Monday, 16 November 2015

Jaw Surgery - One Year On

It's been just over a year now since I had my jaw surgery, so I thought I'd give a little update to you all on how it's going, as I'm pretty sure how it is now is how it's going to remain.

For those of you who don't know, I had jaw surgery last November to correct an overbite. I had my lower jaw brought forward, and at the same time had my chin moved backwards. Mine was one of those annoying ones where it was super obvious to me that there was a huge gap, and super obvious to the hospital staff of course, but most of my friends never actually noticed it. I did get really good at covering it up by automatically keeping my jaw held forward though, so there's that.

It's hard to remember that this time last year I was a complete mess. This surgery was HARD. I couldn't eat for a few weeks, which was just depressing. I'd have to dedicate most of my day to really slowly using a syringe to feed myself all my antibiotics and painkillers, which meant that I didn't have enough energy to actually 'eat' anything else. When I did, I pretty much lived off of syringed yogurt. The original plan was to eat soup, but because it took so long it would get cold really quickly which was just horrible, and I didn't have the energy to go and warm it up as I couldn't stand up for too long and couldn't really carry anything. Eventually I moved on to baby food (some of which is actually delicious, by the way) and I remember this ridiculous sense of accomplishment whenever I managed to eat some of it. I then moved on to soft food like mashed potato, and again I would get this ridiculous sense of accomplishment for finishing a bowl. This was also a scary time as my jaw used to get locked open when I'd get too enthusiastic about it. Thankfully, that hasn't happened for a long time! There's very few things I can't eat now, and it's nice being able to eat things like sandwiches and biscuits by biting into them properly. Little things! The only thing I haven't tried to eat is an apple, I'm still a little bit alarmed by that idea. Not being able to eat was one of the worst parts for me, it's just so demeaning having to sit there and syringe food, usually ending up with it all over your face because you got too hungry, urgh.

I also couldn't talk, I just had to make noises. It took a few weeks to be able to talk, and then a bit longer to get all the sounds. I used to just sit in the bath and read a history book out loud to practice all sorts of different sounds, hahaha. It worked though! I would say the pain was ongoing for a while. it stopped being severe after about two months, but it still took a while to not feel pressure when I'd been using it too much. Even now some foods will hurt for a little while longer. For example, food that was a lot of effort to eat hurts, for some reason one particular type of bacon hurts to eat...!

My swelling was also absolutely horrendous. I'd say I was one of the worst cases I've seen in terms of swelling. I looked like some sort of hippo and it was just hideous. I still remember the alarmed expression on my friends' face when he first saw me, haha. It got worse a few weeks in as I could convince myself that the major swelling was going to go down, but when you're left with these lingering little bits, it's really hard to imagine that it's ever actually going to go away. It did, of course, but I won't lie, REALLY REALLY SLOWLY. By the way, I know I mentioned a lot that one of my main worries was my lips. Before surgery, I had no problem making them meet. Afterwards, they didn't. I was really worried that they were never going to. I read so many blogs from people who had this problem but they got it back within a month or two or never at all. I took a lot longer than most people did, like months longer, but mine do meet just fine now although I will say sometimes I have to consciously remember it's not the effort like it used to be.

In terms of numbness, I don't have any. I never really had much though. At the beginning I had slight numbness in one side of my lower lip and in my chin but that's all gone and feels normal now. Most of mine came back quicker than normal. However, it turned out I had numbness around my gum line where my wisdom teeth are and I just didn't know about it! One day I could suddenly feel my wisdom teeth and it was super confusing from where I hadn't felt anything and thought it was normal. I actually thought it was a bit of bone coming through and was so scared! Nope, turns out I was just numb there before and hadn't noticed. That was weird, and took a few days to get used to!

In terms of appearance, I'd say I was lucky in a way. My chin was moved back pretty much the same amount as my jaw was moved forwards, so I don't really look that different. I know some people have these massive changes but I wasn't one of them. When I went back to work some people didn't notice any change, some people noticed something was different but couldn't place their finger on what. (Although most of them decided it looked like I'd put on weight, which with the swelling was probably not far off...) I know I'm in the minority with this though.

My smile is much better now. There is still a small gap all the way round but it's so much better!

Feel free to ask any questions, and click the tag if you'd like to read my older posts on this :)


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