Day 64: It’s Time To Start Chewing Again

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

Today’s mugshot is delivered straight from my comic-ridden office!

I was in a rush to go surprise my orthodontist with a visit this morning, so I forgot to take a mugshot at home. As a result, I give you a photo of myself hard at work, compliments of the less than desirable camera on my cell phone. “Are your walls plastered with comics?”, you ask, curious about all of the important documents I have pinned up. Why yes, yes they are. I can’t stand boring, old cubicles, so I choose to turn mine into an A.D.D. playground. At my last job, I filled my office with plants and posters. This time, comics came to my rescue. I read the following 4 comics daily:

I stumbled into my orthodontist’s office at 8:00 am. The wire fixated to my top teeth has been stuck in my cheek for over a week, and I was unable to bend it or trim it myself. I feel a little uneasy about sticking wire cutters into the very back of mouth, where I cannot see, and attempting to clip off some excess metal. I was also having extreme difficulty eating because every time I moved my mouth to chew, a little more of my cheek would get scraped off. So, taking the intelligent route, I went to visit my orthodontist. She informed me that my top wire had actually shifted by about 3 mm, which means that same length of stainless steel was embedded in my cheek. After adjusting it, she added something called a stopper onto one end, essentially preventing it from moving again. I feel much better already, and I have big plans to eat tonight.

Taking advice from other jaw surgery survivors, I’m going to start eating at least one meal per day properly. Since I don’t want to wake up earlier for breakfast or make people feel awkward at work during lunch, I’m going to choose dinner. I’ve realized that if I don’t start chewing properly now, I may never be able to do it again. So take note: I’m officially on a mission to eat like a human being once again. It took me a full hour to power through half a bowl of split pea soup last night. I also ate 2 pieces of toast this past weekend, at the hefty price of 45 minutes of my time. Friends, I’ll be unavailable for the next few weeks since my evenings will be devoted solely to feeding.

I spent some time at a local lake for May Long Weekend (Canadians are given the last Monday on or before May 24 every year off to celebrate the Queen’s birthday). While my friends sat around a fire and delighted in big, juicy steaks, barbecued chicken breasts, large strips of bacon and scrambled eggs, I partook in blended soup. This is yet another reason why I need to start chewing as soon as possible.

Just to assure you all that I’m completely crazy, I had a dream in which I was Mario running through Bowser’s castle the other night. Apparently I have an obsession.

17 Comments

  1. Thank heavens! My Doc cleared me to start chewing, and I felt a pang of shame when I tried, failed, then decided to eat at least one “solid” meal a day at the expense of my time. I am relieved to see I was not alone in that regard.

    One of my doctors likened my chewing style pre-surgery to that of a cow. Given what I need to do to chew now…I kinda see it. X-D

    • Angie, it’s quite funny how many animals jaw surgery patients can be compared to during the recovery process, haha. If you want to rebuild the muscle in your jaw, chewing gum during the day will speed up that process. =)

  2. Hey Graham,
    Just wanted to drop a note! It’s been about 8 weeks post-op now and I’m almost eating anything that fits in my mouth (minus steak and bagels). I’ve even had fried chicken which was the food I looked most forward to eating after surgery! I’ve gotten so used to the routine of life by now that outside of my jaw physical therapy, it feels like I didn’t even have the surgery. Granted, being a full time engineering student leaves you with no time to really do anything else, including appreciating all the healing my body has done. I’m sure you understand as well haha.

    • Tim, so good to hear that you’re back to normal after only 8 weeks! I can fully relate to being a full-time engineering student as well. Perhaps it was a blessing since it completely distracted you from the recovery, ha! =)

  3. Thanks so much! This was my biggest concern. Feels like the jaws aren’t attached right, but I am 8 weeks post surgery and I expect it will get better soon!

  4. Thanks for replying! I am just happy my surgeon doesn’t think the bone fractured. I notice people talking about having painful spasms. I have this weird, uncomfortable but not painful thing where my bottom jaw will quickly shift to one side and back again. It feels awful just because it doesn’t seem normal. Is this what the spasms are like, or do you know what that is? I will ask my surgeon too, but he’s hard to contact.

    • Debbie, that’s exactly what spasms feel like. They’re not painful—they’re just… weird. On the bright side, they will go away in the near future. =)

  5. I’m a bit over 8 weeks post op and I just started having some issues with my TMJ this past weekend. I’ve been having sharp pain and clicking near my ear. I’m wondering if you or anyone else here has had issues with theirs also. I hope it will correct itself but my surgeon is going to see how it goes.

    • Debbie, I never had TMJ (luckily), so I can’t relate to this. It’s possible your jaw is still shifting into place, but I would definitely have your surgeon take a look (and likely an x-ray as well). Best of luck with this.

  6. Hi Gram, I had bouble jaw surgery on Sept 24 so today would mark day 67. The orthodentist has taken all my post surgery elastics out 13 days ago and I’ve been having jaw pain since. I think the pain is getting better but I’ve notice that it gets crazy after being in the cold. Have you experience that?
    Oh and your x-rays ‘s looks the same as mine haha
    Another thing I’ve experienced is I can feel my upper plates getting cold when I’m drinking anything cold which is not painful just another strange thing

    • Linda, I remember being able to feel some of the hardware in my mouth on cold days—it felt so weird! The pain you’re feeling may be coming from your jaw muscles stretching out again, so I wouldn’t worry about it unless it starts to get worse. =)

  7. I am supposed to have bone taken out of the bone above my upper teeth. And I have bone on bone in my right jaw joint, due to improper positioning/alignment of teeth/jaw. I’m super scared. But I’m living in so much pain and immobility that the surgery must happen. I just wish I knew for sure that this was the solution…that after all is said and done, I will live pain free, eat like normal, talk like normal and prevent any more damage to my jaw. This gives me hope…in a way…then again it kind of freaks me out because I am looking at the experience of someone who has already been through it. Facing it is scary.

  8. hi Graham–did you find it difficult to figure out how to chew? it’s weird, i’m having a hard time figuring out how to grid my food on my back teeth. (i know this sounds like i’m kidding, but i assure you, NOT!) i think my back teeth on the left side don’t meet, by my dr. ortho says there’s no problem. augh. it’s 11 weeks and i still can’t chew! (i tried your gum suggestion, my tongue kept getting in the way, lol. but, that was the BEST dentine i’ve ever had in my mouth!)

    …just a jawbstacle in my jawpertunity waiting to be solved!

    • Zoë, I had trouble learning how to chew again as well. Since your jaws are in different places than they were before, your brain actually has to get used to their new position. Just chew slowly and you’ll adjust to your new bite. It took me approximately 2 weeks of careful chewing before I stopped thinking about it.

  9. Ha! And there’s my laugh for the day! lmao

  10. Graham, that’s too funny.

  11. Haha, it’s merely a story involving giant balloons, rooftops, children’s bikes and the local police. Oh, I think someone tripped on a curb so hard that they broke their foot too.

    It all resulted in me attending my own high school graduation in a wheelchair, doped up on morphine. I fell asleep during the ceremonies in front of the entire town. It was fantastic.

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