JAWS 4: The Editor Returns

JAWS 4: The Editor Returns
Staff Photos Nick Brothers The two differences I can tell from before the jaw surgery (above) and after (below) is the obvious length reduction in my jaw from the underbite and having the top lip in front of my bottom.

Staff Photos Nick Brothers
The two differences I can tell from before the jaw surgery (above) and after (below) is the obvious length reduction in my jaw from the underbite and having the top lip in front of my bottom.

Hey there Freekly readers, it’s good to be back.

For the past month I’ve been on my ass in recovery from a double jaw surgery I needed to get for tons of reasons. I’m still recovering, but my energy is back and I’m not on any serious painkillers anymore. So I’m good enough for doing this crazy job.

Prior to the surgery, I had an underbite and crossbite. This made it difficult to eat things such as burritos, sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, apples and steak because my teeth grabbed and pulled instead of cut like normal bites do, and only connected at two spots — eventually only at one for a month before surgery. Beyond chewing, it affected my speech, my gums’ health (lots of mouth-breathing) and because of my crossbite my nose grew along with it, constricting my nasal passages. My jaw would often painfully pop out of place, and my teeth often caught my cheeks because of how off-center my teeth were.

Thankfully, my surgery corrected my jaw with three surgical cuts on either side of my jaw and across my upper jaw, and included an interior reconstruction of my nasal passageways. I didn’t know what sneezing should actually feel like, and wow, it’s way easier and relieving rather than stuffy and painful. I can breathe through both nostrils now, too, which is a first.

Unfortunately, because we’re talking about bones here, my jaw can’t handle chewing for a while. I was on a liquid diet for three weeks and then I was able to upgrade to mashed-potato-consistency foods, which I’m still on. It’s terribly inconvenient at the moment, because I have to blend up all of my meals (except my beloved Ensure) and hope I don’t get too much in my beard as I try to eat.

I still have a lot of numbness in my lips and face, so — no joke — I sometimes need to eat with a mirror to make sure all of the food gets in my mouth and not my beard. It’s ridiculous. I’ll have an obnoxious glob of blended biscuits and gravy in my mustache and have no idea until I look in the mirror later. To avoid social embarrassment, I keep the mushing to myself for the time being. Each day brings a little more feeling and ability to my face and lips. For a month or so, I wasn’t able to even drink from a can.

Whenever I finally heal up and get the go ahead for full-on chewing, (which could take about 5 months, with softer solids at about 2.5 months) I’ve read from people who have been through this procedure that having proper teeth alignment to chew food with is glorious. They say it’s like eating for the first time again and totally effortless. Pretty much everyone says it’s worth going through it all again if they had to.

I’m dreamin’ of Chew Day. I want to know what it’s like to take a big bite out of an apple, corn on the cob or a chicken wing. I want to bite into a hot, doughy pizza and not rip all the cheese and toppings off. I’m so ready to be able to effectively chew a real steak in a reasonable amount of time. Each day that passes is another day closer to that.

As you may have noticed in my pictures, there’s one major side effect to the surgery — I look a little different now. It’s slightly bizarre every time I look in the mirror. I see what looks like me from an alternate reality. It’s definitely me, but kinda altered, like a create-your-own character in a video game. The common reaction I get is generally “Dude! You look so different!” I’ve been told I sound different, too.

I’m still a little swollen in my cheeks and on my right side, but it reduces little by little each day.

So if you’ve been curious as to where I’ve been, now you know. So let’s get back to business. We’re coming up on some exciting stuff here this summer.

One thing I’m particularly enjoying: isn’t the traffic around town wonderfully sparse now that the U.A. students have left?

Thanks for reading.

Categories: Commentary