Today is the hardest day of my life.
I have come to a crossroads where I have to decide. Is the way I look important enough to undergo another extensively evasive surgery? Or do I live with the way my face is forever.
Because that is all I have left. The bone graft is deteriorating. And even worse, they do not know why. In a few short months, everything I have worked for the past 18 months, all the surgeries I have healed from, all the staying at home hiding, all the tears I have cried, all the scars have been for nothing. Nothing! The doctor says I am otherwise a healthy, 25 year old female, never had an infection from one of the surgeries, had strong bone grafted into the site, taken care of my mouth. But it is all going down the drain. And now we have to start all over again. That is, if 'I decide that is what I want.'
In the past it was always 'This is plan A: Plan A is, we get enough bone in and we implant the teeth again. Then we fix your chin.' Plan B was 'We can make you a really nice looking denture. Then we fix your chin.' But both of those plans rely on me having a strong base of bone in my mouth to work with. At this point, even plan B has deteriorated along with the grafts in my mouth, and now I am faced with starting from square one- another 8-10 hour surgery which will take bone from my hip and bits of cadaver bone and graft them into my mouth again, going up through the existing scar on my neck. This means healing from more painful cuts made into the bones of my hip and another slice cut across my neck. The cut across my neck was one of the most painful parts of this whole surgery that I have dealt with, and I just dont know how I can do that again. My only other option was to do nothing. And this means they cannot even fix my chin. No cosmetic surgeon in his right mind will fix the area, if there are no teeth or at least a denture to hold its shape. It will just cave right back in.
How do I make this choice? Every surgery I have faced in the past, the weeks leading up to it I do not sleep. I fear dying. I think of my children. What if I died on the operating table, for cosmetic surgery? How selfish could I be to think of that? But can I live with myself looking this way forever? And if I do the surgery, there is no guarantee. The doctor said this is the last resort, if they do this surgery and it fails, I will be here again another year from now, crying, with new scars just healing and knowing everything I went through was for nothing. If this doesnt work, this is what I will look like, forever.
So, I come to a turning point in my life. Can one really learn to live with a disfigured face and come to love herself for what's on the inside? What is more important. That I am beautiful on the inside and know that I have those who love me despite what I look like? What does it mean to "come to terms" with my face. And how can I start that journey. I feel like it is so far away right now, and I am so lost. Can I learn to love myself looking this way.
So many questions. Too bad I don't know any of the answers.