October 29, 2019
I just made one of the biggest decisions of my life, that I pray is a good one: to undergo multiple reconstructive facial operations simultaneously with a phenomenal surgeon this week in Beverly Hills. The choice was not if, rather when and how and by whom — and I’m trying to find and commit to a path of light and hope that sets myself up for success. I'm trusting my intuition — because after a maddening, unclear, in-depth consultation process spanning dozens of doctors, six weeks, various cities and thousands of dollars, I alone have to live with the consequences of action or inaction, as it relates to both functionality and appearance of various parts of my face.
I am so scared. I am second-guessing myself. I am playing out worst case scenarios in my mind. I don’t want my vision to be further impaired, my speech to be worse, my internal tissue to be damaged additionally, my face to grow more lop-sided, my lip or eye lid to sag lower.
I'm only beginning to feel tiny pieces of Erin come through — and now feel genuinely worried about the risk that this surgery leaves me in a worse place, set back, regressed physically, mentally or emotionally that immediately negates all progress. I am deeply afraid of being ripped open; I don’t want to be ripped open again — my fragile skin, any sense of healing, such raw trauma. But this surgery cannot wait. I did copious research, sat with myself, made a final decision, and now, I put my face, my fragile health, my full trust in the capable hands of a plastic surgeon.
I really do think this is the right choice, but what the hell do I know? Skill, training, recommendations, praise, reviews, bedside manner all pass with flying colors, but that was the case for all seven surgeons I seriously considered. The one I have chosen values what I see and feel, as well as medical necessities, identified a sensible procedural course of action to address all injuries, tissue damage, misalignment, foreign bodies, tension, overlapping skin, drooping, protrusions, everything. He is confident in his ability to do so during one major surgery, rather than multiple separate ones. I felt safe when the surgeon put his hand on my arm after examining me and said, “Everything will be okay.” He and his team have been present, responsive and extraordinarily kind throughout this horrific process, understanding that while pressing and important, these facial surgeries are but one piece of a far larger, confoundingly complex medical recovery plan post-accident. And that earned my trust and my choice.