My whole life, I have dealt with challenges that comes with having a different face. I have encountered many stares, many comments, also accepting who I am. I have had 23 surgeries in my life. All of them have been associated with Pfeiffer Syndrome. They have helped me to hear, breathe, and to see. After every surgery, it was a huge healing process. It was an emotional and physical healing process. As I have gotten older the emotional healing has gotten harder because I care about my looks more now than I did when I was little.
From 2014 on, that’s when I really started caring about my surgeries and what I wanted to happen. All of them were successful and I remember coming out being so happy with the change. Early 2016, I had jaw surgery, and I loved everything about it afterwards. There was still a little bit of emotional healing because it was a change. But it was something got over really fast. (fun fact: this was the time I decided to start a blog. I’ll have to share that story in another post) When I made plans for my next surgery in the fall of 2016, I honestly was so excited. Until after it was done. it wasn’t what I hoped for. In fact it was even worse. I call this my dark surgery. I remember waking up and honestly it was hell. I couldn't see, and I couldn't hear, my arms were numb, with two IVs that weren’t working. They had to replace it and I honestly felt like I was screaming. I even asked my mom later if I did and she said I didn’t but I definitely was screaming on the inside. I just felt like I was in so much pain. Mentally and physically. It literally felt like hell.
After getting home from the hospital a few days later, that’s when I started to see what I looked liked. I remember seeing myself and just crying. I didn’t like the way I looked. This went on for days and I was miserable. I remember just yelling at God in a prayer and saying “why did you let this happen?!” It was so hard because this was a surgery I was just so excited about.
The night I came home from Chicago, I had choir practice. I was trying to decide all day whether I should go or not but I felt I needed to go, and there was a little peer pressure involved. I honestly don’t know how I pulled myself to go, given that, I just went through a really hard surgery. But I decided to go and I honestly felt really good when I went. I wore a hat to hide a little but even still it was really good for me to go. And something hit me during that practice that everything was going to be OK. I felt bad for yelling at God. I decided to pray and ask for help.
I was doing a little better until I went back to school. One day I was in seminary and I went to the bathroom. When I was there, I looked in the mirror and I hated what I saw. I started asking myself why do I look like this and I remember kind of trash talking myself in my head. I started becoming a different person and I wasn’t my happy self. One of my friends noticed I was not me. She and I were in the same seminary class and I remember both of us ditched class one time and went outside and talked. Then she asked me, “well what are you going to do?” Another question was, “What do you like about yourself?” It was hard to answer at the time but I came up with stuff. And it made me think “ok, I need to appreciate what’s still good. I’ll get used to the change and I’ll make the effort to love how I look.”
This was still a process and still just an emotional rollercoaster. I went to Chicago and met with my psychologist. I told her what has been going through my mind in the last four months or so. She told me to start having confidence in myself. Start looking at people in the eyes when I talk to them. I went home honestly feeling a lot better because I felt she really helped me gain self-confidence. It still took work for me to accept my face. But in the end I decided this is me. And I’m ok with it.
Today, I still struggle with the way I look. No, it’s not as bad or depressing as it was in the past but it’s still there. I still have my bad days. But that is when I need to remember to put my faith in Christ. He will help me if I let him. When I am struggling, I fall on my knees praying to God, asking for help. Times, it is hard to do so but when I do, I feel so much comfort and peace. My experiences have really helped my testimony of faith grow. I honestly believe this trial brings me closer to him because it requires me to put my faith in him. When I do I am comforted and blessed. I feel closer to him because I feel his presence. He watches out for me. I know he watches out for all of us in the midst of our trials.
Christ has been a big part of my life. A HUGE part. There have been several times in my life where I have had to put my faith in Christ. I have had to put my faith in him when I’m scared, when I have to make big decisions, or sometimes when I’m taking a new path in life. To be honest my faith goes on and off. BUT I know that when I do put my faith in Jesus Christ, I feel so amazing. I know I can trust him. He guides me in the right direction even when I’m unsure. He is watching over me. He knows me by name and he knows what I need to make me who I need to become. My Savior loves me and he loves YOU:)