Day 62: Multitasking Fail

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

Elastics, elastics, elastics.

Big news: Two of my teeth on the right side of my mouth are now touching throughout the day! I have those annoying little elastics to thank for a job well done. They may be the bane of my existence, but they’re also putting out in a big way. I took the liberty of sticking one of them on my face so you can see just how tiny they really are. That small piece of stretchable genius goes around 5 teeth at a time. They also come in a cool bag with a cartoon moose on the front, so really, I have nothing to complain about.

I’ve started changing my elastics twice per day–morning and night–in an attempt to achieve the quickest results possible (to fit in with our society’s focus on instant gratification). The elastics stretch out really fast when I’m talking as much as I do, so they’re rendered fairly useless by the end of the day.

I’ve seen my family and several friends over the past week and they’ve all said the exact same thing (with quite a bit of excitement, I might add): “I can’t believe how different you look!” Apparently my face is a different shape altogether and my entire body is noticeably lacking weight. I still can’t accept that I look any different. Perhaps when you’re looking in the mirror every single day, the change is gradual enough that you fail to notice it, whereas for people who haven’t seen me since before the surgery, the change is quite substantial.

I tried my first solid meal at Julio’s Barrio a few nights ago. After scouring their menu for the meal closest to pureed, I settled with chili (or chilli, or chile, depending on what your ethnicity is). I couldn’t chew it very well, so I ended up swallowing most of it whole and felt a little uncomfortable as a result. The waitress kept coming by wondering if I liked it or not because I was taking so long to eat it (it took me 1.5 hours to eat half of the dish). I eventually explained my predicament to her so she would stop fretting about the meal. I think I’ll keep on blending for now.

From that experience, I realized that I need to learn how to chew again. You’d think it’s a completely natural process, but you’d be wrong. You can do it without thinking because you have decades of practice. I challenge you to not eat for 8 weeks along with having your mouth rearranged, and then try to chew again. You’ll be in the same boat as I am. It took 100% of my concentration and brain power to simply bring my teeth together in all the right places. I was honestly having difficulty chewing and talking at the same time!

I think I’m going to attempt to build a carrot cake soon. I’m confident I could mash it up with my tongue enough to swallow it in somewhat manageable pieces. On top of that, carrot cake is absolutely heavenly. And 2 goods reasons is more than enough for me!


  1. Hi Graham!

    I adore your blog and follow it daily…well every other day now. I’m currently 62 days out from having a LeFort I and my lower jaw reconstructed. Judging by what you’ve written in your blogs, my recovery is going a bit quicker than yours did. I also didn’t have the monster splint you had.

    I tried to eat peanuts for the first time the other day. It was more annoying than satisfying. I’ve been having the most luck chewing on the left side of my mouth because it’s still pretty numb. Chewing on the right side is horribly uncomfortable because it feels as though there’s a thing vibrating inside my lower lip. There’s still no feeling on the left half of my lower lip or anything below it down to my chin. The right side is tingly but I can feel it. Success!

    Another thing I’m not crazy about is how wide my mouth opens. I’m at two fingers right now and have been for a couple weeks. (I feel like anyone who didn’t have this surgery would take this another way, haha). I was wondering how long it took before you were able to open your mouth as wide as you were able to before having surgery. I’m sick of jamming food into my face and sometimes not feeling it :/

    • Samantha, try to keep in mind that peanuts are an incredibly hard food, so while they may be uncomfortable to chew at this point, I assure you they’ll be no problem in a month or two. I have no issues chewing through anything [edible] at this point.

      Also, with regards to how wide your mouth opens, note that you are still quite swollen, despite the fact that you no longer look that way. The movement of your jaw will return to its original potential over the next couple of months. No worries, my friend! =)

  2. Graham, I was having a real hard time chewing and the ortho said my back molars weren’t touching so we are working on that. On another note I mentioned to him that it hurt on my lower left side when I tried to open my mouth because he said I should be able to get it opened wider then I was. He said it could be a knit in the muscle because it is still quite a bit more swollen then the right side and it feels like a hard bump. He said to try to stretch it out.
    I had a surgeons appt today and mentioned the same thing to him. He felt my around and then took X-rays. Low and behold it looks like one of the screws came loose and the bump I am feeling is the actual bone. He thinks the bone is trying to grow over the screw. He put me on antibiotics, I’m assuming he is worried about an infection, wearing elastics all the time and soft foods only! I go back to see him again next week and if the lump gets bigger he will have to remove the screw! He says that can be done in the office! BUMMER

    • Terry, this is more common than you might think. I’ve encountered several people who had a loose screw following surgery. Some of them got used to it, but others had to have the screw removed (which requires a minor incision). I hope you’re able to get this taken care of quickly so you can live a little more comfortably!

      • Hi Graham. I’ve been following your blog and it has been so helpful in preparing me for my double jaw surgery. I had an underbite and cross bite. My lower jaw was pushed back 5 mm and upper jaw pushed forward by 2 mm. My first surgery was on Oct. 5th and I planned on taking 3 weeks off work. Unfortunately after the 2nd week of recovery I noticed my lower jaw veered to the left. I saw my surgeon and they took an x-ray which revealed a loose screw, which was a “minor complication”. I had to have a 2nd surgery on Nov. 2nd to replace all the screws in my lower jaw, and this time insertion through my cheeks to ensure the screws were positioned from the correct angle!!! So for me the loose screw was not corrected with a minor incision but a 2nd surgery.

        This has been a long, difficult road for me. My face was swollen for months, while at work, and it’s just now that my face is looking normal again. Not to mention my molars don’t touch and I’m wearing elastic bands to assist in closing the gaps. At least I was given the ok to chew again. It takes a hour to eat a meal but there’s progress day by day.

  3. stephanie adam

    July 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Omg…I just started work again and walked by a couple of ppl that had to do a double take. They didn’t recognize me at first cuz the change on me is soooo drastic. The response I’m getting is soooo amazing. Although at the end of my shift some tell me I look like Botox barbie because I’m swollen from talking so much. It seems that everyone is loving my new face. I’m absolutely happy with it now. Thanx so much for all your help.

  4. So I’m at day 63. I can see.the diff. Sometimes when looking in the mirror, then I take a picture and its totally diff. From what I see. What i see in the mirror looks great what comes out in pictures is this puffy face girl. Much like what you have going on in this picture but x2. I ask my friends and family and they tell me I’m much swollen in pictures than in person but I think they are lying to make me feel better. I’m regretting surgery now. Did you feel like this around this time? I know its been a while since you had your surgery, please can you tell me….when did you really come to like your new face?

    • Stephanie, it took me about 2 months to warm up to the new shape of my face. I promise you that your swelling will eventually go away, though it may take 3—4 months. Remember that you are your own worst critic. Since you see yourself in the mirror every single day, the moment your appearance changes, you’re going to feel disconnected from your reflection. Just have patience—you’ll grow to love your new appearance. =)

  5. I love reading all of this so I know what to look forward to!!!!!

  6. That makes sense though, because the blender is doing all the digesting for you, right?

  7. I know it’s frustrating because it takes forever to eat. I still have protein shakes for breakfast because there’s no way I’m getting up earlier to eat before work. I guess this is just one of those things we signed up for. I’ve only been “eating” for a week and it’s already getting easier. I still feel (and look) like a loser trying to chew. And I can’t do it with my mouth closed. I keep trying new things. Tonight I had fish and chips. I ordered “woodchips” which are larger lattice type fries. I figured they’d be easier to chew. I discovered I can bite with my front teeth and I did semi-OK with the chewing.

    I have to say though that I am suffering a bit of digestive distress. My digestion was really good while on the blended diet. Now – not so much. But I know that it will get better over time as I’m able to chew thoroughly rather than swallow half of it whole.

    Maybe you can compromise and eat half a blended meal and then choose something that you can eat to work on your chewing?

  8. Audra beat me to the punch. Chewing again isn’t easy, but you should be doing it if you’re allowed to do it. It will get easier over time.

  9. @Audra: Okay, advice taken. I’ll stop blending my soup and start setting aside an hour a night to eat it properly. It’s so frustrating though!

    @Daniel: If you send it, I’ll make it. Casseroles are great for because you can make a week’s worth in one go.

  10. I’ll forward you a recipe for a casserole that you can make with or without the chicken – it’s rice and broccoli and it gets pretty soft and that might be a good place to start, too. That and it’s relatively easy to make.

  11. Graham, I also have to say that if you “can” chew, then you “should” chew. I know it takes a long time, but it does get better.

    One day at work, I tried to eat a cupcake. I took off little pieces and tried to flatten them out and stick them in my mouth. It was so aggravating that I gave up after half the cupcake (after I ate all the icing of course).

    Each meal gets a bit better and I try to get food between my molars and chew a little bit. I’m still not sure how to position my teeth because they’ve never come together “properly” before. I am having to learn how to do it all over again.

    If you keep going back to blending your jaw muscles will atrophy and it will never get any easier – only harder.

    I’m still eating “soft” food, but am incorporating more things now – like the salmon and I had haddock the other day. Veggies are cooked really soft. We had hamburger helper the other day.

  12. Wait….I think I want in on this soup and bread making thing! Where do I sign up??

  13. Yes-I can do the cake! True that-what would we do without the internet! Seriously though, I have a killer homemade cream cheese recipe that is sooo easy to make-let me know if you want it and I will email it to you! Hmm-I think I can syringe in cream cheese frosting-it certainly is worth a shot at this point!

  14. Only if you bake the carrot cake, since I have no idea how. Nothing online recipes can’t solve though. =)

  15. Oh Graham-when I fly up for my soup, can I have Carrot Cake and Banana Bread too thrown in??? I love both of those!

  16. Banana bread is 1 of the 2 things I can actually bake well! I’ll be making that too. Note to self: start saving brown bananas. =)

    Tash, chewing takes sooooo long though. Were you really slow at first? I guess I should just tough it out. How long did it take you to get used to it. It was 2 weeks or something, right?

  17. I’ll do another Rah Rah Rah for banana bread. Mmmm, I’d give body parts to be able to have a piece of banana bread right now…

  18. I may have missed something. Are you allowed to chew again?

    If you have been given chewing clearance, you should be chewing, even if it takes a while. You have muscles to rebuild. I recommend larger pieces of food than chili because you can better get a sense of how to chew again.

  19. Would Banana Bread be a good one, too? Another sweet treat that’s easily mashable and mostly nutritious, too?

  20. I like your reasons! I second the carrot cake idea! Rah Rah Rah!!!!!!!!

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