My open bite was quite large, and hadn't been fixed with braces as a child; as a result of it, I had a slight lisp, a gummy smile, a long face, and severe lip strain. I also had a weak jawline and chin from the side. Despite that, I was very secure in my looks and usually felt pretty; I'd just always wanted perfect teeth and a healthy bite, so that was my motivation for the surgery.
Not many surgeons in my area took my insurance, so when I finally found one I decided to go with him; I also picked an orthodontist and wore braces for seven months beforehand.
I had never had major surgery before and honestly was a basketcase beforehand; I started having panic attacks about a month before and went on anxiety medication to get me through.
The day of the surgery, I arrived at the hospital super early and things got underway quickly; the surgery took about four hours and they moved my lower jaw back, my upper jaw forward, and my chin out. When I woke up I wasn't scared or in pain; I was mainly confused and drifted in and out for a while. I mainly felt stiff and tired, and I used the little morphine button liberally even though they told me not to because they didn't want me to get nauseated. (I did not get sick at any time though--right after surgery or the days following. I guess I have a strong stomach for medication.)
I was discharged the next night, and I wish I had stayed two nights--I was so weak and tired after, and it is SO hard to get liquids down. Until you get used to the feeding syringe, almost everything spills down your shirt. Since you can't really feel your lips or your face from the neckdown, you also can't really control what stays in your mouth (lots of drool).
The first week was hellish and I was so glad I had my mom and my husband there to help me; even going down the stairs made me shaky, and if I had been on my own it would have been a struggle for me to make myself eat or drink. In the first week and a half, I lost about fourteen pounds.
I also had a splint in (a plastic tray wired to your top teeth that holds your bite in place), and for the first week my teeth were completely banded shut with no mobility. The pain came and went, but was never unbearable--however, all the doctor gave me was codeine and I definitely needed something stronger. There were long periods of time where I just sat in misery (I don't say that to scare anyone, but to be honest.) However, my surgeon was insistent that it didn't hurt and I wasn't in pain, so he wouldn't give me anything stronger.
The second week was a little better, and on the third week I had my splint out and started eating mush like oatmeal, pudding, and mashed potatoes. It was really hard to get my mouth open at first, and I still (at almost four weeks) only can open about a thumb's width. I was also able to go out of the house for short periods of time the second week and longer periods the third week.
At almost four weeks, I'm talking more clearly but still have trouble with some letter sounds, like P and B. My lower lip and tongue (and parts of my mouth) are completely numb, which I think contributes to me being unable to enunciate certain words. I wear one rubber band on each side of my mouth, but it's still a surgical elastic and I can't open my teeth very far against it.
Other things I wish someone had told me...my entire face from the nose down peeled from the swelling, and I also got (and continue to have) very bad acne, I assume as a combination of the steroids and not conscientiously cleaning my face the first week after surgery.
The hardest part of it all though, and a part I think the surgeon didn't address enough, is the emotional component of this surgery. You spend weeks miserable, and feeling ugly and terrible, but my surgeon at least only focused on the physical. He never asked me how I felt, or how I was dealing with the situation. When you look in the mirror, it's still YOU but it's different in a way that's scary, especially with all the swelling. You wonder if you're always going to look this hideous, even if logically you know you won't. Whenever I went out the second week, children had no problem staring (which is fine, kids don't bother me)--but adults at stores consciously avoided eye contact and would offer to help my mother, and not me. It's disheartening and makes you feel terrible!
I think I would have felt more upbeat by picking a more sympathetic surgeon; I trust that he did his job well, but personally I need to feel like my doctor cares about me and listens to me, instead of telling me what I feel/don't feel, and then acting annoyed if I'm scared or emotional.
Also, I took four weeks off of work and I wish I'd taken six--I'm not sure how people handle eating and talking all day at four weeks (though I know everyone is different). I'm still very messy when I eat and need somewhere to clean my teeth, and I don't want to do either in our work bathroom.
So, would I do this again? At this point the answer is no, though I know from this site and many blogs that my opinion will likely change over time. I do feel that my face was prettier before, and I'm worried about how I will look over the next few months. I didn't want a more square jawline, and I also really hope it's the swelling that are making my eyes so asymmetrical.
I will update with more pics and info as the weeks progress! If you have any questions, please ask and I hope I wasn't too negative in this post!