Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Many Changing Smiles of Laurie

I used to have a beautiful smile. A few thousand dollars worth of braces helped to make it so (thanks Mom and Dad!!!). It was not a stretch for me to say it was by far my best feature for many years! Which is why it hit me so hard to have it taken away.
I posted back in January about my experience with Bell's Palsy (in which the entire left side of my face was left paralyzed for several months). This post today is not easy to for me to put together, but I wanted to share a big part of myself. A friend and I were talking last night about losing something that made us feel really good about ourselves. For her it was her weight (she used to model swimwear). For me, who has never been "skinny," while my weight has always been an issue it was hardest to lose my smile.

As I looked for pictures to share with you I ended up choosing two of my bridal pictures. It was necessary, as it appears in most of my pictures I tend to be a bit of a ham, lol. Like these two gems:

My roomies at Snow were decorating me for Christmas. Don't I make a lovely tree???

And this is simply Laurie being Laurie, lol.

I looked for some pictures that could best show what my smile truly meant to me, and of all the pictures I found, these two showed it best. In particular because the side that's really shown is the same side affected.

I know the pictures are a little dark and grainy, but that's what happens when one doesn't have a scanner and has to instead take pictures OF pictures :) Still, I think you get the general idea.

Shortly after the birth of B is when the Bell's Palsy hit. I had no intention of allowing my picture to be taken, and didn't think any existed until I began cleaning along a bookcase I hadn't touched in many years. Tucked away in a stack of other long-forgotten pictures were the next two, taken at a family party.

I suddenly remembered my mother had taken these, along with a few others, and had given me copies later on. It was a Sunday morning when I opened up the envelope and looked at my face permanently fixed in an awful position, and I began to cry. Over what I had lost. Over what my children and husband might very well have to look at for the rest of their lives. You cannot imagine what it was like to look in the mirror day after day, full on (unlike these pictures which don't show quite how bad it was when not turned to the side), wondering if I'd ever be able to smile again.

Healing has most definitely been slow, and it's not finished yet. I have much of my smile back, but not enough for me to yet feel comfortable having my picture taken. Still, I used my little webcam to take a few for you today, just so you all can see the difference a few years has made.

Notice...I still have great teeth :) I'm praying for the day the corner of my mouth will finally turn up. The really good news? I can still make silly faces!


brittanimae said...

Thanks Laurie--what a touching post. I can only imagine how hard it must be to find a small piece of you not being reflected back each time you look in the mirror. From your most recent pictures, though, I would never have guessed about the Bell's Palsy--way to go!

Errin Courtney said...

Count your blessings. You could of been like my dad who can't smile at all. Make me not complain about my smile.

Debbie D said...

You are so brave to put this post out there. I think your smile is still beautiful. I've always had perfect teeth, no braces, but I was born with a "hare lip" aka cleft lip. I had two operations before I was six, and every doctor tells me how great a job it is, but I don't have those two little peaks on my top lip and one side is puffier. Lip liner? NO WAY! But I'm sure it all be worked out in the eternities. *Hugs*

Team Jensen said...

Laurie! I would never have guessed you have this issue you've been dealing with! Seriously, I've never noticed anything different about your smile/mouth. Must be that amazing spirit and light that surrounds you that makes all those imperfections YOU notice, invisible to others. We only see your incredible beauty!

LaurieW said...

Thanks everyone! It really wasn't easy to post those pictures, but I'm so glad I did. I ♥ you all for saying such lovely things. You've absolutely made me feel loved.

Cynthia said...

Forgive me, but I just looked at the pics and didn't take to read the post, but I got excited when I saw pictures I remember of the old days.
Beautiful wedding pics.

The Major's Wife said...

You have beautiful smile, pretty teeth and gorgeous hair, but this healing process is so you can be an example fog your kids