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Monday, October 30, 2017

State of the Erin Report

I had my second appointment with the plastic surgeon today. The diagnosis is mixed but overall positive. 

The Good News:
 All of the sutures have been removed, along with a really nasty-looking thing that was either a giant scab or a bit of dead scar tissue(or maybe some of each). I don't know if the removal of the sutures and stiff scar tissue really does make it easier to talk and open my mouth, or if it's just psychosomatic, but either way I'm taking the victory. I was actually able to eat a real sandwich for supper, and it was GLORIOUS. 

The Middling News: Right now things look good for function, but form is iffy. The area to the side of my lower lip is still swollen and is healing slower than expected. There's also a piece of scar tissue remaining that is so thick it's almost cartilaginous, which will need to be removed once the swelling subsides. There's also a tear right at the corner of my mouth, which essentially widens my mouth by approximately 1/3 inches. I'm not sure why this wasn't stitched up; if I had to guess, I'd say it was because my mouth was a swollen mess and the doctor couldn't see it or get to it. I had hoped this would heal with the rest of me, and I've been trying to speak out of the undamaged side of my mouth in order to encourage those parts to fuse back together, but the doctor said this might be my "new anatomy", which was kind of heartbreaking. I did however pester him until he admitted that if the lower lips needs more surgery, he can probably fix the mouth since he's basically in the neighborhood. 

The Unfortunate News:
 By the surgeon's estimation, it looks like it'll be at least two months before the swelling goes down enough to warrant seeing him again, and then we can see what kind of surgery I may need. I've been told, point blank, that there WILL be scarring; how bad it is, and therefore whether I'll need cosmetic or reconstructive surgery, is something we won't know until my face has fully healed. And then there's finding a place in his surgical schedule, recovering from that surgery, etc. 

All of this means it will literally be next year before I stop looking disgusting (no, this isn't a self-image thing; I literally have what looks like a large open sore the size of my thumbnail right on my face, and it's nasty) and then who knows how long it'll be until I can make public appearances as Erin Palette. I hope that I will have all this finished and look presentable by the time the NRA Annual Meeting comes around (May 4-6), but I'm not holding my breath. If I don't look presentable, I have two equally unpleasant choices to make: go there anonymously (i.e. in drab) and not make any professional connections for Operation Blazing Sword, or just not attend at all. 

I suppose I'm fortunate that I have no speaking engagements booked, because the only way I'd feel comfortable making an appearance would be if I wore some kind of gaiter over the lower half of my face. 

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