Day 26: Learning to chew and band schedule . . .

I cannot believe it is has been almost a month since my surgery! You anticipate the surgery for months and years and then it finally happens and now one month has almost gone by, amazing!

The new bands continue to do their trick as I cannot open my jaw one bit to talk but that is OK as I think I talk very well through my teeth and people at work seem to understand me so all is good!

My surgeon told me yesterday that starting next week I will be able to take off the bands four times a day for two hours at a time. Eight hours of no bands, how great is that! The schedule where bands is concerned seems to be:

  • Week 1 Post-Surgery: Bands on continuously.
  • Week 2 Post-Surgery: Bands off for 1 hour, 3 times a day
  • Week 3 Post-Surgery: Bands off for 1.5 hours, 3 times a day
  • Week 4 Post-Surgery: Bands off for 2 hours, 4 times a day
  • Week 5 Post-Surgery: Bands off for 2 hours, 4 times a day
  • Week 6 Post-Surgery: Bands on for just two hours in the middle of the day and then after 7pm
  • Week 7 Post-Surgery: Released from the care of my Oral Surgeon and orthodontia work once again resumes with my Orthodontist.
New Band Configuration
I need to expand my diet but truthfully I worry about chewing even soft foods as it just doesn't even seem natural for me presently. For example, I put mashed potatoes in my mouth and then on my teeth to experience what chewing is going to be like but it is a completely different alignment and bite pattern than I have been used to for the past 40 years! It is almost as if I have to learn to chew again if that makes sense? Probably psychological and that that is why I am sticking to my staples of mashed potatoes and instant pudding!

It is interesting but you (or is just me?) spend so much time focusing on the surgery, the preparation and the immediate recovery (the dreaded first week) that you kind of gloss over some of the more interesting aspects of recovery. I say interesting because really how many of you, when thinking about this surgery, thought to themselves, "wow, I am going to have to learn how to chew all over again." Exactly!

I am not sure as to the schedule where progressing from one food consistency to another is concerned (another question for Dr. Egbert!) but when I think of chewing and some of my favorite foods (french bread, chicken, pizza, etc) I absolutely have no idea when I will be able to eat them. That said, as I mentioned to someone today, for some reason I really have no appetite and haven't had since my surgery . . .

This would explain my weight loss (which will no doubt return once I eat normal food) but eating quite honestly is just a tedious process when you consider taking the bands off, preparing soft foods, taking a long time to eat said food, washing and brushing my teeth, swilling mouthwash (the antiseptic helps alleviate some of the pain in my mouth) and finally putting the bands back on my teeth. See what I mean!? Not like it used to be prior to surgery!

So there see have it, that is it for today. I am feeling good overall though I wish the inside of my mouth was in a happier state. I definitely wish that my chin, lips and half my face didn't feel like I just been to the dentist and had a tooth out (numb, feels like a block of wood, and tingling in places) but what did I expect, I just had double jaw surgery :)

I am not going to list what I ate today as let's face it, you know what I ate!

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2 Responses to “Day 26: Learning to chew and band schedule . . .”

  1. Hi John,
    I just stumbled upon your blog. It is great! It seems as though you had your surgery 3 days before me.

    I totally feel you on the eating thing. When I was banded shut I couldn't take the bands on or off and still even then eating was SUCH a chore. I saw from your other posts that you can eat with a small spoon, that's great, and I understand your feeling on how the spoon has to be flat to get it in that small space.

    I know its hard to get variety in your diet, I hope it's not driving you crazy! I just had mashed yams with brown sugar and butter- maybe that instead of the mashed potatoes might be a good trade off? lots of vitamin C! I love that you had the refried's last night, that is hands down one of my favorite no chew foods. The other thing I really liked eating was chili. It was cooked so the ground beef was small and the beans were soft. The sauce in it was a little bit thinner than regular chili. After I heated it up I just used a potato masher to make sure everything was in small pieces.

    Also, I'm wondering, can you drink through a straw during the hours you're banded shut? If you can maybe you could add in smoothies or milkshakes to your diet. I do smoothies with lots of fruit and yogurt and my guilty pleasure is milkshakes with coffee and vanilla ice cream (i'm a coffee lover).

    The last thing I wanted to mention is the numbness- I know it's hard to be patient with this. My numbness hasn't changed yet too much since the surgery except maybe I can feel one of my lower eyelids better. It definitely takes months for this to start to resolve so patience is all you can work on. At least for me it's kind of amusing to eat something and then not realize you have food on your chin until so much later. My chin feels like a piece of rubber. I'm always worried about eating hot foods because I could burn my palate without knowing it- it is SO numb! Seriously, I could probably have gum surgery right now and not even feel it!

    best of luck with everything,
    Thank you for writing such a great blog!

  2. Laura, the issue with a balanced diet is well,one has to so inclined and it is fair to say that vegetables and I just do not mesh. I tell everyone that that I paid extra to have braces that reject any and all vegetables! :) I was a vegetarian for many years and I don't know how I survived!

    I tried tacos (ground beef, re-fried beans, etc) but apparently the meat was not 'soft' enough and the surgeon reiterated 'soft foods' only . . .

    Straws are not working too well either but hopefully soon.

    Thanks for reading the blog! Have a good un'