The 6-Month Update

Kodak moment!

It’s been six months since my face got kicked in with a scalpel. My surgeon told me that the results I experience after six months will most likely be the results I’ll live with for the rest of my life.

I’ll begin with the good news, since I believe we should always focus on the positive (unlike, say, the news). My braces should be off by Christmas time. Apparently they’re only still on so I have a place to hook my elastics on to. That’s going to be a glorious day. I’ll be able to smile while I eat!

I’ve received a lot of positive comments regarding how different I look. I still fail to see the change, but my entire social circle can’t be wrong. (I’ve also been informed that women will come flocking with this shiny new jaw of mine, but that hasn’t happened yet either. Good things take time though. I think.)

Now for the less than optimal news. I’ve been left with a severe open bite on one side of my mouth. This makes it difficult to chew, especially when it comes to items like steak or gum. I’m considering having a second surgery performed to close my bite. It would be far less intense than the first one, since all the surgeon would have to do is make a single cut along the roof of my mouth and insert enough putty (read: cadaver bone) to fill in the gap that needs to be made to push my teeth together.

I’m also still completely numb in the lower left corner of my bottom lip and chin. I believe this is permanent. It doesn’t actually bother me though, because the only time I notice it is when I’m shaving.

That’s the end of the news. We’ll now go to intermission with a little video slideshow I threw together that cycles through all of my mugshots. I searched long and hard to find a fun tune that has the words “teeth” and “jaw” in it, and I succeeded! Don’t worry–it’s only 19 seconds long!

That was a fun little intermission, wasn’t it?

This will be the last post made on this blog. It will remain as a point of reference for others undergoing the wild ride that is jaw surgery. (Edit: Since I was repeatedly asked to post a picture of myself sans hardware, I’ve made one more post: The Final Product.)

Thanks to everyone out there who has taken this trip with me! I’ve enjoyed the messages, emails, in-person encounters and comments that have all contributed to building a community around this odd experience.

93 Comments

  1. David, did you have both jaws operated on or just one?

  2. I meant 1 month and 2 weeks.

  3. 3 months?! I was able to have pizza, fries and burgers only after 1 month.

  4. You may not be able to chew a burger but if you’re craving one, you can do what I did. Make a burger as you normally would. All the fixins and the bun. Put it in a food processor with some beef broth and purée. You’d be shocked but it tastes fantastic! I ended up eating with my husband every night, normal, everyday food. Be creative!!!! 🙂

  5. A burger?! My goodness, not until about three and a half months following surgery. There’s a lot of chewing involved with that!

    Every case is different though. You may be able to take on a project like that after a couple of months if your surgeon is okay with it.

  6. What day was you able to handle eating a burger?Thanks

  7. Hi Jolynn! 🙂 I just wanted to chime in here about this. Not sure if Graham remembers, but I also wrote to him after my recovery because I had just this…the intense burning in my lips and it was horrible! I stopped kissing my husband it was so bad…it felt like someone was shoving daggers into my lips, over and over again. I’m guessing this is what you’re feeling? It IS normal…I know it doesn’t feel that way and that you hate it, but it WILL go away, too. The nerves are firing and they’re doing it especially hard and fast, which is why you’re experiencing such pain. I’m so sorry…it was terrible for me and I thought it would never end. Be patient…it WILL go away in time…

  8. Jolynn, you should definitely not be having any intense pain from this surgery after 4 months of recovery.

    Your jaw will still be tight for a while (at least until you eat enough to loosen it up) and you’ll find your nose and the skin/muscle around your mouth will be tight for a few more months. Whistling helps break the scar tissue up in this area.

    I’d call your surgeon’s office and ask them why your jaw is still tightening. It should be fully healed by now.

    Best of luck!

  9. Graham, i have a quick question. I am 4 months out of surgery on the 17th of this month. I am having a lot of discomfort i’n lower jaw and bottom
    Lip. I have burning i’n lip and tightening sensation i’n jaw. Did you have this? I have had it for over 2 months.
    Jolynn

  10. Hi Esperanza!

    I remember back when it hurt to laugh and smile. Now I do both of those things all the time! And you will too… soon enough!

    I wish you all the best in your lipstick endeavors. That must be quite the experience, hehe. =)

  11. Am finding myself doing a countdown with you, Graham!!! Dec 6th,!!!!! So very excited for you! This past week of going back to work (where i can’t avoid talking) was more stressful than I had anticipated. Fortunately, after today, i’ll have a break until mid-january. Your blog and getting excited about your big day on Dec 6th has kept me pretty positive and chipper! Thanks a lot! I thought of your entry about shaving when i tried to put lipstick on the other day and it was a disaster! I had a nice hearty laugh. Which hurt. Well, just wanted to say thanks again and that i’ve joined the many who are all excited for you! Wish i could treat you to a huge dinner!! 3 more days!!!!!!!!

  12. LOL…you just say the word and I’ll sell it! LOL

    Yep…we’re gonna take DC by storm and smile the whole time! Woooooo hooooooo!

  13. Haha, Aimee, if I ever have a product to sell, I think I’m going to hire you to market it for me!

    I look forward to meeting you as well! You’ll have to show me around Washington. =)

  14. Oh…LOVE the intermission, btw…awesome and a fantastic idea! 🙂

  15. Ahhhhhh, the last post! And what a wild ride it’s been, huh? When I first came out of surgery, you were my hero and a godsend for information! For that, I thank you! Since that time, it’s been wonderful getting to know you better and going through some of the ride together…it’s been awesome! I still can’t wait to see you when you’re visiting next year! 🙂 For those of you reading, I’m almost 7 months post-op from double jaw/upper widening surgery and Graham was my knight in shining armor at my lowest points. This surgery is NOT fun and it’s not easy. I honestly never thought I would utter the words “worth it” in my life! But, now that the braces are off (Nov. 23!!), I realize just how worth it it was! I am pain free – for once in my life! I never could have gotten through the beginning stages of recovery had it not been for Graham so for those of you contemplating the surgery or in the first stages…stay here, read all you can and learn from the master!

  16. Hi Esperanza,

    I’m glad I’ve converted you, haha! You’ve already got past the toughest week. Just wait until you can talk and eat again–glorious!

    Best of luck!

  17. Hey Bree,

    We had surgery at the same time! Cool!

    I still have my braces on, but they come off on Dec. 6. I’m going for all-you-can-eat ribs and candy apples that day. It’s gonna be a party.

    I’ll probably post a picture when my braces come off. It seems like a good finish. 🙂

    And no, I’m not going to have another surgery performed. I met with my orthodontist and surgeon several times and decided it wasn’t worth the risk.

    I hope you’re allowed to get your braces off soon and have a big, full smile again!

  18. Hi, Graham. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate ALL the time and energy you’ve put into this blog. I NEVER leave comments and am not into blogs and such but Week 1.5 of lower jaw surgery has changed me, I guess! You’re tips, photos, humor have all been so helpful. Thank you, thank you, thank you. By the way, you look GREAT! I know you’ve posted your last update, but I hope you post one more photo at least–to show us when you get the braces off soon! Good luck with everything. Many thanks.

  19. Hey i had Double jaw surgery about on in march 2010, thanks for the blog, i found it after about a month or so. I am a dental professional in Ontario, and i have to say your after photos look amazing!! there is a huge difference!!

    my chin and lower lip are still pretty numb, i have some feeling but not much, i can live with it i guess!!

    just wondering if you got your braces off and if we can see some pics of your new smile? i was hoping mine would be off by christmas/new years, but probably in jan, oh well i have had them this long whats another holiday season!

    are you still considering doing a second surgery?

    thanks again!!

  20. Howdy Snice! Glad I could make you chuckle a little bit. I bet you’re looking forward to being able to eat anything you want again, heh?

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