Years of bullying at school took their toll though and, at the age of 15, she decided to undergo surgery to bring movement back to her face. But the procedure – which involved grafting muscle and nerves from another part of her body on to the affected side of her face – failed to give her the smile she longed for. After another unsuccessful attempt, the doctors discharged her and she was left to cope with the condition, leaving her feeling isolated and alone. Only with the help of online support group Courage to Smile has she found the confidence to search again for surgical solutions.
One strange side-effect of the healing and re-wiring of the facial nerve is how my tear ducts in my right eye and right side of my nose react when I eat. Because these nerves are so close the ones that control the salivary glands, it appears they now react by watering and running when I eat. It’s now easy for people to see when I think food is good because it looks like my right eye is tearing up and I have to blow my nose! I admit, it’s kind of strange, but it really isn’t a big deal, and a small inconvenience considering where I was.