Tomorrow I'll be 1 month post-op! Time is moving faster and faster as I feel better and happier each day. Just to show you how much happier I've become in the past month, I thought I'd put together a little comparison collage to show you how my smile has grown throughout the recovery. In each of these pictures, I'm smiling the biggest and best that I can (yes, that is a smile on day one). And you can see that as the swelling goes down and the muscle movement comes back, I've been able to smile more and more:
One of the most difficult parts of the recovery early on was the inability to smile. My muscles just wouldn't do it and my sutures would hurt if I tried. There have been studies done that show that the act of smiling contributes to our happiness; we smile because we're happy, but simply smiling, in turn, can make us happy as well (something about the particular muscle movement releasing endorphins or dopamine or some hormone that tells your brain you're in a good mood). So, for the weeks that I couldn't muster up a grin, I felt pretty darn melancholy. Lucky for me, my ability to smile is back. It still hurts a little, and it's terribly tiring on my incisions, cheeks, lips, etc. BUT since I can smile, I've felt a lot better. And better is progress. And progress is good.