Getting over an underbite

blogging my way through double jaw surgery

Day 21

I had another follow-up visit today. Things are going well; I was in and out pretty quickly. They put two new bands on where one had popped off this week. Here’s where I’m at right now:

The surgeon offered to take my bands off today and see how it felt. Honestly I was a little scared to do so. Especially after he described how my lower jaw muscles kept trying to make my bone go the wrong way during surgery. I found out today that thankfully they are still in the right place. I suspicion I would know it if they relapsed. So anyway, I went with his recommendation to wait another week (actually week and half) before de-banding.

My stitches are all gone now; they have discreetly dissolved over the last week. It’s bumpy lumpy where they were, which is weird if I happen to put my fingers in my mouth, but he said that will smooth out over time.

I can’t really use a straw yet. It’s too much strain on those lip muscles, since my upper lip is still mostly numb. But the bottles are working fine.

ImageI’m back to sleeping in the recliner at night. This is proving to be my best way to sleep. I’m not sure I want to attempt the bed again for a while. I had some rough nights there and I’d rather not risk it. I’ve had two good night’s sleep in a row in the recliner, with pillows. Since I’ve only had four good night’s sleep total in the last three weeks, you may understand why I’ll continue this for now.

I reported to the surgeon on how much better I can breathe now through my nose, especially my right side. I love the fact that I am not a mouth breather any more. He said they straightened my septum (which I knew was slightly deviated).

The only thing is now it feels it little bit lopsided the other way, and I can feel the bone underneath is not in the middle. It’s hard to explain without showing you, and I’m not sure I want to show you a picture up my nose. I did remember to ask the surgeon about it today. He said it may even up on its own, or it may stay that way. It’s hard to tell until we see how I end up in 6 months or so. He said if needed he could do a simple procedure, going in through the same incision places, and correct the nasal something a rather… um okay I forget all the technical terms. Anyway it would be fixable but I’m not sure I would want to, if it came down to that.

Little tiny pieces of the numb area starting to return feeling. It’s very strange, like there’s something I need to wipe off my face, yet there’s nothing there. I learned today that just as the numbness may take 6 months to go away, the swelling also may take 5-6 months to gradually diminish. It will be a while before I see what my “final” face will be.

So in light of that, I think I’m far enough along to show an updated before and after photo. I think the angle that showed my underbite the best before was the smiling side profile. Here are two photos exactly 3 weeks apart. Not quite the same smile, as I can’t go as wide right now, but you get the idea.

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My nose has definitely changed, which was unexpected for me. I suppose I’ll get used to it. It is definitely an adjustment to forever lose the face I’ve had for so many years. I’ll be honest, when I first came out of surgery, and I looked in a mirror, it felt ugly. I did have enough presence of mind to realize that how I looked after surgery would not be the final product, so I put off judgment. In the meantime I have looked in the mirror a thousand times, trying to get used it. And to be honest, I don’t really need to pass judgment; this is my face now – how I end up is how I end up. The change is a part of getting my jaws fixed. It’s just going to take some getting used to.

Here’s a before-after frontal shot, three weeks apart. One of these days I’ll take some better pictures, with an actual camera.

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4 thoughts on “Day 21

  1. These before and after pictures are amazing! It’s astounding how much your profile has changed, and I think your new face is gorgeous 🙂 The change for my nose was completely unexpected too! I think you made the right decision by waiting just a little bit longer for the bands, now is definitely not the time to take any type of risks. You seem to healing beautifully and couldn’t be happier for you. Unfortunately we have to wait some time to see our “final faces”, but at least we made it through the worst part. Happy New Years!

    • Thanks Rachel! Yes after three weeks in bands/splint I figure I can handle another week fine. It’s going to be weird taking them off!
      Happy New Year to you!

  2. Andrea on said:

    It is good to see a lot more of the swelling has gone down! It looks more comfortable, so I’m hoping that means better sleep is coming for you. Your nose is cute. I can understand trying to reconcile with a change in your body, but I don’t think you need to worry about it. 🙂 Being rid of a deviated septum sounds divine, too. I’ll continue to pray for a smooth recovery. Wishing you and David all the best in 2014!

    • Thanks Andrea. Sleeping is getting easier, now that I have figured out what works! It’s soo much better than that first week. I have not had to take any pain medicine except for the two days I had a sinus headache (allergy related).
      Happy New Year!

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