Here I am at 1 year and 10 weeks post surgery. Surgery and recovery are not a focus of life anymore. It’s not that I never think about it. I do, quite frequently. It’s just that life is so much more and beyond jaw surgery now.
Things I’ve gotten pretty used to
Here are the things that I’ve learned to live with, that are fading into the background the longer I go.
Sometimes I rub around on my face, where I can feel the screws in my upper jaw (I think I have 21 screws). I feel them bumpy under my skin, then try not to think about it too much. It’s just weird. I wonder about things like could I ever get a facial massage? But it’s nothing to get freaked about.
The small numb places are bothering me less. I’m starting to get so used to it they feel almost normal. I don’t think the feeling will ever come back there, honestly. But I know that with enough time I won’t notice it at all. I think maybe that nerve (under my nose) has healed all that it’s going to heal. It’s a bit disappointing. While it’s left some spots numb (mouth corners, upper gums), it’s left some of my upper gums extra sensitive. I could live without that but after all this time I just conclude it’s there to stay. Those upper teeth and gums just have their sensitive spots, and most of the time that doesn’t interfere with anything. I just have to be careful as I brush and floss, etc.
I’ve gotten totally used to the bone under my nose being off center. I think it’s pretty unnoticeable. It bothered me a lot for months and months. I’d just feel it, over and over again. Now I never think about it. The surgeon could fix it but I don’t want to bother.
The other thing I pay no mind to are the scars in my mouth. The whole surgery was done from openings inside my mouth. They have left scar lines that run taut. The surgeon has said I can massage them to help them soften up some. I just really haven’t remembered to do that. They do have strange sensations that might run along them sometimes. And they could trap food. But they really don’t bother me any more. And I just try to be care in keeping my teeth clean.
Still hoping these things improve
Here’s one thing that I do wonder if it will change more. From the beginning I’ve struggled with my lower jaw feeling at ease in it’s new location. For many months, I consciously kept my jaw in place. I’d catch it moving forward, and I’d bring it back again. It was months of uncomfortableness. I’d wake up at night and clench my jaw back in place. Well, after all this time, my jaw still does not feel comfortable staying in its right position. I have been trying to train these jaw muscles to stay and they just are not happy about it. The only time it doesn’t feel stressed that way is if I’m eating, or if I’m smiling. But to just close my mouth and keep it at rest? It doesn’t like it. So I don’t do it. Sure, when I think of it, but it doesn’t last. Maybe someday, someday, these muscles will get used to this new place.
My self image still takes some knocks sometimes. My face in the mirror still looks strange at times. I’ve not seen it enough years yet for me to be completely comfortable in this face. Maybe a hundred people have told me I look great this way, but my brain does not really think so. I don’t feel ugly, just not quite myself. A little odd.
But hey, I can eat celery. And carrot sticks. And granola bars. And corn on the cob, and sandwiches with lettuce and tomatoes. Anyone with a poor bite would understand how happy I am to be able to eat all these things, and more, with ease. I do eat lots of celery these days.
Conclusion, at 1 year, 2.5 months post-surgery
In this post I’ve written a lot more about the things I’m dealing with, then the benefits of this surgery. But with all that, I still say it was worth it! I’m so happy about everything I can eat normally.
I don’t have any picture updates this time. It’s not like last year where I changed so much I took pictures every little bit. I’ve not been in a picture since the one I put in the last post. I do think I look a bit different than a year ago due to my hair growing out and the extra 14 pounds, ha! But I really focus a lot more attention on taking pictures of other things these days, and blog about it over here. I’ll leave you with a picture I took this past week, from my front porch.