Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 365 - I Survived Jaw Surgery

ONE YEAR!  That's how long its been since I had my double jaw surgery.  Its kind of hard to believe so much time has already gone by.... but thats how time always is.  Right now, as I'm writing, I'm enjoying a Biggby Orange Creme Freeze....I thought it was appropriate that i get a smoothie to honor the 6+ weeks that I was on a liquid/soft food only diet.  Anyway.  This will probably be the last post on this blog... which is actually really sad. There's really nothing new to say anymore - but i love all of the emails and messages i get from other jaw surgery victims so please keep them coming!!!  I think it is SO COOL that i have readers from all over the world! From the US to the UK to Australia...Singapore, Aruba, Sweden, Turkey, Venezuela, France, Argentina, Cyprus, Indonesia, Dennmark, Mexico, India, South Korea, Vietnam, and JUST TODAY i've had hits from Canada, Israel, Pakistan and Poland.  Thats pretty awesome.

Some frequently asked questions.....

Was your mouth wired shut?   - nope. I just wore really tight rubberbands that held my jaw shut, but as i recovered i could take them off to brush my teeth or open my mouth a little bit.

How long before you can go back to work/school? - Depends.  I took 3 weeks off of work & spent those 3 weeks mainly in bed.  When i did go back to work, the first week I only went for 2 hour shifts at a time and after that I would practically collapse from exhaustion. I think it was about 5 weeks before I could completely handle a full day of work. Also, this will depend on how much talking your job requires.  I essentially had a phone/customer service job  - so its a LOT of talking and it wore my poor jaw out. :(

How long before you get feeling back in your chin/lips?  This is really tough to answer and i think it definitely depends on how good your surgeon is and how extensive your surgery is.  I had absolutely no feeling in pretty much my entire face after surgery....then it gradually started coming back after a week or 2.  For over a month my entire chin and lips were numb and the tingling was horrible!!!  After a couple of months, I got feeling back in the right side of my chin/lips but the left side was still numb.... and honestly its its still mostly numb.  I usually know when something is touching my chin...but it doesn't feel the way it normally feels when something touches your skin. If i brush my finger against the left side of my lower lip/chin - it feels all tingly and weird. If i'm brushing my teeth and some water or toothpaste drips onto my chin, i can't feel it at all.  I'm not really a fan. They say whatever it feels like at the 1 year point will probably how it'll feel for the rest of your life.... so I just deal with it.

Does the surgery drastically alter your appearance?  Depends on the surgery... I definitely look different, but i wouldn't say drastically. My smile is definitely different - but I'd say for the better. [no one coulda believed it was possible!!! :P]

I would recommend you go back through my blog archive (on the right)  if you have any other questions or just wondering what jaw surgery recovery is like....i have documented the entire experience!!!

Based my google blog stats the most popular posts are:

Day 185 - 6 monthss! Before and After  Pictures!!

Day 52  - Atkins? South Beach? Jaw Surgery?  - how much weight do you lose after jaw surgery?

Day 29 - The Cost of Jaw Surgery

Day 20 - Life is What You Make It

Day 9 - a photo of my puffy face!

Day 1 - Where It All Begins!

Also don't forget to check out  my "About" page!!! :)

So. I guess this is goodbye. I'm supposed to get my braces off in October or November. Thats pretty exciting. So exciting, in fact, that I might come back to tell you about it. :) We'll see.   But i suppose i should leave everyone with some final words:

To those thinking about having jaw surgery: If you need it, do it. You won't regret it. Just make sure you have a good surgeon. I can't say enough good about my surgeon, Dr. Rieck, at the Mayo Clinic. Tell him i sent you.

To those who just had jaw surgery and are recovering:  I'm sorry. I really am. You're going through the worst experience of your entire life and none of your friends understand.  Read my blog and know that someone else has suffered too.  Keep a funny looking smile on your face (it does look weird, doesn't it?) and  feel free to email me if you have any questions or want to complain. :)

To those who have finished recovering: CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!! Life is good.

One year.  My mouth and I have come so far.  I survived jaw surgery.