Monday, May 19, 2008

Lowered expectations

After I had my jaw unwired, I expected it would take time for me to be able to eat whatever I wanted. At first, I thought it would be six weeks, but at my six-week post-surgery appointment, my surgeon told me I could start eating soft pasta, so I extended my expectation by another six weeks.

However, now that time has passed, and I still can't eat anything chewy or hard. So, I asked my surgeon at my last appointment how long it would be until I could eat without discernment.

His response: about six months post-surgery.

Six (6!!) months??

When I was doing my research, I was under the impression that everything would be pretty much resolved at the three-month mark. As I go along, I find this is not the case.

This is a much bigger surgery with a longer recovery than I thought. Which is fine. Only I wish I would have known this before, so I could have been mentally prepared. When you are going through this recovery, you anticipate each milestone, no matter how small it is. It's what keeps you going and able to stay positive. So, you celebrate:

  • The first time you "eat" without a Zip 'n' Squeeze or a syringe
  • Getting your jaw unwired
  • Brushing the backs of your fuzzy teeth after getting unwired
  • Your first mooshy unwired meal
  • The disappearance of swelling and bruising
  • The first solid piece of food you successfully gum down
  • Your dashing new profile and your sexy new smile.

All of these milestones are important. But what you want most of all is to be able to bite into a hard, crunchy apple or chomp on that big piece of barbecued steak. (I don't even eat meat and I want to do this!) So, when you find out that it will be another three months before you can do this, it's more than a little disheartening.

Ah well, at least I have something to look forward to, right?


Celia said...

hi you look great. i went under the knife for mandibular surgery as well on 3/11 and going through all of the same issues you have. thanks for sharing.

in nyc

BipolarLawyerCook said...

Knowing all you could mentally prepare for is right- desireable- important. You're handling it really well. Maybe once it's done, though, send your surgeon a link to the blog as a lesson in what some patients consider informed consent? Not that it sounds like s/he did anything wrong, just that some patients can and want and need to know and handle all the possible information.


Michelle said...

I've been following everything you have to say. My surgery is July 11and I will be wired 2-6 weeks. I am so incredibly nervous! Everytime I read your positive posts during that time, I feel a little better.
Also a Virgo, I liked reading that I am trying to take care of everything including health issues to have a better quality of life in the future. That helped me put things into perspective a bit.
Thank you!

Shanda said...

I remember craving a hamburger so badly. I don't even like hamburgers! It's amazing what smells, looks and even tastes good at some point. I was so messed up that I thought a hotpocket was sent down from heaven. :-)

How is the numbness? I'm still numb on the lower right portion of my lip and down my chin. It's weird, and I tell myself that I'm okay if it never comes back... but I'm lying! At least it doesn't droop.

Bella said...

I'm so glad my experiences have been able to help other people. Thank you all for taking the time to comment. It really means a lot to me.


My numbness gets better by the day. I almost have full feeling - just a bit of tingling in my lower lip and the middle of my chin. I'm confident that it will all be back in the next few months, which is exciting.

Right now, I'm far more concerned about my range of motion. My physiotherapist says that I should be able to get to 45 mm, so I hope that happens without too many screaming torture sessions.

Take care!


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