Day 31: No Pain, All Gain

  • Pain: 0/10
  • Inconvenience: 4/10

The bane of my existence.

I found some courage and took a very unflattering shot of the splint that I continually whine over. As you can see, it’s fairly large and stretches all the way to the back of my mouth. The grooves my bottom teeth rest in can be faintly made out as well. If you squint a little bit, you’ll notice a little white spec in the center of my top lip. That’s a stitch, and it enjoys catching on my braces. It’s guarding the point where they began slicing the roof of my mouth open. I have a scar running from that point all the way to the back of my throat. It must have been quite the show.

I’m reporting a 0/10 pain factor today! I only receive pain on my own accord now, like when I’m yawning, running or playing sports. If I coast through the day completely emotionless and well-rested, however, I feel virtually no pain! I also knocked the inconvenience factor down by 1 point because, with my elastics off, I can open my mouth wide enough to swallow small chunks of soup. I still can’t chew though.

When my elastics are out, I can speak quite well now (unless I’m trying to say “Reese’s Pieces“). It’s so handy to be able to communicate at work again.

Speaking of work, I had quite a relaxing day yesterday. McAfee Antivirus, in all its wisdom, released an update that accidentally quarantined an extremely important Windows file. The purpose of the file was to load all of Windows’ services upon system start, such as networking and printing. Since McAfee made the file unreachable, any Windows XP computer that was updated lacked Internet connectivity and would also restart itself every couple of minutes, thus rendering the machine unusable. It’s been reported that over 1 million computers were infected worldwide. Think about that in terms of cash: if 1 000 000 employees can’t work, and they’re each making roughly $200-300 per day, that means McAfee just cost companies all over the world over $200 million dollars of damage. Oops.

Anyway, since all of the computers at work were down, we started the morning with a ping pong tournament, followed by a hula hoop lesson. I, unfortunately, lack the hips to master the hula hoop. I lucked out and re-established my dominance at table tennis though. I may not be good at many things, but I like to think I’m decent at ping pong (for a white guy). We also went to the park to throw a Frisbee around and then played cards afterwards. It was like a holiday. Here’s the clincher though: my system actually worked. For some reason, my computer wasn’t infected, so I was still able to work. I joined the festivities regardless. Nobody should be expected to sit behind a computer when it’s 25ΒΊC outside.

In other news, I’ve figured out how to prevent these annoying sneezes that keep coming on: just look at the sun (or at any bright light, for that matter). As long as you’re looking straight up, your sneeze will flee. Brilliant!

I’ve also discovered that my new favorite soup is steak and potato Chunky. I accidentally burned it last night though. Then I accidentally placed the hot pot on our counter and burned a perfect ring into it. But hey, I said I was decent at ping pong, not cooking.


  1. Thank you for that information, Abby! Goodness the costs! You’re right that $10k is better, though still very expensive. I don’t have any dental insurance so I’m hoping that my general medical health insurance would help. I think I’ve decided to put it off until I’m finished with graduate school… but even then I’ll be in the “real world” working and who knows if I’ll be able to get the time off anytime soon… we will see.

    Thank you again Abby.

  2. Oh, one more thing – I had wanted this surgery for 10 years before it actually happened. I was considering leaving the country and travelling to a country where surgery is far more affordable. I’ve heard of people going to India, and apparently Costa Rica caters to Americans taking “medical vacations”. After actually going through it, I wouldn’t recommend that now. There’s too much coordination required between your orthodontist & surgeon and I think it’s really important to know the hospital you’ll be staying at.

  3. I’d like to be helpful and offer some insight to Peggy & anyone else curious about cost in the U.S. I also had an open bite and over bite. First, it’s impossible to do without insurance pre-authorization, since my costs ended up being $71k – that’s for the surgery ($19k), hospital stay ($50k), and anesthesiologist ($2k). My medical coverage is with Anthem. They denied my pre-authorization, twice. I’ve heard it’s quite difficult to get insurance to cover the surgery, but don’t give up.

    What I had to do was contact my childhood orthodontist, my current orthodontist, my periodontist, and my dentist and have them fax my records and their recommendations to Anthem. This work in my favor because even from the age of 12, this surgery was recommended for me. And since I breathed through my mouth, this caused problems like drying out my gums which made them more easily damaged during brushing, and I had to have a couple of procedures with the periodontist.

    My orthodontic treatment is costing me $5k, and I have to pay the full amount since my dental doesn’t cover it. I also have to cover my deductible for surgery, which is $5k, for a total of $10k that I will be paying out of pocket for the whole ordeal. That beats $76k, which is the actual total cost of everything. Like most people, I can’t pull $10k out of my back pocket, but I am able to make payments.

  4. Glad to hear your experience didn’t involve any pain, Deanna. It’s more of a frustration game than anything!

  5. Hi Graham – and anyone else looking to have this surgery. I also had double jaw surgery. The first week was difficult with all the swelling, but after that it has been smooth sailing. I am at day 30 and the numbness is reducing every day. I love to read blogs on other people’s recovery and know that the recovery is not so bad. Slow recovery but pretty painless!

  6. Hi Adriana!

    The best foods to eat initially will be tomato soup, Boost/Ensure drinks, and fruit smoothies with whey protein in them. They’re all liquid and will be easiest to swallow during those first few days.

    I didn’t have any dramatic experiences when I first woke up from surgery. The nurse was right there to tell me that everything worked out and that I’d have an ice pack on during my stay in the hospital.

    I’d suggest getting your parents to stop by to see you at the hospital. Seeing familiar faces each day will be really nice because you’ll be unable to speak with the nurses around you.

    You’ll do great! No worries!

  7. I really appreciate this blog because it is very honest. Most of the sources I have read in the past completely exaggerate the truth, but this one makes me feel a lot better hahaha.My surgery is in a month, and so I am wondering what foods are best to eat (ie what kind of smoothies, because I am NOT blending chicken like my oral surgeon recommends). Also, when you first woke up, what did you experience and do you have any recommentdations about how best to handle it. Thanks πŸ™‚

  8. Surprise, surprise! I do still keep tabs on this blog!

    To answer your questions:

    1) I can’t exactly recall when I became privy to the fact that looking at a bright light will stifle a sneeze. A friend must have shared that life-changing tip with me at some point. =)

    2) I wish you the best of luck with your decision. If you decide to walk down this road, definitely keep me posted on how it goes.

  9. Hi there Graham! You might not even look at this blog anymore… but I have two things to say:

    1) How on earth did you figure out that looking at a bright light will stifle a sneeze?

    2) I am REALLY enjoying this blog because: I’m starting to consider this type of surgery (for my over bite & open bite) because only my back molars articulate, like yours did. I hate that I can’t bite through some foods like salami sandwiches and corn-on-the-cob because my front teeth don’t meet! I’m not sure how financing works in the U.S. but then again I’m only JUST starting to think about it.

  10. The swelling will most definitely not be gone in 30 days, but you’ll be fine at your reunion anyway. You’ll just have to forego vanity for this gathering. πŸ™‚

    You’ll feel good enough at the 30-day mark to hang out with your family.

  11. Ok thanks. And when u say recovery are u talkin bout the swelling? I have a huge family get together in july. But my sergury is scheduled for the 22 of june. Wil the swelling be gone in bout 30 days?

  12. Hey Lorenzo,

    That’s crazy that you’re getting the surgery at 15 years old! You’re lucky–that means when you’re my age, it will all be in the past for you.

    The recovery only takes a few months, so despite missing a season of football, it’s not the end of the world. You still have a few years of high school left.

    Life goes on, my friend!

  13. Ok hey u guys. I stummbled across your site. But i need someone to talk to about this. Someone who has done the surgery. Im a fifteen year old teen. Bout to do this surgery. And im scared like no other. And i wnt be able to play football this year. Football is my life. Please!! Someone help me. Im not tryin to be a drama queen or whatever but idk wat to do

  14. Hi Christina,

    That first week is such a killer, isn’t it?! It’s tough to see the light during those first few days, but once you see the gradual improvements, it’s a lot easier to maintain a positive attitude.

    The pain you’re experiencing from having your elastics removed for a few moments is to be expected. Since your jaw has been relatively static for over 2 weeks, the muscles are very tightly wound and you need to stretch them out again. It’s similar to growing pains.

    Follow your surgeon’s instructions. Replacing elastics is tedious at first (it took me over 10 minutes the first few times), but after a week or so of practice, it will take mere seconds to replace all of them. Your pain will subside as your muscle relax and expand back to a suitable state.

    If you’re experiencing extreme pain, your best bet is to call your surgeon and make sure it’s okay. The big thing I learned during my recovery is that, while I worried about every little sharp pain and spasm, none of them actually mattered. It’s just the trials one must undertake as their jaw sets back into place. πŸ™‚

    Best of luck!

  15. Hi, I just stumbled across your blog, and I’m really enjoying it! I’m 18 days post op double jaw surgery. I however had an overbite not an underbite. I really didn’t think I was going to make it through the 1st week, it was 10x worse than I expected, and it didn’t help I was allergic to the nasal spray and it took that whole week to figure it out. It’s nice to read about your gradual daily improvement. None of the other blogs I’ve read have really been kept up daily as yours has. I have a question for you if you don’t mind? I went to my 2 week appointment a few days ago, and the Dr changed my elastics, and instructed me to do the same a couple times a day. I was completely freaked out by the feeling of my jaw being free. My jaw felt as if it were on springs and the “hinges” of my jaw immediately started aching. About 2 hours after I left I was in just as much pain as after the surgery. I’ve only been taking Ibuprofen this past week, and I had to break out the heavy stuff that night. Now I’m terrified to take the elastics off and put them back on!! Did you experience this? I haven’t found any other blogs that have mentioned it?? Thanks for your time!

  16. Never thought of that. I wouldn’t be bothered trying to gain weight before your surgery. You’re going to end up at the same weight in the end, anyway.

    Your body knows what your natural weight is, and it’s going to make its way back to that regardless of whether you’re 5 pounds heavier or 50 pounds heavier before surgery.

    I gained an extra 25 pounds before surgery and still lost most of it within the first few days. If I hadn’t gained that weight, I would have just lost less, plain and simple.

    I recommend enjoying a few good meals before surgery instead of worrying about your weight. πŸ˜‰

  17. actually the most distressing part of the whole delay has been that i had let my weight creep up in anticipation. now i have to put an effort into my summer fitness and diet regime. haha.

  18. Judy, that totally sucks! I know how frustrating it is to have to wait for surgery.

    That also means you’re going to have braces longer, which is no good either.

    Look at the bright side though. With surgery in September, you might miss Thanksgiving dinner, but you should be good to go for Christmas!

  19. Wow Graham, you are really coming along now! It looks like you can open your mouth pretty wide.
    Although I am anxious to get my surgery over with, i had bad news at my orthodontist yesterday. She said that because of healthcare budget cuts my surgeon lost 1 surgical day per month. This has caused a need to reschedule a bunch of patients who were already booked and now there is a backlog. i will not get my surgery until sometime in September, and nothing is even confirmed. I have told them that I am willing to be flexible and take anything that comes up. Your blog had me all pshyched up and ready to go!!!!!
    So between my stubborn bottom teeth not wanting to move fast enough and Stephen Duckett, my surgery will be a full year later than originally projected.

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