University and Graduating; despite the facial pain, setbacks and loneliness
Although I now had the operation date, I was still uncertain if the operation would go ahead. I had been messed around too many times and even the operation letter stated it would take place if they had a bed. Up until the operation date I had a lot of things to keep me busy. I had recently received confirmation that I had passed my degree and now had a First Class BA honours degree in Human Resource Management.
I remember sitting there for weeks before thinking I would be lucky to get a 2:2. There I was sitting with a First. After all the tears and tantrums, all the sleepless nights constructing little strips of paper into a reasonable order, I had completed my degree with the best grade possible. Over the last 2 years of university, since being unwell with the facial and muscular pain, I had lost contact with many of my friends at university. It is at times when you actually need help and support that you realise who your true friends are and who are just users. It was such a shame. I had become close with two girls at university and a couple of the boys we had worked in a team with. When anyone of them was going through a tough time or were not feeling well, the group would look out for that person and I would always make sure they were ok. We would as a group, take on that person’s workload until they returned back to university. We had a lot of group work at university and we were supposed to attend every day. Unfortunately, with my face and other issues coping with life and work, I had become a less than frequent attendee. As soon as I was no longer serving or helping my “university friends” they blocked me off and forgot I existed. It was a tough time because I really needed someone to speak to and someone who could pick me up the course books and course material. It would have been nice if they could have supported me a little in that way or just drop me a text to see how I was getting on. The only time I heard from them was when they wanted information, a lift to university or help with an assignment. By the time it got to graduation day, I was a stranger among people I should have spent the best days of my life with. People I should have made lifelong friendships with. But instead I felt odd and out of place. No one could understand what I had been through and what I had to do to get my degree.
From that day, I remember three main things; feeling alone in such a huge crowd of people, feeling awkward talking to people asking me; where had I been and turning their noses up when I told them my grade and thirdly my boyfriend being miserable and late for the graduation. Me and my boyfriend had been through a lot together in our time… even before the operation and the facial pain. He had been in a huge car accident the night of my 21st birthday and has been really low since that date and working an awful lot. He was Asian and his parents were racist towards me and my family. This had caused a lot of tension since we had met them at the hospital the night he had the car crash. His own father stopped speaking to him and I was never formally introduced. He had also not consulted me and bought a flat in Hertfordshire miles away from where I lived. He had assumed I would go down to visit him but with my facial pain I was unable to drive the 2 hour journey there. Things had really started to turn sour but we had been together nearly 5 years and I thought this was my forever relationship. I loved him but not like I should have. I was more of a maid and personal assistant than a girlfriend. I was needed by him but he did not show any love or affection back.
So here is the situation now, I am in a job I hate, I am in so much pain daily I can hardly walk, I am not sleeping, I am in a loveless relationship where I feel used and unappreciated, I have graduated and I have major facial surgery coming up at the end of August 2011. This was when things became so irrational for me. I had this image that after the operation everything would sort itself out… I would be beautiful and confident. I would be fit and able to do whatever I liked. I would feel sexy and wanted again by my boyfriend. I thought, because I would look better and I would have more energy, my friends would want to be around me more and I would make lots of new friends. I thought the new me, the new confidence and the first class degree, I could get any job I wanted and everything would be so good. I pinned every single hope on life being better after orthognathic surgery.
But despite of all this hope and will, in the back of my mind there was still a feeling of dread and fear that I might not actually survive or wake up from the operation.