It's a difficult thing to pull yourself up out of the muck. My previous post, while there was a small bit of hope in there, was still heavily colored by despair. There have been a few noteworthy things that have happened since then, but I couldn't find the words to write about them, or the enthusiasm to even try.
This past Monday, I went back to work. The going-back part was almost as much of a non-issue as it could have possibly been. All my coworkers have made a great effort to getting name and pronouns right, and everyone has been doing really well. It has also started getting me back into a better rhythm for my days, and has given me something to think about and do other than focus on myself and my situation. After a week of being back, it's starting to get there. My sleep schedule is still out of whack, and I know from lots of past experience that it will take some time to get back in sync.
Physically, I'm doing reasonably well. I'm spending a lot of time without the support garment, which I do not have to wear while at work, and it's not nearly as uncomfortable as I expected. The massages continue, three blessed times each and every day. They are starting to get less uncomfortable, and I am seeing some progress, particularly on the hairline incision. The problem is that I'm past sick of doing them, and when it's time, I still put them off. That often pushes the evening massage until far later than it should be, which is another part of the sleep schedule problem. There is a bit of an end coming in a few weeks; at the two-month mark, I should be able to drop to only once per day. Until then, the torture must continue. The cleaning that goes along with the massage is almost becoming pro forma. There are still a few tails of sutures in my nose, and some tiny pieces poking to the surface underneath my nose, but there have been no scabs for weeks. All the cleaning and massaging does tend to rob the moisture from my skin, so I'm having to be very conscientious about moisturizing.
There are still large areas of my face and head which have no feeling. There are few signs that the front half of my scalp will be coming back any time soon, other than the fact that there are some itchy spots in the middle of the numbness. Of course, those spots are still numb, so scratching them is an exercise in futility. My lower lip has some temperature sensitivity, though it's kind of weird. When I get some cold or hot on the inside of my lip, my entire chin feels that sensation. I'm constantly having to check whether I'm dribbling whatever it is that I'm eating. I am starting to get back a little bit more muscle control in my lips and jaw too.
The swelling is probably much lower, though it's very difficult for me to see. C and K both commented on Friday that they were starting to see my cheekbones again. I do feel much less squishy when doing my massages, but whenever I look in a mirror, it still looks like the bottom half of my face has been taken over by a balloon. That will likely fade away slowly, and my jaw will eventually become jaw-shaped again.
The challenge is not focusing on the here-and-now, and not getting too discouraged. I am failing to do either, and as a result, I feel like a disgusting troll most of the time, and I feel like it will never end. I got a very appropriate fortune out of a fortune cookie the other day. It said "right now, you need to be patient." Sigh.
The Collapsing Empire
1 day ago