Monday, 1 December 2014

Jaw Surgery Recovery - Welcome to Week Three!

So, as of tomorrow it will officially be three weeks since I had surgery, and it's sort of amazing how much things have changed in that time. I'm still weak and awful but definitely doing a lot better than I was.

My ability to eat has gone up - of course, I'm still not allowed to chew, but you'd be surprised by my ability to swallow things whole now, haha. I discovered that baby foods are actually delicious and perfect - if you go for the meals like the pasta ones they tend to be exactly what an adult would eat, just chopped up really small and soft which is exactly what I need. That way I feel like I'm eating a proper meal and I'm not worried about choking on anything as the vegetables and everything can be mushed up with my tongue pretty easily. I discovered that I can eat Weetabix incredibly easily, and I can sort of manage pancakes. I think I'll have to save those ones for a treat because it took a good 45 minutes or so to eat two of them and it was quite hard work, but if they're really really syrupped up it's not impossible. I tried to eat a little chocolate pudding with sauce inside thinking it would work along the same lines but that was an ordeal! I gave up three quarters of the way through and was very sad to do so as it was absolutely delicious. I also discovered that I can just about manage a fish pie ready meal - because of the size it took around an hour and some of the pieces of fish were too hard, but at least I know I'm almost capable of full portions again.

Of course I am still eating a million yogurts a day as well, and sometimes ice cream for good measure! The bulk of my diet is scrambled egg and mashed potato and of course yogurt, but I'm still working on building weight back up - you'd be amazed at how much you lose in that first week, I'm pretty skeletal right now.

It's still pretty sore to open my mouth even the 1cm or so that I'm capable of. It gets stuck open a bit less now - I am pretty sure the orthodontist was right and it's swelling inside the cheek that gets caught when it gets stuck open. However whenever this happens I go in there with a thin spoon and try to like...pull my cheek away from my face. It never helps, but it does feel like it's my cheek. I don't know.

Energy & Exercise
This is a confusing one because it quite often feels like my energy is back to normal, but then I quickly discover it isn't. I get irritated being trapped inside because I want to go and do things, but then I run out of energy walking across the room. I think it's sort of a cycle, because if I was allowed to exercise I'd probably be building up the energy again, even if right now I don't feel like I have the energy to actually exercise. I think the most telling thing is I want to be exercising.

I did however go for a Black Friday shopping trip and nearly pass out waiting for the bus, so energy is still not there at all.

I asked last week if I was able to start exercising again, but was told no - he said I could start taking gentle walks, but nothing more than that. As of this week though I'm going to start trying to take a few big walks around London. I'm a person who needs some sort of goal - walking ten minutes doesn't work for me, I won't do it unless I have a reason to do it. So if I start doing one of the set walks I think I'll be able to commit to it. I've ordered a pedometer too, so that'll help because it'll hopefully give me some kind of motivation to do it.

Swelling / Teeth / General Face Stuff!
The swelling is still there, although I'd say around 80% of it has gone. It tends to be quite obvious that there's some still there as most days it is completely uneven.

My lips still don't shut and this still bothers me. Both the surgeon and the orthodontist have told me that they will. The surgeon says he had to cut through the muscles that control my lower lip which is probably why it isn't doing what I want it to do, but my face was made shorter so if anything it should be easier for them to meet each other. I honestly feel like I'd be a lot more confident about going out again and all that if my mouth would just shut. I've started doing weird lip exercises for around ten minutes a day, I don't know if it makes any difference.

My teeth are pretty much staying where the orthodontist wants them to now, even after a meal; that's for breakfast and lunch at least, I take much longer to eat dinner so one side normally opens up a bit.

I think overall I'm finding the new face to be an improvement - depending entirely on the lips! My mouth definitely feels enormous though, like it's incredibly hard to get used to existing around the new jaw position.

Talking & Socialising
My speech is definitely improving most days. I am understandable through the many elastic bands that tie my jaws together, although it does sound a bit like I'm spitting and obviously I can't speak too loudly. Without the elastic bands on at all I think I'm understandable and clear, although I can no longer say the letter 'F'. The main problem is that without the elastic bands my jaw still doesn't know what to do with itself, it doesn't stay completely clenched but it doesn't move naturally in the way that someone who hadn't had surgery would! They sort of just stay more or less together because I don't know what to do with them or how to move around them. The other day when I want to get my new phone, I took off the front two elastics so that I'd be a little less self conscious, and I thought it would make my speech easier to understand as well. But doing this put me in agony from where all the pressure went on to the sides instead, and because I had to talk a lot that day (my one hour trip turned into four. In a phone shop. Yes really.) by the time I got home my joints really hurt and my speech wasn't understandable at all anymore.

Socialising is still more or less non existent, but this is my fault. I see the friend who came to hospital with me at least once a week, but I'm not seeing anyone else apart from my housemate. To be fair, friends have offered to see me a few times and some clearly actively want to. But I'm feeling really self conscious about it. The elastic bands all over my teeth don't help, but honestly, it's the lips - no one else seems to have this bloody lip problem and I'm hyper aware of it.

In conclusion...
I'm definitely improving. It does get better! But the improvements have sort of slowed down now, although I'm progressing much more in my basic skills. It sounds silly, but stuff like learning how to eat again really takes a LOT more effort than you think it will.

In other news, these posts will be slowing down a little - I'll be doing a post on the fourth week of recovery, but in addition to three normal posts. I'll also do one on the sixth week of recovery, as that's normally the point at which the bulk of recovery ends and you're allowed to start using your teeth again. And probably one on the second month. I was going to start combining these posts with normal ones but looking at my search engine stats a lot of people are finding my entries by googling their concerns about their own jaw surgery, and so I'd like to keep them here to keep helping other people out - plus its interesting for me to see how things are changing!


  1. I love reading your weekly posts about your jaw. I have to have mine broken next year, so it's a good way to prepare myself for it! Glad to know you're feeling better! <3 xx

  2. I'm glad you're finding it helpful! Feel free to ask if you have any questions :)


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