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Jaw Surgery at 39: Two Weeks Later

It seems like only yesterday I wrote about my experience of jaw surgery 5 days later, yet here we are two weeks later.

I thought I would give an update on what to expect as things move pretty quickly and I know it can seem frustrating and seem like it’s going to last forever initially.

But let me tell you, things change pretty quickly.  So painkiller wise, I stopped taking them after about the first week.

I definitely felt more pain during the night which I gather is from laying down.  It’s like you can feel the pressure of blood pooling while laying down.

But being active during the daytime definitely helps with a reduction in pain, but also improve your mood and feeling more normal.

I would go for walks during the day from around 2-3 days after surgery, walking the dog around the neighbourhood and lake and soaking up the sun.  After about 5 days I eased back into some cycling starting off a bit shorter distance than usual.

After the first week plus weekend, I went back to work.  That was about 9 days after surgery.  I would just take a mug and a pouch of chicken soup to heat up in the office microwave, as well as a whole bunch of squeeze yoghurt Greek yoghurt and other assorted snacks.

As I love food, that was definitely the most difficult part, and the surgeon warned me I would lose about 5 kilograms (11 pounds), however by snacking all day long on squeeze packs I am less than 1 kilogram (2 pounds) down at the 2 week mark and don’t see any reason for more loss unless it’s by choice.

As I was sick of feeling hungry all the time, I started eating soft food like mac n cheese, and more filling greek yoghurt and caramel crumble desserts, thicker mince and vegetable soups.

Today, I took the family out to Fasta Pasta and had spaghetti bolognese for lunch.  It was slow eating compared to my usual pace, and you have to try to make sure the pasta pieces aren’t too long as they can be difficult to maneuver in the throat to avoid choking, but it was quite enjoyable.

I also ate the complimentary bread and butter while waiting for the meal.  Again, just break it into smaller pieces to avoid chewing, and there is no problem at all swallowing them.

I’m planning on pulled pork and vegetables for dinner, so we will see how that goes.

Bruising and swelling is pretty much gone now, with just a bit of yellow bruising under the neck and top of chest area still.

I have seen the surgeon and he was completely happy with it, and the orthodontist appointment will be this upcoming week.

So anyway, if you have had or are planning jaw surgery I just wanted to do my part in providing information, tips and most importantly hope.  While it can be quite a daunting experience it doesn’t last forever and every single day you will make progress.

Here is a summarised list of my tips and observations:

  • Continue sleeping with gel ice packs (in a sleeve) wrapped around your head, they are the best at numbing the pain and ensuring a longer sleep.  I slept with these up until around day 8-9.
  • Once you can open your mouth even a bit, don’t be afraid to try small soft foods.  Mac n cheese is perfect.  Listen to your doctor though.  The “habit” of eating, while uncomfortable on the actual jaw muscles helps them adjust to their new position so the next day becomes easier, so on.
  • Don’t sit around the house.  Once you are off the strong painkillers, get your body moving.  Start very slowly initially, with a short distance before rushing into it.  At less than two weeks I am back to 4.5 kilometres (3 miles) walks and 20 kilometre (12 miles) bike rides.
  • Keep the fridge stocked with LOTS of healthy liquid style snacks.  Greek yoghurt (all different flavours), Milo, Nutri-Grain, oatmeal and superfoods, custards, up and go breakfast milks.  Whenever you’re hungry just grab one.

I will probably just save one more update for the 4 or 6-week mark.  My surgeon said I will be back to normal by the 6-week mark so only time will tell.  If I feel I am back to normal eating wise before then, and all discomfort has gone away I will likely mark that occasion with a final post.