Day 90: The Final Post

  • Pain: 0/10
  • Inconvenience: 1/10

It’s been a slice, folks!

Today marks Day 90 of my recovery. That means my jaw is completely healed, as far as the medical world is concerned. Is my bite perfect? No. Do I still have numbness in my chin? Yes. Has my full range of motion returned? Not yet.

All that’s left now is orthodontic work. The elastics will slowly bring my molars back together and cinch my teeth up to close all the gaps. Feeling should find its way back to my face over the next few months. The mobility of my tongue and lips will return as the scar tissue breaks up.

If you’d like to see my general progress, you can take a look at my x-rays or my 3 month’s worth of mugshots. I have an appointment with my surgeon next week, so I may be posting my before and after photos sometime.

I still have a long way to climb back to the point I was at before. Baby steps are the way to go, though. For instance, I ate my first hamburger and my first chocolate bar in 3 entire months just yesterday. Every single day brings small accomplishments.

I’ve learned more than I ever thought I would from this experience, both undergoing jaw surgery and maintaining a blog about it.

  • I learned that patience is one of the primary keys to life. Without it, you’ll end up in the same place, but you’ll be a lot angrier when you get there.
  • I learned that time will heal just about anything. And while life seems to fly by at mach speeds, we still have 24 hours each day, and there’s no excuse to waste them.
  • I learned that, when you’re completely healthy and able, you take absolutely everything for granted. Next time you sit down for a meal, give yourself more than 10 minutes to enjoy it. Consider the fact that you are indulging in comforts and securities that many people in this world don’t have the opportunity to experience.
  • I learned that people are more accepting than we give them credit for. We walk down the streets judging people for what they’re wearing, how they’re holding themselves and what they’re doing. Little do we know that if we just stop to say hi to a stranger, we may find out they’re the kindest, most genuine person we’ve ever met. Stop being afraid of the unknown.
  • I learned that committing to something for 90 days takes more effort than I ever thought it would. This blog was easy to maintain for the first few weeks because I was sitting at home with nothing on my plate. However, once I returned to my job, started being social once again and began to have plans, I had to start setting time aside to update this journal.
  • I learned that, even if just a single person finds your experience useful, your time is still well worth the trouble.

Was jaw surgery worth it? Absolutely. Even though only 10 of my teeth are currently touching, my bite is still easier to use than it was before. Despite being slightly numb, I’m still able to chew much more effectively than before. I thought I looked like I had buck teeth at first, but now I’m comfortable with them and I like my smile more than before. And now, in what feels like no time at all, I’m back to normal, for the most part. I would recommend jaw surgery to anyone who is not comfortable with their bite or their side profile.

I’ve met people from all over the world through this blog–New York and Boston, Australia, England, Germany and several places in between. I can’t believe how many people out there have been through this same procedure or are on the road to have it performed. I’d like to personally thank each and every one of you for taking this trip with me. I appreciate every single comment that was made. I hope this proved to be a useful resource, and will continue to guide people along in terms of jaw surgery in the future.

I’ll most likely make 2 more posts on this blog: one in the near future to showcase my before and after photos, and another in roughly 6 months to briefly discuss the changes that take place over the next half year.

Once again, I’d like to extend a big thank you to everyone out there for keeping me motivated to complete this project. Right now, I’m off to enjoy a bike ride on this glorious summer day, which is sure to be followed by a cold beer. Cheers, my friends!

27 Comments

  1. Hey Graham!

    Today’s the big day!! Start sending that positive energy my way!! Please!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ill let you know how it goes.. Eeek!
    Carolyn

  2. Graham,

    I left you a comment a few months ago regarding how helpful your blog had been in preparing me for the jaw surgery I just had on January 24th of this year. I’m 8 days post op now, and my story is going so much different than yours so far! I suppose everyone’s experience is different. I had my upper jaw raised (to eliminate a very minor issue with gummy smile), my septum adjusted to make room for the upper jaw, my lower jaw moved forward and rotated up to close an open bite and compensate for recessed chin, and a piece of my lower jaw cut and moved forward 5mm to create more of a chin. My surgeon said things went SO perfectly that I don’t need a splint or rubber bands. I stocked up on loads of ensure only to find out the stuff kind of makes me gag (too milky for me) so I had to get a bunch of ensure juice instead. Anyway, I’ve gotten so many great tips from your blog! My only main concern right now is the swelling and I wanted to ask you if icing the area really does help the swelling go down or if it just helps temporarily reduce it a little…?

    Thanks a lot!

    Tami

    • Tami, I’m so jealous of your rockstar recovery! As for the swelling, it’s really just a battle with time. Applying heat or ice will temporarily reduce the swelling, but at the end of the day, it will simply take time for it to go away.

  3. Hi Graham ๐Ÿ™‚
    I am having my double jaw surgery in two weeks (February 5th) eeek! I am VERY excited but EXTREMELY nervous and anxious. First of all, I have never been in the hospital especially overnight, so the thought of having all those machine and IVs hooked up to me is quite daunting. Secondly, and this is where you are going to think i am nuts, I am getting married 4.5 months later. Here is my question..do you think I’m going to be okay?? do you think i am crazy?? My doctors (the ortho and the oral surgeon) both assure me I will be perfectly fine, however, i see it took you 6 months before you got your braces off. I plan on getting veneers to cover a few of my front teeth before the wedding because I had braces when I was little and the ortho failed to put an enamel protector on my teeth so when he took them off, a few of my teeth were quite damaged :/. My doctor said I could probably have my braces off by the end of May leaving me just enough time to get the veneers; but the timeline is just soo tight it makes me super nervous.

    You have a very nice way of making people feel better so I was hoping for some words of advice/comfort lol. Any tips on a hasty recovery would be much appreciated! ๐Ÿ™‚

    btw, my father is going absolutely crazy as my surgery comes closer (he is not handling this very well) but I relayed him to your blog and he has been addicted and you have honestly made him feel so much better, so THANK YOU! lol

    • Hi Carolyn,

      First off, worry not about the hospital. While they can be uncomfortable places, know that it will be very short term and you’ll be at home in your own bed by the second or third day. Try to sleep your days away while in the hospital. You can also go exploring with your new friend, Ivy (your I.V. stand, of course).

      As for your wedding, you should be in good form by the 4.5-month mark, but you’ll still have your braces and you may not be eating every food under the sun. Your swelling should be gone and your energy should be back by the point, though, so braces will be the only thing you’ll have to think about. If I were you, I would go ahead with the surgery. It’s best to put it behind you so you never have to think about it again once you get married and begin that chapter of your life.

      You’ll do great, Carolyn, I know it! Let me know what you decide to do. I’ll send positive energy your way! =)

  4. Hi Graham,
    first of all congratulations are your journey! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I would like to ask about your recovery, basically its been almost a month since my surgery and I noticed that the alignment of my upper teeth (the middle line of my two front teeth) is not aligned to the middle of my face? or middle of the nose. Long story short, it seems like the upper jaw is off center and I wanted to ask if you had a similar experience..

    • Jessica, chances are you’re still quite swollen after a month of recovery, so you need to take that into account. I noticed the same thing when I came out of surgeryโ€”my face appeared somewhat misaligned. However, once my swelling receded, everything fell into place. Another thing to take note of is that you are your own worst critic and you need to adjust to the new shape and alignment of your face. To set yourself at ease, however, there’s no shame in getting your surgeon to take a look and reassure you. =)

  5. 90 days for me today! Woo-hoo! What a long, slow, fast, quick three months it has been.

    Still have a follow-up surgery to correct my deviated septum, a slight “off” feeling in my chin, somewhat puffy cheeks, and a mouth that doesn’t open all of the way — but otherwise I feel just about back to normal.

    • Jamie, your “long, slow, fast, quick” statement is about the most accurate description of the recovery I’ve heard yet! The movement of your jaw and your puffy cheeks will be back to normal in a few weeks. Remember to chew gum!

  6. Again…if I move to Canada for a year…will they cover me?

    • I hope the second opinion on Friday serves you well. Since I don’t know what you looked like before (or now, for that matter), I suppose my words aren’t entirely encouraging. In any case, I wish you all the best in figuring this out.

      As for being covered in Canada after 1 year, you’ll have to research how the health coverage here works. I’m not sure if you need to be a Canadian citizen to be covered or how it works. Insurance and health coverage boggle me.

  7. Not to mention, my diet is pizza, pasta, cheeseburgers, boost, olive garden bread sticks, milk, eggs,beans, mac and lots of cheese….you get the picture, and im just nor gaining any weight. I actually lost 3lbs. For my height 5’5″ I should be 127lb. I’m 112lbs. No Bueno since I live in Miami and everyone here has a brazillian but and boobs. I’m actually getting a second opinion Friday morning. hopwfully its good news

  8. I don’t think the humpty dumpry look is okay. My friends and family all think I’m still swollen. According to the doc, I’m not. So I know its not me. I have two of my besties that think I looked great before. They tell me I looked way better. My sister told me my chin looks like Michael Jackson’s chin. I have another friend that tells me look like big ang from the new jersey housewives. I mean I’m a complete hotmess. I think I look like Geston from beauty and the beast. Argh!

  9. im at my 4 month mark and my face just looks ugly now. Or looks fattwr and longer. When the swelling was first going down i thought it was okay. Like during mid 3months. But now I just look like the egg from Puss and boots. My profile looks like the moon. Wtf. I think I might need a second surgery. I’m moving to canada. U tjink theyll cover me?

    • Stephanie, have you spoke with you close friends and family and asked them if they think your appearance has suffered as a result of the surgery? We’re often our own worst critic, and perhaps you just need to get used to the new shape of your face. I remember disliking my appearance at first as well, but I eventually realized that it was just the fact that it was different than what I was used to.

  10. Okay…..I can breathe a little now. Thanx a bunch. see you day 90

  11. Stephanie, you have nothing to worry about. Scar tissue will not form on the exterior of your face. The worst that will happen is parts of your face will tight until the scar tissue is broken up. You can help break it apart by whistling often.

    The heat packs are really just for your personal comfort. If you can sleep through the night, they are no longer necessary.

    I wouldn’t worry about your loose tooth at this point, either. If it persists once your 90 days have concluded, have your orthodontist take a look at it. It’s not uncommon for certain teeth to feel loose while your braces are moving them around.

    My advice for you is this: Worry less and smile more! =)

  12. Marisa, I’m glad you could find a bit of comfort in my experiences here on the blog. I wish all the best for Derek in his recovery!

  13. I’m back!!! Lol…okay no longer scared about the swelling, maybe a little because I’m going on 60days. But that’s not why I’m here. I’m geotek because I want to know more about the scar tissue. I could Google it but um too scatter brain to stay.on the one subject….I’m A.D.H.D. you said whistling would get rid of it. What else will? Can it form outside of ur face? What if I have keloid skin? What if i haven’t been exercising my mouth for the two months that I’m in, is it Rio late now?

    Onw mire question about swelling….I stop using Ice and heating pads my 3rd week….is that gonna be a problem with my swelling?

    Um sorry I’m juat really nervous and for some reason it feels like one if my front teeth’s loose

  14. Today my 17 year old son had jaw surgery to widen his maxilla. He was born with a cleft palate and had a similar surgery 11 years ago. We have blissfully forgotten most of the “bad stuff” from that time. I read through your entire blog today while waiting for Derek to get out of surgery, into a room, etc. Thank you for sharing your experience with the world! You have really had great results. Derek isn’t interested in the blog yet but maybe in a few days he will be.

  15. Hi Darren,

    Having my chin and nose reconstructed was just all part of the same operation. When the surgeon reshapes your jaw, other parts of your face cave in or protrude as a result, so they often have to rebuild these. It’s all for the better.

    My surgeon’s name is Dr. Lahl and he works out of his Edmonton clinic, Renew Surgery. I highly recommend him, even if just for a consultation. He’s excellent at explaining what your best options are.

    Best of luck!

  16. WOW! You whent from looking like Ovechkin (sp?) to more like Crosbey lol. Congradulations you look great.
    I also have an underbite caused by both small maxila and a large mandible. I have been plagued by thoughts of having surgery done for years. It is the upper jaw surgery that scares me rather than the lower jaw surgery. It seems like the roots of my upper teeth are quite close to my nasal passages so there is not much bone there to cut and they would probably have to cut through the nasal passage. I would also like to have my upper jaw moved down as well as forward if possible. I realize this is something I should probably discus with a surgeon but i noticed that you said your surgeon had to reconstruct part of your nasal passages. Did this have good results? Did they move your upper jaw down at all?
    Also I live in Calgary and have been trying to find reviews of local surgeons here but havent had much luck. I might be willing to travel to Edmonton for the right surgeon. What was his name again? And would you recomend him? Do you know anyone in Calgary who could recomend one here?
    Sorry about all the questions. Any thoughts you have would be appreciated and thank you for shareing your experience with the rest of us.

    Cheers,
    Darren M.

  17. Hi Mike,

    I’m near 2 years post-op at this point and parts of my chin are still tingly as well. Permanent numbness is something a few of us will have to deal with. If you’re at the 70-day mark, I wouldn’t accept this being permanent just yet.

    The “nerve jolts” you’re experiencing are common during the first 3 months of recovery. Your nerves are still repairing the bruising they incurred during the operation, and jolting pains are part of that process.

    I’d say you’ll be fine within the next 3 – 4 weeks. If the pains continue beyond that, I’d ask your surgeon about it. =)

  18. Hi Graham,

    I’m at about 70 days past my Bimax and still have a tingly chin. When I shave I can feel tingles and jolts even extending to my gums. Feeling seems to be coming back from the corners of my lower lip and moving inwards, which is good, but a few times a day I feel a very strong, random, nerve jolt almost like a shock or prick. They are strong enough to interrupt conversation or eating for a second. Did you get a few of those too? Thanks!

  19. Hi May!

    I’m super glad you’re not experiencing any pain. That’s such a relief, isn’t it?

    It sounds like you’re some sort of recovery superhero. I can’t believe how quickly you’re jumping back into action here.

    At the rate you’re healing, you’ll be eating again soon enough, my friend. Make sure to take a moment and appreciate those meals from here on in! =)

  20. Hey Graham!

    I am day 7 post op! Your blog is very motivational. My swelling was considerably worse than normal so I had to remain in the ICU for 3 days and left the hospital on day 6.

    I experienced virtually no pain, just slight aches. I found out that I’m allergic to every pain killer they had me on so I had to survive on some regular paracetamols to keep me going. I regained my energy around day 5 surprisingly. My swelling has gone down a bit. My lips are back to normal, I have feeling all over except lower right chin but only tingly! My face definitely feels stuffy. I don’t like that my nose is always clogged up.

    All in all, my doc removed my splint within a week. I’m on elastic bands and I’m allowed to have mashed potatoes and eggs. Great huh?

    My surgery involved moving my lower jaw back and upper jaw forward. We grafted some bones off my nose somewhere to help me with breathing difficulties I’ve had for years.

    I’m able to smile, talk a bit. Everything believes I’m healing remarkably, mainly because I’ve been very optimistic about this surgery. I’ll give it 3 months for my bones to completely heal. But boy do I miss food!

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