Day 20: The Liver and Onion Smoothie

  • Pain: 1/10
  • Inconvenience: 5/10

That’s me and my beloved grill. Sometimes it’s the only piece of cookware I need for the entire week. I plan on using it extensively, beginning a few months from now.

I’ve started to compile a list of the meals I’m going to eat and the places I’m going to eat them at. I know, it’s slightly pathetic that I’m actually devoting precious time to this effort, but the idea of eating real food is exhilarating these days. You can find that by clicking on the Binge Menu tab at the top of the page. Feel free to leave me suggestions. I’m willing to drive almost anywhere for a good meal.

I would starve without my soup drawer.

People keep asking me how someone could lay down, have multiple pieces of bone cut out of their face, and wake up with virtually no pain to speak of. It’s quite simple really. During the surgery, the surgeon has to move a couple of nerves around so he can reach certain areas of your mouth. Moving those nerves involves touching them, and touching them bruises them (that’s the simplest cause-and-effect stream you’ll ever encounter). When you bruise a nerve, you go instantly numb in that area. Due to the nature of the operation, all the nerves that would deliver that wonderful feeling of extreme pain become bruised in the process, hence my numb face. Therefore, patients experience minimal pain. By the time the nerves recover, which is usually a few months down the road (if ever), most of the healing has already taken place. There’s a 30% chance that patients will never regain full feeling back in their upper lip, cheeks, lower lip and chin. I’m hoping I’m in that coveted 70th percentile.

Last night, I made my first attempt at blending an entire meal together. It involved the following:

  • Liver and onions
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Butternut squash
  • Butter
  • Milk

Sounds disgusting, right? Well, it was. Not only was the flavor lacking, the texture was similar to slime. I think I’m going to stick to soup for the next 5 weeks. At least soup is a tried and true method. There’s something about pureed meat that just doesn’t sound proper.

I’ve been continually eating around 2700 calories and drinking about 2 L of water per day. That’s the same intake as when I was healthy and active, and I was full all the time and gaining weight. Even with that kind of consumption, I’m still starving 24 hours/day and I haven’t gained a single pound back. It seems like intense trauma to the body causes your metabolism to skyrocket.

I was at the grocery store last night and one of the cashiers kept smiling at me. I wonder how surprised she would have been had I strolled over and started talking to her with my charming “I-have-a-wad-of-rolled-up-paper-towel-in-my-mouth” voice. Love at first sight. Rejection at first sound.

Would you like me to make you some popcorn?

Last night, someone extended me the most kind gesture ever. I came home to my roommate and his girlfriend eating popcorn, so I commented that it smelled delicious. Then his girlfriend, without thinking, said plainly, “Well, we have another bag. Do you want me to make you some?” Tick-tock. A few seconds pass. “Oh no, I’m so sorry! I wasn’t even thinking about what I was saying!” I love it when people’s kindness precedes even their comprehension of the situation at hand. Bless her.

21 Comments

  1. Hi guys,
    I had my jaw surgery probably 3 years ago now? I’ve lost track of time. The tingling sensation is normal. I wish I could say that the feeling will completely come back if you’re feeling numb. I was told it could take upwards of a year. Unfortunately for me I still have numbness in my chin and lower lip. I still don’t regret having the surgery though. 🙂 Feel free to add me on Google+ if you have any questions!

  2. I’m on my 3rd week now. What’s bothering me the most is the pinching nerve pain and the twitching of my muscles. On the first week,my face started twitching already. My doctor told me he didn’t expect it yo happen to soon specially the tingling sensation on my chin. He said it’s a good sign that my nerves are coming back. My only problem now is the needles and pins pain everyday 24/7. I can’t sleep well because of this. Anyone here have the same experience?

  3. Hi it’s been a week since I had jaw surgery and only the left side of my face seems to be numb, is that normal?

  4. Rabeena Bashir

    June 25, 2014 at 4:29 am

    hi Graham, I am on day 5 of lower jaw surgery. I am feeling fine, however I have a throbbing pain in my chin. Sometimes I also like flicking feeling in my lips and chin. could this be a sign that I might get feeling back?

  5. Hi there, I just had lower and upper jaw surgery 3 weeks ago. I was prescribed morphine when I got out of the hospital, and have not been taking any now for a week. But the numbness in my face especially around my mouth is so bad and uncomfortable that I just have no energy, I don’t want to get out of bed because I can’t take this feeling. Did you have a lot of numbness after surgery ..Thanks

    • Celine, I recall daily life still being frustrating during the third week, but I don’t think I felt quite as defeated as you do right now. I couldn’t feel most of my face for the first month, but my nerves started to wake up after that initial period had passed. I would encourage you to keep yourself busy with books, walks, and TV shows to pass the time until you can resume regular life. You should be in much better shape within the next week or two, I assure you! =)

  6. I’ve just had my surgery (a week today) and I was dumb founded by how ”painless” it was, I was expecting to be in some serious pain for at least a couple of weeks. However to say im on 7 days post op im eating quite well, the lack of chewing has killed me and i’m already doing what your doing and planning to eat everything and everywhere once im able to. Personally the only things I hate more than the lack of ‘proper’ food is the constant numbness in my lower face, its not just numb its like pins and needles 24/7 which is driving me crazy. I know i shouldn’t complain after only 7 days but sleep is something I never got much off and now its basically non existent. Another thing on the numbness side of things is that, although im eating more than just liquids, things like slightly blended pasta dishes and such, I have no idea what my lip is doing xD so I end up dribbling everything all over.

    • Sam, drooling and playing the numb game are the two most frustrating pieces of the recovery process, so you’re certainly not out of line mentioning them. You shouldn’t have to deal with the drooling problem any longer after the 3-week mark, and you should regain most of your feeling over the next month. Stay strong, enjoy smoothies and blended soups, and you’ll be in good working form again before you know it!

  7. Hey graham hope you still read these! I’m 19 days in (upper and lower) and I am miserable from all the sinus’ issues and get maybe 2 hours of sleep if I’m lucky and if I do cat nap it’s once or twice a day for 15 mins anyways did you have horrible sinus issues and if so for how long?! Going crazy!!

    • Marie, I had sinus issues for about the first month. I wasn’t able to sleep through the night for approximately 6 weeks, either. Trust me when I say that it does get better, though. You’ll soon wake up and find that your sinuses have completely cleared. Being at 19 days post-op, you’re still in the early stages of recovery. Just power through another 2–3 weeks and you should be feeling much better! =)

  8. Of course I still check the comments here, Charlotte! I don’t want people to be as lost as I was with regards to this adventure.

    If you’re heading back to school after 20 days, you likely won’t be able to speak very clearly and you’ll still be on a liquid diet (if your case is anything like mine was). You’ll be able to think clearly and handle anything school tosses your way, but I wouldn’t expect to be able to communicate clearly until about the 4 or 5 week mark.

    You’ll just have to be the quiet person during your first week back, haha.

  9. Hey Graham,

    I don’t know if you ever still look at this, but I will be having double jaw surgery later this week. I am going to have to go back to school about 20 days afterwards. How normal would you say you felt by then?

  10. Hi Kimmy!

    It really depends on the surgery and the person performing it. My friend had lower jaw surgery and he was only on liquid for 2 weeks. Another friend had upper jaw surgery and was only on liquid for 5 weeks. I lucked out and was restricted to liquids only for 8 weeks.

    I’m currently allowed to eat; I just can’t because my teeth aren’t touching yet. But that will change soon.

    I’d say 8 weeks on liquid is a worst-case scenario though. And trust me, you get used to it. It doesn’t even seem bad anymore.

  11. Hi Graham,

    How long do you have to stay on the liquid diet? I am still going through all of your posts but I was hopeful the liquid diet would only be for 6 weeks. Your blogging about still being on one for another 5 weeks has me concerned 🙂

    Take care!

  12. Well, I figure I’ll be able to eat again soon enough, so I can just stick to soup. Blending lots of different foods up is great and all, but then you have to cook those foods. And that takes lots of time and energy, both of which I don’t have right now.

    Tomorrow marks the completion of my 3rd week! That means I’m 1/4 done!

  13. Yes, coughing for the first few weeks felt like waterboarding. I’d go completely dizzy and just hack and wheeze while being unable to breathe and my teeth would scream pain from clenching my jaw.

  14. No swelling there, but I had lots of stitches that go from my lip all the way to the back of my throat. They tickle constantly, so I’m never quite comfortable.

    I choked on my own saliva a lot during the first 2 weeks. That was most unfortunate. I’d be sitting there, and then all of a sudden I’d start coughing and gagging, but I couldn’t cough and I could drink fast and I couldn’t clear my throat and spit, so I just had to wait it out.

    It was like torture.

  15. Do you have any swelling of your soft palate? It’s really, really creepy, feeling like you have something you need to swallow in your mouth, before again realizing that it IS your mouth. Apparently it’s a side effect from rebuilding the floor of the sinus cavity with the upper jaw surgery, but being quite literally gagged by your own mouth is freaky.

    Hopefully you can avoid that whole mess.

  16. Well, I figure I’ll be able to eat again soon enough, so I can just stick to soup. Blending lots of different foods up is great and all, but then you have to cook those foods. And that takes lots of time and energy, both of which I don’t have right now.

    Tomorrow marks the completion of my 3rd week! That means I’m 1/4 done!

  17. graham i think the idea behind blending food has to be that you keep things separate. if you blend your meat with…say broth, then your potatoes with lots of butter and milk, then your veggies with more broth, then you eat it like you would a meal. A bite (or squirt) of meat, then a bite of veggies, then some potatoes… savor the flavours separately. there is probably not much satisfaction when you don’t get to chew though. soon buddy, soon. i guess i will not fully appreciate your situation until i am there. and i am a whole lot more whiney and complainy than you are! fortunately my husband has the patience of a saint.

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