This blog title is about to be a lot less punny. Alright, guys. March 20th will be the day. The day I get the surgery that will HELP me feel slightly back to normal. It won’t fix my face, or take away the pain I have endured in dealing with my recovery thus far. It won’t turn back time and stop my accident from happening. But it will make me feel more like me.
I will be having the surgery at Johns Hopkins, and my surgeon will be Dr. Patrick Byrne. I told him that if he fucks up my face, I would put him on blast via my blog. Hopefully I will be singing his praises instead. They will be performing a cross-face nerve graft, a 12-7 nerve transfer, and a temporalis (T3) transfer. If you want to know exactly what that stuff does, I encourage you so watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=WI0hvKyglbA . To make a long story short, they will be rearranging some nerves but that may or may not work; they will also be transferring a muscle in my face to my mouth, and that will immediately give me some symmetry.
The people that know me well know that my ‘party trick’ is that I can make myself smile while biting down. This is a typical result seen in the ‘5-7’ nerve transfer (similar to what I will be getting). But the weirdest part is, I’ve never had that surgery. This means that something funky is going on with my nerves, but no one is sure exactly what that is. Over and over again, this trick has stumped surgeons of all specialties, but especially the ones that should know the answer.
The thing that was most comforting about my meeting with Dr. Byrne, aside from the fact that he’s brilliant and famous and so nice, was that he was confused, but also amused. I was this cool puzzle for him to play with, and at the end of it his prize is that he got to help another human improve their quality of life, and overall confidence. He will help my outside start to match my inside again.
What about my eye? No, he will not open it back up unfortunately. That’s another surgeon’s territory (my eye surgeon). His concern is with my smile, and that’s really it. The total surgery time will be about 3 hours altogether, and it’s an outpatient procedure, so I will be going home the same day as I undergo the surgery. I will be pretty swollen for the first week or so, but luckily I will be on spring break and able to hide out for the very worst of it. One of the staff members said the swelling would appear as ‘cabbage patch kid-like.’ That makes me a little nervous, because that sounds pretty weird looking. But you know what’s weirder looking? Having a half-paralyzed face. I’ll take this trade.
I know this is soon, but I assure you that I have spent every minute of every day the past three months imagining this surgery. I’m ready for my new face. Are you?
My family and close friends that I’ve already told have reacted in the best way possible, and their support means the world to me. That being said, the next few weeks are going to be pretty tough. Not the toughest I have ever faced, but tough. Everyone’s continued support would be much appreciated, but I know I don’t even need to ask. You guys are absolutely amazing.