Celebrating The Wins
November 18th, 2019
What should I feel when I walk out of doctors’ offices with mixed news? Do I celebrate the wins? Or first come to terms with setbacks? How best to process both appropriately? Today, I left my facial reconstructive surgeon discouraged by lack of progress and intimidated by additional medical necessities, yet also really really confident about the decision I made in choosing his expert care and grateful for the quality, comprehensive, thoughtful treatment I continue to receive. He nodded at first glance of my face, rightfully proud of the miraculous work his skilled hands managed to achieve. Everything does look infinitely better than pre-surgery, especially my eye, eye brow and forehead area, where the swelling has dropped tremendously, scar tissue only returned minimally, and properly aligned features and skin seem to continue healing well under scabs. The lip is unfortunately a different story. Although wounds across my outer upper lip are progressing after stitch removal, the internal ones proved problematic once again, after recent troubles just last week. He had to go in to individually dig out those which had decided not to dissolve in the near-three weeks since surgery, leaving it raw and enflamed once more — however blessedly and finally stitch-free! To our dismay, though not unexpected, the scar tissue mass reformed within my lip, at the site where my teeth punctured straight through from one side to the other in the accident. Although significantly smaller than prior to the operation, the lump is still solid and sizable, weighing down my lip, pressing on my teeth and severely impeding speech. To cut it out fully will require surgery to the main muscle that encircles my entire mouth, thus even more complex and risky… but that is likely the necessary course of action. In the interim, he’s going to try various other methods, including a new laser treatment we began today. The high-powered device actually breaks up scar tissue, addressing structural necessities, as well as accelerating healing, stimulating cellular and surface regeneration, and restoring color, texture and skin tension aesthetically. The burning sensation as he targeted the affected eye, forehead and lip areas multiple times was negligible against the pain tolerance I’ve built during this harrowing recovery process. Even the needles he injected into nerves and muscles in my forehead afterwards barely phased me. If a doctor who has earned my trust believes a treatment has the prospect of helping my body to heal, I’ll gladly endure whatever discomfort necessary. These hi-tech treatments, as well as simple tactical massage, will continue through January, the earliest potential date for my next facial surgery, should the lip continue to prove problematic and painful. However, additional oral and dental procedures need to happen before that date, the necessity of which he confirmed, noting the way my compromised jaw has shifted further out of alignment. As a trained maxillofacial surgeon who now practices reconstructive and plastic surgery, he is able to expertly assess and draw valuable connections among the ways in which one aspect of my musculoskeletal system being out of balance strains various other elements directly and indirectly with both obvious painful and heretofore unknown or unseen negative consequences. Some of those ramifications may well require future surgeries, a bridge he said we’ll cross once we see where natural healing stands come January, attempting to calm my nerves and emotions he saw spike with those words. As I said: I feel I made a very wise choice in selecting this doctor for his masterful skill, diverse knowledge, immense experience, conservative approach and wonderful temperament. While much anxiety-inducing medical uncertainty lies ahead, repeated and new facial surgeries are likely, and this damn lip still makes speech infuriatingly difficult and smiles impossible, I walked out of at least one of my appointments on this exhausting marathon of a day with hopeful glimmers in the eyes that had shed tears of pain, trauma and stress just moments earlier.