Day 37: Cheeks Like A Rock Golem

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

I can *kind of* raise one eyebrow, right?

I’m happy to report I got through the entire day yesterday without snapping any elastics! However, I said a lot more than I usually do, so I went to bed with ridiculously swollen cheeks. They’re as hard as granite right now. It’s like having the face of a rock golem.

I took the liberty of creating a page to provide answers to several common questions I’ve received regarding jaw surgery. They seemed to be coming up repeatedly, so I figured if a few people who aren’t on the path to undergo this procedure were curious, then certainly a lot of people who actually have to worry about it would have the same questions. You can check it out here: Common Questions About Jaw Surgery.

I’m planning on going back to the gym to workout again beginning this coming Monday. I was told not to do any heavy lifting for 3 months because strenuous activity causes you to clamp your teeth down, putting them under extreme force, and that could prove disastrous if it happens before the bone has completely healed. Since I don’t want to reset everything that was accomplished during that terrible afternoon, 37 days ago, I’ll just be lifting light weights. I plan on working out alongside all the cute girls and participating in their 1-3 lb dumbbell exercises. I have a feeling I may hold the key to a lot less energy than I think, so this could end up being a one-day commitment (similar to people’s attempt at getting a six pack in a single week every time the New Year rolls around, and then promptly giving up when that doesn’t happen). Hopefully I’ll be able to last for the entire week though. That way, when I receive the go ahead to be crazy again, I’ll be ready to build myself back into a regular-sized person.

I’d like to extend a quick thank you to the 2 friends who gave me homemade soup and homemade hamburger-and-noodle-extravaganza a few days ago. Both were a welcome change for my taste buds. Chunky soup is starting to lose its flavor. 19 more days until soft foods become a reality for me…


  1. Chaitanya Karnik

    June 17, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Dear Graham,

    Thank your for advice and suggestions over my previous comments.
    I am on Day 37 of my double jaw surgery and chin genioplasty.
    The lower lip and chin feel terrible. It’s an extremely unpleasant feeling of having those needles and pins pricking me incessantly. Moreover, I wouldn’t call this as painful however would rather call this an extremely irritating and nasty feeling.
    It feels like that itch which isn’t really a thing but keeps on pestering you continuously. Sorry for my ranting but that initial pain and not having solid food is nothing as compared to this current feeling or sensation which is just making me so very uneasy and miserable.
    Also, as of now I ain’t getting any sensation in my lower lip and chin area. So if I touch this area externally I cannot feel it, except off course the internal needles and pins poking feeling.
    I would appreciate if you could suggest how to deal with this and your prediction as to when do you think that I will probably start getting my sensation back.

    Thank you.

    Best Regards,
    Chaitanya Karnik

    • Chaitanya, the fact that you are experiencing the “pins and needles” sensation is a good thing as it means your nerves are responding to stimuli. You may be able to lessen this sensation by resting a heat pack on your lips and chin a few times each day.

      It’s honestly difficult to guess when your nerves will recover and your feeling will return. Most surgeons recommend allowing up to 6 months for feeling to return in full, so you certainly don’t need to be worried about any permanent loss of feeling yet. Patience is still your best approach, as frustrating as that is. This will be over soon, though! 😊

  2. well, I came to thank you for this blog and also to complain about my day 37 post double orthognathic sx, with bone grafts,trips to ICU, and other fun complications, but I see from your instagram pics and web site that post surgery life is going quite well and therefore I will shut my overly-swollen mouth and buck up. It is good to compare though, our respective day 37s, I got my splint out last week, and my orthodontist declined to install a palatial wire, so I am good there, however, my swelling is hard as yours, I am not sure what a rock golem is, but it sounds like I could very well pass as one. not my cheeks, but around my lips and mouth. My front stitch was also getting caught in my braces, but the surgeon cut that out when he took out the splint, which hurt. a lot. I went to a teaching hospital, world class, but still a teaching hospital, so the famed surgeon sicked his trained monkeys on me to remove it. It was not fun at all. But anyway, thanks for providing this to commiserate with and give somewhat of a framework of expectation when I can expect to get over this horror show. This was the dumbest idea I have ever had. Seriously.

  3. Graham, did you experience unevenness in your face at this point? I’m on day 37, and my left side of the face has a noticeably sharper cheekbone than my right. I’d like to think it’s because my right side is more swollen than my left, but it’s so bad that it kind of makes me think my jaw might have shifted to the right…

    Also, when did you get feeling back in your bottom lips/chin area? I still have no feeling in that area as it was on Day 1.

    • Joe, my face was very uneven at this point. I wouldn’t pass any judgements on yourself until at least 3 months have passed.

      I received my feeling back gradually over the course of approximately 5 months. I honestly can’t pinpoint the day I had the majority of my feeling back, but I recall most of my nerves responding again by the 2-month mark.

  4. Michael, I’ve never tried acupuncture, but that’s a fantastic suggestion. I’ll be sure to pass your experience along!

  5. I’m actually at 72 days post op now but I wanted to step back to this point in my recovery to mention that I had very similar pain/swelling in my cheeks around this time; and to find a way to relieve pressure I tried accupuncture… and it works! Better than pain pills in fact. In hindsight I can say that it even helped along getting some feeling back to my lips! If anyone is going through incredibly stiff face muscles and severe tension headaches then give it a shot!

  6. I found out I get my splint out in 11 days!!! I think I can eat soft food then!


  7. I am never coming to your restaurant if you serve liver.

    I’m trying steak tonight!

  8. Liver in soup? I’ve never thought of that…

    How about we plan our restaurant business somewhere other than in these comments? 😀

    Check yo Facebook!

  9. Hey Graham, If you are down I think that we should have fun making soup together on Sunday.. Since you are outsourcing your soup making.. and this way you can put all that really crazy stuff that you love into it… like LIVER… sick!!!!

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