Before my surgery, I spent almost two years reading jaw surgery blogs. They were extremely helpful in preparing me for what was ahead. All I knew before that was: I might have my jaws wired shut for 6 weeks, and be on a liquid diet. That’s all.
Reading others’ honest descriptions of their journeys prompted me to have my own blog as I went through this. I hope it may be helpful to someone who is considering jaw surgery, or about to undergo it. Everyone’s experience is individual, but across the board there are many common experiences.
While the surgeon did give me some information beforehand, what I learned online really has been super helpful. I don’t really have many tips that aren’t out there somewhere else. But in case you haven’t read those other blogs, I am listing here some of the helpful things I have learned from other bloggers.
- To use a mirror to help my feed myself at first, while my face is still numb and I’m not used to using a syringe.
- To take a shower in the hospital as soon as I was up to it, as it makes you feel a whole lot better.
- That walking would help with the swelling. I was able to incorporate some gentle walking every day.
- To graduate to condiment bottles when syringes became a pain. I do still use a syringe for medicine and mouthwash.
- To use hand towels as a bib while eating so that I don’t ruin all my clothes with accidental dribbling and squirting.
- To constantly apply chapstick. Since I can’t moisten my lips naturally, they dry out easily. I have chapstick in every room and in my purse.
- That my lips would peel a lot. (Though I didn’t realize my face would also peel.)
- That I can live through throwing up while banded, and it’s much easier if you don’t panic.
- To sleep elevated to help the congestion and swelling.
- To not sleep on my side til the bones are healed.
- That the first week would be very difficult in all aspects. While it certainly was, knowing this ahead of time made it not as much of a shock.
- That I wouldn’t be able to sneeze or blow my nose.
- That the numbness would last for a long time, and in some cases not go away completely. I decided this was a risk I was willing to take.
- That 99% of the people I read about did not regret having the surgery. After they healed they were happy they did it.
There are probably more that I can’t think of now.
My swelling did not change much this week. It did go down enough that now I can lift my upper lip above the bands. You can kind of see my teeth in the photo. This is the biggest smile I can manage, which is sure a lot better than on Day 6.
Last night I slept 11 hours, something a week ago I wouldn’t have though possible. I guess I needed the rest after working two days! Ha. I have a desk job, so it’s really not that difficult.