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Summer Jaw Surgery

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

Internal self-image is the biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome. I thought my prayers would be answered by having jaw surgery, which is often the basis/foundation for further treatment.

Beth, born with a unilateral cleft lip and palate - waiting for jaw surgery

I'd been told for years that I'd have this key surgery when I turned eighteen, in the summer before I started university. The change in profile that this surgery creates would (in my opinion) make me seem more ‘normal’ before I started an exciting new chapter in my life. Disappointingly this was not meant to be...

During an appointment to work out my surgery date, I was told that my teeth and jaw alignment still weren’t ready. My orthodontist and surgeon had miscommunicated, and I was left in the middle. One team had said I was 'good to go', while the other stopped me in my tracks. I felt let down, and like I couldn't trust my professionals anymore.

"I had pinned my hopes of gaining internal self-confidence on that summer’s surgery"

For years I had pinned my hopes of gaining internal self-confidence on that summer’s surgery. To be told I wasn’t ready came as a huge shock and was extremely frustrating to say the least. My surgery was rearranged for winter, a term into my new university studies. This made my summer suddenly empty: I had kept all commitments to a minimum, since we didn’t know the operation date and there’s a six-week recovery period post-surgery. I was also filled with anxiety about starting university without my jaw in the 'right' position and worried how the winter surgery would affect my studies.

Although at the time I was extremely upset and angry, now on the other side, I know it was worth the wait. My university was incredibly understanding and helpful. They did everything they could to minimise the surgery's impact on my studies, and I ended up organising lots of different things to do over the summer instead.

"ultimately patience is worth it"

It may be frustrating, but ultimately patience is worth it when considering the alternative option is rushing into treatment and possibly having to revisit a mistake later on. At the end of the day, our teams just want to do what’s right, but it’s worth reiterating that treatment plans are rarely smooth and there can be a bump or two along the way.


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