Starting a different life!

Starting a different life!

Hi Everybody!

I am new to changing faces as I have only just found out about this great community!

Im 21 and I'm in my first year at university studying to become a nurse. 8 weeks ago I was bitten in the face by our dog at home. I am still in the healing process as i have been told that it will take up to 12 months for my scar to heal properly, however 12 months seems like a lifetime away to me!

It has affected my greatly and although I put on a brave face and been able to talk to my friends and family about it, it isn't quite the same when you are alone?

Before it happened I would get up in the morning, throw some clothes on, a dash of make up, brush my hair and that was me ready for the day! Now I find myself looking in the mirror for god knows how long, just proding and poking my scar. I also have a routine at night where i massage bio oil into the scar and a silicone scar gel. I find myself looking at people, thinking you don't know how lucky you are to have such a perfect face!

I also suffered from severe acne as a teenager, so just as i thought my skin was becoming what i had always wanted it to be like, it gets destroyed.

This is more than a scar its a different kind of life.

I'd love to hear from everyone and hopefully this blog can be used to share experiences and support each other dealing with visual disfigurements.

Bye for now xx

8 Replies

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  • Hi Peggy

    I'm 44 and had a similar experience when I was a toddler, although the scar on my face is higher up, going from the inner corner of my eye, to the outer edge, along the eye socket, down the side of my face and back in to my mouth

    I had major surgery in the summer holidays before going to University.

    I'd love to discuss this, and share experiences if you think that would help, It would be great to know where you're based. I have to dash now, two beautiful children to get to school...

    Alison x

  • Hi Peggy

    I was once told that looking different was an amazing gift, but some days it does not feel that way! I was badly bitten by my best friends dog when I was 6 and had to have my mouth reshaped! I am due for my next operation in June, 30 years on, it can still be difficult to accept some people's reactions! It is really hard when people talk to my mouth, not my eyes! At the end of the day, the scars will fade, and you will still be the same person inside!!Ask your doctor for dermacare cream!

    Take care

    Lucy

  • Hi guys!

    Thank you ever so much for leaving your messages. I cannot even imagine going through this as a child, that must have been so traumatic for the both of you. I know what you mean Lucy, about people talking to your mouth, It makes me doubly conscious that i might have something in my teeth as well!! I am based in London Alison, how about you?

    I am going to see a consultant on Monday (after my exam!) to hopefully take a look and let me know what future surgery i may need, as i currently have a large amount of fluid in my upper lip and not much movement.

    Hopefully, along side my hectic student life, I will keep posting blogs on weekly challenges and how I am overcoming them. It would be great if you could stay involved and share tips/experiences!

    Thanks for the tip on dermacare Lucy! I shall ask about that on Monday :)

    Bye for now

    Peggy x

  • Hi Peggy

    I'm in York, but come regularly to London as part of my family's shared hobby of church bell ringing. I think that because my accident happened before I can remember, that it may be less traumatic, both because I can't remember it happening, and also I don't ever remember my face being well normal.

    You can and will recover though, the fact that you're 8 weeks on and already seeking help, and not afraid to show us a picture is great! I find and have found that getting to know people slowly and carefully helps in that people know you for who you are, not what you're not, and that your friends and family will get over their shock, and get back to treating you normally (if they haven't already).

    I'm sure advice changes, but please be careful not to put anything irritant on your face, I was advised nothing but water !!! for 12 months after my last surgery, which at 18 was rough, but do keep it out of the sun, as sun damage can seriously slow the fading.

    Please also try not to pull it around and spend a lot of time inspecting it. It will take time, and if you can try to occupy your mind in other ways it will help, rather than a full inspection once a day. Choose a set day of the week, and have a good look on that day, then try not to do that again for a week -of course you'll see it, but try not to dwell. Make notes if you can, or take a picture on that day, and you should find that soon, you can step that down to once every two weeks and that you are noticing improvement. If you put oil on it (I used vitamin e cream) then do it by feel if you can, not by always looking in the mirror. (I'm not saying don't look at it, I am saying if you look less frequently, it's easier to see the improvement)

    The swelling/trauma around the injury will take time to settle down, I look forward to hearing what the surgeon suggests.

    good luck xx

  • Hi,

    Living a student life such as nightclubs and bars etc can be daunting experience when you look different. I have just graduated from university and it was the best 4 years. It wouldn't have been so good if I had let my birthmark stop me from taking part. It sounds like you are just getting on with it and you have really positive attitude.

    Changing Faces run a young peoples' council. I have posted the link below. We aren't a support group as such (CF run that separately) but it is just a place where young people who look different can get together. It meets in London and they pay for your transport there.

    Take care.x

    changingfaces.org.uk/Your-C...

  • Hi Peggy,

    I just wanted to message you to say how incredibly inspiring you are.

    I know from family experience with scarring how hard it can be. To be able to share your story so soon after your accident is amazing and by doing so you will be giving confidence to so many others out there.

    I agree when you go through such a trauma, whether it's an accident or illness, it makes you think how lucky others are. I need you to know that you are a beautiful girl with the world at your feet; don't ever let your scar define you. You have been through an awful time, but already by coming on here and sharing your story you have showed everyone that even the ones who put on a brave face feel bad sometimes, but that's okay because no one is alone out there. Sharing is an amazing way to heal inside and out.

    Massive love to you and thank you again for sharing.

    Joanne x

  • Hi Peggy,

    I have to admit you are doing such a great job at getting better. I've was badly disfigured in 2007 and I was opposed to showing anyone my face. You are a beautiful young lady with your life ahead of you. It's hard to remember that looking different shouldn't steal our identity that we had before the accident changed us. I've let other people's actions break me down and it's very hard to get back Just being on this site for one day has helped me not feel so alone even though I live in the US. There isn't anything like this over here.

    xxoo

  • Hi Peggy it will get better...I can promise.

    I have a facial deformity from birth although the surgeon thought it was due to a break when I was born. This wasn't really noticed, even though I had a bit of a wonky face and it was long. Unknown to me & my family although I had chronic ear pain as a kid it wasn't util i was 11 that i ended up at the dentist, then the orthodontist...a year or so after treatment I finally saw a surgeon as one lower jaw was twice the length of the other & not connected where it should be. I had surgery at 15 [condylectomy] to stop the bone growing as by this time I had a very wonky face and chin. Then at 16 I has an oesteotomy and both jaws were broken & reset. Adults were worse as they would stare but not ask. Older kids & teens weren't much better but little kids would ask me what happened, which was realy refreshing and they understood I wasn't weird just I had a broken jaw and a surgeon tried to make it a bit better. they were just so accepting.

    Needless to say up until I had surgery I was very aware of how different I looked and hated it but being quite mouthy I brushed off a lot of the nastiness I encountered. But it made me so sad inside that I was so horrible looking to so many. By the time I went to university I looked quite different although my face is asymmetrical, one eye drops a little lower than the other; my nose is a bit mashed up and wonky; and my chin isn't straight. I also still have a large lower jaw one side as I wouldn't let the surgeon cut it away as by then I had enough!!

    But into my 20s I soon found that yes I looked a more "normal" but it was my personality that counted and how I carried myself. I worked with mainly men and they never really noticed it until I pointed it out -then they could see it it. But it was this experience that made me realise it may be cheesey but what is inside is all that matters. I had to accept how I was even if it wasn't as perfect.

    Yes I have a dribbley lip now & again as it doesn't shut and I can't quite feel it which can be a bit weird but if I miss my mouth (quite often!) I just explain why and folk get it. My nose is quite broken & wonky still as is my chin; but guess what. this is me and I really can't be bothered with folk who think I look funny.

    I still have days when I feel very self conscious, but try not to dwell on it & think about how good I have allowed my life to be. Had I not allowed "me" to be seen before and after surgery, I doubt I would be as happy as I am now.

    Believe in the person you are and will be :)

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