The Aftermath (Or Part 3/3)

First off, I would like to wish my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, a very very happy RAMADAN MUBARAK! Sorry I’m a little late with this – I was on a trip to London and Portugal and just got back the day before yesterday! I hope and pray that everyone’s Ramadan is a blessed month, that all of our fasts and duas are accepted, and that this month brings us closer to our Lord and keeps us rightly guided long after the month is over, AMEEN!

And now I shall finally finish this trilogy of sorts, by concluding with my thoughts on post-surgery recovery. I am still currently in the post-surgery part of my life, so many of these feelings and thoughts are probably still present within me. After my surgery, the one good thing I can recall is that my pain management was much better than the first time around. I don’t know if it’s because the meds were better, or I just didn’t feel as much pain, but it was definitely a lot more bearable this time.

Unfortunately, this time also came with its own set of problems. During my surgery, my facial nerve was disturbed, and as a result, the left side of my face lost almost all function. Although feeling was, and still is there (Alhumdolilah), I am not able to blink my left eye that well, nor am I able to close it completely. I also can’t smile anymore, because the left side of my mouth does not move – which also means I can only chew food on the right side of my mouth.

Now, I am grateful that the surgery did go well in other ways, and I’ve recovered quite well Alhumdolilah (minus the loss of function ofc). But I didn’t realize how much of an emotional toll this loss of function would have on me. Ever since I started wearing hijab, I’ve become a lot more confident in myself. This doesn’t mean that I think I’m some hot piece of shit (excuse my language), but it allowed me to just not really put so much importance on looks anymore. I didn’t value it as much, and tbh, I feel like I looked a lot better because of this thinking and confidence I had attained.

However, now that I don’t have any function on the left side of my face, I feel like my insecurities and low self-esteem from High School are coming back. I don’t like taking pictures of myself anymore, and if a picture is taken, it has to be some sort of artsy side profile pic. I don’t like going outside or talking to people because all I can think of is “Ugh they must be looking at my face and thinking what’s wrong with her.” I don’t want anyone to think I’m ugly nor do I want anyone to pity me.

Although I’m most likely going to have another surgery, this time, a facial reconstructive surgery will also take place, and Inshah Allah I will look how I did previously. And although this does give me hope, and is a means for people to advise me to be strong, that it’s not permanent, and I will be back to my normal self again, I still can’t help but feel crappy about my situation.

I mean first of all, no one can tell me 100% that I’m going to go back to the way I was before. I have complete confidence in Allah (SWT) that everything will work out, but we don’t know what the future holds. Also, until that surgery takes place, I still have to live like this. It’s easier for someone whose face is completely normal to say it’s not a big deal and you look fine. But for someone who can’t smile, can’t blink, basically sleeps with one eye open, etc. etc., it’s not fine.

What I did take from this though is that my journey is still going and there are many lessons I still need to learn. I feel like Allah (SWT) is really trying to teach me the lesson of “looks don’t matter” haha, but in all honesty, I feel like I’m really supposed to grasp the importance of character (akhlaq) and tawwakul (full reliance and trust in my Lord). The road ain’t easy, but it’s a path I must travel upon with complete faith.

Also to anyone in the post-surgery recovery process, I urge you to eat healthy and exercise as much as you can (ofc don’t push yourself if you’re still healing)! These two things have honestly helped me a lot in terms of healing and just gaining energy to do things again.

And now with the final entry, finally complete, I bid you farewell, and wish you the best for today, tomorrow, and for all your days ahead.

XO

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