Just over a year ago, I had a life-altering surgery. The lower half of my face was broken apart and put back together, relieving me of chronic pain. When half your face changes, it feels like losing part of who you are. I didn’t tell many friends about my surgery – the majority of them will find out via this story – and when I see them in public, they don’t recognise me. For a while, I didn’t recognise myself either. I spent months reconciling the relationship between my mental and physical selves and I’m finally at a point where I feel at home in my body.
In the spring of 2020, I started having soreness in my jaw that got increasingly worse. At first, I attributed it to grinding my teeth at night, a result of the stress I was experiencing at work, but by July, the pain had gotten so bad that I had trouble chewing. I went to an orthodontist who took x-rays and realized that my jaw was misaligned. The pain stemmed from friction in my joints; joints are supposed to be curved, but the rubbing had caused mine to be flat. I was referred to a clinic that specializes in jaw surgery, and that’s where my story began.