I had my second post-op appointment with my jaw surgeon today. He not only graduated me from a liquid diet to soft foods, but he said I can start experimenting with chewing! I asked him for some examples of soft foods and he said pasta, steamed vegetables, even soft fish (but maybe not salmon). The first thing he did was wiggle my upper jaw and said “wow, that’s really solid,” so maybe that’s why I’m already allowed to chew, even though I’m only 3.5 weeks post-op. I feel like most people usually have to wait 6 weeks.
He also said I don’t have to sleep upright anymore! I told him that’s good because I haven’t really been sleeping upright anyway lol. He changed the configuration of my rubber bands to one box on each side, way in the back, so they aren’t as noticeable anymore. After he took my old rubber bands off he asked me to open as wide as I could. I was like, “are you sure?” Apparently, my mouth can open really wide because he said, “oh wow, yeah, you’ll have no problem eating.” Going forward, he said I can take my rubber bands off to eat and brush my teeth, which is pretty awesome.
Before I left, his assistant asked if I would mind talking to another patient who was considering getting jaw surgery. I said I would be more than happy to, so she walked me over to them. I was introduced to a young man with a very prominent underbite (but maybe I just notice these things now), and his mother. Dr. Day came in and showed me off, explaining that I was only 3.5 weeks post-op and I had just been given the green light to chew. His mother asked me a couple questions, but her son stayed pretty quiet. I could tell he was scrutinizing every inch of my face. I don’t blame him. I talked up Dr. Day (because he deserves it) and told them my only regret was that I didn’t get this surgery sooner (which is the truth).
Since I got such great news, and because my sister accepted a job offer today, we decided to go to Olive Garden to celebrate. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have picked such a public place to re-learn how to chew. I ordered breadsticks and pasta, but I could only eat the soft inside of the breadsticks. Chewing proved super difficult because my muscles aren’t used to my jaws being in their new position. I kept biting the insides of my cheeks and bottom lip (which are both still totally numb), and sometimes I couldn’t bite down all the way (although I’m not sure why), so I’d have to pull the half-chewed chunk of pasta out of my mouth. The people at the table next to us probably thought I was insane – gutting my breadsticks and regurgitating my food!
Below are the Day 24 pictures I took. The one of me posing with a breadstick at Olive Garden is about as wide as I can open my mouth at this point. Now I see why the internet says 3 weeks is when you start to look “normal” to everyone …except yourself. I don’t look swollen in any of these pictures, but when I press on my cheeks, nose, and chin, I can feel the swollen tissue underneath.