Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Glitter in the Air

"I am tired of waiting, of being stuck. I need this to be over. Cancer patients and survivors do not have the liberty to waste time. Every second of every day is precious to us. We never know if tomorrow will be our last." These were the very words I said to my surgeon the week of my last surgery. I was desperate to start living my life with nothing holding me back...surgeries, hyperbaric treatments and doctor appointments. Monday was the first over a year and a half, that I was finally able to start living my life again, savoring every moment without treatments or doctor obligations and to start looking forward and not back. It was a GREAT feeling.

Since then, I have been been waking up every morning with excitement wondering how I am going to live out my day. What am I going to accomplish? It is all up to me and nobody else to decide what I am going to do. I am able to start saying "yes" to opportunities that I have said "no" to for many months. I am gratefully reassuming my role as mom, wife and friend and no longer being defined as a cancer patient. I cherish small moments like having a cup of coffee in the morning, taking in the beauty of Fall, listening to my kids laugh and play and holding hands with longer will I take these moments for granted like I did in the past.

This is what life is all about. Appreciating every moment and every experience given to you. Understanding that life's ups and downs define who you are and make you glad to be alive. It is about loving others and being loved back. And most important, it is knowing that God is in control and to trust him wholeheartedly with your life.

So far the surgery was a success. My skin has stayed in tact and no new holes seem to be forming. The infections are almost gone. I have an appointment with my Surgical Oncologist on Monday. I most likely will be discussing options, if there are any, on how to fix my face. This includes getting my teeth fixed. In the meantime, I am taking time to heal and learning to accept my face and the way I look. It gets easier every day.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. You have all touched my life in more ways than you will every know.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Can I Have The Bandage Back?

I never thought I would say this...I miss the bandage on my face. Yes, I do. It did draw attention to my face and as a result I got a lot of stares. But at the same time, it hid the deformities in my face. People only saw my bandage...they did not see the scars and disfigurement as a result of my surgeries. Unfortunately, the stares are still there. I am having a hard time dealing with the way my face is looking. I am not sure if it is something my surgeons can or will fix in the future. Right now I just need to wait and see how I heal. All I know is that I am not sure I can live like this the rest of my life. When out in public, I often walk looking down at floor. If I am outside, I am quick to put on sunglasses which provide a great cover for my face. I look at other peoples' faces with envy...never before have I noticed how many beautiful people are out there. What I wouldn't give to have my face back.

I know I should not let my face bother me. I should be thankful that I am cancer free. However, this is easier said than done. It is not easy to look different in today's try and fit in and feel normal when there is something wrong with the way you look. I am trying hard to remind myself that what is most important is inner beauty and not outer beauty. A lesson I often teach my girls...and now I need to teach it to myself.

So far, my face is staying in tact and there are no signs of any more holes...for this I am thankful. My lower eyelid is drooping a little more than it used to, but it doesn't seem to be getting any worse. My face is a little more caved in under my eye since the bone was removed. This makes the bone that was transplanted in my cheek to be more prominent. I am hoping that some day the surgeons will either be able to shave the transplanted bone down or add some tissue underneath the skin under my eye to even my face out.

One thing I am most thankful for is the love and acceptance from family and close friends. It is in my circle of friends and family that I feel the most comfortable, accepted and have no need to hide my face. I have a wonderful husband that reminds me every day that I am still beautiful.

Please continue to pray for healing. Pray that my face will not cave in any further and that my lower eye lid will stay in tact. And pray that the shame I feel of the way I look will go away soon.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Good news, Bad news

I am writing this blog for the first time in a long time without a big bandage and flap of skin across my nose. It is a wonderful feeling and I am so happy it has finally been removed. Surgery went well. Good news: the flap removal was a success and my surgeon was able to stitch the hole closed. Bad news: my surgeons discovered the bone underneath (about 3/4 inches long) my eye was dead and it had broken off therefore it had to be removed. Good news: this gives us a lot of answers as to why I was having so many problems with the skin breaking open in my face. Bad news: over time my eye lid and skin may begin to start to cave in without the support of the bone. If this should happen they will do some reconstruction using tissue or a bone in another part of my body. Good news: my surgeon thinks I am in the best place that I have been in in a long time. He was all smiles after the surgery. Good news: I should be able to have a much needed break for awhile. I am not quite sure if it will be the break I was looking for as I will constantly be worried about my face caving in. Something I want to talk with my surgeon more about during my post-op appointment on Monday. If it is inevitable that my face will cave in, I would rather have it fixed now than later. I would like to get it over with so that I can truly have a break and move on.

I am feeling pretty tired today, and will be taking it easy for the next few days. Hyperbaric treatment will resume again on Monday and will be completed after 10 more treatments.

I can't thank all of you enough for your prayers. I felt at peace before the surgery and I am feeling peaceful about the results of the surgery. Hope is starting to reemerge and things are looking up. Please continue to pray for healing and that the hole will remained closed and that should my face cave in that it will easily be fixed.