Sunday, 14 February 2016

Life in plastic? It's fantastic!!


I guess if I'm honest...for the past two years or so I've always been jealous. Deeply envious. Of others. Women - and men! - when they walk past me in the street, faces perfectly symmetrical and intact. Untouched, more or less. The faces they were born with! 
I'd kill for that, sometimes. To have my former face. The one that hadn't been cut into. 
Then I always catch myself being this hideous vain and ungrateful creature. I remember that if it weren't for all that cutting and fixing, I'd be in a far worse place. Who knows, maybe I wouldn't be here at all...
I'm just grateful to be alive. Who cares how I look? I mean, really? And why would I, any more?

I'm having plastic surgery.
Me. This awkward young woman, the small town-born barista and wannabe writer, the Sussex-Aussie hybrid (accent has been branded 'Poshstralian')...the girl who has never broken a bone but has had two brain operations in the space of a year...really? Me?!

I laughed on the drive home, saying to mama 'Well that's another thing I can tick off the list!' Because that is exactly how I feel. Another significant life event that I did not necessarily ask for crossed off my non-Bucket List. It's up there with brain surgery, radiotherapy, climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge, getting drunk at 10am in a field with strangers, plus a couple of heartbreaks here and there. 


I got to see my surgeon (AKA my hero, you may know of him from many many previous posts...!) the other day in his outpatients clinic, first thing in the morning. He had a good look at and then feel of my face, and I heard the dreaded tut/exhale combo as he did so. I won't lie, I was immediately terrified. 
Then he said 'you're going to get very pissed off with me...' which made me burst into hysterical laughter...because, really? If there is anyone in my life who has a free pass in that area - anyone I could actually physically never be mildly upset, let alone angry, with - it's him. He can do no wrong. He's removed a freaking hideous, stubborn and misbehaving tumour, not once but twice. He's referred me to the best possible hospital for radiotherapy. Seriously, I am in constant awe of him. 
I'm almost shouting 'never! I could never be pissed off with you!' and he assures me that I will be, if life continues as is. Because my face is going to get worse, and it needs to be fixed sometime soon. 

Because, you see, my face is not quite right. It hasn't been for a very long time, actually. 
As you'd expect, two lots of intense brain surgery takes a toll on one's appearance. Especially if this person's scalp must be sliced into, the jaw muscle must be cut through and some face bones shifted slightly to allow access to the left temporal lobe...I'm actually sometimes shocked I don't look like a freakish monster, at times. Same with my hair - I've only ever lost a razor-thin strip of hair each time I've been operated on, and the radiotherapy really only took a chunk of hair behind my ear, beneath the top layer of hair...if that makes sense? My hair has gotten thinner since treatment, too, but that's hardly an issue, I've always had thick unruly Hermione hair. People used to see me wandering around town when I was 11/12 and say I looked just like Emma Watson in the Philosopher's Stone film. I even signed an autograph once. Then promptly got my infamous 'dirty lesbo' (quote: school bullies) haircut. 


Anyway, back to my face. It's uneven. 
My first op left me with a chubbier face - which was probably entirely my fault, as I spent my recovery time reclining on the sofa eating whole packs of biscuits and watching films. But then after my second op I found myself inflated on one side with CSF (more on that HERE) and then when that was aspirated and retreated back into my skull...it left a dent. 

There's also a slight sticky-outy bit on that side of my face (my left, your right), which I can always tactfully conceal with hair. 
What's silly is that I thought I was safe, I thought nobody had noticed. People were always saying 'oh, I didn't even see that!' when I alerted them to the wobbly water balloon made of skin containing brain fluid that was crudely wedged on my face for a few months...which I am fairly sure was bullshit 99% of the time. Very sweet, well-meaning bullshit. 
Nowadays, though, I genuinely believe that people can't see my dent. I was wrong. A friend brought it up when asking me all the usual brain surgery questions...and I had to hold back tears. It was just the way it was phrased: 'well, the surgery has significantly altered your appearance'...ouchy ouch. I was a fool to think nobody saw. Oh, well.

I've adjusted to being slightly uneven in the face. I thought I had to, and so I did. I felt it was the least I could do! I also feel I'm past my hot-stuff years anyway, I peaked at uni when I had £70 highlights in my hair, I'd lost weight due to stress and I had several of the leads in the uni's musical in my bed at one time or another...I have accepted that! 

Now, though...I'm hearing that I have the chance to change that. To 'get pretty' again, almost. That changes things. Knowing I have an option, a possible reconstruction, for free...
I'm taking the consultation, at least. 

Yes, it's another operation. Yes, it's another lot of post-op drama and long hard recovery. However, it cannot be any worse than what's happened to me already, surely. And it'll be worth it, just like the previous ops were. 
Also, it's not for a while! Which is nice. The referral has happened, and now we wait for a letter and that first consultation. The first meeting with another specialist in this other hospital. It's exciting, almost...but I'm glad it's not happening yet. I still get my time off in 2016. 

So, yeah. That's the latest brain update. It's a very unusual turn of events, and I'm really enjoying telling my friends the news, this time. Actually being able to share some quite amusing news is rather different for me, and fun. Just seeing their faces when I say 'plastic surgery'...

1 comment

  1. Such an interesting post, and you're so brave to share it. A similar thing has happened to a close family member of mine, but she suffered memory loss & is just getting used to what she looks like. It's hard but you deserve any hope you can get. xx

    ReplyDelete

© Almost Amazing Grace.. Design by Fearne.