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.



  1. I'm glad the year-long struggle after your surgery totally paid off. We'll definitely miss you! Let your wonderful smile spread to your loved ones and to people who are still recovering from that similar operation. Way to go, Rebecca!

  2. hi, since you lived far away from the mayoclinic, how many follow up appointments did you have there? how were you followed up after surgery if you lived far away from the mayoclinic? how was your general experience at the mayoclinic? would you rather have had the surgery done locally rather than driving far away to get it done?? thanks, i'd really like to hear your input:)

  3. Yeah, i live about 10 hours away from the Mayo Clinic. Its definitely not a fun drive, but I'm very glad I had my surgery done there. Because so many people from all over the world go there, their surgeons/doctors have a lot more experience than someone at some random hospital would have....And personally, I like my face so I wouldn't wanna let just anybody touch it. :P

    The general experience there was great. I loved my surgeon, Dr. Rieck, and all of his staff were friendly & cautious to make sure everything was done right. I've talked to a lot of people who got jaw surgeries done other places & the results were definitely not as satisfactory as my own. Unfortunately one girl i met at Meijers got her surgery done by a guy here in town and she looked like she needed to get another one done. That could have been me. yikes. So no, if i made the choice again, I would still go to the Mayo Clinic. No question.

    About followups - i went one time after my surgery around 6 or 8 weeks to see my surgeon, get Xrays and make sure everything was okay.... and it was, so the remainder of my followups were done by my orthodontist who is absolutely outstanding. I'm supposed to go to Mayo one last time for a final follow up but I've kinda been putting that off.... Probably in the next 2 months I'll go. we'll see. :)

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  5. I am in the United Kingdom and just researching what I might have to go thro! It's never been mentioned that I'd have a double jaw surgery but it's amazing to see your results. I'm at the very initial stages of what has been 4 years of going from one consultant to another. Here we have the NHS and despite having private medical health they wont cover me! The NHS process could take years just for them to make a decision as to whether they can afford to spend the money on ones particular case!! Anyway I'm rambling. I just wanted to say you look amazing and reading your blog has been refreshing and slightly less gruesome than other out there!!

  6. Hey, I was just wondering about when you mentioned returning to work after 3 weeks but being exhausted after just the 2 hours was it because of the talking or just the physical strain and mental effort needed? I'm worried because I have surgery scheduled for the 3rd of september and I'm hoping to be back in school by the 19th

    1. It was both a physical and mental strain... Probably mostly physical though. Most people tend to lose a lot of blood during surgery, so you'll get tired a lot faster than normal and just wont have as much strength as you're used to. Sitting in class might be okay... but i'd expect to get tired if you're carrying a lot of books around and trying to talk to people. School and work are important things though... so sometimes you just gotta suck it up and go before you feel totally ready. It stinks, but after 3 weeks or so its kinda manageable.

  7. The authkir had jaw surgery and is now describing his experiences with us. Thanks fro sharing

  8. Good that you r jaw restoration lasted with you for so long

  9. Nice posting, thanks for sharing with us. Your blog is great and helped me a lot to know more about jaw surgery los angeles.

  10. Hi, I had jaw surgery over 30 yrs ago and still have numbness in my left lower jaw and part of my chin. Feels like novocain that never wears off. Ive dealt with it over the years but it has really been bothering me of late. Have you had a similar expwrience?


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