I’m quickly approaching the four month mark of facial injury that caused nerve damage. Everything leading up to this month has been wonderful. Nobody can even notice my once lopsided face. But after reflecting on my journey of recovery, I believe that one of my biggest setbacks was losing feeling in my face. You learn a lot about a lot of things when you can’t use your face like normal. So I put together a list of the lessons I learned these past four months.
Crooked smiles are normal.
My temporary crooked smile was quite comical to most people. There is a series of pictures from the lopsided smile days that I will hold on to forever. But I learned that some of my best friends have crooked smiles and they proudly embrace them. Mine may no longer be obviously crooked but I now appreciate the full smile I have gotten back.
Losing feeling in your face means losing a dimple.
My grandma tells me that I got my dimples from my grandpa. People have always commented on my face craters saying they are “cute”. Following the injury, I was left with one dimple. One of the surgeons was quite amused by the unevenness of my smile. He then proceeded to blame it on the plastic surgeon. Losing the dimple is probably the most noticeable difference and even then, most people don’t even see it.
There are some people in this world that will tell you if you have food on your face- and there are some who will not.
We all have those friends who jump at every opportunity to point out the piece of spinach in your teeth. And then there are those people who feel uncomfortable pointing out the snack that you were saving for later. When I couldn’t feel the left side of my mouth and cheek, I would be blissfully unaware of the large chunks of food taking residence in between my teeth. I am thankful for my friends who would help a girl out. And to those who don’t say anything, please do us all a favor and speak the truth.
Sunglasses do serve a purpose.
Call me crazy but I have always been strongly against the use of sunglasses. I appreciate the full color that the sun provides. I feel like sunglasses dim the world. Unfortunately, the plates that were put in my face make squinting very difficult. I have been forced to protect my eyes and join the sunglasses bandwagon. Sunglasses are now a necessity in my every day life.
Most people do not know how to respond when I tell them that I broke my face.
My brother was texting me about t-shirt sizes the day after it happened. I thought I would drop the news via text message. I said ‘By the way, I broke my face this weekend’. Like most people, he didn’t know how to react. Some laugh, some ask for clarity, some just offer up their best sympathetic smile. It’s not a super common thing so it never fails to catch people off guard.
Questions like ‘How’s your face?’ and ‘Your face looks so good!’ should not be taken sarcastically.
The most common statement I have received in the past couple months has been ‘Your face looks so good!’ To any normal human, that sounds like an insult. For me, it has become a much needed encouragement. And when friends and family ask how my face is, I can’t help but laugh at their seemingly normal question.
It takes some serious time and patience to return to normal.
At this point, I am pretty much back to normal. I still have a couple of numb spots and there is still the occasional pain, but I once thought I would never be able to feel my face again. Here we are now, people can’t even tell I had anything done. I was blessed with some incredible surgeons and doctors who are really good at what they do. It has been one heck of a ride and I am so glad that it is pretty much over. Now I just have to suck it up and wear the face mask when I play. All is good at in Kentucky and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jesus loves numb faces and He love you too!