This time 2 years ago, I was lying in a hospital bed unable to talk, eat or drink. I had just had Orthognathic Surgery on both my upper and lower jaws. Basically, they had to cut my jaw bones and move the top one forward and the bottom one back. This was all due to an overgrowth of my lower jaw. Throughout all my teenage years, I had to walk around with a big sticky out chin - this was not fun! Of course I got bullied and teased at school, but I just had to keep telling myself that soon I'd have my problem sorted, these bullies however, would most likely still be jerks in years to come - there's no surgery for a lousy personality. The most frustrating part was having to wait until my bones had stopped growing in order to be able to fix it. At school, I was becoming less confident and more self conscious. I was noticing that my friends were changing. The more popular girls invited me out less with them so I started hanging out with the geekier and weirder kids (sorry if any of my old school friends are reading this, but let's face it...we were a little strange :) ).
So after years of constant visits to the orthodontist and wearing braces, I was finally given a date for the big op. April 2011 was when it was supposed to happen. 2 days before I was meant to go in for surgery, I had a call from the hospital saying they'd had to cancel due to lack of beds (just put some pillows on the floor, I'll be fine!). Obviously I was really upset with this, especially not knowing how long I'd have to wait for a new date. It turned out, not too long at all. June 28th was when it finally happened. I remember going in to the hospital, and if anyone has ever been in for surgery, you'll know there's a lot of waiting around. I wasn't as nervous as I had been in the run up to the original date. Even when I was lying on the bed and the nurse was trying to find my veins for the injection that would put me to sleep for 3 hours, I kept waiting for them to suddenly turn around and say "Oh, I'm sorry Charlotte, we've had to cancel again for some obscene reason". But they never did...
So here it is, the before, during and 2 years later shots. Those first 2 days in hospital were the worst. I couldn't eat, drink, talk or even swallow my own saliva. The doctors, nurses and my Nan kept trying to get to me eat or drink something, but it was just impossible. Eventually, the swelling went down a little and I was able to drink some yummy food supplement milkshakes. For weeks I lived on this milkshakes, smoothies, mushed up Weetabix, soup, scrambled egg and blended pasta dishes.
This photo was taken just 2 months after my op. You can still see how swollen my face is. The swelling didn't completely go until at least 6 months after the surgery. When I revealed the new Me to friends who's known me before, they all said how different I look, like a brand new person, but when I looked in the mirror at my new face, I just saw me. Before the op I used to think 'why me, why do I have to be the girl with the big chin'. But I realised afterwards, that if this hadn't of happened to me, I would be a totally different person, with a different life. I might not have chosen to move to London for Uni (I might not have gone to Uni at all!) which means I would never have even met the friends I have now! I'd like to think that apart from becoming more confident in myself, that I haven't changed too much. I know when I was first told about having the surgery I was adamant that I was not going to go through with it. I felt that I shouldn't need to change my appearance for those small minded people at school, but really I've done this all for myself. I feel confident in myself and have gone out in the big world and taken opportunities I would never have even dreamt about before. So if there is anyone else out there who is planning to go through with this surgery, try not to be too scared or nervous. I was the biggest baby when it came to needles or anything painful, but you just have to take it as best you can, because 2 years down the line, it will all just be a distant memory.
And now this post seems all too serious, so here are some Bee Gees =D
Labels: Chin, Jaw, Maxillofacial, Operation, Orthognathic, Surgery