Week One Post Double Jaw Surgery - my recovery so far

Not the typical post to read on a beauty blog on a Saturday night, but today marks the 1 week post op period for my double jaw surgery. I can no longer compare myself to a bulldog or say "stick a f*****g lamp on my head and I will look like an angler fish, ha!" but instead am swollen like spongebob square pants and feel so skinny I might waste a way (an exaggeration of course, given that I am still classed as an overweight individual despite losing 10ibs in a week lol). I am hoping that with this post I am able to shed light and help some people also going through this, as well as being able to use our blog as a form of catharsis and a platform to vent, since I haven't actually been able to talk clearly all week and my fam are no doubt sick of my mumbling. 

To give this a bit of background, I had braces fixed in 2014 with a 'quad helix', a metal device that they place on the roof of your mouth in attempt to widen the jaw. Well, that clearly wasn't successful, hence where we are today. I had a Type III Malocclusion of the jaw, meaning that my bottom jaw protruded more than my top leaving me with an open underbite. Not only did this give me confidence issues (if you can tell by my sardonic humour), but also problems with my jaw functionality such as difficulty chewing and eating (though I sure still managed to eat more than the average person, lol), as well as issues with breathing and occasional head aches from the tension. Also, leaving something like this untreated can mean that the point in which the teeth do join (only one place on each side), can wear down meaning that your teeth can crack and degrade with age. Not something I wanted to risk! So, jaw surgery it was. During the operation my surgeon moved my top jaw 9mm forward and up slightly, whilst moving my bottom jaw backwards by between 3-4mm. 

The night before surgery we took some before pictures so we could compare my face before and after surgery. As you can see, my nose was crooked, jaw protruded and my cheeks were very flat, something that the surgeon said he struggled with during surgery. I looked like one of the witches off hocus pocus. 

The night before I also made sure to eat as much as possible (a habit of mine anyway I guess), because I knew that I would be consuming only liquid, pureed food from then on. We all went out as a family and I had a pizza, which I have been dreaming of all week. 

Saturday 12th October 2019: warning, the pictures get rough from this point on wards haha
This was surgery day! I had to get to the hospital for 7:30AM where I was taken to the ward and met with various people such as the nurses, my surgeon, and the anaesthetist. Up until this point I had been looking forward to surgery and not too nervous, but these few hours before it began to kick in and I was quite tearful from the anticipation. Shout out to my Mum and Emily though, as they were with me and managed to calm me down. I was eventually taken down at 11AM and walked down to theatre (which felt like miles away from the ward), and it was all over with before I knew it! I was apparently in theatre for 4 hours with 2.5 hours in recovery, where I remember hearing my surgeon and the recovery nurses arguing over who would tell my parents the news that it all went well like I couldn't hear haha. I think I was more awake than they thought. 

After being in the recovery room for all that time, I was eventually taken back the ward where my Mum and Sisters were waiting for me, and I could not stop crying. We eventually figured that the morphine turned me loopy, as every time it was administered I instantly started breathing extremely heavily and crying non stop. It is safe to say I stopped using that as soon as I could. I was surprisingly quite awake after coming out, and was able to talk (though it was tiring and definitely not clear, so a white board was handy!), which I didn't expect at all. In terms of pain, I wouldn't say I really experienced any at this point as my whole face was numb and I was dosed up, but my jaw just felt very heavy, like I had bricks on my face.

At 10pm visiting hours ended so my family left and I was alone (and I won't lie, terrified to do this by myself, albeit just for the night). I am so lucky in that my family are SO supportive, and were with me the whole time that they were able to be, so 10AM-10PM. Anyway, sleeping is pretty rough. I didn't really sleep more than about 3 disrupted hours the whole time I was in hospital; with the nurses checking on me and giving me medication etc, it is pretty difficult. I just remember lying awake what seemed to be all night, not knowing what to do with myself. I was also hooked up to an IV which was plugged in, so every time I needed the toilet (a lot, given that I was on a drip as I couldn't really consume liquids yet), I needed a nurse to help me. I remember one of the ladies saying "oh great, I have to unplug you", which made me feel like such an inconvenience - I should have pee'd the bed in rebellion. That same nurse was also reluctant to change my ice packs, which is really important after jaw surgery, but I asked her anyway. I am complaining, but everyone else was brilliant.  Anyway, the morning soon came around and my family were there to save me. 

Sunday 13th October: 
Today was the day that I expected to go home, but after seeing my surgeon in the morning he suggested that I stayed another night as I was really weak. The surgeon also wanted to see me on Monday morning so there didn't seem to be much point in taking me home to go back again. I now see that this was completely logical, but at the time I was so disappointed as all I wanted to do was go back home to my family. I remember crying a lot over it, just at the point when the nurses brought in liquid medications for me as my IV had been taken out. I had to take these using a syringe, and it is safe to say they tasted horrendous. I had paracetamol, ibuprofen, an antibiotic and a laxative to get down me and on an empty stomach they weren't nice. I was discharged with all of these and had to take the antibiotic until day 5, though as soon I was at home and in control I started to take solid forms of all the others since I was lucky enough to be able to open my mouth just enough to do so. This was a saving grace! I could not have taken those liquid painkillers for much longer (yes, I am a drama queen it seems). 
God bless milly jane. You all need to get yourself a twinny x

This was the day I ate (well, sort of) for the first time since surgery too. I remember Emily feeding it me using a syringe whilst I was half asleep with it all down my PJ top. It is impossible to eat without getting covered in what ever you're trying to consume after jaw surgery, let that be said. You can't feel you mouth, lips or chin so have no idea what is going on. I will also add that I drooled a lot after surgery, which was quite irritating, and this is still happening on day 7. Make sure you've got plenty (great pun haha!!) of kitchen roll in. One sheet is not plenty let me assure you. 
Living proof that you will get your soup EVERYWHERE haha. 

My other sister, niece and nephew came to visit me on the Sunday too and the poor kiddies looked so scared at the sight of my swelling. I tried to reassure them the best I could though whether they understood me or not is debatable haha. 

Monday 14th October:
I came home!! The surgeon saw me in the morning and I had x-rays and my bands changed. This hurt a lot, as I couldn't really open my mouth and him pulling my lips about pulled the stitches. Never the less, if it meant I could come home I was willing to let him do anything he needed to. 

Coming home just made me feel so much more positive. I was still weak, tired, in pain and really swollen but could recover from the comfort of my own home. Result! All I managed to eat this day was a little bit of soup again, half a protein shake and a yogurt, but this was better than what I was eating in the hospital. 

Days 4-7:
I will group these days together because this post is pretty hefty already, I'm tired, and these days have sort of merged together for me. A significant point in my recovery was day 5, Wednesday, as I was able to fit a baby spoon in my mouth to eat milky weetabix! I was so ravenous I could barely see (shout out to Gavin and Stacey), and so having this made me super happy. I also managed spaghetti hoops with cheese, though I had to cut the spaghetti up of course as I couldn't, and still can't, chew. Though I had to have tiny portions and swallow them whole, it was progress and things were looking up. I also managed to clean my teeth with a baby toothbrush on day 6, which was such a relief after using just mouthwash for days. 
Look at those whopper bruises!

I am now on day 7 and am feeling much more positive, though I still have a way to go. I can already see progress as my swelling has reduced a lot, and I managed some ready meal lasagne! I of course can't chew it, but it is sloppy enough to just swallow and let my stomach acid do the work. My nose has been very bloody today though, but my surgeon said not to worry as he broke my nasal mucosa during surgery and this needs to heal. I was fortunate enough not to have had my nerve severed though, something 1 in 5 suffer from. I still have a long way to go but am feeling more like myself by the day, which is such a relief. 

This was taken today. As you can see, swelling has reduced a lot :). 
My lips are so greasy as I am smothering them in vaseline as they are SO dry. Make sure you have plenty of lip balm in. 

I highly doubt anyone has read this far, and if you have you're probably a jaw surgery patient. If you have any questions at all, please ask me, as I want to help everyone. I can't tell you how much talking to other patients has helped me through this, as the surgeons don't really prepare you well at all. Praise the lord for social media! (If you're having surgery, or are considering it, join this facebook group! It is such a great community of jaw surgery patients who will help with anything. Helped me a lot!!)

Thank you to all my family and friends for the support, you're all amazing! Although I do wish you'd stop making me laugh, it hurts!

All the best,
Natasha xxx