I have vacillated back and forth about whether or not to post a photo of my mouth and the cavity that the surgery has left. When people see me they tell me how great I look and because they can’t see the damage inside they don’t have any idea of what is going on internally, physically and emotionally. I actually had one person tell me that she thought since the surgery went so well and I was up and around that it hasn’t really been any big deal. This hurt me deeply and to this day she hasn’t ever asked me how I am. I realize it is because of her own fears but it still hurts. I focus on everyone else and their continual love, support, acceptance and empathy for my process.
It has taken a long time for me to come to grips with the feel of my mouth and the foreign objects in it all the time. Then came the day that the objects were taken away. The shock that came with the removal of the obturator, from my perspective, was very disturbing. I was not warned of two important details. One, that I would not be able to swallow and whenever it is out I have to wipe away, with tissue, any saliva that forms and two that my voice would be so radically changed. The hollow, cavernous, flat sounds that came out of my mouth were not mine and it was frightening, to say the least. Emotionally this was a harsh blow. Tears ran down my cheeks as I was trying to take all of this in. My mother, always by my side through every minute of this, kept telling me to keep my tongue down, don’t explore above…. I felt trapped in my own little hell, there was no turning back and this was my new normal. I had to pull it together and learn how to insert and remove the obturator. Somehow I did and for several weeks I draped a curtain over my bathroom mirror so that I wouldn’t see my face, caved in and toothless. Then I moved to peeking once in awhile, very briefly taking it in. And currently, and after lots of pep talks with myself, I have worked up to taking down the curtain and inspecting some of the areas, not quite all yet…. So, because I am at this place of acceptance I feel that I need others to accept this about me. There is enough fear served up with having this hole in my head. I think that sharing my perspective from the inside out, emotionally and physically will help me to accept it even more. I hope it is helpful for you to see the other side. Thanks.