T-Minus 1 Day

I go in for double jaw surgery tomorrow morning. I’m set to arrive at the hospital at 7:30 am. Surgery begins at 10:30 am. Why it takes 3 hours to put an IV in, I’ll never know. Anyways, I’m walking over. I figure I should enjoy my last morning of breathing easy for awhile.

I have 2 weeks booked off from work and I’ve arranged to stay at my parent’s place for the first week or so of my recovery. I have no idea what that recovery will entail, but it sounds like a fairly invasive procedure, so I imagine there won’t be much eating or moving of any kind involved.

So far, my biggest fear is the IV. I absolutely loathe needles. That sounds weird, I know, coming from a guy with several tattoos, but it’s the honest truth. I have friends who say they love watching the needle pierce through their flesh whenever they’re donating blood, but I think they’re crazy.

The surgeon has told me to expect a full recovery in 90 days. I’ll be documenting that, each and every day, right here, along with pictures.

34 Comments

  1. Hi graham.. I’m glad to found this blog.. I’m now ongoing treatment for pre surgery.. ..n I would like to know how long did u wore braches before surgery? N how mm they moved ur upper n lower tooth?

  2. Hi Graham.. Wow these posts go back a long way! I have a class 2 underbite and my lower jaw surgery date is booked for the 12th of September.. Yesterday, a month to go. I wanted to do some research about this surgery and came accross some images that was not good for my nerves. So kept on looking for info when I found your blog.. Im so nervous but I know the pain I have now will be over soon.. Im pretty lucky Ive found a very good doctor and othodontist.. So I know Ill be in good hands!! Thank you for this blog, Im sure you didnt realized how many people you’ll set at ease when writing this.. Still glad you did! South Africa Greetings*

    • Suné, thanks for the kind words. You’ll have no trouble with the surgery—all the best surgeons in the world are from South Africa! (No joke, I had a big operation on my foot several years ago, and my surgeon was from none other than your country.) =)

  3. Hi! What drinks did you have the day after surgery? When did you start to blend food? Glad to hear you are doing well.

    • Lisa, I drank water and apple juice the day after surgery, but any juice without pulp should be okay. I started making smoothies at the 3-day mark and began blending food at the 7-day mark. Smoothies will be your life saver for the first few weeks. =)

  4. Hi Eric, I just had my double jaw surgery in Calgary a few days ago.
    My surgeon was Dr. Edwards.
    I hope I was able to help you!

  5. Ericson Salazar

    July 6, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    hi graham, im eric from calgary..Do you know any clinic who can do double jaw surgery for me..Im thinking to go to korea but if we do have here that would be awesome..Im so desperate to have a surgery and btw you look good at your pics now im jealous lol..kidding

    • Eric, I don’t know any surgeons in Calgary, but your orthodontist should have a recommendation. I honestly just went to the surgeon my orthodontist referred me to because I trusted her judgement. =)

  6. Thanks so much for posting your experience in such detail…. It has been very helpful in making a decision to go ahead and begin the process towards corrective jaw surgery. I’m being referred to Edmonton, Curious as to who your surgeon was and any other info you may have… Feel free to send me an email! Thanks 🙂

  7. Well it has seemed like such a long time ago when they cancelled my surgery 3 months ago…and now only 4 days away. Thanks Graham for all the advice. I have read your blog so many times I think I am ready. I’m not very nervous yet, but I’m sure come Thursday evening I will be very anxious. Taking Thursday off from work to relax and enjoy the day with my hubby and to be mentally prepared. I will let you all know how everything goes.

  8. Janet Westington

    March 24, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Hi Graham: I stumbled upon your blog while doing some research for my 18 year old daughter, Jade’s double jaw surgery on Tuesday March 26th, 2013, and I am so happy that I did. You have informed us of what to expect better than any professional health care person. We have both read over your blog several times. We have picked up all the required items that you have suggested. Even the prune juice, she is not looking forward to this but it if makes her recovery easier than I’m all in. You have a delightful way of relaying the not so nice parts with humour and optimism. Although she (and I) are nervous, your blog has comforted us tremendously. I’m not sure what your career is, but you should be a writer! Thank you for everything that you have written and for checking in and answering everyones’ questions and concerns. We are in Peterborough and the costs are very similar to yours. Thanks again, and by the way you look terrific!

    • Janet, I’m glad you and your daughter found my experience useful and comforting. If you’ve read through every post, you should have a very good idea of the longest possible recovery. Most people recovery more rapidly than I did (and hopefully Jade is one of those people!). Her operation will go swimmingly on Tuesday. Blessings to you!

  9. Thanks Graham – also have to mention a little device that was very convenient for me – Kitchenaid hand mixer – worked great – just put stuff in a cup or bowl and buzzbuzz, its ready in 20 seconds.

    I appreciate all of the responses – extremely informative for a surgery and recovery that can be pretty unsettling at times.

  10. Graham, do have to say that I greatly appreciate your blog. I’m especially impressed at your effort on responding over 2 years later.

    Im 37 yrs old, and right at 30 days from lower jaw extension (fixed class 1 overbite). They moved my lower jaw forward 5 mm. I had no bruising and limited swelling. Those worried about the IV should get the lydocaine before. It was pretty painless. I took my pain meds for maybe 3 days, but switched to ibuprofen after that. I was back in work 8 days after surgery and only managed to lose about 6-7 lbs. My favorite foods were smoothies (obviously), puree’d clam chowder, and mashed potatoes with cheese and broccoli puree’d (add sour cream after!).

    My biggest concern is that I still have swelling in my cheeks and along my jawline. My doctor recently told me that my swelling was nearly gone, but im really hoping it will go down further. I definitely have a bit of chipmunk cheeks!! From your blog, it really looks like this last bit of swelling really went away from day 30+. My ortho doctor said i had some lymph fluid and my buccinator was swollen still. Im just curious if you had the same experiences. By day 76, your jawline looked great.

    Thanks again for the blog. Definitely think your surgery turned out very well.

    • Will, I wouldn’t worry about your swelling at this point. While the majority of your swelling has likely already disappeared, residual swelling will still be around for a few more months. My swelling wasn’t completely gone until approximately 4 months post-op. You’ll also notice that your swelling will come back on days when you’re speaking a lot. It takes time, but I assure you it will be in the past soon. =)

  11. Hi Graham, don’t know if you still check these messages but thought I’d comment just in case 😉 I’m on day 2 of recovery from double jaw surgery for an overbite and it’s definitely not fun! Haha it’s not so bad though, your blog is definitely helping with the tougher moments, any extra advice on dealing with the hunger? I really don’t want to lose any weight! Haha! Also, how long before you felt the effects of the anesthetic completely wore off? I still feel REALLY wobbly! It’s kinda freaky tbh! 😛

    • Catherine, welcome to the other side (of the surgery, that is)! The anesthetic should be going by the end of the second day, so hopefully you’re back to normal now. As for hunger, I was honestly unable to satisfy that for at least a month. You can try blending Chunky soups to get some actual “solids” into your body, but you should probably stick to smoothies and thin soups (such as tomato) for the first couple of weeks. You’ll get through this, though. No worries!

  12. Thanks! Yeah, just trying to focus on other things now. Pretty much everyone says that it’s a rough road, but totally worth it. I suspect it’s like when I first got glasses (at age 13). I couldn’t understand what the problem was until I put on that first pair of glasses. Had no idea what I was missing. I’ve never known what it’s like to have a “normal” bite, and hope that going forward, I’ll be able to chew properly, digest better, breathe better, stop biting myself all the time, etc.

    Focus on the benefits, in other words.

    Now that both of my kids are in school, I’m working on getting more active, eating well, generally taking good care of myself. I figure if I’m in good health going into the surgery, I should heal pretty well. Also playing with purees and smoothie recipes!!! 🙂

  13. Hi Graham,

    I’m so glad I found your website. (I’ve been reading some other blogs, too.) I’m 40 years old, and after seeing different orthodontists, getting second (and third, and fourth) opinions, I couldn’t get out of having upper and lower jaw surgery. My surgery will be sometime in early 2013. My upper jaw will be widened and my lower jaw moved forward to correct a Class II malocclusion.

    Right now, I’m honestly just scared. Terrified. Waking up every night worrying about it. I know all I can do is relax and trust the process, but it’s just hard. One of the hardest things is explaining to people that this is NOT cosmetic. Most people in my life think I’m nuts to be doing this. Thankfully, my husband saw all my diagnostics and “gets it.” My kids, who are 8 and 5, well, they’ll have to understand that Mommy will look a little…uh…weird for a month or two.

    Thanks for so openly documenting your journey. It makes it a little easier for the rest of us, having some idea of what to expect.

    All the best,
    Mary-Ellin

    • Hi Mary-Ellin,

      I’m glad you’re finding my written experience useful. This operation is certainly a tough outcome to accept, but I promise you that it’s worthwhile. You’re still young, so you’ll heal up nicely. I met one man who underwent the surgery in his mid-sixties and still pulled through with no issues!

      For now, try to put it out of your mind. When next year arrives, you’ll be in good shape and the operation won’t be a problem.

      All the best!

  14. Hey Graham!
    My turn to go in surgery tomorrow to have my bones broken, so best of luck to me!
    Your blog has been so informative and has helped me immensely in this long process of waiting for jaw surgery.
    I am extremely nervous now, but I know that it will be all for the best. Its all the tubes that they’ll be sticking into me that I’m afraid of!

    P.S: I’ve also read your travelling blog and I hope you are having a good time! Swing by Southeast Asia if you have a chance, specifically Singapore 🙂

    See you on the other side of jaw surgery!

    • Alarice, I wish you all the best today and hope you recovery at a rapid rate!

      I’m actually considering traveling through Southeast Asia and making Singapore my final stop, believe it or not. You’ll even be all healed by the time I arrive!

  15. Graham,

    I cant begin to describe to you how helpful your site has been for me! I just had double jaw surgery on August 2nd. In my case the surgeons moved my bottom jaw back, my top jaw forward and up to hide my gummy smile, and moved my top and bottom mid line to the center since both of them were off. As Im sure you are aware, my face has undergone quite a bit of trauma over the past couple of days! I still cant eat and I’m obviously very swollen…:/ My biggest concern is that I currently weight 108 lbs and Im afraid that I’ll only lose more and more weight! What was you favorite “meal” while you were in recovery? I really like the Ensure drinks, but right now I find them to be very thick and with all the congestion that Im feeling its hard to drink them.

    • Hi Kenia,

      I wouldn’t worry about your weight. People lose weight during recovery proportional to their “natural weight.” In other words, if you’re already light, you likely won’t lose much weight because your body simply won’t let you. I only lose 30 lbs because I put a bunch of weight on before surgery, so in reality, I was losing weight I wouldn’t have normally carried anyway.

      My favorite meal during recovery was most definitely fruit smoothies. I would blend up fruit, ice cream, yogurt, honey, peanut butter, and oatmeal—delicious! You can find my recipe here.

      All the best in your recovery!

  16. Hey, how much for your numbness was gone by the end of month 2? How long was it till you could actually feel the majority of your chin and lower lip again?

    • Bill, I would estimate that about 70% of my feeling had returned by the end of the second month. I could feel the majority of my chin and lips again by the end of the fourth month. Unfortunately, nerves take their sweet time healing, so they require patience.

  17. Thank you Graham for your information. My daughter will be having her surgery next week and I have been reading what you went through so I can take care of her. You have helped me so much.

    • Always glad to help out, Trisha! Your daughter is lucky to have a mother who is educating herself on the surgery. It’s going to go forward perfectly!

  18. Hi Graham, I can’t believe that you still follow up on your followers here. I just finished your stories today. Anyway, I too has underbite and crossbite. I can’t tell how far out your underbite was you said class 3. Mine is alot more out than yours and its crossbite as well so the gab between my upper and lower are much greate on my left than my right.

    I just have a few questions – I’m on braces now – and I didn’t see from your history (or maybe missed it) when you begun with your surgery while on braces? how it was decided to start? I’m on braces now for 4 months and I’m supposed to get my wisdom teeth pulled. I was wondering when it will all start.

    Thank you again for documenting all this! You look great!

    • Hi Mara,

      I had braces for 1.5 years before surgery and then another 6 months afterwards. I had my wisdom teeth pulled approximately 1 year before the operation as well.

      The reason I had to wait so long before having surgery is because my orthodontist was waiting for my jaw to stop growing.

      Your operation will come soon enough, my friend. This process requires patience—baby steps are the key!

  19. Hi Bill, nice to meet you.

    I only took the pain medication for the first couple of weeks, so I was drug-free by the time I reached Day 19. I still found yawning to be extremely painful, and I swelled up and experienced discomfort if I spoke a lot during the day.

    Pain medication is for your comfort only as it does not aid in the healing process. If you’re finding the pain is making your miserable, I would ask your surgeon to prescribe you something to take care of that. I’m stubborn so I just dealt with the discomfort until it went away, but I in no way encourage you to do the same.

    I hope you feel better soon!

  20. Hi Graham, My name is Bill I am 47 years old . I am now 19 days into my recovery. I had a similar surgery as you did. My surgeon said they moved my lower jaw out nearly 10 center meters He also said that the typical movement is 4-6. I am having some real pain in my lower jaw, I was off the pain medication 9 days into my recover. Unfortunately around the 15th day I started to experience a lot of pain in my lower jaw. I had been taking liquid tylenol but it did not help with the pain.I did not want to but I had to go back on the pain meds as I could not sleep and being tired means Yawning ouch . How long were you on the pain medication ? I see my surgeon in four days and hope he takes this pallet expander out of my mouth. I really appreciate your blog as it has answered so many of my questions. Not sure if you are still reading this but here is to hoping. Thanks again

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