Facial Reanimation Surgery: Take the Risk or Lose the Chance

Towards the end of September, I’ll be undergoing an 8-12 hour facial reanimation surgery with the hopes of being able to smile fully again.

A few weeks ago, I had an EMG test to see if the nerves in my face were still alive. The results of that confirmed that surgery is now the only real option for me. Hearing that my nerves are dying, and time is now of the essence for a nerve graft completely shocked me and forced me to adopt the view “take the risk or lose the chance.”

In June, my sister and I designed these gorgeous ‘Face It’ prints and cards to represent facial paralysis. The idea was that they would stand for every person with facial palsy or a visible difference. I wanted them to symbolise the fears and emotions that come with it, the social anxiety, losing the ability to smile or express emotions, feeling judged, alone and isolated and as though you always need to cover your face with your hand or stand on your “good” side.

After hearing the news of my facial reanimation surgery, I wasn’t sure if I should print them just yet. Or even if I should carry on with BITB right now. Putting out positive quotes has been questionable when there are times I don’t always feel that way myself. But it’s important to note that whilst spreading positivity has always been at the forefront of BITB, “always be positive” was never the message.

The goal of BITB has always been to acknowledge that sh*t does happen. Things do upset us, negative emotions arise and expressing them is totally fine and healthy. So long as we hold on to the fact that pain is only temporary and better days are coming.

A positive mindset and attitude to life should only ever support that, never mask it.

BITB First Birthday

It’s been a year today since I launched BITB whilst recovering from brain surgery in my bedroom. It has always been the best distraction for me, long before I even officially shared it. I’ve met so many inspiring people, read amazing stories of hope and realised there are far more people that understand what you’re going through than you think.

So whilst I first founded BITB as a way of giving back to Brainstrust because of the amazing support they gave to me last year, this platform has also very much been a reminder that this is all just a massive journey that lots of us are on together.

As well as continuing to support Brainstrust by donating 10% of profits from all wearable daily reminders, my brain tumour journey has been more complex than I imagined. Experiencing a stroke and facial paralysis has meant that it’s important to me to further support charities that have also played a part in this recovery journey with me.

I particularly wanted a range that I could dedicate to facial palsy, and the challenges of living with a visible difference, as I’ve come to learn from personal experience and through sharing stories with others, that the effects of it can be devastating. Because if this, 10% of profits from the ‘Face It’ range will be donated to Changing Faces charity to raise awareness and support for everybody with a facial condition that makes them look different.

Thank you so much for your incredible support this past year. BITB has completely transformed from the simple recovery blog it started out, to the beginning of the positivity hub I always dreamt of, all because of you! I’m beyond grateful and excited to see what the next 12 months bring.

Something good is always about to happen.

Sammy x

1 comment

Karen Debonis

Sammy, these cards are gorgeous. You and your sister have such talent! I’m going to purchase some, and I’ll share on Facebook. (Today’s busy, but I’ll shoot for tomorrow.) All the best with your surgery!!

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