My Double Jaw Surgery: The 5th and 6th Weeks After
It's now been 6 weeks since having double jaw surgery to treat sleep apnea. Weeks 5 and 6 were much easier than previous weeks, as many of the post-surgery issues I was dealing with have gotten significantly better.
Most significantly, I've finally been able to start noticing better sleep! The whole reason I went through all of this was to improve my sleep, which has been an issue for much of my life. I very badly wanted to be able to report an immediate improvement in my sleep quality, but that's just not the way it worked out, mostly due to TMJ issues (TMD). Thankfully though, the musculature has been able to stretch and begin to accommodate to the new jaw positioning, which has provided relief from the constant tension and moderate to severe pain. So now that the muscle pain is no longer waking me up at night, I have indeed noticed an improvement in sleep quality, whoo-hoo!
The biggest difference that I've noticed while sleeping is that I wake up less times overall. I used to be conscious of waking 25-30 times each night, and now I would say that number is closer to 10. I had two nights in a row where it was even less than that. Still not perfect, but I am not that far post-op, so I am just trying to give my body time to adapt. Soon I will need to set up a follow-up in-lab sleep test if my insurance will allow it.
Another thing I've noticed is that I am regaining my normal energy levels. For a few weeks there I was really struggling, needing a nap every day. I believe part of this is recovering from the general anesthetic, and the other part is recovering from the surgery. But after a month it did get easier, and it is likely not a coincidence that the increase in energy levels coincided with the improvement in sleep quality.
Other improvements in quality of life have occurred over the past few weeks as well. My upper lip is still somewhat stiff, but much less so than before, which allows me to smile more naturally, as you can see in my 6 week photo:
Additionally I've had an increase in sensation on the upper lip as well on the lower right lip, the latter of which was nearly 100% numb until just recently. It suddenly began to tingle and then deep pressure sensations were able to be registered, and I suspect I will regain most of the feeling back over the next few weeks. Unfortunately my entire palate is still 100% numb, but I do feel like it is a different quality and does not feel so enlarged, so it is easier to live with. Speaking of the palate, the hole in my palate (called an oronasal fistula) has healed approximately 90% now. It's closed enough that when I'm brushing and using my waterpik that water no longer rushes out of my mouth, but I do notice a very minor wheezing when breathing through my nose if I am not wearing my upper retainer.
I wish you all well until the week 7 and 8 update!