Day 56: Life Is Getting Better

  • Pain: 0/10
  • Inconvenience: 2/10

♫ I’m bringing home a baby bumblebee…

Lately, I’ve been finding bees in my place. Yesterday, I discovered a wasp crawling around in the laundry room and a bumblebee on a little adventure across the kitchen floor. I killed the wasp, because they’re evil little creatures, but I scooped up the bumblebee and set it free on a dandelion in the backyard. As soon as it could see the flower (or weed, depending who you’re talking to), it flew over to it, stuck its tongue out and started sucking up the delicious nectar. I’m holding that lovely insect in today’s picture, although it’s small and dark so you might not be able to tell. Either way, I love bees.

Remember how I was looking forward to singing again? Well, I’m now able to sing in a very lispy kind of way. However, every time I do so, I open my mouth way too wide, snapping the elastics I constantly forget I’m wearing.

Life is getting a lot better, as of late, for the following reasons:

  • I can now eat blended soup with no milk mixed in. I appreciate that more than you might think, because my meals are no longer watered down.
  • Two of my teeth on the right side of my mouth are once again in contact.
  • I’m able to eat with a children’s spoon, so I’m no longer restricted to drinking my meals.
  • I’ve been eating yogurt, peanut butter, honey and ice cream (after it’s been melted a little bit) out of a bowl!

I also went and met a lovely lady named Audra, also a double jaw surgery survivor, while I was in Calgary over the weekend. I was all prepared to bring pre-made smoothies to tie me over during my road trip, but was absolutely delighted when Audra and her husband invited me over for lunch. It was really nice to be able to talk to someone who actually understands what I’ve been through. We vented about the hiccups in our recovery over shepherd’s pie (blended, of course) and a fine dessert of banana cream pie, which is also the first dish I’ve been able to eat without blending in over 8 weeks. So Audra, I thank you for your kindness and hospitality. You have no idea how much I appreciate that gesture.

I guess this blog has finally paid off in the name of a free lunch!


  1. I have one question, how on earth could you have forgotten you were wearing elastics?! I am on day 5 of wearing them, and I’m aware of them every moment of the day (and night – I can hardly sleep with them on). They’re so tight, it feels almost like I’m wired shut again. I have to talk with clenched teeth. If I absent-mindedly try to open my mouth, like to lick my lips, I immediately regret it because it sends horrible shooting pains through my jaw. I can’t imagine trying to open far enough to make them snap, that seems like it’d be so painful!

  2. Good to hear from you again, Scott!

    I’m so happy that Sandee is eating regular food once again! That is a truly happy (and appreciated) moment in anyone’s life following jaw surgery.

    It sounds like she is doing incredibly well compared to many. You’re doing a great job of holding her hand throughout this entire recovery ordeal.

    I look forward to hearing about her final results in another month. Thanks for keeping in touch! =)

  3. Hi Graham!
    OK this is also Sandee’s day 56 (reminder Sandee is my wife) and we like to read your journey as it happens, no reading ahead. This allows us to use your recovery as a barometer. Again the similarities are so amazing sometimes.

    Sandee had double jaw (DJ) surgery and she has had her splint out since the end of her second week. This appears to be quite fast compared to some and when we read comments of those of you that still have them in it makes us feel for you all.

    I am happy to report that Sandee is doing great. Some of her high points to date are:

    Last night she ate pickled cucumbers at the sushi bar. She chewed them, that was a first actually chewing her food and not swallowing it basically whole if it was not blended or pureeish.

    Some of her feeling has come back. Her lower chin and lower cheeks are still numb. Caution is needed when eating to not commit self cannibalism to her inner cheek with every bite. Ouch.

    Sandee has only two elastics in and they are in the back. She has now taught herself to replace them at will. With some work and a mirror anything can be conquered.

    Eating with a small fork and a regular teaspoon is now possible, who hoo!

    Drooling seems to have stopped, this provided many moments of laughter for us. The embarrassment for Sandee in public was always one of her fears. I was always on drool watch to help her get through it. Every person that is close to a DJ survivor can be a friend here. Look for the drool and the crumbs left on your loved ones lips, they will thank you for it!

    Using as straw is harder than you would think. Everyone thinks that Sandee eats with a straw. But she is starting to get that ability again. This leads to the next bonus.

    Kissing is getting good again, nothing prolonged but she can purse her lips enough to kiss me. I am happy.

    Breathing through her nose is incredible. She had her turbanates reduced to improve her breathing, the main reason for this surgery. Smells abound and those prolonged kisses will be possible someday, again we are both happy.

    The swelling is almost gone but some is still evident in her lower jaw areas. She still has some pain but it is getting better, it moves around her lower jaw mainly.

    Some teeth are starting to meet with some more to go.

    Our wonderful cosmetic and regular dentist who started this Dr. Roger Garrett in Calabasas, CA is elated. He saw the vision of her final appearance six years ago and her ability to breathe again. He will have the final act putting in two implants to fill the space from poor orthodontics in Sandee’s teen years. Roger will also put veneers on Sandee’s front teeth to give her beautiful teeth to match her already pretty smile.

    We have had a few friends who have not seen her through this say “you look different” and one even exclaimed how much better her face line looked. Yay!

    Sandee is happy if not for occasionally frustrated by her lack of energy and the time needed to heal and start eating normally. But from where I sit she is a model of how a successful DJ surgery should go.

    Thanks again Graham for your story and care to keep this up and going even after your recovery. We thank you for your kindness that you have given to many.

    Warm regards,
    Scott and Sandee Andrews
    Chatsworth, CA

  4. Sounds like you’ve got great taste, Bruce! =)

  5. Small world . . . am on day 56 today and 2 days ago I went to the grocery store and bought everything I need to make Shepherd’s Pie. Must be the official dish of week 8. 🙂

  6. I can vouch for that! Day 9 post op and although things aren’t worse, nothing has improved in terms of how I feel! The swelling is constantly changing, but that’s it. Freaks me out! I’m gonna trust you, Graham…lol

  7. Haha, thank you kindly.

    Promise me you won’t hate life for at least the first 2 weeks. 🙂 Those are the worst.

  8. Your blog is a breath of fresh air to read. Your attitude towards the whole thing is inspiring, and I hope you know how much more confident, and to put it simply – how much better – I feel about my impending operation from reading your blog. Hilarious, always honest, and with Monty Python references. Epic combination, my friend. 🙂

  9. Hey Graham! Yep…..had both jaws done, my chinm along with my upper jaw widened. Since they were doing my upper jaw, they did a septoplasty too – fun times! lol I have a splint in now – it’s wired to my top teeth. My jaws must have this overriding urge to just go go go because even though I’ve got these heavy bands on, I still have a little bit of movement.

    Since I couldn’t open too far, I wasn’t able to brush all over in my mouth but it didn’t matter…just to be able to have the freedom to open my mouth a little bit. I looked like a little kid in a candy store…my eyes all wide and I’m sure I drooled a few times. LOL I will never again let go of the small pleasures in life.

  10. Hey Aimee!

    Did you get both jaws done? Do you have a splint or a bite plate in?

    Being able to brush a little bit and breathe again is a wonderful feeling isn’t it? When I had my first appointment, I brushed for over 20 minutes. I was in Heaven!

  11. Since finding your blog a couple of days ago, I’m really enjoying reading through all your posts. You’re so positive and the humor is great! Of course, I read, I laugh and then I hurt….lol….but it’s all going to be worth it in the end, right? 9 days post op for me and so far, it sucks. That’s all I can say about it…things are not changing quickly at all! I still feel like my mouth is trying to break free from my face and the pressure is maddening. If that would go away, I’d be much happier.

    I went in to the doc for my first of 5 appts on Monday. He took the bands off and I was in heaven!!!!!!!! I couldn’t open too far so I wasn’t able to brush everywhere inside, but it didn’t matter. To just be able to breathe through my mouth, without feeling like the walls were closing in…..ahhhh, it was amazing!

    Love your posts and I’ll continue to read and follow each day. It gives me hope that things MIGHT get better for me, too! Right now, it seems like a losing battle…just trying to stay positive!

  12. Oh right, you had your splint wired to both sets of teeth, if I remember correctly. It’ll be so freeing to have those wires snipped!

  13. Hi-

    I am 20 days post op today (not that I’m counting) and actually on day 27, I get my bottom wires cut and then I get elastics, but the splint stays in still wired to the top.

    Gosh-I thought I read your whole blog, but I don’t remember reading that-I will go back!

    Ok-I am going to add you right now!

  14. Hi Tara,

    How far along are you again? I forget. I didn’t feel full until my 27th day (Day 27: The Flawed Feeling of Being Full).

    Feel free to find me on Facebook too, right about here. =)

  15. Graham-so happy for you that you are finally able to eat a “little” more normally! That is awesome! Are you able to actually feel full now? I can not get full no matter what I do!!!!

    That would be so nice to meet someone in person who understands this ordeal! Do a lot of you guys keep in touch on Facebook? That is my only means of communication these days, as I still can not talk! I just posted pictures of myself on there after my surgery-I was terrified to show anyone! I would love to see others pictures as well! My name on there is Tara Asmus Jaime if any else is on there!

  16. Hahaha – If I tell him that, he’ll be inviting you over all the time.

  17. Jawnomnom: Too bad you didn’t find anybody close by who had jaw surgery. Ranting with someone who understands is awesome! =)

  18. Haha, it’s a small world, hey? Tell Leighton that if he ever needs a homecooked meal, I’d be happy to come over for dinner (if that’s really all it takes).

  19. Graham, it’s so funny that you love bees and I have a houseful of bee stuff. Leighton also puts bugs outside rather than killing them (other than wasps, of course).

    Thanks for including me in your blog. I’m blushing as I read, but of course, I’m delighted to know how much it meant to you. I really enjoyed our visit, and am happy to have provided your first dish that you could eat without blending 🙂 We had Shepherd’s pie for lunch AND dinner yesterday so Leighton was also a very happy camper.

    I’m happy to read all of the leaps you’ve made in your eating that are bound to make your life a lot easier.

    The blog you pointed out to me while you were over (Hell’s Teeth) is actually someone that I keep up with on Archwired. We are both in the April Buddies group so have been following each other’s stories already. I don’t know why I didn’t click on her blog link before. I usually just read what she has to say in our thread.

  20. Graham Swan: A Friend to Bees.

    I’m glad you got to meet Audra! I wish I knew more people in real life who had this surgery recently. It would have been a great help a month ago.

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