My Corrective Jaw Surgery Experience

This is right before I headed into surgery.
This is right before I headed into surgery. | Source
Here I am just a few days after jaw surgery with my pal Snoopy my boyfriend bought for me and gave me at the hospital :)
Here I am just a few days after jaw surgery with my pal Snoopy my boyfriend bought for me and gave me at the hospital :) | Source

Procedure date: August 17, 2011

Doug was allowed to stay at my house that night for the first time in four years and I considered this to be a seriously monumental moment. He slept in the spare bedroom, but only because my dad insisted that I be well rested for tomorrow’s procedure. I wasn’t sure why I needed my rest, as I would be snoozing for a good eight hours on the operating table while I was put under, but I agreed nonetheless.

I slept decently that night. I knew God was going to take care of me, so I didn’t worry. I’ve never been a huge believer in the higher power above but whenever I have something scary ahead in my near future I look to the sky, cross my fingers and talk to the man upstairs. I kept telling myself I was going to stay strong, for if I didn’t the surgery would not be successful.

My alarm sounded at 4:45am. We needed to be at the hospital by 7am. We should leave the house by 5:45am.

I heard dad in the shower so I went into Douggie’s bed, and snuggled with him for another fifteen minutes, holding onto each other and knowing that this would be the last cuddle fest for a while.

It was now time to put our gears in motion and get ready. I gathered most of my things together the day before. I had my laptop for my dad to use while I was in surgery, my vomit bucket for me for the return ride home after surgery, and my backpack full of clothing items: pajamas, a button up shirt and pj pants, a book, a baby toothbrush which I never used, comfy warm socks (so glad I brought these), and deodorant.

In the kitchen everyone was sitting eating Cheerios. Mom looked to me and asked if I was going to eat anything. Then shortly after says “Oh. Nevermind,” as she remembers I couldn’t eat anything after midnight the night before so my body is empty of food before surgery.

Doug and I followed mom and dad in their car, with not much chitchat on the way. It was a beautiful day, and once we got within miles of the hospital, the fog rolled in. We could barely see the mountains. We arrived on time. We entered the hospital and got me checked in with the lady at the desk.

The desk lady was very nice, and very happy for 7am. She found me in the list of day-surgery-patients, and showed me a form stating that my hospital room would cost $1200. She reassured us that our insurance would cover it, and instructs me to wait in the waiting area. Thank goodness we had insurance at the time.

The waiting room is filled with only a few occupants. Mom eyes four open seats in the middle and we begin to approach them when the desk lady redirects us again. She brings us into the hospital area, where nurses and doctors in full hospital attire stroll the halls, and bring us to another front desk. I don’t remember stating my name or signing anything, but I follow the lady as she comes from behind the desk and start walking into a small little one-patient room. My clan of family members follows. Mom asks if they are all allowed, and someone responds that it’s fine for now, but that some of them may get shooed away shortly.

We enter my little room with a curtain, a bed, two chairs and a big, empty, white bag with a sticker with my name on it. I’m instructed to get into my Johnny, remove all clothing items, shoes, and jewelry and place them in the white bag. I look from mom, to dad, to Doug, when dad speaks. He asks if I want mom to stay and help me get ready, or Doug to stay and help me get undressed. I choose the latter.

As mom and dad exit, Doug starts to smile. “Did you hear that?” he says, “I can help you undress.”

We laugh, I change, and hop into bed with my stuff tossed into aforementioned white bag.

Doug is seated in the chair beside me. We sit there for a while. Doug looks nervous. I have a shared bathroom, with a light switch lock, with another patient on the either side. I got a lot of visitors that morning. Nurses question me and confirm that I have had nothing to eat since the night before and a visit from the anesthesiologist team. They tell me what to expect in terms of the tubes being shoved up my nose and in my breathing passage and how those will account for my sore throat upon waking up.

They ask me if I’ve had any weird reactions to anesthesia before, and tell me about the cocktail they will be serving me shortly that will make me feel like I’ve consumed two alcoholic beverages.

Finally, Dr. Addante comes in, calm, cool and collected, as he always is. He asks me how I’m doing and tells me I should expect a good deal of swelling, and that he may not need to do the chin genioplasty he had previously discussed with me. He said he wouldn’t know until he’s in my mouth working because x-rays differ from my actual mouth. (Update: I never had to have the genioplasty procedure.)

Then the person with the IV comes in. I look away when I feel a prick in my hand, again I know God will help me but there’s no reason to look down at it entering so I look up at the ceiling. Doug asks me if I’m okay, I know he hates seeing me in pain. I smile for him.

They tell me to go pee when I can, so they can take my pregnancy test. Doug looks nervous; I tell him it’s routine.

They take my pregnancy test and the lady smiles and says good news, “you’re not pregnant!” Doug laughs out loud, and thanks her.

The nice nurse who inserted my IV comes in looking annoyed. She tells me they need more blood, but wishes they had told her that when she did my IV. She says she hates pricking people more than once. I nod; I too hate being pricked more than once. She pricks my right arm and takes two vials.

I think about that cocktail and I tell Doug not to worry about me.

Doug’s in the bathroom and the curtain to my room opens. Dad’s head pops in. He goes to get mom who has her big knitting bag with her. They went to the car to get all their stuff to keep them busy for the next eight hours. Apparently, an hour had already elapsed here as mom’s making progress on her knitting projects.

The clock is ticking. I was told surgery wouldn’t begin until 8:30am today per the hospital’s schedule. It’s probably around 8am now. I’m antsy to get the procedure under way, but I liked the delay, a few more minutes being with Douggie.

A man comes in and tells me it’s time for my well-awaited cocktail, and I wait for it to enter my system. I hate the feeling of liquids entering my body through an IV. It makes me cringe and feels bad and unnatural. I look away, and think happy thoughts.

Mom and dad say goodbye, and tell me they love me. Doug is the last to go, and kisses my head. I hear their words and I respond, but the drug is hitting me hard.

I’m wheeled out in my hospital bed. I see mom, dad and Doug in the hallway, smiling to me, waving. They are all blurred; I feel like a drunk, I laugh as I’m wheeled past.


The surgery table was cold. I was laughing and then I was out.


I woke up after surgery and I could barely open my eyes from exhaustion. I heard voices of my family members, but couldn’t see faces clearly. It was around 6pm and all I wanted was sleep.

Soon after, my eyes were shut once again.


I woke next around 9pm and this time much more alert. I asked the nurse taking care of me for the night where my family was. I then realized I was talking weird. I know now that she could not understand me. I asked for a book to read. I’m sure I wasn’t aware of my situation and what I was unable to do, such as read, write or talk. I also asked for a pen and paper. She complied with the latter request. On paper I asked where my family was. She told me they were there a few hours before, and I then started to recollect their visit.

I kicked myself for being asleep. I was bored and lonely in this hospital bed. I couldn’t breathe for the life of me. But I did have a cool suction thing that sucked out all my spit in my mouth. This thing was my best friend. I had a rag on my shoulder to wipe my nose, which was generously oozing lots of blood. I dozed in and out most of the night, always waking up gasping for air due to my blood filled nostrils.

I woke up at 3am and pulled my little television-set forward so it hovered in front of my face, and tuned into Hot in Cleveland. I kept the volume low but there were not many other patients present in the recovery room. The one bed directly across from me came and went all night long. I would fall asleep and wake up and see some poor bandaged soul sitting up directly across from me. It didn’t even occur to me that I looked just as bad as him, if not worse. I fell back asleep and later woke up to an empty bed across the way and thanked God that there was no one gawking at me from afar.

Morning had come at last. It was 6am and I was ready to say goodbye to this hospital bed. Or so I thought. I wasn’t really in pain but was seriously plugged up in my nose. I sat upright in bed. I then realized I hadn’t had a glimpse of myself yet. I shut off my television set. Looking in the little 7-inch screen, I checked out my massive face for the first time. Thankfully, reflections in television sets are not completely accurate. This plus the generous dose of medication made me not look as disgusting as I thought I would. I let out a sigh and turned the television back on.

Hours went by as I switched between lying down and sitting up right. My bum was going numb and I had cushy things on my legs to help with circulation. I was getting antsy. My surgeon checked in on me and found me some chapstick. He said I was doing great and told me what to expect in the next few hours in terms of moving to a regular hospital room. He discussed with me that I should think about staying another night. I had originally thought I would leave soon. This was discouraging to hear. But luckily my parents and boyfriend had stayed close by at a hotel for the night. My family swung by soon after and we wrote notes to each other. My jaw was wired shut. I could not speak but I wasn’t aware of this upon waking up. I soon realized my handwriting wasn’t much better due to the medications I was taking. We scribbled notes back and forth and said our goodbyes. I have these notes at home now and some of it looks like chicken scratch. I was writing so fast like I had so much news to tell my family. My mom though was the one who could decipher my writing and tried to make sense of what I was saying.

Below, is a kind of gross photo of me, that I posted upon request from a fellow jaw surgery survivor. I took this photo the day after surgery with my webcam on my computer. I was still in the hospital with really clogged up nostrils that you see in the picture. That trickle of blood remained there for about two weeks as I was forbidden to clean my nose whatsoever, until the second week when my surgeon cleaned my nostrils. It felt wonderful when he got out all the gunk for me! I wasn't allowed to do it myself for fear of causing serious problems since I went through such a serious procedure and somehow it affects different things. All I know is I listened and didn't clean it out. Steamy showers did help, a little, but generally left me gasping for air in the shower and drawing open the curtain to be able to breathe a bit.

In the hospital, one day after surgery, a trickle of dried blood coming from my nose. I feel like my face was so much larger in real life, though.
In the hospital, one day after surgery, a trickle of dried blood coming from my nose. I feel like my face was so much larger in real life, though. | Source

Pre-surgery photos recently added upon request!

August 2008, before braces and before surgery. Holy, bugs bunny!
August 2008, before braces and before surgery. Holy, bugs bunny! | Source
July 2009, before braces and before surgery.
July 2009, before braces and before surgery. | Source
October 2010, just graduated from college - one month before braces got put on, and one year before surgery.
October 2010, just graduated from college - one month before braces got put on, and one year before surgery. | Source
March 2011, braces on, (just can't see them in this picture) 5 months before surgery.
March 2011, braces on, (just can't see them in this picture) 5 months before surgery. | Source

August 18, 2011

The Day After Surgery

I finally spotted my nurse from last night and then understood that her shift was ending. She told a lady in red scrubs that I had trouble breathing most of the night, and that she had been giving me meds for pain every hour. The red scrub nurse smiles at me, introduces herself and asks how I am doing. I say I need medicine, as I can feel my meds already wearing off. At this point it had already been several hours since I had any. I had them every hour at night but I had already been awake for a few hours.

She told me she would have to examine me before giving me any medicine. I was still very out of it but I found this odd in any case, as the previous nurse had just given her the heads up. This nurse couldn’t understand me well. She came and went throughout the morning. She never could understand me when I spoke to her or wrote things down. I realized she was not going to help me, as she didn’t try. I thought it was clear just based on my appearance that I needed help.

Around 10 am I wrote down asking where my family is. The nurse didn’t understand. I must have written that question several times; until finally she telephoned them.

She comes back to me saying she got someone named Doug’s voicemail, so she hung up, since she thought she had the wrong number. She was so confused.

Using all my strength, I tell her who this mysterious Doug person is, and she gives me a grimacing expression, almost like she didn’t want to call him knowing that he was important to me.

I see her pick up the phone and make an attempt but the call doesn’t get through. Another RN even comes over to help her use the phone. I then understand that she is a traveling nurse, up from down south. I watch her as she sits at her computer trying to access files but not getting any thing accomplished. She didn’t know how to help me, or she didn’t want to.

Then another nurse comes in to remove my catheter. I remember wondering if I had my catheter in still.

I was getting so antsy. I wanted to stand and walk around. After the nurse removed the catheter she told me I wouldn’t have to pee for 6 hours.

I request a chair because my bum hurts, thinking this is a normal thing to ask for. The traveling nurses finds the largest, most awkward chair she could possibly find. It doesn’t even fit in my little recovery room area. She has to move my bed, and I have to get up to make room for the chair. I don’t even remember sitting in the chair after. I think I gave up and went back to my bed.

I ask the nurse where the bathroom is. Well, surprise, it is right here my room. That little pot in the corner is for me! I got to use the bedpan, with the assistance of red scrub nurse. I have to say, using one of these things really makes you respect and idolize the toilet. I’m on the hopper with the curtain barely closed, nurses walking by, and I’m trying my hardest to go and it’s taking forever and I think, damn catheters, thanks for messing up my bladder and making it hard to go.

An hour later (that felt like forever), my family came in. They were told that only two of them could see me for 10 minutes. They were not putting up with that, especially Doug. Needless to say, all three of them came in to see me. Later when I was home, Doug told me how furious he was with them. He can be a stinker but I don’t mind it when it comes to my health.

Using my pen and paper, I tried to communicate to my family and find out when I’d be moved to my hospital room. They left after 25 minutes per instructions from the traveling nurse. I was to be moved to a hospital room shortly and would see them again upstairs after I am moved out of the ICU.

But it took awhile. I keep asking when will I be going to my hospital room. She says soon.

She said she put in a request for transportation for me up to my hospital room, and I don’t know what is taking so long.

My family left the ICU per instruction while I was being moved and they would join me again shortly in my new hospital room. I waited a long time for a bed to be opened up in the regular hospital for me. I had to stay another night and really wasn't looking forward to it. I was so antsy and really needed to walk around.

Forever and day later… a little balding man with a wheelchair appears to take me to my hospital room. He looks confused. He asks red scrub lady if I should be in my hospital bed to be wheeled upstairs. Her voice has an argumentative tone in it, which I picked up on from the start but ignored it. I was down and out, and wasn’t about to pick a fight with a nurse who had complete control over my life at the moment.

I don’t recall what she said but whatever it was indicated that she thought I should be wheeled up in the wheelchair.

I’m so anxious to stand but my muscles aren’t allowing me. I ask red scrub nurse to assist me to stand, thinking this was a normal request, as my gown wasn’t even tied in the back. She tells the transport man that I’m feeling uncomfortable with my gown.

She then holds it shut for me, as he wheels the chair closer. He feels bad, and locates a blanket to drape over me. He’s still unsure of whether he should wheel me in the chair, or the hospital bed. He assumes she is correct.

Even in my drugged up state of mind, I knew all along that when I got upstairs to my hospital room I would have no bed. I’m sure he knew it too.

Finally I'm in the wheelchair and ready to go. He wheels me out of the ICU and it takes a while. We go down long hallways and elevators and finally reach our room. He drives me into the room, and leaves me there. There is no bed.

He leaves. He returns later with a bed, wheels it in and exits.

This was surely not my bed. This bed he brought in was so high up. He wheels it in and I just look at it. It has been raised so high that I wasn’t able to even get in it.

A few minutes later my new nurse for this floor came in, and gasped. She comments on the height of my bed, just as my family enters the room.

The nurse lowered my bed and hooked me up to the IV. Doug helped me into bed.

My family stayed with me for a while and then left to go get some lunch while I went to get X-Rays on my jaw. The new, nice, floor nurse wheeled me in the chair downstairs. When we got there, we were told to go somewhere else for xrays but eventually made it. I thought I was going to fall down every time I stood up. Dr. Addante asked me how badly I wanted to go home.

I didn’t want to go home really bad only because I knew now how hard it was for me to stand up and that worried me. I didn’t want to vomit, or make my body do too much before it could. He said if I was on the fence, and if I was 50/50, I should stay one more night.

Back in my hospital room, my family returned. I told them the news, and they agreed I should stay another night. I was fine with staying but I didn’t want to be alone another night. The night before was not comfortable but at least I had constant attention and a nurse who checked on me often. For me the second night was worse and I had a feeling it would be.

Doug had to work the next day although I wanted him to spend the night. Mom asked if I wanted her to stay. I knew, of all people, mom would not be comfortable spending the night here. She asked the nurse anyway. She replied that since I had a roommate, no visitors could stay with me. I only would be able to if I was in a single hospital room. I wanted them to push it and stay with me. I didn’t want them to go, but stayed strong.

My family left around six o’clock. At least now I had my cell phone and computer to keep me busy.

Although my family would only be 45 minutes away and back in the morning to take me home, I was a wreck. I said I was okay but really I was quite emotional. I did not want them to leave and could not understand why they would leave me. Of course then they didn't know the extent of everything, how I had waited and waited that morning to go pee and get more meds. Before Doug left, he helped me go to the bathroom and I nearly fell over. My balance was so off. He got me back in bed after and we said our goodbyes. I took out my book and my laptop to keep me occupied. Facebook kept me entertained and feeling loved from all the messages. Just like winning the megabucks, friends come out of the woodwork to say hi when you have major surgery.

But around 7pm, I started bawling my eyes out.

I think partly due to lonesomeness and the other part due to the high dosage of liquids being sent into my blood stream. I’m not a medical student but all the stuff going into my body through the IV was making me loopy. I couldn’t stop the huge tears from running down my face. I blotted them with tissues, just as another set would come from nowhere and drop like huge raindrops on my nightie.

I had a roommate too. She was an older woman, probably in her forties, and I felt sorry for her. She was so optimistic, but the next day while waiting for my family to arrive, I was beginning to feel more coherent and eavesdropped a bit. She had some visitors, her daughter I believe and someone else. The woman indicated that she's always in hospitals and something was really wrong. She had a condition. The curtain was drawn between us, but every time she went to the bathroom she would have to come to my side of the room. She smiled at me but I really couldn't smile back.

I was trying desperately to stop crying because I knew it was foolish but I couldn't. It had to have been the drugs! Just then, a young, cute, male RN walked in to my room. His name I cannot think of for the life of me. He came in as his shift had just begun and he was there to introduce himself. His eyes were kind, sensitive and I knew he would take good care of me. He asked if I was in pain. Once again, he had no clue of my situation. This is what happens when nurses leave and their shifts end. It's tough trying to explain your condition, especially when you are wired shut! I tried talking, but mostly wrote down a few words. He came to realize I was banded shut. He said if I need anything to press the call button. He patted my arm and reassured me that I would be okay. He looked at me curiously as I was blotting my eyes with tissues and tucking myself into bed.

My nose was so clogged up and the tears were making it worse. Every time I dozed off I would wake feeling like I couldn’t breathe or that I had to pee. I pressed my little button so many times that night. At first I held back because it is quite embarrassing to have a cute RN assist you in going to the bathroom, especially when your head is the size of a basketball.

The cute RN had to empty the pee tray in the bathroom each time I needed to go. One time he noticed my phone charger was on the floor and asked if I wanted my phone charged. I remembered earlier my charged had fallen and there was no way I could muster the strength to pick it up. I hated feeling incapable to do such a small thing like pick up a little object. He plugged it in, and saw my little Douggie’s face on the phone screen. He fixed all my Get Well Cards that were falling off my side table.

I had a get well card Doug had given me on my table. I knocked it off accidentally. The cute RN picked it up one of the times I buzzed for him, glanced at it, skimmed it, smiled and put it back on my side table.

I pressed my little button so many times that night because the catheter gave me the sensation that I needed to pee, or maybe my blatter wasn’t emptying fully.

I wasn't drinking much water really but because of all the IV liquids going into me, I kept having to pee.

My cute RN tucked in my Snoopy stuffed dog into my arms with me each time I returned to bed.

But besides this, my second night in the hospital royally sucked in every way imaginable. I couldn’t breathe and was sweating profusely. Then I was freezing and asked for three more blankets. My jaw hurt like somebody kicked me in the…oh wait.

My awesome, caring surgeon Dr. Addante called the nursing station around 10pm to check-in on me. Not sure if this is common but I thought it was extraordinary. He knew I was having trouble breathing and requested a special breathing mask for me. An hour or so later, the respiratory team arrived with this mask that covered my face and supplied hot air into my nostrils. It also helped because I was shivering cold.

I woke around 4am and couldn’t ignore it anymore. I pressed the call button. By this time the RN knew what was up as I was halfway off my bed and motioned for the bathroom. I came out of the bathroom to see cute RN standing by my bed, waiting to rehook me up to my IV. He smiled and told me his birthday was in July too. I didn’t know, or care how he knew when my birthday was. He was the one thing I had near by that made me smile. Inside of course. No external smiling right now.

I got back in bed, and the mask wasn’t working anymore. Someone had closed my door mostly, and the hot air was coming from outside the room. I was having trouble breathing again and had to breathe through my nose entirely. This machine helped me breathe a little through my nose; I think by clearing it out a little. I woke up gasping sometimes when I fell asleep and panicked when I felt I couldn't breathe. Then I'd realize I could breathe, but just through my mouth.

Crushed up Vicodin mixed with juice tastes awful. Once I was in the regular hospital room that’s what I got. Eventually I felt very nauseous from it.

In the morning I even requested something other than Vicodin because it tasted so bad and made me feel sick. They started giving me something for nausea too.

I didn’t eat anything for a few days after surgery. My appetite was gone and I was trying so hard to not vomit because I had heard that it’s common after surgery and that was my biggest fear. Vomiting while being wired shut could be incredibly dangerous. I even had surgical scissors the hospital gave me and tied around my neck for the sub sequential 6 weeks after, to cut the bands if ever needed. I succeeded and was so proud of pushing through the first few days without vomiting. And just a note, I never once vomited during my recovery time either. Yay!

Morning came at last and I awoke with a great deal of pain. The cute RN’s shift ended and he came in to say goodbye. This is when things went downhill.

After he left, I dinged my little bell for a solid thirty minutes looking for pain medicine. I needed a shower and that took another thirty minutes to get my IV removed and covered with a glove to stay dry for my shower.

A nurse popped in and said "Just a few minutes, I'll be right back." But, she wasn't right back.

I understand it's a busy hospital and many patients need help, but I needed help and was getting so frustrated. Finally, she returned, covered my IV in my hand with a glove. She was so rough. It is a job to her. She wasn't there because she cared, like the guy last night. Or the first nurse in the ICU.

She asked if I needed help in the shower and I said no because I really am quite sufficient and no way would I let myself stoop as low as letting someone help me shower.

There was a chair in the shower, I didn't sit in it but leaned against the shower. The shower had pumps for shampoo, conditioner and body wash. I used body wash and was done. I couldn't breathe and was probably not clean but I needed to get out before I fell over.

I got out and managed to dress and gathered all my belongings. I was totally ready to go home and my family wasn't here yet and hadn't texted saying that they had even left yet. Wishful thinking I suppose.

I watched my roommate's family come in and pack up all her belongings for her and prepped her for her hospital departure. I felt jealous that she had family packing up her stuff and I had literally just thrown all my belongings into my backpack. They weren't organized and I couldn't even brush my hair, but I did it alone.

That morning I had texted my mom at 6 am asking her to come get me. Around 7am she wakes up and says they need to shower and will leave shortly. I was so upset.

I turned on the tv which this time wasn't a private small tv. It was large and mounted in the upper left corner of my room, but so close to me that I had to strain my neck to see it. It hurt something fierce and I shut it off soon after.

My family finally arrived and I was ready to bounce out the door. Well, I thought I was at least. Turns out they had to get the ok that I could leave! And that took forever.

I was finally free. If only I had the energy I thought I had.

I stopped at each bench to gather energy and try not to hurl. I was trying so hard. We made it outside to the car. Prepped to not drive like a race-car driver, which he can be famous for, dad drives cautiously home. Well, cautiously, for him. Dad drove slowly the first 20 minutes, and then began gunning it a little. I thought I was going to lose something…. certainly not my lunch, probably all the antibiotics in me. But I didn’t vomit, and that was my biggest fear. I took small breaths and tried my hardest to not vomit. Vomiting has got to be my least favorite thing.

I was in the front seat with my head entirely wrapped up in a bandage and my face looking like I’m a seriously allergic peanut-eater. I was so huge that when I looked in the mirror after showering at the hospital I thought, Oh my God I look ridiculous but the crazy thing was that my skin was so clear so I didn’t mind my huge face all that much.

We stopped at a pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions on the way home. Mom ran inside to get them and again I waited and waited. Feeling anxious and nervous at everyone who walked by and saw my silly looking face.

We made it home soon after and I plunked down in the recliner chair and slept there for the next 6 nights. My boyfriend's brilliant idea was to treat my family to chinese food. He's a great, loving guy (update: married as of 10/12/13:)) but really, chinese food? One of my favorite things in the world? The smell nearly killed me. I could smell it, I could taste it. I could not eat it. I was miserable.

I tried moving upstairs to my bedroom after night three but couldn’t breathe. The first few nights were tough. I woke in the morning with solid pain and immediately popped some pain killers which made my jaw feel great as soon as they kicked in. Food was my major area of concern following surgery. Well, not exactly a concern but a real, true sadness. Mealtime made me seriously depressed as I watched my family eat awesome, delicious food and how I couldn’t have any. At the beginning it was the worse since I felt queasy and was quite angry that I couldn’t eat.

After a few days I started blending everything in the fridge.

Blended cheeseburgers plus a can of tomato sauce is a very tasty meal. Pizza blends nicely too, as do waffles and apple juice, and stir fry and apple juice. Of course dessert was the easiest in terms of proper daily calorie count. I needed to strive for 2000 calories a day. It’s easy to ingest high calories of ice cream. I also included many nutritional drinks such as Boost and Ensure each day.

My secondary area of concern was movement of the facial region, particularly the mouth and particularly involving involuntary laughter. Funny sitcoms would irk the heck out of me for it was painful and unsafe to smile. Maybe not unsafe but I was worried of anything that would potentially compromise my results post surgery. My elastic bands were positioned in various different places, usually four, to aid in keeping my new position of my jaw aligned. Pre-surgery my overbite was 10mm. My surgeon moved my bottom jaw forward and my front jaw back. He did an excellent job and not for a second did I question his ability to perform the surgery successfully.

This is a very serious surgery to have. When my orthodontist suggested it to me, at first I thought definitely no. I thought it would ruin my life. But of course I thought the same at the idea of having braces. Well, I had to have both and neither were that bad. This was my first surgery I ever had, so I really wasn't nervous. I was more excited for the results. My family was more nervous than I was. And time really flew by after the fact. By day twenty post-op, my surgery didn't even feel real anymore. That's why I documented it all here.

Best of luck to you and contact me if you have questions regarding jaw surgery!

Present day me

December 2011, 4 months AFTER double jaw surgery.
December 2011, 4 months AFTER double jaw surgery. | Source
My boyfriend took care of me during surgery and recently got promoted to husband!!! :)
My boyfriend took care of me during surgery and recently got promoted to husband!!! :) | Source

© 2012 emilybee

Comments 37 comments

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 12 months ago from The Beautiful South

That is practically the honeymoon still. Happy Anniversary!

emilybee profile image

emilybee 12 months ago Author

thank you! today's our 2 year anniversary!

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 12 months ago from The Beautiful South

Forgot to say gorgeous wedding photo! You are such a beautiful couple.

May you work through any and all obstacles and have many great years know. lol

emilybee profile image

emilybee 12 months ago Author

Jackie, it was tough for sure and this was my only major surgery I ever had. So hard to get meds when needed or help! Especially hard when you can't verbalize what you need. I know there are tons of great nurses out there but unfortunately some bad ones.

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Jackie Lynnley 12 months ago from The Beautiful South

Wow; glad it all turned out great! What is it with some nurses? I had major surgery in March and only had to have nurses a few hours and had to have pain med every two hours for some reason and man I just could not get it and they had cut through my throat to put pieces and bar on my spine so you can imagine the pain. I am no baby but I tell you I was mad enough to scream and am changing doctors to never go back to that hospital again!

You look great! It is wonderful once it is over and done isn't it?

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emilybee 2 years ago Author

Hi Allie! Good question and thanks for stopping by to ask. It's almost exactly 3 years post op for me and I have the slightest numbness possible in my jaw, but not even really numbness it's just when I touch it feels slightly different than the rest of my chin. No pain though at all and it's nothing I'm concerned about or that interferes with life in any way ! Initially there was numbness for sure and it was quite a serious ordeal. Advice: get an excellent surgeon and prepare and know your limits and you'll be fine . Recovery takes time so don't push it too soon regarding returning to work and eating solid foods . Take it easy til you're ready . Good luck !

Allie 2 years ago

Hi Emily. I am considering the surgery as both of my jaws are very out of alignment but my biggest fear is the nerve damage that can occur. Did you have any tingling or numbness and if so for how long? Thank you :)

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emilybee 2 years ago Author

Pain can be controlled easy but keep up with meds. I wouldn't say it was very painful but uncomfortable yes. First week was the worst, expect a lot of swelling, blend your food if you can to get better nutrition. By one month you should be good. By around 6 weeks most swelling for me was gone and I could eat soft foods. My bands were still on at night to hold jaws together. I cold talk with my bands on around 2 weeks not perfectly but decently. Good luck with your surgery !

Amina 2 years ago

Please can you tell me the recovery process.Is it painful?? When you was able to eat normally and speak normally??

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emilybee 4 years ago Author

Hello-The surgery did help with my tmj but most importantly for me it helped correct my overbite. I can now comfortably close my mouth which is a huge relief. Thanks for dropping by!

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emilybee 4 years ago Author

HI Meg- Don't be nervous about the surgery, it really helped me a lot. But if braces already helped you a lot, you may not need surgery. Your orthodontist and/or oral surgeon would know best. Definitely meet with a surgeon even if you're only considering surgery so they can examine your mouth and advise you on whether or not surgery is recommended. My surgery did help with everything and I'm really glad I had it done. Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

Meg 4 years ago

Hello - I was curious about the tmj. I have braces now and need lower jaw surgery to help align my bite and hopefuly ease my tmj. Did the surgery help your tmj? By braces have already helped so much, I'm nervous to do the surgery. Thanks!

Neg 4 years ago

Did it help your tmj?

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emilybee 4 years ago Author

Hi billybuc- I had hoped that my hubs relating to jaw surgery would come in handy for people considering the surgery. I also wrote it so I wouldn't forget - it's crazy how long ago it seems my surgery was - in reality it was not even a year ago. Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing, and I hope you have a great weekend, too!

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billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Thank you for sharing your experience! I am so impressed by you; wisdom far beyond your years and that is refreshing to see. Have a wonderful weekend and I'll be sharing this on the social sites.

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emilybee 4 years ago Author

Hi Joyce! Recovery from jaw surgery was tough - as I'm sure any surgery is, particularly difficult though due to the whole not being able to eat normal food. I'm on a jaw surgery kick now - writing a few different hubs on related topics. Thank you for stopping by, reading, commenting and the votes up! :)

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writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

I'm happy to see you looking like your pretty self. That must been hell for you after the surgery. You have a great hub here.

Voted up and interesting, Joyce.

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Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

emilybee..It's not really too bad.. I mean, I'm sure it may be embarrassing to you but it's reality.. and I commend you for adding it. Bless your heart! I don't remember bleeding from my nose, but I do remember having to go to the ER one night because I absolutely could not breath. My nose was clogged up with thickened what looked like blood clots and other gross was nasty!! Thank you for sharing your pic though. I can tell that you were feeling really bad.

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emilybee 4 years ago Author

Ok Jamie, you motivated me....I added a pretty scary image of myself above. :-)

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emilybee 4 years ago Author

Eek, such a scary image. If I get the courage, I will post those pictures, only with a pre-warning for all who view them - caution: extremely scary photos follow. lol Thanks for the suggestion though Jamie!

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Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

Emily, I think you should share any pics of you in the hospital. It will give people a candid look at what you went through. I mean, that's a pretty rough surgery. I know what you mean about you thinking I was your age.. I still feel very young. It's hard for even myself to believe that I am actually 38 years old!! Anyway, I can't believe that the surgery really was that long sure doesn't seem that long ago. Thank you for finding me here at HP.. lets stay in touch :) I think it's a great idea for you to write some more jaw related hubs. I will definitely link to them to my surgery experience hub. Take care!

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emilybee 4 years ago Author

Thanks Jamie :) I think I may write up a couple more hubs on different jaw related topics. I feel like these pictures don't belong in this hub because I'm smiling, and the content of this hub isn't exactly happy, due to the procedure being performed, lol. But thanks a lot for reminding me to put pictures up. And you look great, too! When I first saw your Hubpage I thought you were about my age and just had the surgery done, but it's been a while for you! Awesome to see that everything has healed nicely for you.

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Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

Emily, Thank you for posting the photos, you are a beautiful girl! I really hardly even noticed your overbite in the before pics although, I'm sure it bothered you and that's all that matters is how you feel. You are even more beautiful in the after pics! I will be sure to post my before and some better after pics when I find them- since I was so much younger, my mom has most of those pics from back then :)

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emilybee 4 years ago Author

Thanks so much for requesting photos, I totally forgot to include them. I kind of posted them progressively, I feel like each year in the past few years my overbite became significantly bigger. It really depends on the angle and quality of the photo, some photos my bite looked fine but clearly wasn't. I tried to find ones where my overbite is evident. Look forward to seeing your before photos too!

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Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

Thank you Emily..I can't remember if I told you in the other post but thanks for linking to my story... I've added a link on my hub to yours :0) I meant to ask you, do you have any before pics of yourself before the surgery? I do but I'll have to dig them out from my mom or grandmothers house and then I'll be adding it to my hub. I would love to see a before and after pic :)

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emilybee 4 years ago Author

Hi Jamie! Thanks for much for reading, commenting and linking my hubs! I lucked out with no black eyes, immediately after surgery, but did get some bruising a few days after surgery. Yes I remember the tube removal, my hospital stay wasn't the most pleasant lol, I really don't like hospitals or pain and upon waking up I didn't even realize I was wired shut, I was soo out of it, which was good though, when I did realize it, it sucked haha. I wrote so much -- I too had a notebook but I used it to communicate my frustrations with family the first few days. Yeah I was quite swollen, I took a picture of myself thru my laptop webcam while in the hospital, a day after surgery, and I was scary to look at with blood oozing from my nose, lol, so I held back from posting that picture! Thanks again!! Take care.

Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

Emily, wow.. this really brings up some memories... those days following the surgery in the hospital were such a blur. The first thing I remembered when I first woke up was them pulling some tube out of my nose. I remember my head being very swollen too and my lips were very chapped. Did you end up with black eyes? I actually had two black eyes afterwards. Looking at those pictures of you, reminded me so much of the photos I had of myself which I can't seem to find now :( I was going to post them on the hub I wrote. Anyway, I'm really happy that our paths crossed. Thank you for adding a link to my story on your hub here.. I'll add both of yours to mine as well :) I enjoyed reading about your experience.. you are a really good writer!

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emilybee 4 years ago Author

Hi WannaB Writer! The surgery was elective, but highly recommended. I had braces when I was young, but they didn't' fix my huge overbite, they merely straightened my teeth. So, because I'm now an adult, the only way to fix it was with surgery. Nah, I'm not all that brave, well, maybe a little, but it really helped that I was totally confident with my surgeon and knew he would do an excellent job which he did. That relaxed me quite a bit. Thanks for the comment! :)

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WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA

What an ordeal! Was this elective surgery or something medically necessary? If it was a choice, you're braver than I. I'm glad you got through it OK. Voted up and more.

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emilybee 4 years ago Author

Hi Wwolfs!! I am recovering very nicely, thank you! It was in August 2011 and now I'm basically 100% back to normal. For me, it wasn't very painful after the first couple of days, but more uncomfortable, sleeping, and so very frustrating not being able to talk and eat. Hope your son is fully recovered by now! Thank you for reading and commenting!

wwolfs 4 years ago

I can only imagine that this was a horrible surgery and experience. My oldest son had jaw surgery back a few years ago around Christmas. I could tell he was in a lot of pain and quite miserable. I even packed up Christmas and brought it to him but I know it was too painful for him to enjoy. Thanks for sharing your experience and I hope you are recovering well.

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emilybee 4 years ago Author

You know, Minnetonka, I just kept telling myself that I was ok, that I had plenty of air and I would be ok, and it kind of worked. It was a bit of a recovery though. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

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Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

I bet your so glad that this surgery is behind you. I have heard that jaw surgery can take a while to recuperate and can be tricky. I think the whole breathing thing would cause me to panic a bit. The thought of not being able to open my mouth if need be, freaks me out. I'm glad you were brave and got this work done. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

emilybee profile image

emilybee 4 years ago Author

Thanks Nell. You aren't alone, at the beginning I looked in the mirror thinking nearly the same thing lol. But you know it goes by so fast, I had to write this hub so I wouldn't forget. Thanks for stopping by.

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Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, emily, sounds horrible, especially the breathing, being asthmatic I know the hell that can be when you can't get your breath for any reasons, I am glad it all worked out fine in the long run, your photo above made me say out loud, Oh poor thing! lol! take care, nell

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emilybee 4 years ago Author

Thanks Pamela for stopping by! Yes, breathing out of the mouth is difficult when you're used to breathing however which way you want! Thanks for your comment!

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Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

It sounds like this surgery took a longer recovery time than most due to the type of surgery it was. I had sinus surgery with my nose packed and that was pretty miserable for several days as I hated breathing only out of my mouth, but compared to your surgery mine sounds like a piece of cake. Glad you are recovering well.

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