For a year, Olafia Kristinsdottir was preparing.
She scheduled her season accordingly, followed doctors’ orders and readied herself mentally for Jan. 3. That was the date she was scheduled to undergo double jaw surgery to correct and underbite that her doctor advised her to fix as soon as possible.
But then something happened that Kristinsdottir hadn’t quite planned for.
She qualified for the LPGA Tour.
In December, the 24-year-old earned her card at the LPGA Qualifying Tournament and became the first player from Iceland to earn membership. But, with a little luck and a few nice people back home who sympathized with the rookie’s predicament, her surgery was moved up to Dec. 15. That gave the Wake Forest grad six weeks to recover and make her debut at the season opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic.
Kristinsdottir has faced skepticism for her decision to go through with the surgery given its ill-timing, which has drawn concern about her ability to adequately prepare for the upcoming season. But Kristinsdottir, who wore braces for the last year in preparation for the procedure, really didn’t have a choice.
“With time, my teeth would have evaporated,” Kristinsdottir told LPGA.com. “I was going to take time off from golf anyways after a very busy and eventful season last year to get fresh and hungry for my rookie year on LPGA.”
Back in Iceland, Kirstinsdottir celebrated an early Christmas with her family and enjoyed a “last meal” the night before her surgery. Following the procedure, she searched online for others who had also undergone double jaw surgery but found their posts to be scary and not relatable. The operation sounded much worse than what she had experienced. So, she started a blog about her own recovery.
“I was home the same day as the operation was done in comparison to those other people who stayed two days in a hospital and were all bruised in their faces,” said Kristinsdottir. “It is a big operation, don’t get me wrong. I was under anesthesia for three hours. But there have also been such improvements that make recovery quicker and not as painful.”
At OlafiaBitesBack.weebly.com fans can follow Kristinsdottir’s recovery. On her blog she details the procedure – a several hour operation that involved the addition of titanium plates to her nose and screws to her jaw. She also shares a series of tips, some of which she learned the hard way. Kristinsdottir encourages the use of a rolling office chair in order to make trips to the bathroom after fainting the first two days following the operation. She also recommends her preferred lip balm, soup selections and diet suggestions.
“I thought it would be fun to remember everything that happened for me, allow people to follow my progress and decrease some fears and worries for those who have to have this procedure done in the future.”
After four weeks on a liquid diet, Kristinsdottir is beginning to chew again and eat more solid foods. She says the swelling is minimal and is beginning to almost feel back to normal.
“I learned a lot and managed to almost keep my weight. You would be surprised about the variety of food you can turn into liquids and the magic my mixer has done this past month.”
Two weeks after her procedure, Kristinsdottir was well enough to begin chipping and putting and has worked her way up to pitching. The time off also gave Kristinsdottir quite a bit of time to work on her mental preparation. This week, she made the trip from the indoor facilities where she trains in Iceland to Florida in order to continuing preparing for her first season on Tour.
“I look forward to this new level of competition, traveling the world, having fun, enjoying life and getting to know great people while doing the job I love.”
It’s what she’s been preparing for.