Why was my swelling so minimal? Why was my recovery so simple, and so painless? How did I go back to work so fast?
I receive a lot of questions like this from readers getting ready for jaw surgery and adult braces.
How in the world did I recover naturally from jaw surgery, in such a short period of time and taking ZERO prescription medicines? Am I magical? Is my surgeon a miracle-worker?
The answer is far simpler, and less glamorous, than you think.
I’ll even bullet-point it, right here, so you don’t have to read the tirade that follows (but you still should…):
- Be healthy. I’m healthy, and you can be too. If you’re considering any kind of elective surgery, including jaw surgery, it’s an absolute imperative that you be in top health before you go for it.
- Have a great attitude. Attitude, attitude, attitude! Just like you’re doing right now, I started out my research process by scouring lots of blogs about jaw surgery. I even fully freaked myself out with a few searches on horrible (and internationally outlawed) practices like leg-extension surgery. In short, I became fully versed in the ills of surgery – in worst case scenarios. Then I realized, this was the stupidest thing I could be doing. I quit reading the complain-y blogs, I quit doing ‘research’ on the Internet, and I just decided to focus on how great it was that I even had the opportunity to have jaw surgery. There are many many people in the world who have such severe skeletal deformities that they can’t walk, or type, or any of a number of other ‘everyday’ activities. I decided to shut out all the ‘I’m suffering because of my jaw surgery that was SO hard’ blogs, and tune in to everything that was positive – the fact that I got table-time with the awesome Dr. Kasey Li, the fact that my insurance sort of covered the procedure, the fact that I’m still young and have lots of life to enjoy post-op, and the fact that I got to pick a playlist to run on my iPod while they were sawing my head.
- Take the natural route to recovery. Let’s face it, unnatural things – even ‘medicines’ meant to help us – can often be taxing on our bodies. There are many extreme examples of this, like chemotherapy, but the millions of potential ‘side effects’ listed on common medications are everyday examples. When you’re body is rebuilding itself – literally rebuilding the bone that holds your face together – why give it more to deal with? I didn’t take a single drop of the prescription pain medication that my surgeon prescribed for me, and I actually did not continue with antibiotics after the first day either – primarily because I noticed how much havoc the antibiotics were wreaking on my digestive system. If you want to know all the details of my Chinese medicine usage and my hatred of antibiotics, check under the category Jaw Surgery, for the month of November. The notes are all there.
I’m not perfect, and I don’t have the world’s most perfect diet or lifestyle. However, as I’ve previously mentioned in my post about sugar consumption and inflammation, I strongly believe in the rule of 80%.
I don’t eat perfect macrobiotic meals every day, but I do enjoy a mostly vegetarian, healthy diet filled with lots of fresh organic vegetables from the neighboring county, whole grains, and very little junk food (like Doritos).
I don’t drink every day, but I definitely enjoy a glass (or three) of wine on the weekends – I’m young, and I love going out with my friends, but you won’t catch me doing it every night and you won’t see me downing any flaming shots any time either.
I NEVER smoke, and, especially in the months leading up to my surgery, I strictly limited my exposure to inflammatory things – sugar, coffee, dairy, white flour/pasta/bread (which, as far as your body is concerned, is the same as sugar), stress.
With health, as with attitude and recovery from any trauma, be it physical or psychological, always consider the rule of 80%.
and… Thanks for reading!
Submitted on 2009/02/17 at 12:52am
I am really surprised when I read your story regarding your jaw surgery.
Everyone seems to stay at the hospital for a few days following the surgery and the swellings are so bad – like really really bad (not to forget how painful and bloody the recovery process would be).. but yours were different. You didn’t swell that bad (in fact nothing bad at all- you were just like having one or two teeth extracted)- even after only 8 hours post-op and you were not wearing a bandage all over your face.
Was this a miracle happening to you or the surgeon’s expertise that really could make this happen?
I am thinking about having a jaw surgery to correct my underbite but the painful recovery process really holds me on. If your surgeon could create such a way-more-painless-and-less-swelling recovering process, I would like to have him to do the work on me.
Thanks for sharing.