious cause i had a crossbite to the right and the guy spent six weeks pulling with the bands to the direction of the crossbite cus my bite was off a lil after surgery, and now he is pulling me back in the other direction, the direction that i thought he should of been pulling me all along to counteract the whole muscle memory thing, so now im wondering if like im going to relapse or something, but he said no, so i dont know, i had enough of this whole ordeal already, get back at me and lemme know what you think.

    1. Hey Kevin, everyones different and some people swell more than others, but i dont think being puffy at 7 weeks is abnormal. I definitely felt very lethargic and fatigued at that point too. You lose a lot of blood during surgery, so not only is your body trying to heal all these broken bones, your body isnt getting the oxygen and all that good stuff it needs as well. My orthodontist did some rubberband work after surgery as well.... it was planned though. Both my orthodontist and surgeon talked on the phone several times and collaborated on what the whole plan was going to be so they were on the same page. I too had a lot of concerns about the rubberbands and things shifting after surgery, but everything came out the way it was supposed to! Hang in there! :)