Sunday, 18 November 2012

The Facial Pain Story Continues.....


So here we are in the same position… pain, fatigue, stress, despair and the constant feeling of going nowhere. I am visiting my surgeon to have the same conversation every 2 weeks and to be told the teeth are not in the right position for surgery and we need to wait… I am visiting the orthodontist every 2 months for teeth movement…. I am visiting the doctor weekly and the dentist every 3 weeks…. I am attending physiotherapy once a week but I still have not seen a psychologist.

I have been reminding my surgeon to refer me but with little luck. My doctor has informed me if we go the doctor’s route I will wait a minimum of 6 months. If I would have known it would take this long I should have taken this option. We are now in year two of having facial pain and my orthodontist is saying we have a matter of “2mm” of movement before we can be booked in for surgery.

My university lecturers had been wonderful and so supportive. I was looking at doing a gap year to work, earn some money and maybe give myself a mental break from university work. I was struggling to attend and was missing the social side of things. I had secured a placement in Vauxhall for a maintenance firm in the Human Resource Department. But something did not feel right. I had a feeling I might not have the operation this semester and if I did, It may overlap into year three of my degree. I had worked so hard to get where I had with my grades and I did not under any circumstances want to drop out or feel like I had failed in any way. So I took the huge risk and decided to commence into year three. I emailed my personal tutor Raj and explained the situation and he was nice enough to meet with me in the summer break to discuss a course of action we might be able to take.

I was still working at Lidl offices at this time (a few hours a week) but my duties had become so menial and lonely. My supervisor would take all the important and reasonably challenging jobs away from me and give me jobs like rolling posters or taking down the post to the warehouse. The worst job I had was stationary. This involved me being in a dark, small and cold room for over 4 hours packing boxes of stationary for the stores. Generally for £8 an hour, a person would think this was easy money. But I could hardly walk and I was in no fit place to stand for that amount of time. I was also very lonely. I was happy to sit in the presence of others and hear about their lives, instead of constantly reflecting on mine all the time. The cold of the room also made my face more painful and I would often hide in the corner and cry for a little while before pulling myself together and forcing myself to stand and get on with my work. Work had become a place of torture and a place I dreaded going. I started to feel alienated and cast aside by my colleagues. I even got to a point where I resented them and thought they were selfish and uncaring. But on reflection I know this was just my mental state at the time and most of them are genuine and lovely people who had no clue what I was going through.

I have this tendency to put on my “fake face” for people. I even do it around my own father. I feel I must always be the happy Steffie or people will not want to be around me anymore. This is reality, but I must learn that it is better to have one or two true people around, then to be surrounded by fake users. I had been worn down and worn out and I had lost part of myself through the past year. I had become so desperate and I had pinned all my hopes and future, on the success of my orthognathic surgery. I felt this surgery might be the turning point I needed… by looking better and by being pain free, it would help my confidence and my pain situation. I had this weird image that it would fix my failing relationship with my boyfriend. And by graduating and finding a job (post op) the new me would signal a new start in my life. Instead of being stagnant, I would be flying high again much like in 2006 when my world had fallen apart after being attacked, heartbroken and falling ill.  I had rebuilt it.  I had remembered the feelings of moving from complete despair, to pure happiness at that time and I was looking forward to that again. A lot of people do not realise the pressure and the delay that this type of surgery has on your life. I know from speaking to people in a similar position, their hopes and dreams were, or are, pinned on the success of this surgery and unfortunately sometimes these dreams do not materialise. 

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