Saturday, 2 July 2011

"Wait so which brother of Gordon are you?"/Psychological Support - Day 55(July 2)

I've heard that 3 times over my recovery stage so far. Whenever you've forgotten that your face has changed, someone holds a conversation with you for a few minutes and then they ask who you are, and the thought comes back to you. "Oh yeah, I had jaw surgery just recently" and you point to your jaw, it's still me. At the same time, it's fun when your friends don't recognize you, but if it's someone that you see maybe once or twice a year, it's sort of inconvenient to tell them because now you're keeping mental tabs on who's seen the new you and who hasn't. I don't have that brain capacity.

Happy Canada Day on July 1 to all of my Canadian readers. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and I'm sure everyone had a good time in the sun and letting gluttony take over, because I sure did. I thought barbeque would be a challenge, and it didn't faze me too much. Hot dogs for lunch were tackled one bite at a time, the sausage then the bun, and repeat. Dinner was cut up macaroni and cheese with cut up ribs. It was excellent. Cake is also a very easy eat at this point, as things are pretty much normal. I bit my tongue several times, but it was worth it. I think my weight is coming back, I weighed myself and I've gained 4 lbs from my lowest. Calorie surplus is fantastic.

I read a post by a poster:"Apple_F" on Jaw Surgery Blog Forums who posted asking for psychological support. They made an excellent post describing the feelings of someone 5 days post op just looking for a little up. She posts what I feel everyone goes through at one point and I thought I should share it.

"27, female , Cyprus, 2011
Today I had a breakdown just after I woke up. face disfigured. It is traumatising. It is day 5. I have had an orthognathic surgery last Tuesday on both my upper and lower jaw. It was 6.30 in the morning. my face is still completely swollen i cant move any parts of my face other than my eyes. You might know the deal. Uncontrollable drooling, pain and stretched skin everywhere, sore gigantic lips, and bruises. The tingling sensation around your face, blocked nose, tongue trapped in the black hole that is your jaw area. The double-triple chin tops everything nicely along with the torn red occasionally bleeding skin at you mouth edges.
Sounds familiar?
The breakdown spark wasn’t just this image for breakfast, but also the feeling of paralysis, the forcing down of medicine and the inability to express yourself. Crying was a very bad idea. Stretching your face even more caused more pain and filling your nasal passages with tears is not going to help. Lips cracked again. This will never go away. Could this be the punishment for wanting change? If I could have music it would be that of a desperate violin.
Can’t speak- cant smile-cant eat- cant feel.
If only the list included “cant see”. Face is disfigured; there is nothing other than greasy hair to remind you of what was there and you can’t help but think…what have I done! I was fine the way I was.
Overall this doent look like what you signed up for. And it’s been 5 days and all the blogs you have seen seem to have recovered infinitely better. 5 days. That means many many hours, or thinking…”this cant be normal”. My surgeon says yes it, what does he know.(?!?) His face is still on.
Other than the very severe cases of TJM most of us see it as an improvement that will make us feel, chew, smile or look better. Coming to accept, admit and shout to the world that “hey I think there is something wrong with my face/me and I am OK with fixing it” is in itself it quite major achievement.
I had previously very loudly spoken against cosmetic operations and was very aware that this could be considered as one. This is why it took me a long to do it .I am now 27. I felt a bit two faced. Like a quad-hiring cyclist or a volunteer asking for a pay rise… It took me a long time to come to terms with it and to accept it as something important and worthy of respect and not just another vain narcissistic seek for perfection.
Seriously, it is really no comfort that before we get to the good stuff , we must step into darkness, that is the scary zone of recovery. Why make it sound better than it is.
“Would the sewage by any other name not smell as rancid?”
It is still this morning so I cant say I am over it. this is my attempt to feel less “special” or to help perhaps someone else experiencing the same emotions. Also I would like to see if all you guys who have had the operation already and have recovered recognise this “state”, have overcome it and are now laughing at me?"

I feel like many of us sort of hit a critical point where we ask ourselves why we did this surgery, and the regret train chugs on. My reply to this was as follows:

That's probably one of the most well-written accounts of a day 5 post op I have ever read. The imagery is precisely what I remembered it to be, and despite being nearly 8 weeks post op, it's fresh in my mind like yesterday.
It's good that you take it for what it is, not a change for the vain, but a change for the pragmatic. I am happy for you building up the courage to have the surgery done, because I am aware that many out there don't have it done because of fear. 27 is not old. Far from it.
Things to help you through this:
- You sometimes need to take a few steps back to leap forward. Yes, you were fine before, but you will definitely be better afterwards. Cosmetically the changes will benefit and the feeling of a new bite should only please.
- Surgery is over, you made it through, there are always risks and you passed the hardest part.
- Swelling peaks at 4 days, you're going downhill from now.
- You can always help yourself recover; drink plenty of fluids despite your swollen throat giving you pain. Drinking liquids is better than not doing it, no matter how much is coughed up. There is so much you can work on to improve your state.
- Walk around, don't let the chair get the better of you. Take a few strides around the house and your body will thank you for it.
Personally I found the strength and a smile to get through this but I know sometimes we mentally falter. It's important to just find the sense to pull you through the hard parts, or if not, there's always that great episode of How I Met Your Mother to keep your mind off things."

The greatest thing about this surgery is that everyone is so supportive of others and offer excellent advice. I completely recommend anyone recovering to read these forums as it has helped me get through all of my issues and hardships, big or small.

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