It’s now been a few months since my septorhinoplasty, and I am feeling so positive. It’s given me a fresh look at my life and how I perceive myself and others. I know I have more confidence in new situations and my self-esteem is through the roof.
Having come through the other side of such a major step in my treatment, I have decided to go ahead with reconstructive lip surgery in September. It will be the same surgeon who did my nose so I trust his judgement completely. Although I have half a mind to leave surgery now as I’ve been through so much, I know it’s probably best to get everything sorted now, so I can truly move on and enjoy my life without the worries of my cleft hanging over me.
Over the last few months my cleft lip and palate cleft has been on my mind a lot as my friends and family see the ‘new me’, with most of them saying how wonderful my ‘new’ nose looks and all of them focusing on the fact that I’m so pleased with the result. It’s also given me a lot of time to reflect, and I’ve realised that I’m really proud of myself for not letting my cleft hold me back. Although I would often worry about what others thought about me, I’ve been lucky enough to have plenty of friends and family to support me to do things in spite of my cleft. I can now see that I’ve probably done a lot more than I think I would have done had I not had it. Although there isn’t a need to prove yourself, the fact that I wanted to show myself that I could do anything despite my cleft now means that I can look back at my life and know I don’t have any regrets about not doing something.
In fact I can now say I’m (almost) grateful for having been born this way. It’s given me a huge gift of not judging others, being compassionate to those in need and for people who face extra hardships in life. It’s also made me very thankful for having friends who appreciate me for my personality and who have stood by me through my difficult treatment and psychological worries. Although these are things I may have had in life anyway, I know that having a cleft has certainly shaped me as a person (despite fighting this idea for years), and, whilst I know I still wouldn’t define myself in terms of my cleft, I know it has had just as many positives in my life as negatives, whilst also making me a much stronger, more resilient person.
Just to finish up: I have some rather exciting news to share with you – I have recently been contacted by a researcher who is training to become a clinical psychologist. They are conducting a study into the involvement of cleft patients in their decision to have a maxillofacial osteotomy (jaw surgery). This research is something that has really intrigued me since I am a big advocate of taking ownership over your treatment, understanding what is happening to you and being involved in treatment decisions. I’m not sure where the study or my involvement will lead, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated.