No more "jaw clicking", no more shortness of breath, no more droopy eyes, no more open bite. No more lisp. What is this kind of Sally!?
It's hard to believe that little over a month ago I was finally packing my bag for 2 nights on Harley Street.
Sounds glamorous, but no, no this was a big deal. It was double jaw surgery day!
If you're not familiar with my double jaw and genioplasty journey, you can catch up on previous posts HERE, but if you want to cut straight to the chase - I'm done! I'm actually done! The surgery was a success, and the recovery is proving to be just as positive too.
My top and bottom jaws were both broken and realigned, with a 5mm movement distance each. My top jaw was also moved in a clockwise rotation to fit, and a sliding genioplasty was also performed to create a balanced chin. My airway was relieved of the pressure my lower jaw was imposing on it, making breathing instantly beautiful.
As anyone who has this surgery will tell you, a month post surgery is still very early days in terms of recovery. Swelling is still a thing, and for me personally my top jaw is the one holding the puffiness as oppose to my bottom jaw. The bottom jaw actually looked like it took the most beating at first, however it seemed to calm down the fastest.
Let's just get down to it, shall we? I'm not going to hide anything especially in this section. I'm taking you on a visual journey from the morning of surgery where my face is at its most uncomfortable with both jaws displaced, an unnaturally high arch palette, and mild long face deformity, right up to today and my progressive results.
If you've ever had surgery before, you'll know how there's literally no difference in blinking as there is waking up after surgery. One moment I'm feeling light as a feather on the operating bed with my IV drugs drifting me off, and the next you have someone telling you it's over. You don't even feel sleepy before hand! You just..blink.
I woke in intensive care with no pain at all, wearing a rather fetching water cooler mask (helps with swelling and comfort), an oxygen mask, and a ginormous face. I say again, I was in ZERO pain. Some amount of morphine was in my system though. I was to then stay in intensive care for 24 hours before moving to a private room for one more night.
After night 2, it was time to go home. The surgeon and hospital staff were extremely happy with me, so there was no reason for me to stay.
I think I was just so over the moon to be out of surgery safely, and with all of the intentions fulfilled! Literally nothing went wrong, so in my eyes, I could now tackle ANYTHING that was coming for me!
The following days to come were very much what other people will describe to you who have been through this. You truly do not actually fathom it until you're in the same position.
A montage is coming! Day 1-6 from the "week of face dread". The deflation of the face from its wonky before profile, to it's very broken and inflated fixed version, and onward to a face looking like a face again!
After day 12 I was all due and set to pay my surgeon my first post op check up. I won't lie, it was pretty tough travelling to London just under 2 weeks after the big day, however I managed it with lots of help from Lloyd, and to be honest it was worth all the effort.
Professor Haers (the surgeon) was incredibly happy with me, despite me still looking inflated. He fixed me some temporary elastic bands to my canines to help encourage my new bite position to feel supported, and off I went! There were no signs of infection, the incision sites were healing beautifully, and honestly I couldn't have hoped for better feedback at such an important appointment.
[LEFT: BEFORE DOUBLE JAW SURGERY | RIGHT: 12 DAYS AFTER DOUBLE JAW SURGERY]
With over 2 weeks in the bag post surgery, the worst did feel like it was definitely over. It's hard to explain, but that heavy pressure I was talking about which consumed my face in the earlier weeks was starting to become very focused and centralised at this stage. It felt like the opposite of starting a ripple in some water, you know? So all the pressure, and the primary focal area of pressure and discomfort was now pushing and reducing down to the centre of my face.
My stitches were now only just about still holding on, and by day 20 they were completely gone (they looked like string coming out with my mouth wash!).
The scar tissue at my incisions was DEFINITELY more apparent to me by now, and I could feel how tight it was in my cheek and gum lines when I tried to make "oo" and "ee" faces (not much has changed even now, actually. They still feel very tight at day 35)
From the day of surgery, and the 12 weeks that follow, all food for me was to be puree. Not just "soft", but puree. As I write this post, I'm still on the puree foods and will be for another 8 weeks. If I'm honest, I've not hated it at all!
I've enjoyed angel delight in every flavour, smoothies, sorbets, ice cream, blended vegetables, blended sunday roast dinners (roast chicken blends very well with gravy you know), blended mac & cheese (don't vom, it's nice!!) - It's been perfectly fine! I've had to eat with an ice cream sundae spoon though, because it's the only one thin enough to fit between my teeth.
[PIC 1: COLD ICED PUREE MANGO, PINEAPPLE, AND MELON | PIC 2: PUREED MIXED VEG, STUFFED MUSHROOM, AND FISH IN SAUCE]
In the weeks that followed up until today, progress truly does feel much slower. If it wasn't for taking regular photographs of my face, I would be absolutely adamant at this point that nothing was changing. Truth is, it is! It's just that things are starting to even out now, so there won't BE any major "WOAAH" change moments.
From day 20 to now I've had 2 orthodontist appointments, with the second being a true breakthrough whereby my top arch wire was changed, as well as the bracket bands, AND the surgical hooks on it too!! The bottom wire and hooks are still on though, because they're needed to hold my elastics still.
It's so lovely to have a top set of gnashers that look just like I had them before, all squeaky clean and neat again, as they were pre op. Mind you, I still REALLY struggle to smile with my teeth anyway, so it's not like anyone can see them.
Before surgery I was told that it would be a good idea to gain a little weight, because the change in feeding after surgery could result in some amount of weight loss.
As a guideline so far, I went into surgery at 8 st 2 lbs, and am at 7 st 9 lbs a month following surgery. Not to worry though, it'll be perfectly fine once I begin eating normally again, and I'm not seriously underweight for my height.
It's definitely worth bearing in mind though, so I am making sure that I eat little and often, incorporating the following to stay boosted with calories:
You CAN also take supplements and meal replacements if you find you're dropping too much weight. Common brands are:
[LEFT: SIDE PROFILE BEFORE SURGERY | RIGHT: SIDE PROFILE AT 20 DAYS POST SURGERY]
After 4 weeks I was back to work. I'm told this is super good for the type of surgery I have had, but there truly was only so much daytime TV I could take. PLUS my job isn't physically demanding, so I thought it was worth a try.
I was so happy to be dressing in my normal style again as oppose to "just throw anything on! I'm hiding!!", and I double checked with my surgeon that I was good to wear makeup and use face cleansing products again. It was perfectly fine, but I wanted to make sure.
So here I am now! A few days over 1 month post op, and doing really, really well. Sure, I'm still rather swollen, I talk a little strange (elastic bands holding my bite together are tight, the swelling remaining is heavy on my lips and mouth), but I look like a 'Sally' now, and not a potato version.
For now, with the progress slowed, I probably won't post any more on this until I hit the 6 month mark, but you can check my updates on Instagram if you like [LINK HERE].
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