Day 346: Lessons Learned

Given that I am approaching my one year mark in just a few short, I thought I would wax philosophical if you do not mind and summarize a few of the lessons learned as it were, over the last few years.

Hindsight of course is a wonderful revealer of truths and perhaps these insights will help some of you who a considering double jaw surgery. Maybe. Maybe not.

I should have listened to my mother as a child and worn my braces! :)
This is somewhat true inasmuch as the braces would have helped my teeth be better aligned but obviously the jaw issues would still have existed. I do wish however that I would have investigated the surgical route ten years ago when my wife suggested it. Procrastination is never a good thing, especially when you are over 40 years of age but ah well, nothing to be done about it now!

In all seriousness however, I have heard many people say that they wish they had gone through with surgery a "long time ago" but were worried about the pain, the time required to heal, the cosmetic consequences, and all of the other factors related to surgery but the reality is that there really is never a good time for this surgery and so you quite honestly have to make the decision, move forward, and embrace the new reality . . .

Understand the process in its entirety.
To be honest, this was never overly an issue for me as I am one of those individuals who needs to know everything about everything prior to making decisions. Sometimes this approach serves me (in the case of this surgery) and sometimes it simply causes angst!

This of course has its own problems (you really do not have to watch YouTube videos of the surgery prior to your own surgery!) but on the whole it is good to know at least the process of recovery and what to expect in terms of swelling, eating, chewing, numbness, splint, braces, etc.

Having a support process in place makes a world of difference.
I have talked abut this quite a few times throughout my recovery phase but I am so thankful to have great family and friends who took the time to email, visit, bring treats, and just generally show their support. As for where I would be now, and how I would have coped without my wife,  I have no idea!

Everybody is different
I recongise that we all acknowledge this but the truth of the matter is that no matter how much time you invest in understanding this procedure and process, we all heal at different levels. For example, I have a friend whose son who underwent a very similar surgery to mine (even used the same surgeon due to my recommendation!) but his recovery was so, so, much easier than mine in terms of less swelling, less pain, and overall less everything! My advice - be aware of what may happen but don't become overly anxious that everything will happen to you.

Find the best Doctor for your situation / Ask questions!
It is important that you feel completely comfortable with your medical team; be it your regular dentist, your Orthodontist (braces), and your oral surgeon.

The key to feeling comfortable is to ask questions. As in, lots of questions. This will obviously help you feel comfortable with their knowledge of the work that needs to be performed but it will also help you decide if you personality clicks with yours. Remember, the oral surgeon is potentially going to change the way you look, eat, and talk and so it is important that you actually have a positive relationship with them! You will be seeing your surgeon a lot and so make sure you actually like them!

Perhaps this isn't as important to you; it may be that you simply identify the so-called best surgeon and go with them but for me, it was important to not only have the best for my situation but also somebody who I can communicate with in a manner that I found works with my personality.

I am lucky to have found a great Orthodontist and Oral Surgeon!

Finally . . . Sit back and enjoy the ride!
Once you have selected the surgeon, understand the process, pre-surgery orthodontia is almost completed, and you have received notification from your insurance company that they will in fact cover your surgery (rather important in my opinion!) then just sit back and enjoy :)

I recognise that the word enjoy is rather relative but honestly, time will fly by (perhaps not the first two weeks post surgery I admit) and before you know it you will be hitting your one year mark!

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4 Responses to “Day 346: Lessons Learned”

  1. How is it now that's it's been two years?

  2. Hi Katie, sorry about the delay in replying!
    I plan to update with a new post in a few days as it happens but sufficed to say that I cannot believe it has been two years already! :)

    I will post in a few days with updates on how it is has been (mixed bag really) . . . .

    1. Would like to see an update as well. Especially ending on "mixed bag really".

  3. Hey John, just read your whole blog and I would love to find out how you are doing now, after so many years! Did your feeling finally come back? Can you chew everything you want? Did you manage to save the front tooth like the dentist suggested? Are you happy overall with the price you had to pay? Are you happy with you new profile? I had my operation 2 weeks ago, I still have a long way ahead of me. I hope you are doing fine and I wish you all the best. Greetings, Anca